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Book Review: Batman Unauthorized
Tripp J Crouse   |  

Week of Geek: Batman

Batman UnauthorizedBatman Unauthorized
Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City (Smart Pop series)
Edited by Dennis O’Neil with Leah Wilson
Written by Various
BenBella Books
Release date: March 1, 2008

One in many Smart Pop publications looking at popular culture and its lasting influence on a society, Batman Unauthorized collects numerous essays from critics, scholars, and comic book professionals as they take a scrutinizing look at the Dark Knight and the impression he’s left on society.

Originally created as a way to capitalize on Superman’s mounting popularity, the Caped Crusader leaped into our hearts and blazed a path of pop culture notoriety so deep that volumes could be written on any given aspect of the detective’s existence.

From television shows and cartoons to comic books, Batman has surfaced as a cultural icon, recognizable as a brand in many U.S. households. Dennis O’Neil and the Smart Pop team deliver a book rife with tidbits of Batman’s history, filled several highlights including the open praise of Bill Finger‘s contribution to the Dark Knight’s creation and early tales in Alan Porter‘s article, “The Dubious Origins of the Batman,” in which Porter discusses the character’s initiation into the comic book world.

Porter’s piece is one for learned and neophyte Batman fans alike, delving into several of the nuances, and often times, overlooked aspects of his early history. It’s one that eschews academic rigors in favor of straight-forward journalistic motifs, unfolding the history between Bob Kane and Finger’s early workings on the detective.

Batman Unauthorized is a solid mix of writings on one of the comic book industry’s staple figures, without taking itself too seriously. Various authors tackle the Caped Crusader differently: Robin Rosenberg looks into the psychological problems of the crime fighter; Daniel Kimmel examines the different live action portrayals of Batman; while Geoff Klock looks into Frank Miller‘s contribution to the comic book franchise, and many others.

While Batman Unauthorized isn’t the same caliber as The Sandman Papers, a collection of literary criticism based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, or Reading Comics, it is definitely a treat to read and a wealth of information for Batman enthusiasts to turn to if they’re ever looking for a little deeper understanding of the Dark Knight.

1 Comment »

  1. This sounds like my kind of book.
    Good review!!

    Comment by Jerry — July 13, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

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