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HUMA 1780 (4)
Chapter

Lecture 1

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Department
Humanities
Course
HUMA 1780
Professor
Elicia Clements
Semester
Fall

Description
SchoolofArtsandLetters AtkinsonFacultyofLiberalandProfessionalStudies Summer2009 AK/HUMA17806.0AStoriesinDiverseMedia Batman:VersionsofHeroism Todate,thestoryofBatman(akaBruceWayne)hasbeenadaptedtofilmnoless thanninetimes(intwo1940sserials,a1960sfeaturefilm,thecurrentfranchiseofsix films,andtwofeaturelengthanimations).ThestoryofBatman,therefore,isaperfect exampleofastorytoldandretoldindiversemedia.Itisprimarilythankstothe numerousversionsoftheBatmanstorythatcirculateinpopularculture,specificallythe currentfilmsandthecampy1960stelevisionseries,thatsomanyofusarefamiliarwith attheveryleastsomethingabouttheBatmanmythhissecretidentity,thenamesof hiscityandhislair,hissidekick,andhisenemies. Batmanisastorythatalwaysseemstobeincirculation,and,inturn,itisastory thatisinfluencedbyothernarrativesaroundit.Infact,manyofthekeyelementsofthe Batmanmythstemfromvisualartandcinema.CreatorBobKane'soriginalconceptfor theBatmancamefromaLeonardodaVincisketchofamanwearingbatlikewings,and Kane'sothersourcesincludeBelaLugosi'sDraculaandDouglasFairbanks'performance inTheMaskofZorro.Similarly,GothamCitywasmodeledonthecitiesfoundinfilmnoir (suchasinTheMalteseFalcon),1930sgangstermovies,andtwentiethcenturycrime fiction.IalsohopethatmanyofyounoticedparallelsbetweenBruceWayne'sestate andthemansionofGothicfictionIhavediscussedinrelationtoTurnoftheScrew. Lecture15 2 Batman/BatmanandIssuesofAdaptation InMayof1939,anewsuperherowasintroducedtoDC(DetectiveComics).Like Superman,theBatmanhadtheoutlineofthebatonhischestthatwasanimitationof Superman'ssignature"S."ButunlikehisalienpredecessorfromKrypton,Batman initiallyhadnoknownoriginandwassimplyamysteriousfigurefightingfor righteousnessandapprehendingwrongdoers.AlthoughtheartfortheinitialBatman stripswasflatandstiff,BobKane(thecreator)knewhowtoenhancetheappealofthis superhero:hedrewhiminsilhouetteandmadesomethingquitechillingoutofhisslit eyed,tightlippedstare.Bythethirdissue,Kanehadhiredanotherartist,JerryRobinson (whowasjust17yearsold),todothesignatureartfortheBatman,andwiththatthe superherothatmanyknowandloveemerged. DetectiveComics#27,starringtheBatMan,wasreleasedinthespringof1939, andnewsstanddealersimmediatelybegantoreportthatkidswereliningupformore storiesaboutthiscurious,newsuperhero.ThosehigherupatDCsignaledtheir seriousnessabouthavingBatmanintheirrepertoirebyaskingBobKaneforanorigin story.Kane,notsurprisingly,followedthrough.Printedinthesixthissue,Batman's originstoryisatwistonSuperman'sthelossofparentsandtheconsequentvowto fightevil.Itprovidestheperfectmodusoperandiforavigilanteinterestedinfighting crime.Interestingly,thisoriginalincarnationofBatmanactuallylastedlessthan12 months,thatis,uptothecoverofDetectiveComics#38,whichannouncedthearrivalof "thesensationalcharacterfindof1940,RobintheBoyWonder."Withtheappearance Lecture15 3 ofthisnewsidekick,Batmanwouldneverbethesameagain.Kane'soriginal,gothicand somewhatmorbiddepictionhadchanged.SeeLectureSummarySlide2. Inmanyways,BatmanisnotSuperman,and,ofcourse,thisoppositionis somethingthatpreoccupiesFrankMillerinhisgraphicnovel.Batmanisbothhumanand vulnerable.Arich,butbroodingsocialite,his"real"nameisBruceWayne.Intheoriginal versionsofthetale,Waynedisciplineshismindforscienceandhisbodyforstrength.He learnstocontrolhisimpulsesbybecomingamasterscientistandbytrainingtoachieve theskillofasuperbathlete.Hishugeinheritanceprovideshimwiththefundstoequipa crimefighter'slaboratoryonagrandscaleintheBatCave,whilemaintaininghissecret identity.Butasweseeintoday'sreading,hisdecisiontobecomeacrimefighterisnot reallyvoluntary.Instead,itisinstigatedbyaterribleevent:hisparents'murders.Wayne vowstoavengetheirdeathswithawaroncrime.Thus,Batmanisbornoutofconflict, sorrow,andloss.ButwhydoeshechoosethesymboloftheBatashisinsignia,inspite ofhishorrificexperiencesinacaveasachild?Wellperhapstoserveasaconstant reminderofwhyWayne'salteregoisborninthefirstplace,avisceralforcethatdrives himatthecore.Thesymbolofthebatisalsochosentoscarecriminals,asthecreature hasasignificanthistoryladenwithsuperstitionandfolklore.Batshaveanabilityfor flightthathasenabledthem,likeBruceWayne,tosurvive.Suchreasonshelptoaccount forthismysterioussymbolaffixedtoBatman'schest. AlthoughBobKane,Batman'screator,hadahitcomicin1939,morethan60 yearslaterthepopularityofthecharactercontinues.Batman(1989),thefirst contemporaryfilm,grossed$50millioninjust10days,evenwhileanewgeneration
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