While not a traditional military history topic, my recent lecture on the history of Batman to an Cumann Staire (NUI Galway History Society) is still an interesting read. Not just for those of you interested in comic books/film, but also as a social commentary on man’s desire for a retributive justice that is truly just and that goes beyond the traditional (many would say non-effective) forms of justice which exist in our society today.
Batman is a complex character. There is not simply one Batman, but indeed many incarnations of the same character and he is all things to all men without seeming trite. Batman is a character which has become truly everlasting and is incorruptible. He has transcended time and can and is regularly refashioned to face the particular challenges and issues facing whatever society he emerges onto. In the 1940s Batman was a stark and brutal counter to criminals; in the 1960s he changed to a lighter and perhaps more tangible example of how crime fighting didn’t have to be so extreme; and in the present era, Batman has evolved into a one man army in the crusade against crime.
The paper draws upon classical research but also explores the mythology and philosophy (the Taoism of the Bat) and the duality and themes which permeate the entire consciousness of the canon literature. It also explores lesser known aspect of Bat culture such as the concept of the Heroic Quest/Journey of Enlightenment and allegations of Homosexuality/Pedetarism. Thanks again to the society for inviting me and letting me present my paper to them!
To view the slides used during this presentation, please go to the following link: Batman Powerpoint.draft4.nosound.22.10.2013