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Fan Phenomena: Batman

From his debut in a six-page comic in 1939 and to his most recent portrayal by Christian Bale in the blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, Batman is perhaps the world’s most popular superhero. The continued relevance of the caped crusader could be attributed to his complex character, his dual identity, or his commitment to revenge and justice. But, as the contributors to this collection argue, it is the fans who, with the patience of Alfred, the loyalty of Commissioner Gordon, and the unbridled enthusiasm of Robin, have kept Batman at the forefront of popular culture for more than seven decades.
Fan Phenomena: Batman explores the unlikely devotion to the Dark Knight, from his inauspicious beginnings on the comic book page to the cult television series of the 1960s and on to critically-acclaimed films and video games of today. Considering everything from convention cosplay to fan fiction that imagines the Joker as a romantic lead, the essays here acknowledge and celebrate fan responses that go far beyond the scope of the source material. And, the contributors contend, despite occasional dips in popularity, Batman’s sustained presence in popular culture for more than seventy years is thanks in no small part to his fans’ ardor.
Packed with revealing interviews from all corners of the fan spectrum—including Paul Levitz, who rose through the ranks of fan culture to become the president of DC Comics, and Michael Uslan, who has executive produced every Batman adaptation since Tim Burton’s blockbuster in 1989, as well as film reviewers, academics, movie buffs, comic store clerks, and costume-clad convention attendees—this book is sure to be a bestseller in Gotham City, as well as everywhere Bruce Wayne’s alter ego continues to intrigue and inspire.

See sample pages (PDF format).

224 pages | 50 color plates | 6.69 x 9.61 | © 2013

Fan Phenomena

Culture Studies

Film Studies

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"The new book is packed with revealing interviews from all corners of the fan spectrum - including Paul Levitz, who rose through the ranks of fan culture to become the president of DC Comics, and Michael E. Uslan, who has executive produced every Batman film since Tim Burton’s blockbuster in 1989. . . . Fan Phenomena: Batman also features ten essays by Batman experts, plus a foreword from leading Batman scholar Will Brooker. The collection covers everything from costume-clad convention attendees to fan fiction in order to chart Batman’s evolution from a six-page comic to the world’s most popular superhero."

The Irish Film & Television Network

Table of Contents



A Fan’s History

Part 1: Being Batman

Fan Appreciation Interview: Paul Levitz

Dark Hero Rising: How Online Batman Fandom Helped Create a Cultural Archetype

Heroes with Issues: Fan Identification with Batman

Being Batman: From Board Games to Computer Platforms

Fan Appreciation Interview: E. Paul Zehr

Part 2: Embracing the Knight

Fan Appreciation Interview: Josh Hoko and Kendal Coombs

The Passive Case: How Warner Bros. Employed Viral Marketing and Alternate Reality Gaming to Bring Fandom Back into the Culture Industry

Canonizing The Dark Knight: A Digital Fandom Response

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know: The Nolan/Ledger Joke, Morality, and the Hetero-Fictional Fan Impulse

Fan Appreciation Interview: Dennis and Elijah Vasquez

Part 3: Representations of Fandom

Fan Appreciation Interview: Travis Langley

Inspired, Obsessive and Nostalgic: The Facets of Fandom in ‘Beware the Gray Ghost’

Villainous Adoration: The Role of Foe as Fan in Batman Narratives

Fan Appreciation Interview: Seamus Keane

Part 4: Inspirations and Adaptations

Fan Appreciation Interview: Kim Newman

“Elementary, My Dear Robin!”: Batman, Sherlock Holmes, and Detective Fiction Fandom

Dark Knight Triumphant: Fandom, Hegemony, and the Rebirth of Batman on Film

Fan Appreciation Interview: Michael E. Uslan

Contributor Biographies

Image Credits

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