Concentrating primarily on contemporary depictions of Batman in the comic books, this book analyzes why Batman is so immensely popular right now in America and globally, and how the fictional Dark Knight reveals both new cultural concerns and longstanding beliefs about American values. The organizing premise is that while Batman is perceived as a very clearly defined character, he is open to a wide range of interpretations and depictions in the comics (what Henry Jenkins refers to as "multiplicities"), each of which allows access to different cultural issues. The idea of Batman functions as an anchoring point out of which multiple Batmen, or Batman-like characters, can occupy different positions: Grim Batman, Gay Batman, Female Batman, Black Batman, Cute Batman, and so on. Each iteration opens up a discussion of different cultural issues pertinent to modern society, such as sexuality, ethnicity, feminism and familial relationships.

chapter 1|18 pages


“Always Be Batman”

chapter 2|27 pages

Batman and Multiplicity

Stability and Variation

chapter 3|30 pages

Batman and Sexuality

Secret Identities, Lust, and Romance

chapter 4|28 pages

Batman and Sons

Family and Patriarchal Authority

chapter 5|24 pages

The Bat-Women

Caped Crusaders and Costumed Feminism

chapter 6|29 pages

The Other Batmen

Whiteness, Appropriation, and Colonization

chapter 7|29 pages

Batman and Villainy

The Dark Side of the Dark Knight