The Gothic Imagery of Batman

The Goth-Father of Comics.

The character of Batman is a dark and brooding presence. He does not wear the cheery attire of Superman and lacks the light-hearted sarcasm of Spiderman. He is a far more complex character.

Out of all of the original superheroes of yesteryear only Batman has all of the right imagery, atmosphere, characters and settings to be deemed as true Goth. There were a few elements attached to some of the other crime fighters that had a Gothic slant; ‘Ghost Rider’, ‘The Phantom’ and even Will Eisner’s ‘The Spirit’ had certain attributes but Batman is the closest to being truly ‘Gothic’.

Where There Are Bats There is Goth.

In July 1982, Soho, London the first Gothic nightclub opened its doors to a darkly attired and Patchouli anointed youth. Regular visitors to the club included such people as Siouxsie Sioux, Steve Severin, Robert Smith and Nick Cave. The club was called ‘The Batcave’.

Okay, so it wasn’t just Batman who helped to influence all of this. Think Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, Vampira and even Yvonne de Carlo from ‘The Munsters’. But isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that the nightclub was named after Batman’s actual hang-out? (So to speak…)

A Dark and Mysterious Wonderland.

Then there is the city that is such an integral backdrop of most of the Batman stories; – ‘Gotham’.

As the name suggests, it is a dark place that is full of shadowy alleyways and sinister, maniacal foes.

A place where the manholes steam and the ‘Dark Knight’ patrols silently, hesitating only amongst the shadows and fog.

Batman’s costume is pure Goth. It has subtly changed over the years to become even more so. The bat-like cape and the mask with pointed ears could quite easily have been adopted by the frontman of a Gothic band without any problem from fans. Even the Bat-symbol can quite often be seen emblazoned on black t-shirts worn by even the most die-hard Goths.

Batman a-La Goth Hits the Mainstream.

In 1989 Tim Burton (a director with blatant Gothic influences previously visible in such films as ‘Beetlejuice’) released his movie version of ‘Batman’. This was the darkest addition to the Batman franchise to date and it went down a storm. In 1992 he released ‘Batman Returns’ which took the Gothic feel several steps further. The main score to the movie was even performed by Gothic legends ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees’. Between the two Batman films he also created the masterpiece ‘Edward Scissorhands’ with a very Gothic Johnny Depp as the protagonist.

Since then the Batman industry has continued to wallow in its darkness with several other Gothic-styled additions to the string of movies. The latest release, ‘The Dark Knight’, caused quite a stir with its dark and brooding atmosphere. ‘Is this movie for kids or for adults?’ asked the media.

So, long before Neil Gaiman’s ‘Death’ there was already a Gothic hero. And before ‘Donnie Darko’ and the like the world of film had already worn the t-shirt… and on it was a symbol.

The Batman Files – What If Bruce Wayne Kept a Journal All Along?

The Batman Files

Matthew Manning

Andrews McMeel Publishing

ISBN-13: 978-1449408220

308 Pages (Includes front and back matter)

Purchasing gifts always has an aura of mystery attached to it. In anticipation of my most recent anniversary, my wife and I visited our local mall. We toured a number of shops with the idea that I would get a new watch for my anniversary. Each store had an ample collection and I knew the decision was going to be tough. After departing the fourth such store, as we were walking by a tattoo parlor I quipped, “I know-how about I get a Batman tattoo for my anniversary?”

My wife’s shocking response was, “Go for it.” An hour later, I had the Bat symbol popularized in the movie Batman Begins emblazoned on my right shoulder.

Without apology, I admit that I am the consummate collector of Batman paraphernalia. Recently, the amazing work, The Batman Files, found its way into my life. Anyone who appreciates the mystique of The Dark Knight will love this book. And while I admit that readers often say of good books, “I could not put it down,” that was truly my experience. I poured over the design and relished the high quality illustrations for a few hours after opening it.

I enjoy the fact that Matthew Manning is not attempting a novel history of Bruce Wayne’s becoming Batman. Instead the author attempts to synthesize the volumes of what has been written about Batman into a plausible amalgamation. The result is a book that looks like the personal journal of Bruce Wayne which captures the development of the Batman. [The cover is amazing and gives the journal an almost secretive feel.] Its back story is believable, as well-one day, the author receives a package in plain brown wrapping. In it, he discovers this journal and understands its receipt implies that Bruce Wayne has died. Mr. Wayne wants to set the story straight about who Batman was, and more importantly, make a full disclosure of his life.

Serious Batman aficionados will appreciate the lengths to which the author goes. He includes personal photographs, hand-written entries from Bruce Wayne, and newspaper clippings heralding the exploits of Batman. Additionally, many of Batman’s villains are explored; schematics of Batman weaponry are included; and an interesting lifespan of Dick Grayson, the original Robin is provided. Bruce Wayne wants everyone to understand that Robin was no mere sidekick; he even donned the Bat suit when it was appropriate for him to do so.

Such an encyclopedic reference is not meant to be fully appreciated in one sitting. Its content will keep Batman collectors busy for quite a while.

This one is a must have for any Batman enthusiast.

Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

Who Is Batman? The Mythology of the Dark Knight

In this article we are going to discuss a superhero that is known as batman. Batman is a fictional comic book superhero created by Bob Kane and Bill finger. Batman was first introduced to the world in 1939. Batman has several nicknames including the batman, the caped crusader, the world’s best detective and The Dark Knight.

The origin story of the dark knight is that young Bruce Wayne’s parents get murdered and he then seeks revenge on the criminal underworld. Bruce Wayne is the alter ego of the bat-man and has to live the life of a billionaire playboy at day and caped crusader at night.

Bruce Wayne has to first train himself physically and mentally before he becomes a superhero and although it’s not known how long he trains for many people believe it to be around 15 years. In this time Bruce trains in multiple martial art disciplines.

When Bruce returns to Gotham city he sees that it’s in ruins and decides to dress up as a bat to instill fear on those who prey on the fearful.

What makes batman so well liked in popular culture is that he is relate-able. Even though his parents were killed and he’s a billionaire he still struggles with every day issues like you or I. Batman also has an impressive list of villains which include:

The Ridler

The Joker

Catwoman

Penguin

Two Face

Batman has many other super villains however in my opinion the ones listed above are the favourite among fans.

The caped crusader has had many outings on the big screen and has had many big Hollywood actors portraying him; actors such as Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton, George Clooney and more recently Christian Bale have all donned the suit to play the dark knight.