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TitleMythic Symbols of Batman
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LanguageEnglish
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Total Pages91
Table of Contents
                            Brigham Young University
BYU ScholarsArchive
	2007-11-28
Mythic Symbols of Batman
	John J. Darowski
		BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Chapter 1: Legends of the Dark Knight
Chapter 2: Batman and the Greek Way
Function of Myth
Death and the Origin of the Hero
Revenge Cycle
Virtuous Few
Chapter 3: Batman and the American Way
American Myths, American Dreams
Rugged Individualist
Existentialism
American Nightmare: The Gothic
Chapter 4: Batman and the Outsiders
The Golden Age
The Silver Age
The Bronze Age
The Dark Age
The Contemporary Age
Conclusion: Shadow of the Bat
Works Cited
                        
Document Text Contents
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Brigham Young University
BYU ScholarsArchive

All Theses and Dissertations

2007-11-28

Mythic Symbols of Batman
John J. Darowski
Brigham Young University - Provo

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39

the head of Wayne Industries, but does not have to and often leaves the day-to-day work

to others. But this lifestyle is not shown as fulfilling, as Bruce Wayne is often described

as a layabout who has not achieved his potential. Of the two forms of the American

Dream, Batman shows that the life of the rugged individual is preferable.

The Rugged Individualist





-James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans

Expounded by Theodore Roosevelt, the character of the rugged individual has

come to be identified with the savior-hero of the American monomyth. The evil which

threatens the harmonious paradise often takes the form of the savage Other coming from

beyond the frontier. Since normal institutions are ill-equipped to handle the threat, what is

needed is an outsider who can fight like a savage on behalf of civilization. As Richard

Slotkin explains:

of savagery and

-

a man who knows how to think and fight like an Indian, to turn their own

Gunfighter 16)

The rugged individual is a median figure caught between society and savagery, defending

a world of which he can never be part.

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40

The rugged individual is a type of the noble savage espoused by the French

philosopher Rousseau. Rousseau envisioned the ideal man as being educated and well

mannered, but free from the corrupting tendencies of civilization, such as greed (Kahan

and Stewart 75). The rugged individual embodies such freedom by becoming a willing

exile from civilization. By cutting himself off, the hero is able to retain the virtues of

civilization while learning the virtues of the savage, or the Other, at the same time

avoiding the vices of both (Coogan 13). In this way, the Outsider is able to embody the

contradictory duality of the American hero: simultaneously a hunter and gatherer,

wanderer and citizen, explorer and cultivator (Slotkin, Regeneration 367). In times of

peace, the Outsider is able to be accepted as a citizen, contributing to the community as a

valued member. However, when times of fear and insecurity come, the citizen must

become the hunter, a symbol

of strength, to defend the

community (Slotkin,

Regeneration 50).

Unfortunately, the hunter is

often no longer welcome in

society after the citizens have

seen his actions.

What is it about the

savage Other that society

Figure 9 Batman explains the existence of a hero to Lynx. Batman:

Shadow of the Bat # 90, Oct. 1999.

Page 90

84

Lang Publishing, Inc., 2005. 215-227.



Praham, Thom. “Superheroes in Crisis: Postmodern Deconstruction and Reconstruction

in Comic Books and Graphic Novels.” The Gospel According to Superheroes:

Religion and Popular Culture. Ed. B.J. Oropeza. New York: Peter Lang

Publishing, Inc., 2005. 197-214.



Punter, David. “Scottish and Irish Gothic.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic

Fiction. Ed. Jerrold E. Hogle. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

105-123.



Reinhart, Mark S. The Batman Filmography: Live-Action Features, 1943-1997.

Jefferson: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2005.



Reynolds, Richard. Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. Jackson: University of

Mississippi Press, 1992.



Robertson, C.K. “The True Ubermensch: Batman as Humanistisc Myth.” The Gospel

According to Superheroes: Religion and Popular Culture. Ed. B.J.Oropeza. New

York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2005. 49-65.



Rucka, Greg. . New York: Pocket Star Books, 2000.



Savoy, Eric. “The Rise of American Gothic.” The Cambridge Companion to Gothic

Fiction. Ed. Jeroold E. Hogle. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

167-188.



Schenk, Ken. “Superman: A Popular Culture Messiah.” The Gospel According to

Superheroes: Religion and Popular Culture. Ed. B.J. Oropeza. New York: Peter

Lang Publishing, Inc., 2005. 33-48.



Schwartz, Alvin. “Batman- Backward Looking and Forward Leaning.” Batman: The

Sunday Classics: 1943-1946. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2007. 40-

43.



Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1992.



Slesar, Henry. “Bats.” Adventures of the Batman. Ed. Martin H. Greenberg. New York:

MJF Books, 1995. 113-143.



Slotkin, Richard. Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century

America. New York: Atheneum, 1992.



---. Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier 1600-

1860. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1973.

Page 91

85



Spigel, Lynn and Henry Jenkins. “Same Bat Channel, Different Bat Times: Mass Culture

and Popular Memory.” The Many Lives of Batman: Critical Approaches to a

Superhero and His Media. Ed. Roberta E. Pearson and William Uricchio. New

York: Routledge, 1991. 117-148.



Tem, Steve Rasnic. “Vulture: A Tales of the Penguin.” Tales of the Batman. Ed. Martin

H. Greenberg. New York: MJF Books, 1995. 489-552.



Uricchio, William and Roberta E. Pearson. “I‟m Not Fooled by That Cheap Disguise.”

The Many Lives of Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and His Media.

Ed. Roberta E. Pearson and William Uricchio. New York: Routledge, 1991. 182-

213.



Vachss, Andrew. Batman: The Ultimate Evil. New York: Warner Books, 1995.



Vaz, Mark Cotta. T -1989.

New York: Ballantine, 1989.



Warshow, Robert. “Woofed with Dreams.” Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a

Popular Medium. Ed. Jeet Heer and Kent Worcester. Jackson: University of

Mississippi Press, 2004. 63-66.



Wein, Len (w), Jim Aparo (a) and John Byrne (a). The Untold Legend of the Batman.

New York: Tor, 1982.



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Comics, 2004.



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George Perez (a). New York: DC Comics, 2000.

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