The Caped Crusade

The Caped Crusade

Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture

Book - 2016
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A witty, intelligent cultural history from NPR book critic Glen Weldon explains Batman's rises and falls throughout the ages--and what his story tells us about ourselves.

Since his creation, Batman has been many things: a two-fisted detective; a planet-hopping gadabout; a campy Pop-art sensation; a pointy-eared master spy; and a grim and gritty ninja of the urban night. For more than three quarters of a century, he has cycled from a figure of darkness to one of lightness and back again; he's a bat-shaped Rorschach inkblot who takes on the various meanings our changing culture projects onto him. How we perceive Batman's character, whether he's delivering dire threats in a raspy Christian Bale growl or trading blithely homoerotic double-entendres with partner Robin on the comics page, speaks to who we are and how we wish to be seen by the world. It's this endlessly mutable quality that has made him so enduring.

And it's Batman's fundamental nerdiness--his gadgets, his obsession, his oath, even his lack of superpowers--that uniquely resonates with his fans who feel a fiercely protective love for the character. Today, fueled by the internet, that breed of passion for elements of popular culture is everywhere. Which is what makes Batman the perfect lens through which to understand geek culture, its current popularity, and social significance.

In The Caped Crusade , with humor and insight, Glen Weldon, book critic for NPR and author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography , lays out Batman's seventy-eight-year cultural history and shows how he has helped make us who we are today and why his legacy remains so strong.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2016
ISBN: 9781476756691
Branch Call Number: 741.5 Weld
Characteristics: viii, 324 pages, [8 unnumbered pages of color plates] : color illustrations ; 24 cm


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AL_BRIDGET Nov 15, 2017

I liked this in depth look at a specific slice of nerd culture and all the bat facts (so fun!). But all the bits about the insular nature of fandom and trolls were kind of depressing and reminded me that as much as I love comics there will always be guys in fandom who are the worst. I also recommend the audiobook read by the author because he does some excellent voices.

Jan 09, 2017

Holy Bat-nipple! I love Weldon's perky and snappy discussion of Batman's history, significance in popular culture, and critique of his various incarnations. If you haven't heard Weldon on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, you should download that! Nerdy book, absolute blast to read for Batman fans.

Sep 08, 2016

Serious batman cultural history on all medias.
Huge nerd pushback even back in 1960's TV show because it was too bright & optimistic or the bat ears were too short.
Internet made it more intermediate & visceral.

JCLGreggW Apr 06, 2016

Pop-culture historian Weldon looks at the history of Batman through comics, television shows, and movies. More interestingly, he also uses that history as a jumping-off point for a deeper look at fandom through the years, starting with letters and fanzines and evolving into the internet era. This is a mesmerizing read, and Weldon writes to a general audience with passion, knowledge, and a wit that is at times drier than the Gobi desert.

Mar 19, 2016

I heard that the author, Weldon, doesn't touch on the most profound aspect: what if a pigeon had flown into the open window at Wayne Manor, instead of a bat?!?!
And why can't those rich people afford window screens, that way they wouldn't have to worry about becoming super heroes?


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