Will Brooker reflects on our continuing fascination with Gotham City’s caped crusader
Will Brooker, Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon
Will Brooker, Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon

What inspired you to write Batman Unmasked?

Batman Unmasked was originally my PhD thesis, One Life, Many Faces, and I began it over 20 years ago, so you can understand it is a fairly distant memory. My PhD plans began around 1994 as a study of masculinity in the mainstream cinema of the 1990s, and Batman was a small aspect of one proposed chapter, about the Gothic Masculine (Tim Burton’s films). I realised gradually that the idea of writing about Batman was what I was really looking forward to – at the time, the very concept was audacious in academic work – and the project evolved until that small part of one chapter expanded into the entire PhD. Of course, Batman is an interesting topic per se, but I felt personally invested in the character, and wanted to write about something I was really enthusiastic about, as a fan. That enthusiasm was important, as by the end of the three years full time of my doctorate, I hated Batman, PhDs and academia in general. (Those feelings passed). (more…)