Planet S: Canadian author discusses “Why the Bat Matters”

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Wilfrid Laurier University assistant professor, author (Inside the World of Comic Books) and cultural critic Dr. Jeffery Klaehn was recently asked by Saskatoon’s Planet S magazine to explain Why the Bat Matters.

Jeffery Klaehn, cultural critic, editor of Inside the World of Comic Books and author of the forthcoming Comic Books Are Dead, points to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and sees in this 1986 comic book opus a revolutionary Batman at odds with a corrupt government.

“Batman exists in this world as an outsider — in opposition to Superman, who is allied with and effectively serves the ruling political elite,” says Klaehn. “Batman is positioned as an agent of political change. He allies himself with the social underclass to bring about this change, to force his revolutionary potential into action.”

But back in the ’50s, as Klaehn says, Batman and his sidekick Robin “were being written as extensions of the state policing apparatus. Batman, once a merciless vigilante, was now being written as just another cop, and a happy one at that.”

Klaehn also has a regularly updated blog – Pop.