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Geekscape Book Reviews: Batman And Psychology

Wednesday 22nd August 2012 by Allisonnnnn

What kind of nutjob dresses up like an animal and crawls around a night fighting crime?  We’re talking about someone who has an obsession of fighting crime, devoted their life to intensive training, and can’t maintain a healthy relationship with anyone but their butler.  On top of this, he’s followed around by a string of acrobatically-inclined kids in tights and the love of his life is a jewelry-snatching furry.

If you said “The Riddler,” you’d be wrong.  Like, really wrong.  I don’t even understand your thought process there.

If you said “Batman,” you’re stating the obvious and not being clever at all.  Though, of course, you’d be correct.

But is Batman actually crazy?  And, if he is, are all of the incarnations of Batman through the years crazy as well, or are some of them less nuts than others?  What about his famous Gallery of Rogues?  The Mad Hatter… probably nuts.  But villains like the Joker walk that fine line—is he insane, or is he just acting insane?  Why do some of Batman’s enemies end up at Arkham, but others end up at Blackgate?  And what’s up with all of those Robins?

In Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight, psychology professor and Batman fanatic, Dr. Langley, answers these questions.  With chapters like “Why the Mask?”, “The Fathers: Why do we Fall?”, and “The Madhouse: What Insanity?” Langley tackles not only the mind of Batman as we currently know him, but the collective being that is Batman from the character created in Detective Comics #27 to Adam West’s quipping crime fighter down to the darkly brooding Batman of Nolan’s Dark Knight series.

Through Langley’s explorations, we learn of the people –both villains and friends—that have touched Batman’s life through case studies, as well as how external events influenced the direction that the comics Batman inhabited took, like the impact Dr. Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent had on the comic book industry.

Batman and Psychology is not simply an easy read about Batman but, first and foremost, an academic text.  Langley cleverly combines his two loves –as evinced by the title—to create a work that will draw the most disinterested psychology students in by using the seemingly universally loved Byronic hero of Batman.  Using concrete examples from the Batman universe(s), Langley explores Freud, Jung, Erikson, as well as Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grief and many other classic theories psychology principles, making it a helpful read for any struggling student of psychology.

 

Batman and Psychology is published by Wiley.