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Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City (Smart Pop series) Paperback – February 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Smart Pop series
  • Paperback: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Smart Pop (February 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933771305
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933771304
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—The appeal of Batman waxes and wanes, but he has doubtless been one of the most popular superheroes in recent years, with the upcoming movie generating even more buzz. This entry looks at Batman as a literary figure worthy of several critical essays. Eighteen authors, including those with backgrounds in journalism, editing, and academia, contribute short critical essays focused on the many aspects of the superhero through the years. Though each writer has a particular point of view, there are several points on which they do agree: Batman Begins was the best of the movies, the campy TV series nearly ruined the character, Batman is even darker than many casual observers realize, and Frank Miller made him darker still. These recurring themes give the book cohesion, even though it is doubtful that any but the most ardent fan will read it from cover to cover. A particularly clever essay looks at the cost of being Batman, estimating the value of the costume, the Batcave, the Batmobile, and more as just under $300 million. This book would be a good addition where superheroes are popular, as well as a clever alternative to more dry, dusty literary criticism for those doing assignments.—Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Over the course of nearly seven decades, there have been dozens of different versions of Batman, from playboy detective in his early comic-book days to camp TV clown in the 1960s to grim masked avenger of the most recent movie—not to mention Pez dispenser. The 18 contributors veteran Batman scripter O’Neil presents in this collection tackle those Batmans and Caped Crusader sidekicks and foils, including the different youngsters who have filled the role of Robin and such notable adversaries as the Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul. Frank Miller’s radical interpretation of the character and all the movie Batmans, which vary as much as the many comic-books permutations, are necessarily covered. Many contributions address the problems endemic to a corporate-owned pop-culture icon whose adventures have been told by hundreds of authors in various media for more than half a century. Although the all-too-serious approach of most of the articles demonstrates the pitfalls of taking commercially generated pop culture too seriously, readers more than passingly interested in the venerable character will be genuinely, one hopes enjoyably, diverted. --Gordon Flagg

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William S. Mcdarmont on March 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
While Batman Unauthorized might not be the be all end all of serious literary criticism on Batman the way that, say, Geoff Klock's How To Read Superhero Comics and Why is for the superhero genre as a whole, it is still really fun, interesting read. The essays examine a variety of intepretations of the character on film, comics and television through the years. They manage to do a good job of picking apart Batman's multi-faceted existence without ever taking themselves to seriously which, I think, is always important when examining pop culture icons.

Highlights include: "The Cost of Being Batman", not the heavy handed 'emotional costs', mind you, but the actual monetary cost to pay for the equipment (the cost of the Batcomputer will make you soil yourself), "Holy Signifier, Batman!" which valiantly and convincingly explains why the old 60's show might actually be the most enduring version of the character and, my personal favorite, "To The Batpole" which imagines how the, uhm, Bat-talk might have gone down between Alfred and pre-pubescent (sp?) Bruce Wayne in the styles of the 60's camp Batman, Tim Burton's Batman, and the Michael Caine version from Batman Begins (not only is this hysterical but it manages to point out one of the inherent flaws with Batman Begins that I think a few of us have touched on in the blogs here).

There are some weak points like Mike Barr's defense of Batman's Sci-fi adventures from the 50's and early 60's ("Batman In Outer Space!" I'm sorry but this is just one aspect of the character that's best left forgotten) and an uneven essay comparing Batman to Superman that unilaterally decides to ignore The Dark Knight Returns which, for my money, is essential when comparing the two.

Overall, a nice quick read well worth the price of admission (17.95!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on September 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Batman Unauthorized" is a fun collection of essays concerning the Caped Crusader, his friends, his enemies, and his home, Gotham City.

As opposed to other so-called academic works I've read, the pieces are very readable and the introductory commentary by Denny O'Neal helps put the essays in context,

I have to give Darren Hudson Hick credit for his research on "The Cost of Being Batman." Checking to see how much being Batman would cost in real world dollars is a hoot and may aid in discouraging readers from thinking about a career in crimefighting.

I'm also glad there's a variety of opinions on Frank Miller's interpretation of Batman. For a long time, it seemed everyone loved his work on "The Dark Knight Returns." After reading this book, I see that's not the case.

Fun read. But for the Batman scholar only.

JThree
Williston, ND
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Novak on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very good and the authors who write the essays on Batman have some interesting opinions on topics concerning him. Although, some of the essays are saying how Batman is just a novelty and he shouldn't be taken seriously. If you are a momentous Batman fan, like myself, you will not take kindly to these opinions. It shouldn't have honestly been in this book. But whatever. It's really interesting, because I don't really think there has been a book released that has had many opinions of Batman elements.

Of course, the great Dennis O'Neil edited the book and writes the foreword. He always has great things to say. And he was obviously the person who turned Batman around and had him become what he is today.

The book is a very quick read and I enjoyed it throughly. It's a great book to take "on the go" with you, as some of the essays are very short. The book has interesting takes on the new Batman movie - "The Dark Knight" - which was my favorite part of the book.

Bottom line: the people who know what they're talking about when it comes to Batman, they're worth it. The one's who seem like they've never had a connection to Batman, it shows - and it can be kind of frustrating.

But, highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book I read anything about batman and his people try it today you won't regret it guaranteed
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was interesting to read other people's points of view into Bruce Wayne/Batman. Parts of the book were understanding what it takes to be Batman, which the research it took was helpful into the mind set of the Batman.
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