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And the Universe so Big: Understanding Batman: The Killing Joke Paperback – November 25, 2012
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About the Author
After graduating magna cum laude from Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), Dr. Julian Darius obtained his M.A. in English, authoring a thesis on John Milton and utopianism. In 2002, he moved to Waikiki, teaching college while obtaining an M.A. in French (high honors) and a Ph.D. in English. His controversial dissertation became the novel NIRA/SUSSA. Darius has authored other works of fiction, including WATCHING PEOPLE BURN, a screenplay based on the true story of the deadliest school massacre in U.S history – which occurred in rural Michigan in 1927. In 1996, while still an undergraduate, Darius founded what would become Sequart Organization (sequart.org), an organization devoted to promoting comic books as a legitimate art form. He writes for Sequart's website, has authored books on BATMAN BEGINS and classic DC Comics stories, and has produced documentary films for the organization. He currently lives in Illinois.
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In regards to Barbara Gordon, he has this to say:
"Barbara's crippling is only one instance in which female characters have been killed, raped, or brutalized in the service of male -focused plots. There's no getting around this fact. But this wider critique can hardly be applied to any single story: one cannot responsibly say that no story can include such elements...Moreover, damage to female characters is the logical result of the old 'damsel in distress' trope'." (42)
A good portion of this book is dedicated to examining what happens at the end of the story between Batman and the Joker, namely, does Batman kill him? Mr. Darius discusses his point of view and examines the text and art throughout the book for clues. He makes a strong case, but says that it is ultimately ambiguous. My mind is made up though.
Quick and good read!