Glen Weldon is a bat-fan. But Glen's Batman is not the seething armored badass shown to us in Christopher Nolan's films, but the campy, nightclubbing Adam West Batman of the 1960s.
His new book, The Caped Crusade puts forward the motion that Batman is a fluid superhero, a inkblot for whatever the viewer or reader wants to see. You can find an inspirational hero, a repressed loner, a gay icon or even Lego Batman's goofy blowhard. There are myriad interpretations of Batman, some of which have been pushed to the edges of memory by the core group of fans and the tides of pop culture.
The current Batman we see in Zac Snyder's Batman vs Superman is the dominant Batman of the past 20 years. Brooding, obsessive and mostly a loner, this badass Batman has been held up by a fandom as "The Batman". The complex issues of an icon like Batman builds the core of the book, and Weldon deftly provides context and insight about the various historical personalities of The Bat.
We see the original Bat-Man of Detective Comics, the proud parental figure of Batman & Robin, the out-of-this-world adventures of the Space Race, the campy comedy of Adam West's Batman, the expansion of the Bat-family, the gritty 90's explosion of violence and multiple universe collapsing rewrites. Throughout all of these, Batman changes his looks, his attitude, his companions and the tone of his adventures. But one thing still remains core to the character. OATH
Part comics history saga and part social psychology dissertation, The Caped Crusade provides a portrait of a a character, an industry and a culture at large.