dark knight annotated bib

Adolfo’s annotated bibliography is exactly what I’m looking for- a clear and concise discussion of interesting and useful sources.

Annotated Bibliography: The Dark Knight Returns
Adolfo Castellanos

COOK, ROY T. “Do Comics Require Pictures? Or Why Batman #663 Is A Comic.” Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism 69.3 (2011): 285-296. Art & Architecture Complete. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.

Summary
This article creates the argument that pictures are not necessarily required for the definition of a comic and rather that dialogue drives a piece in some instances far more than images do.  In doing so the article redefines our preconceived notion of the comic.  The article uses the concepts of Scott McClouds “Understanding Comics” to reinforce the idea a comic not necessarily having to be a sequence of pictures or even pictures of any sort.  Cook explains that “There is another, more literal sense in which a comic can, intuitively, contain pictures of nothing.  This is where a panel depicts absolutely nothing in a quite literal, metaphysical sense”  (288).  These merely help the mind comprehend what the author would like through use of the narrative.  By using the example of Batman #663, Cook is able to express how the comic medium can be used to more effectively convey the prose aspect.  Cook goes on to describe the effect of limited illustrations and their resulting effect stating that “These do nothing to propel the narrative, and the reader is immediately struck by the fact that the removal of these illustrations would detract from the plot minimally, if at all.” (289). Lastly Cook discusses the effects of a graphic novel with no text, and uses various formulas and examples to explain how a work of literature would still be work of literature since the narrative framework remains the same whether it is conveyed by text or image.

Evaluation
Roy T Cook is a member of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The article was published in Art & Architecture Complete, a scholastic journal of note.  The article is well written, with numerous pieces of evidences that are properly cited and documented.

Application
I believe the best use of this work would be in a work evaluating the function of art in comics and in close readings of individual’s panels.  By removing the relevant art from a panel, we can begin to analyze dialogue and prose more closely, thus creating a greater understanding of the meaning conveyed by the work.  Conversely this method would help us to greater understand the work in the manner of a silent film.  What is conveyed by the art that could never be conveyed by prose in the comic medium?  How would this change our perception if we were to try and adapt a comic into the novel medium?   A relevant analysis would be the adaptation of the recent Marvel Comics storyline “Civil War” into a novel format.  This could lead to an interesting analysis of the conversion of comics to films, and how much more important the dialogue or imagery becomes.

CRUTCHER, PAUL A. “Complexity in the Comic and Graphic Novel Medium: Inquiry through Bestselling Batman Stories.” Journal of Popular Culture 44.1 (2011): 53-72. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.

Summary
This article creates the idea that the unique use of dialogue and panels in comics is akin to abilities of directors to create new perceptions of what can be done with an established medium.  Crutcher begins by tying his work to Scott McCloud, who remains an authority in the field of graphic novels, by quoting that graphic novels are “a ‘‘vessel’’ which visibly holds more actors and content than would exist in or be necessary to compose literature or art, if not film.” (55). This reference to McCloud is very important as the ways in which the content of any graphic novel are portrayed is key to this article. In discussing Frank Millers the Dark Knight returns, the author discusses specific uses of panels and dialogue boxes that create a new understanding of the “fourth dimension” (57) that comics can uniquely employ.  By breaking the “borders” or “boundaries” of a page as we perceive them, the author creates a new feeling or urgency in the mind of the reader.  This is notably illustrated according to Crutcher in The Killing Joke when “The Joker, photos of Gordon’s brutalized daughter, and Gordon’s screams break panel borders and therefore disrupt the pacing” (59).  This in turn creates an entirely new understanding for the comic that would not presumably be available to the reader otherwise.  This breaking of conventions is what allows the graphic novel to be innovative and consistently be able to redefine our convention of what is a graphic novel.

Evaluation
The article states that Paul A Crutcher has numerous degrees including: philosophy, composition, and women’s and gender studies.  He is a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University.  The article is published in the Journal of Popular Culture.  The journal has been in publication for a number of years.  The article is well written and shows strong insight into the subject matter and is very well documented.

Application
The article creates an interesting parallel with “Do Comics Require Pictures” and creates a deeper understanding of the comic’s medium as a whole, and how the use of the Batman character has traditionally been employed to break norms.  With the first article, you create this idea of what the prose can do with limited or singular uses of art.  Even black panels become important.  By contrast, this article creates an interesting dynamic in how the use of art can be employed to create a more stunning effect.  In essence almost rending the dialogue less relevant, and creating emotion simply through the extreme proportions of characters, or the breaking of boundaries.  With this contrasting view on comics and what they can do, we can do a further and deeper reading of The Dark Knight Returns. 

TIPTON, NATHAN G. “Gender Trouble: Frank Miller’s Revision of Robin in the Batman: Dark Knight Series.” Journal of Popular Culture 41.2 (2008): 321-336. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.

Summary
This article delves into the implications of Batman’s Silver or Golden age comics and his relationship with the younger Robin.  It could be argued that the relationship with the younger Robin was not as implicitly homosexual as the article would argue, but the change to a female Robin in Frank Millers The Dark Knight Returns to address this matter calls the entirety of the previous Robin’s (as there were numerous) character history into question.  The article states that until this change, that the rumors were “routinely about the barely sublimated homoeroticism extant in Batman’s relations with his partners/protégé’s/wards” (322). With these kinds of rumors steadily growing why had writers never done this before?  Tipton creates a forceful argument for a homosexual reading of the previous Batman relationships with Robin, and a more gender oriented analysis of the female one.  It becomes clear that the article does not wish to deal with implications such as that “Batman and Robin were engaged in sexual activity; nevertheless the odd (and ongoing) sexual ambiguity in their relationship is a far cry from the relative safety of a father–son connection” (324).  Instead it puts into perspective the rationale behind these specific character decisions and how they could be interpreted.

Evaluation
Nathan G. Tipton is an ABD at the University of Memphis with an emphasis on Textual Studies.  According to the article Nathan has “He has published numerous encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and critical articles” (336).  The article was very straightforward and clearly written.  Although the article has less works cited than previous articles, they are very well integrated into the piece.  The article was published in the Journal of Popular Culture, a literary journal that has been in publication for many years.

Application
This would be similar to what I have been discussing all semester, the ability to put the graphic novel and comic’s medium into the same literary critical review as other literature.  By doing a gay and lesbian (homosexual) analysis of the piece, and do it from a legitimate standpoint, I believe the medium takes a step in that direction.  This article would be a good jumping off point for a longer evaluation of the Batman mythos, and it makes it clear that not a great deal of longer study or academia has been done into the character of batman or his history.  With this article one could begin to do an in depth reading into the homosexual aspects of super hero characters and their side kicks, and a gender analysis of why these heroes are so predominantly male.  A longer abstraction would be the analysis of the female super heroes and why they are so rarely granted side kicks and why nothing is made of their sidekicks being male or female.  In terms of joining all of the works in this Annotated Bibliography together, I would use it to analyze the changing faces of the Batman series, whether it is in narrative, imagery or characters.

Brody, Michael. “Batman: Psychic Trauma and Its Solution.” Journal of Popular Culture 28.4 (1995): 171-178. International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text. Web. 3 Oct. 2012.

Summary
A psychological reading of the origins of batman as referenced in comparison to other similar events and comics.  Divided into four sections, the article begins with “Psychic Trauma”, explaining the psychological ailments of Bruce Wayne.  These are best described as “’death guilt,’ a state of mind the same researchers witnessed while studying Holocaust and Hiroshima victims” (173).  The article moves into the section called “The Solution.”  From this we learn that based on his “death guilt” Bruce Wayne’s urge to fight crime is a “compensatory wish” (174).  The section entitled “Nontintegrated Personality” delves into the manner in which Bruce Wayne remains in a less assertive state while in his public persona, but then turns into a confident individual while he is Batman.  From this we can see that he has almost developed split personalities.  In the last section entitled “Discussion” Brody makes it clear that the personas of Batman are “more a question of balance” (176).  This lets us see that the troubled psyche of Bruce Wayne makes it difficult for him to establish a strong personality in either one, as he must constantly juggle the two.

Evaluation
Michael Brody is a lecturer at the University of Maryland.  His work as a Child Psychiatrist also certainly gives him insight into the psychological trauma of Batman as a child and gives his more credibility to write an article of this sort.  The article is well written albeit far more brief than any of the others.

Application
The use of this article could be used for another literary critique of the Batman mythos and creates another foothold into the world of legitimate literature.  The work is relatively short but creates a striking picture of how Bruce Wayne creates the Batman persona.  This could be used in an analysis of many origin stories for popular super heroes and could be used to analyze the techniques that current filmmakers employ when creating the numerous “origin story” films that have come out in recent years.  In a broader sense, when trying to connect it to the other articles, this article seems fit in with the reinterpretation of Batman.  These psychological issues are at the core of Batman/Bruce Wayne and the way in which they are expanded upon or changed in each of the successive works could create a better view into our understanding.  The changes made in the dialogue, characters, and text, could only be created by varying only so far from the established norm and psychology of the character that any writer or artist mush have a full understanding of.  To vary from this known beginning would create an entirely different character.

Leave a Reply