Simon Howard's Reviews > The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture

The Caped Crusade by Glen Weldon
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really liked it

Someone (I can't remember who) recommended this book, and saying that interest in Batman was not prerequisite for enjoying it. I am the perfect test case for this: I've never read a Batman comic, never seen a Batman film all the way through, and only sketchily remember seeing the "Bam! Pow! Zap!" Adam West Batman series when it used to be on Saturday morning kids' TV. Before reading this book, I would've sworn that Batman was able to fly.

And I loved this book. It's a fascinating history of how the Batman character has changed over time, and the sociocultural pressures that have caused the changes. There is a lot of discussion of how people's own experiences colour their understanding of the character at pretty profound levels. And the whole book is infused with endearing lightheartedness, warmth and humour.

This is also a deep exploration of how much an author's intentions matter (or don't matter) in creating a character. Before reading this book, I would have said with confidence that an author's vision of a character is the "correct" interpretation of that character. Now I'm not so sure: I can see a valid argument that each reader's interpretation is equally valid. Why can't one audience enjoy Batman as a gay character and another audience attribute their enjoyment of the same production to his hypermasculine heterosexuality? Why limit interpretations to the artist's intentions?

On top of all of that, this book gives one of the most coherent and readable accounts I've read of the development of nerd culture, and the influence of the spread of the internet on nerd subcultures.

I didn't expect to make it all the way through this book - but, in fact, I raced through it and I'm raving about it. It's great!
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Reading Progress

June 15, 2016 – Shelved
June 15, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
October 19, 2016 – Started Reading
October 26, 2016 – Finished Reading

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