Pedler, Martyn: "“I’m Eight Years Old Again”. Batman’s Tragedy, Memory, and Continuity." In: Refractory 32 (2019)<https://refractory-jour ... -memory-and-continuity/>.
Added by: joachim (2021-06-13 14:55)
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BibTeX citation key: Pedler2019
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Keywords: "Batman", Memoria, Seriality, Superhero, USA
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Whether in comic books or their movie adaptations, Batman stories return obsessively to the moment Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed. Using Cathy Caruth’s definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as “the overwhelming events of the past repeatedly possess[ing], in intrusive images and thoughts, the one who has lived through them”, this essay focuses on how Batman’s origin story must be continually revisited to allow him access to his heroic identity. The dreamlike “oneiric climate” of continuity as described by Umberto Eco, however, makes forgetting an ongoing threat, and later comic book events such as Crisis On Infinite Earths attempted to wipe superhero memories clean. Subsequently Grant Morrison et al. sought to bestow “hyperconsciousness” to Batman during their run, allowing him and his stories access to seven decades of previous adventures – and transforming the narrative experience into a game of recognition for the long-term audience. But both Morrison’s and Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s subsequent time on the Batman title inflicted amnesia on their hero. The former created a vicious vigilante, without a secret identity holding him back; the latter a well-adjusted Bruce Wayne, without a Batman at all. Examining the differences in these approaches to memory illustrates how remembering itself is a heroic act in the tragic continuity of superhero stories.
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