Glen Weldon’s The Caped Crusade looks at Batman’s entire history, from his origins as a rip-off of The Shadow, to his current incarnation as box office hero and comic book serious guy. The book dives into the contradictions and forgotten history of the character. It explains the animosity for his much-reviled television show in the '60s and the nerd adoration of his much-revered gritty '80s resurgence. This is a book that explores every stage of Batman’s existence and then does something spectacular. It provides context.
Weldon’s writing is crisp and frequently hilarious, with a Death Valley-dry wit. It is also exhaustively researched and takes pains to explain why you can’t claim ownership of the one true version of Batman. The book is a beautifully written argument for inclusivity among Batfans. Yes, the dark and gritty version is a true representation of Batman, but so is the campy Batman that gritty Batfans love to hate. Every version is valid. Even that one.
One interesting thing about this book is its lack of real-world villains. Sure, it explores the hostility directed toward Joel Schumacher and Batman (’66), but it tempers the hostility by exploring the motivation and context of the productions. In fact, the closest thing we get to someone who deserves our nerd rage is Bob Kane, Batman’s creator.
Weldon doesn’t ever let us forget that Kane constantly took credit for other people’s work, most egregiously, Bill Finger’s work as co-creator and sole writer of Batman for decades. The Caped Crusade treats Finger with all the respect and adoration that Kane pretended to deserve. If you think that counts as a burn, you should see what’s in the book.
In fact, you definitely should see what’s in the book. This is the most loving and informative look at one of the most popular characters of all time that I have ever seen. Weldon’s affection for Batman and the throngs of Bat-nerds is palpable. It is also painstakingly researched. The annotated bibliography is 17 pages, for bat’s sake. This is a serious scholarly book that is as compelling and fun to read as any comic. This is the Batman: The Animated Series of Batman histories.
Five Campy Members of the Extended and Increasingly Silly Bat-Family out of Five
The Caped Crusade Book Giveaway
The FBC staff has another exciting and exceptional giveaway to offer to fans everywhere!
Fanboy Comics is providing readers with the opportunity to win a copy of The Caped Crusade this week. All interested fans should enter by retweeting the following when you see it posted on the Fanboy Comics (@FanboyComix) Twitter account:
Enter to win a copy of #TheCapedCrusade from FBC! #TheBatmanBookWeNeed - RT to enter!
We’ll be tweeting this message all week, so keep your eyes peeled! Multiple entries are permitted, so retweet away! The contest will officially close on Thursday, March 24, 2016, at 5:00 p.m./PST. The FBC staff will choose one lucky winner, and the winner will be announced on the Fanboy Comics website on Friday, March 25, 2016, along with being notified via Twitter. (Entries will be limited to the US and Canada for this contest.)
*Congratulations to the following winner:
Fanboy Comics will also be hosting other giveaways in the future, so be sure to follow Fanboy Comics on Facebook and Twitter (@FanboyComix).