Under the Mask and Inside the Mind

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

This week we examined the mythology and psychology that influence superheroes and the adaptation of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The parallels between Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns are well done and Burton did a efficient job of keeping with the important aspects of the comic.

As discussed in the lecture, DC characters are more concerned with crime control than due process, something accurately portrayed in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Lipsett). The essence of the interventionist justice, seen in the comic book, effectively crosses over into the film version of Batman. Both Batman versions are ultimately concerned with ridding the city of crime by circumventing the law and justice system.

The crime control present in both Batman versions differs from what will be seen in our comic book adaptation of Agents of Atlas. As a Marvel comic, the Agents of Atlas are even further separated from the law and justice (Lipsett). In the comic, our heroes have limited connection with police and we will be aiming to represent this disassociation in the filmic version as well.

Psychology was another important subject discussed in relation to Batman’s origins (Lipsett). In both the comic and film, Batman’s motivations remained, essentially, the same. Just as the comic continually flashes back to the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, so does the film, effectively bringing the viewers and readers into the psyche of Batman. However, in the case of Agents of Atlas, such evocative flashbacks of the characters’ psychology will not be possible. Our comic follows the story of a team; therefore any such flashbacks would add confusion and time to the narrative.

The media was also an important aspect of both Batman and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and both versions effectively demonstrate how their presence shapes the public opinion towards both the villains and heroes. This is directly represented through the Vicki Vale character, a photojournalist. She, like the public, is curious about the mysterious Batman and unsure of his motivations. Finally, just as the public comes to accept Batman as a saviour, so does Vale.

The parallels between the two Batman versions may not exist at a narrative level but they do at a thematic level, something one could argue is more important in an adaptation. By keeping with the tone of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Burton captures the essence of the Batman character and presents his psyche in a way that effectively mirrors Miller’s vision.

Lipsett, Joe. Week 4. Under the Mask: Mythology, Psychology, Metaphor. Carleton University. St. Patrick’s Building, Ottawa, ON. 24 January 2011, Lecture.

Miller, Frank Batman: The Dark Knight Returns


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s