Final Paper Proposal and Annotative Bibliography

Christian Jones

English 425

Professor Hatfield

15 Apr 2015

Final Paper Proposal and Annotative Bibliography

Throughout Batman’s existence his origin story has been altered several times. With all of these alterations came many different representations of the character and the symbol that he stood for. It was during the Detective Comics that Batman was first introduced and presented with a back-story. In his first origin story he was born into a very wealthy family of Gotham City. Throughout his childhood he was spoiled and happy until the unfortunate day came when both of his parents were murdered by a criminal leaving a movie theater. Determined for vengeance he swore to train to become combat ready before realizing that solely knowing how to fight would surely not be enough to intimidate all the criminals in Gotham. A bat flew into his room and he realizes that it must be the creature he would become. In the Christopher Nolan film Batman Begins the origin of Batman was quite different involving even a secret league of highly trained assassins who coached an aggressive and determined Bruce Wayne. Though both paths lead to the Batman vigilante, the ways in which they develop his back-story is essential.

This is important as the origin stories of these superheroes are what determines the audience that the superhero attracts as well as defines the type of character that this audience will be looking up to.

In this paper I intend to observe the impact of the different origin stories between the Detective Comics that originally introduced the Batman to the world, and the Christopher Nolan film Batman Begins.


Annotative Bibliography

Batman Returns. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Prod. Christopher Nolan. By Bob Kane. Perf.

Warner Bros., 2005.

We follow Bruce Wayne as he flees Gotham and seeks experiences far from home. He travels to the far east to train with his mentor and gain the skills he thinks will save the world. Upon noticing that his mentor and the organization that he runs plans to cast an even darker shadow on the already corrupt Gotham City, Bruce decides to take matters into his own hands and assist Gotham with ridding it of the crime. This is important because compared to the Detective Comics this film focuses on a darker, more intense image of Gotham and a slightly less intense Batman. I will focus on what possible aspects from the films origin story make Batman more intense while also becoming more exposed than the comic book version.

Finger, Bill. “Detective Comics.” N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Originally the first comic Batman appeared in was Detective Comics #27, but his character was never quite introduced properly with a back-story until Batman #47. The origin they provide in these comics is similar in ways and very different in others from the film. In these early comics of Batman, he is immediately disliked by the police force of Gotham. Though his vigilante days bring the police department great frustration, soon he is made an honorary member of the police department. In the comics it seems as though the character of Batman is much more prevalent than Bruce Wayne. This is important because in the films the audience will notice that both Bruce Wayne and Batman are much more exposed in every situation. I think this would make for a good comparison when analyzing the different tactics used in Batman’s origin story.

Reichstein, Andreas. “Batman — An American Mr. Hyde?” Amerikastudien / American

Studies 43.2 (1998): 329-50. JSTOR. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

This article explains how this character contains a dual ego and personality. This article primarily focuses on the comic book side of the Batman series and states that Batman has a strong desire for revenge though he needs to maintain his image; hence he is Bruce Wayne by day and Batman by night. This article also points out how Batman throughout the years changes in a few ways. His initial change was almost immediate after his initial introduction. Initially Batman was extremely brutal to his enemies and contained a rage like he was a criminal himself. He often did not follow any rules of the law and even carried a gun on him for some time. This article is important because it shows the conditions Batman had to overcome to fight crime,

Uricchio, William. “The Batman’s Gotham City: Story, Ideology, Performance.”

This article talks about the significance of Gotham City and its influence over the entire Batman franchise as well as the character himself. There has always been a debate about whether or not Gotham represented a real city such as New York City or Chicago. It has been said that Frank Miller referred Gotham City to the bad parts of New York City. In other words, Metropolis was New York during its bright and shiny days, while Gotham was New York at its worst conditions and at night. This is important as I will use this article to explain how the setting furthers the characters origin story.


One thought on “Final Paper Proposal and Annotative Bibliography

  1. Christian,

    I like the idea you have to compare these two Batman origin stories, and show how they each develop Batman as a character differently. I am a little confused as to what the main point of your paper is. I noticed you included something about the audience(s) of these Batman origin stories. Perhaps you could choose to argue that one has a more positive influence over the audience than the other? You need to somehow make a claim as to why having essentially two origin stories is either problematic or helpful. Here are some questions that might help you come up with a more cohesive thesis:

    1. Are these two Batman origin stories reconcilable?
    2. Does one have more influence than the other? If so, does one story hold a more positive model for the audience to look up to?
    3. What is the importance of the origin story to the audience? Does it make us more sympathetic if he trains up with a group of assassins, or if he is just a kid who is inspired by a Bat?
    4. Exploring the time period of each origin story (1940s vs 1980s) do these origins tell us something about the time in which they are written? (As in, is the audience looking for a more powerful origin later on as Batman as a character has become more powerful?)— For this question you can look at that one article we read: “Holy Commodity Fetish, Batman!”. I think my question is leaning in opposition to what Meehan argues, but it is definitely worth another look at when referencing Batman’s audience.
    5. So what? What is the importance of the audience’s outlook or opinion on Batman’s origin? How much does his origin matter vs. what he has accomplished since becoming Batman.

    I hope this helps you in developing your paper further! I love the Batman idea, and I think you can do really well with it!



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