2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

a superstitious, cowardly lot: Cultural Representations in Frank Miller’s Batman
Joshua K. Fenton
Dr. Matthew Killmeier, Faculty Mentor

Published in 1986, Frank Millers Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was instrumental in the creation of an adult market for comic books. Through subtle dialogue, clever visual techniques, fantastic character development and a masterfully woven plot, Miller used the genre to make powerful observations about our society. Batman and Superman (as personifications of various and different American values) and the conflict between them can be weighed against America’s awkward transitions and the changing public views of the USSR. The progression from the free-spirited 70s to the serious 80s can be seen in Miller’s transformation of Batman from the campy Adam West version and into a principled man in an unprincipled world. Through the lenses of defamiliarization, semiotics, archetypes, and heroes, I plan to explore these representations in depth and decipher the connotative levels of a sample of Frank Miller’s works.

Keywords: culture, comics, Frank Miller, Batman, Superman, 70s-80s transition, Cold War


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 20-1
Location: VH 1304
Time: 10:00

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