Category Archives: Antiscribe Overviews
Few works in the history of popular culture have had as much pronounced effect as Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843. While Christmas Day had always been a sacred, solemn feast day within the Christian faith (just as the Winter Solstice had been in many pagan cultures before it), it wasn’t until the middle part of the 1800s that many began to see it less as a site of religious devotion than as a holiday to be celebrated, and to be celebrated most specifically through the act of giving. While A Christmas Carol didn’t spawn this tradition itself, it, more than any other force, popularized it throughout the western world. Through its powerful, secular story of redemption through charity and love, Dickens imparted to all that Christmas was a time to celebrate all that was worthwhile about the human race, most specifically our love for one another, and our compassion for those less fortunate.
By Jonathan Morris, Antiscribe.com
(Note: I had planned to have this up last week, but after learning about the terrible events in Colorado, I though it best to wait a few days. Though it should go without saying, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, who were not only members of our greater American community, but fellow moviegoers and Batman fans. Though far, far, far from the most tragic aspect of this horror, it’s still somewhat unfortunate that it will forever be associated with Batman; as a figure in popular culture, the Dark Knight has always stood as a symbol against guns and gun violence, as well as an idealization that hope and light can someday arise from great tragedy and darkness. Hopefully, as a nation and a society, once we’ve mourned and grieved these events – and learned from them – we will find our own way onward, toward hope and light.)
By Jonathan Morris, Antiscribe.com
Well, you just knew this was coming, right?
So yes, thanks to our ever more crowded summer movie season, it’s already time again for another survey of a famous character in popular culture…and they rarely come more popular than the one and only Batman. Whether you think of him as the gritty, vengeful, and brooding Dark Knight, or the noble, altruistic, and exciting Caped Crusader, the Guardian of Gotham City is an indelibly ingrained part of our popular culture, an American icon (though not always in a positive way), and the definitive urban avenger. I also don’t think it’s unfair to say that Batman has long surpassed his contemporary Superman as the world’s most famous superhero, and he’s arguably the most consistently compelling and undeniably the most commercially successful superhero of all time. For me, though, and I think for any observer of popular culture, Batman should also be considered among the most fascinating.
As times go by, many famous characters are reinterpreted and recreated for each new generation, inevitably drawing upon the various tastes and subtexts of that given moment in time. Bob Kane’s Batman, though, perhaps more than any other character I have ever seen anywhere in media, has demonstrated an astonishing ability to be readily transformed and transfigured to any given era without ever subsequently becoming an anachronism. It’s not that Batman is timeless – though he is – it’s that he’s somehow always timely. It’s an amazing attribute, and one that makes the Dark Knight not only distinctive in the history of comics, but in world literature and media as well. Read the rest of this entry