Book Review: Batman Unauthorized

Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City
Edited by Dennis O’Neil with Leah Wilson
Published by Benbella Books, Inc.
ISBN10: 1933771305
ISBN13: 9781933771304

Review by Linda Yau

With the New York Comic Con approaching in several more weeks, I figure it would be a good time to review this book. Batman Unauthorized is a series of eighteen essays that explores various aspects of the franchise of Batman. Topics cover from the sidekicks, to location, to possibilities, to villians, and even the identity/health of Batman; hardly anything is left unturned in this book. I bet the various writers in this book had fun researching for this book.

This is a book that is an example of an industry trying to be taken more seriously, and the content of this book is by some aspects worth more than the original pulp paper the comic was printed on. There is criticism and annotations that is similar to the Shakespearean criticisms out there. As a librarian, I can note of these chapters being actual researched content, that are with quotes, and references. What this book lacks though are images, that can be referred to.

The franchise of Batman has been long lasting, whereas many other superheros slowly lost their popularity. There is a popularity of Batman, where the man is reinvented or reinterpreted time and time again. Is he a campy Super hero that was depicted by Adam West, or is he the tormented soul that is represented in the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comic series? That would be the fan’s preference though, this book tries to bring an unbiased approach to the Caped hero.

My opinion is this a book to be read if you are already a fan of the series from the comic books or the movie, or wish to learn more about different aspects of the series. One last criticism I have though is the lack of mention for the Bruce Timm’s animated versions of Batman, which I feel is also an interpretation of the Batman franchise.