Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review: Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight

What is the difference between The Riddler and The Joker? Quite obviously The Riddler is an obsessive-compulsive type who grew up with a love of solving puzzles. Simply getting away with a crime would be no fun; he has to pose riddles that give someone as smart as Batman the chance of catching him. But The Joker is a full-blown psychopath, showing no sign of conscience or empathy as he goes on his killing sprees. When he is not depressed between his manic episodes, his goal is to conform the world to his own tortured persona.

Travis Langley in his Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight has given us a primer on abnormal psychology. The quite obvious hook is that while most psychology books are rather dull, he develops case files on each major character in the Batman universe, thus making it an entertaining read for anyone with an even moderate liking of the comic books. So while recalling the escapades of King Tut and Mr. Freeze, you’ll learn about the difference between biogenic and psychogenic amnesia and the problem of love turning into objectification along the way.

Although Langley’s work is not meant to be a history of the different versions of the characters, he gives surprisingly detailed thumbnail sketches of how they changed through the golden age, silver age, etc. of comics.

So if you want a primer on abnormal psychology that is not dry as dust, pick up Batman and Psychology. You’ll be glad to know he concludes Bruce Wayne/Batman is not mentally ill. If he were, what would that say about so many of us who admire him?


Cherie Reich said...

Great review! And I could see this as a psychology book I'd actually want to read.

MizB said...

Wow. Sounds like a fascinating read! Thanks for playing in Teaser Tuesdays!



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