What Batman Says About Us

This article is from Issue 57: May/June 2012

Every generation has its superhero. In the 1980s that hero was Superman–truth, justice and the American way were just the thing to bring clarity to a world rent by a Cold War. In the 1990s, a dark, streamlined Batman took the superhero reins. But the Batman–as conceived of by multiple directors–ended the decade reveling in campy and laughable villains, becoming a punchline for a decade already steeped in sarcasm. The early 2000s had a squeaky clean Spider-Man who could unironically pose in front of an American flag, a symbol of post-9/11 hope.

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