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Batman's nerdy crusade: From the Batusi to Kevlar suits

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In Batman vs. Superman, the caped crusader is at his dark and grittiest. A look at the dark knight's 70-year long history and his impact on nerd culture.

Over the weekend, Batman made his first big screen appearance since 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy reinvented the caped crusader as a dark and gritty shadow of the night. This portrayal of the beloved comic book character gained approval from both comic book aficionados and casual fans equally.

In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck continues to carry the gritty torch lit by Nolan and Christian Bale's Batman, but is it possible the dark knight is getting too dark?

Host A Martinez  spoke to Glen Weldon, who explores Batman's impact on nerd culture, the 70-year history of Batman and more ' in his latest book, The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, which he released just in time for the Batman v. Superman hype.

Interview Highlights

On Batman being the master of reinvention:

"He is malleable, he is an ink blot that we project onto. You can look at Christian Bale in his Kevlar suit going 'swear to me' and you can look at Adam West dancing the Batusi on the dance floor and you can see that they're the same character, not because of the costume but because of what drives them. The motivation is what's important here and that is the key to understanding the character."


On the myth of relatability:

"I talked to a lot of nerds for this book and to a person they all told me it's because he's relatable, it's because he's like me, he doesn't have powers. I would point out to them that he has a super power, and that super power is wealth. Unimaginable wealth, that makes everything possible. That functions in any given batman story like magic, to make it all happen."

On what's next for Batman:

"I think we're going to see him lightening up a bit. There's only one direction he can go. The fact that the Lego Batman is making fun of him for being so self-serious all the time...the fact that now, for the first time in 30 years we can actually get merch that has something to do with the Batman 66 television series. You can see this other version of the character existing in the cultural can only go so dark and we're about to see the breaking of some light."

To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.

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