Review of Dr. Travis Langley’s Batman and Psychology


Last night I finished reading Batman and Psychology a Dark and Stormy Knight by Dr. Travis Langley, which is a really great book that I recommend all Batman fans read. With this review I am starting a new series of posts that I hope our readers will really enjoy, monthly Batman book reviews, where I will review non-fiction and novels written about our favorite superhero.

I picked up my copy of Batman and Psychology almost a month ago at Wizard World St. Louis when I had the opportunity to interview the author Dr. Langley for Caped Crusades. You can re-read that interview here. If you have ever wanted to better understand the Batman and why he became a superhero with no superpowers this book is a must read. If you have ever thought that Batman is crazy, or at least wondered just maybe, Read Batman and Psychology. Here is the blurb on the back of the book:

"Does the Dark Knight have bats in his belfry?Why does Batman really wear a costume to fight crime?Why are his most intimate relationships with “bad girls” he ought to lock up?And why won’t he kill that homicidal clown?Batman is one of the most compelling and enduring characters to come from the Golden Age of Comics, and interest in his story has only increased through countless incarnations since his first appearance in 1939’s Detective Comics #27. Why does this superhero without superpowers fascinate us so much? Batman and Psychology examines the complex inner world of Batman and Bruce Wayne and the life and characters of Gotham City. What would Freud, Jung, and other professionals say about how childhood trauma spawned his life’s mission? Is Batman neurotic? Psychotic? Does he have PTSD, OCD, or any other mental illness? Why the mask, the bat, and the underage partner, Robin? What psychopathologies lurk in the minds of supervillains like the Joker, the Riddler, Two-Face, and Catwoman? Are they really rogues and villains, or simply misunderstood victims of a heartless society? Do Batman and his foes depend on each other?Combining psychological theory with the latest in psychological research, Batman and Psychology takes you on an unprecedented journey behind the mask and into the dark mind of your favorite Caped Crusader and his never-ending war on crime."

I won’t spoil the book by telling you if Dr. Langley does consider Batman crazy in his professional opinion, for that you will have to read the book. Batman and Psychology is a fascinating read, I understand Batman so much better now, and I also think I understand my own obsession with him now. Batman and Psychology also gives readers a good look into the minds of several of Batman’s greatest villains. Does Two-Face suffer from multiple personalities? What mental illness, if any, does Dr. Hugo Strange suffer from?

I learned many things about Batman’s world that I never knew, like the fact that Jason Todd was originally a Dick Grayson clone, an orphaned circus acrobat who was given his Robin costume by Dick himself. He was very well liked before his whole character was completely rewritten after Identity Crisis. It is this newer Jason we know today, and it was this version that was killed in A Death in the Family.

I want to thank Dr. Langley once again, this time for personalizing my copy of his book “Amanda, welcome to Arkham Asylum! (Don’t worry its easy to escape) Travis Langley”. It made me laugh and my family as well. Check back with Caped Crusades for my next review: Batman Science the Real-World Science Behind Batman’s Gear by Agnieszka Biskup and Tammy Enz.

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