And every summer, really, it seems like the blockbuster films and TVs shows are the ones that center on iconic superheroes and their classically menacing rivals. So this week, add some action into your subway reading with the best-loved heroes from Batman to Wonder Woman.
On Your Kindle
Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight, by Travis Langley
Want to find out what is it about the man “behind the mask” that keeps us interested in Bruce Wayne? Even if you’re as clueless about comics as I am, you’ll be intrigued by this forthcoming book about the psychological nuances of various portrayals of Batman. Langley looks at the different versions of Batman, including the campy Batman portrayed by Adam West and grittier incarnations in the recent Christopher Nolan films.
On Your Smartphone
“Superheroines, Fighters, and Why Isn’t There a Wonder Woman Movie?” by Linda Holmes, NPR
I love Linda Holmes’ work for NPR about pop culture and media. (She wrote one of my favorite bittersweet columns, about how we’ll never be able to read everything.) In this article, she covers an upcoming PBS documentary on Wonder Woman, the comic book heroine whose mythical story parallels much of women’s lives in 20th-century America. From factory work in the WWII era to television in the ’70s, it’s no wonder she’s an icon for so many women.
On a Podcast
“Superheroes Inspired by Islam,” a TED Talk by Naif al-Mutawa
In this fascinating TED talk, Naif al-Mutawa discusses his new superhero series, The 99, which aims to defeat stereotypes about Islam by creating Muslim heroes who “confront evil” and battle against terrorism. Inspired by classic American comics of the 1930s, al-Mutawa blends the traditional framework of superheroes (who are often portrayed as orphans with transformative origin stories) with Islamic cultural references and history.
Dining With the Doctor, by Chris Rachael Oselans
Dozens of people I know are completely mad for Dr. Who, the long-running British science-fiction series about a time-traveling doctor and his companions. While I’ve never gotten into the show myself, I imagine this “unauthorized Whovian” cookbook may be the perfect gift for many of them. If you dream of the TARDIS, these party-friendly recipes might be right up your time-traveling alley.