Friday, June 1, 2012

God on the Streets of Gotham by Paul Asay

     What do God and the Caped Crusader have in common? While Batman is a secular superhero patrolling the fictional streets of Gotham City, the Caped Crusader is one whose story creates multiple opportunities for believers to talk about the redemptive spiritual truths of Christianity. While the book touches on Batman’s many incarnations over the last 70 years in print, on television, and at the local Cineplex for the enjoyment of Batman fans everywhere, it primarily focuses on Christopher Nolan’s two wildly popular and critically acclaimed movies—movies that not only introduced a new generation to a darker Batman, but are also loaded with spiritual meaning and redemptive metaphors.

     As you can tell by my previous posts, non-fiction books are not my normal cup of tea.  I've joined a couple of "blogging" websites, though, that are helping me to expand my horizon of books that I read.  So as I looked over a list of books available to be reviewed, I thought it would be a no-brainer for me to pick this one for my review.
     The books starts out with a nice history of Batman over the years and his rise through print, to TV and ultimately on the bigscreen.  The author begins by describing Batman in some generic terms; Being called from birth, the love of the Father, called by choice and then called by searching.  He then brings in characters that battled against Batman to show struggles that he dealt with: Nemesis - Scarecrow - Fear, Two-Face - Despair; Joker - Annihilation.  With each chapter, he builds off of the characteristics that we've seen in Batman and weaves them back to a comparison of the life of Jesus.
     I'd say that I was skeptical of this book at first.  It really didn't grab me the way that fiction does, simply because alot of the comparisons that the author makes are subject to interpretation.  I guess that's what has always caused me to shy away from reading too much fiction.  I didn't see anything scriptually wrong with the book.  Again, I'm sure that another author could take the same information and make it say something totally different, but Mr. Asay did a great job with his book.  I enjoyed that he didn't make this solely about Batman, but also the surroundings and influences that make up the character of Batman.
     Is it a "man's book"?  Sure, why not. It is a good read, has some good theories and talks about Batman.  How many other times in life will you be able to read a book that combines two of a man's most talked about topics, God and superheroes.


     Paul Asay is the associate editor at Plugged In,  a ministry that reaches more than 6 million people with movie reviews that help people understand popular cultual trends and how they intersect with spiritual issues.  Paul is an award-winning journalist who covered religion at The (Colorado Springs) Gazette and whose work has been published by such outlets as The Washington Post, Christianity Today, Youth Worker Journal and  Paul has a special interest in the unexpected ways that faith and media intersect.  He lives in Colorado with his wife, Wendy, and two children.

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