Batman and Psychology Review Excerpts


“…this book deserves the attention of both first time viewers, and long time Bat-fans who may have perused it in its initial offering. In this 75th anniversary year of the Batman character’s birth, comic fans can enjoy a thought provoking analysis of one of the most enduring superheroes in history.” - Art in Mad Lines

“Simply speaking, this is my pick for the best book of [the year]. A fantastic look into the inner workings of one of comic book’s most compelling, dynamic characters; a masterfully written analysis/love note to the Dark Knight.” – Stephen Harvey,

“…scholarly and insightful…His professional credentials, mixed with his love for comic books and the character of Batman, create a fascinating, entertaining, and educational read.” – Michael Uslan, Bat-Films executive producer (Batman, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, etc.)

“It is a terrific book.” – Dennis O’Neil, Batman comic book writer/editor.

“This book is not only an ode to one of pop culture’s most famous mythical figures but an analytical look at an intriguing character… An intriguing read and a fascinating book.” – Robert Richardson, eXpert Comics

“If you ever wanted to realy know if Bruce Wayne is nuts, then this is the book for you. Perhaps some incarnations of Batman are more crazy than others! Great read and tremendously insightful into the psyche of The Dark Knight. Also features a forward by Michael Uslan and an introduction by Denny O’Neil.” – Bill “Jett” Ramey,

“If you love Batman you will love this book. If you love psychology you will love this book! Do not worry about getting lost though, as Langley does an excellent job explaining everything he discusses so those who have never taken a psychology course will understand. Not only will you get one of the most thorough run downs of Batman’s history in all its mediums, you will walk away feeling like you’ve learned a thing or two about the human mind.” – Crabacca, International House of Geek

This is definitely a book you shouldn’t pass up, as once you start reading it you simply will not be able to put it down!” –

“…more entertaining than many of the others which populate the ever-growing field of texts about pop culture and the sciences. Rather than just telling us what we should know or think about Batman, the book supplements our own interest in the hero, and provokes us to think more about what’s going on in his head.” Brittany Frederick,

“…Langley is extraordinarily well-versed in the lore and characters, and scrupulous about the questions he chooses to address… I got the feeling it would be fun to take one of Langley’s classes.” – Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“Dr. Langley puts this masked vigilante and his admirers on the analyst couch to examine what makes him—and us tick. A revealing look at Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego.” – Barnes & Noble

“It’s pretty interesting, because if you love the Batman Universe then it’s kinda fun. Also, if you have an interest in learning about real psychological analysis then those things are explained in great detail. I found the book to be both very entertaining AND educational.” – Tom Sheridan, Bat-Blog

“Langley is heavily in depth with his exploration of Bruce/Batman. The book gives new Batman recruits a jest of who Batman is, his motivation, his foes, and allies… I find the book highly interesting because it explores the regions of Bruce/Batman that may explain unanswered questions. Also, it is nice ice breaker to leave on your coffee table or to show off during lunch time with colleagues or friends.” –Dark Knight News

Langley cleverly combines his two loves –as evinced by the title—to create a work that will draw the most disinterested psychology students in by using the seemingly universally loved Byronic hero of Batman.  Using concrete examples from the Batman universe(s), Langley explores Freud, Jung, Erikson, as well as Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grief and many other classic theories psychology principles, making it a helpful read for any struggling student of psychology.” –

“This is a serious book done by a true Batman Fan who also understands the real-life theories of Psychology…. It’s pretty interesting, because if you love the Batman Universe then it’s kinda fun. Also, if you have an interest in learning about real psychological analysis then those things are explained in great detail. I found the book to be both very entertaining AND educational.” – Cool Cosplay

“What I found myself noticing most of all was the seamless blend of information and entertainment in this book, which was really nice to see because it almost turns into two separate books, depending on what you choose to focus on.” – Corbin Twa’s Bargain Basement Nerd Emporium

“Love Batman and Psychology.” – Book Nerd Reviews

“Absolutely fascinating and fantastically geektastic.” – Book Haul

‘#4…This book perfectly balances fiction and non-fiction by using eighty years of Batman’s postindustrial mythology as case studies for various psychological conditions.” – IPN Top Ten Books

“It’s very interesting, and engaging, trying to be low on technical terms, and explaining those that are necessary, as it was written not for psychologists, but for general public. And as such, it is an excellent way to understand a bit more about the science of mental health, abut character development, and about Batman himself… a very good way to understand how and why somebody would come to become a caped hero. An excellent read, period. I’m quite happy to have bought this one.” – Ager Somnia, GoodReads

“If you would like an introduction to psychology, a history lesson (interesting history lesson) about DC Comics and one of it’s most enduring heroes – Batman, and to read a good psychological analysis of Bruce Wayne/Batman and his friends and enemies, buy or borrow this book.” – Jacqueline O., GoodReads

“This author really knows his stuff, for both the psychology and the Batman history, and explains it all well, clearly, smartly, sometimes wittily… Best book I’ve read in quite a while.” – William Booke, GoodReads

“Every angle of Batman/Bruce Wayne’s life and psyche are covered in great detail in order for us to have a deeper understanding of who he is, why he does what he does, and whether or not he’s crazy for doing it. I particularly enjoyed the case studies of the villains. This book adds a lot of depth to an already complex group of characters.” Dustin Gaughran, GoodReads

“Love love love this book. So fascinating.” – Allie, GoodReads

“Great information passed along in the form of batman and his foes.” – Alecia Gardner, GoodReads

“Grounded in solid psychology concepts but eminently readable…” – Interact Catalog.

“Whether you’re interested in psychology or Batman, the book is marvelously informative and entertaining.” – Dev Richards,

“A decently thorough and clearly written examination of Batman and the world he lives in. Well supported by many examples, hitting all the highlights of Batman’s universe and his complex nature. Maintains a good balance between clinical and everyday language, keeping the material engaging while still completely accurate.” (5/5 stars)  – Avi S,

“Highly recommend checking that out!” – Christine, A Smattering of Intelligence

“This is one book also recommended for anyone who wants to bask in the afterglow of the movie, but also for anyone who is interested in the description of the psychology course.” (translated from Japanese) – Akihito, ITMedia

“The author impresses in terms of how much work he clearly must have in each of the analyzes. He is obviously equally familiar with the Batman universe and with psychology, and it all becomes a riveting and interesting experience.” (translated from Norwegian) – Julie Didriksen, Julie’s Bokbabbel

“Seriously, it’s like an awesome college course on something you already adore…. Don’t you deserve a book like that?” – Jason Levin, Arousing Grammar

“For fans of superhero always eager to know behind the scenes, here is an original.” (translated from French) – Coop Zone

“For a different look at forensic psychology, you can read Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight, a psychological profiling of the classic superhero. This book, written by forensic psychology professor Travis Langley, a well-known expert on the psychology of superheroes, demonstrates how a psychological profile can be built for anyone real or fictional.” –


“Awesome book, and its helping me psychologically prepare myself to wear the cowl.” – Batcave Chronicles

“I love that book!” and “Thank you for writing it. Such a great way  to bring these concepts together. Brilliant!” – Chris Gore during WonderCon.


“Beyond Heroes and Villains” at Psychology Today 1-33

Since August 1, 2012, I’ve posted 33 articles at in my ongoing “Beyond Heroes and Villains” column. (I know it’s called a blog, but look up the word’s origin. It’s not a log of my life. Online column is more accurate.) Some of these have the advantage of time, having accumulated views for a year and a half. Some of the newer ones are rapidly changing ranks, like the most recent post “Superman’s True Disguise: The Power of Social Invisibility,” but here’s where things stand today.

1 A Dark and Stormy Knight: Why Batman?
2 Does Iron Man 3′s Hero Suffer Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
3 The Avengers Teach Psychology: Class Assemble!
4 The Dark Knight Rises: What Motivates Bane?
5 Twitter Takes on Iron Man 3: Why Can’t Tony Stark Sleep?
6 A Clinical Perspective on Panic and PTSD in Iron Man 3
7 Are Batman’s Enemies Insane? Sounder Minds—Part 1
8 Doctor Who: Fear the Weeping Angels and Don’t Blink
9 Are Batman’s Enemies Insane? Unsound Minds—Part 2
10 Are Olympic Athletes Heroes?
11 Why Stick to a PTSD Diagnosis Based on Lies by Jodi Arias?
12 Batman’s Case Files: Bane, the Man Who Broke the Bat
13 Star Trek: The Mental Frontier
14 Doctor Who: The Man Who Regrets and the Man Who Forgets
15 Batman’s Case Files: Immortality versus Extinction
16 Aurora Judge Rules “Truth Serum” Can Test Suspect’s Insanity
17 Who Are Your Heroes?
18 Necessary Evil Documentary: Exploring Super-Villainy
19 Misremembering Batman
20 Superheroine Recovery: An Interview With Batgirl’s Therapist
21 Superman’s True Disguise: The Power of Social Invisibility
22 The Bat of the Shadow: Batman’s Role Models
23 Superheroes, Supervillains, and Ourselves upon the OCEAN
24 Weddings, Funerals, Reboots – Capes and Cognitive Dissonance
25 Comics Arts Conference Brings Psychology to Comic-Con 2013
26 Westboro Baptist Church: Modeling Empathy on the High Road
27 Spectacular Tragedy in a Just World: The Power of “Why?”
28 “Legends of the Knight” Video Chat on Batman and Psychology
29 The Arkham Sessions: Batman, Man-Bat, and that Killer Clown
30 WonderCon Psych 2013: Comics and Zombies and Sith! Oh, My!
31 Legends of the Knight Documentary Explores Power of Stories
32 Risky Sessions: Superheroes on the (Steel-Reinforced) Couch
33 Cortex Crusaders Put Comic-Con on the Convention Couch

Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con 2014

At Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con, visit Athena Finger and me at the explosive C4 table next to current Batman artist Greg Capulllo.

My panel schedule:


Comics and graphic novels have come into their own as subjects worthy of—indeed, demanding—attention from academia. Historians and cultural theorists teach courses, hold conferences, and publish books on various aspects of sequential art colleges and universities teach courses in comics as literature and social history as well as how to make them. Here, to give an overview of various ideas about and approaches to comics studies are a cross-section of comics scholars and teachers, including: Dr. Travis Langley (Henderson State University; Batman and Psychology), Eric Bailey (Henderson State University), Peter Coogan (Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre,) Rob O’Nale(Comics Through Time) and David Schuman (Washington University St. Louis). The panel is moderated by Danny Fingeroth (The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels) (ROOM 144)


75 years ago, as fateful events that would lead to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 were coming together in Europe, the U.S.A. was experiencing, in the same year, an explosion of popular culture. In 1939, Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27; Timely (later Marvel) Comics released Marvel Comics #1, showcasing the first Marvel superheroes, Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch; and Hollywood produced classic films including The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach. Discussing historical and cultural factors that made that year so important is a panel including Athena Finger (granddaughter of Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman,) Dr. Travis Langley (author of Batman and Psychology,) Eric Bailey (Henderson State university,) Peter Coogan (Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre) and Danny Fingeroth (Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero.) (ROOM 151)

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Batman co-creator Bill Finger’s birth, 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut, and 25th anniversary of the Tim Burton motion picture that proved audiences could take Batman seriously. Who really created Batman? How much of the Dark Knight’s design and defining qualities came from the character’s uncredited co-creator, Bill Finger? How many of his enemies thrill us thanks to Finger, and how many of Batman’s adventures, supporting characters, and wonderful toys as well? Not only did he enrich the Dark Knight mythos, but Bill Finger also co-created Wildcat, came up with Superman’s other girlfriend Lana Lang, and wrote the very first Green Lantern tale. To discuss the Cape Creator’s life and work, Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) has assembled a truly super team: Danny Fingeroth (Superman on the Couch,) Robert O’Nale (@The The Cape Creator: A Tribute to Bill Finger, the Secret Co-Creator of Batman) and – making her very first convention appearance anywhere – Bill’s only heir, Athena Finger. (ROOM 144)

1:30 – 2:15PM BATMAN AT 75
While other creators scrambled to cash in on Superman’s sudden popularity by creating more bright, impossible heroes, Bob Kane and Bill Finger gave us Gotham City’s dark and improbably possible Batman. Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 (1939) and has gone on to become one of the most recognizable figures in the world. 2014 also marks the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman motion picture, the 50th anniversary of Batman’s “New Look,” and the 100th birthday of uncredited Batman co-creator Finger. We’ve assembled an all-star anniversary panel to discuss the Dark Knight’s history and legacy: Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight,) Athena Finger (granddaughter of Bill,) Gregory Capullo (Batman; Spawn,) Rob O’Nale (working on an upcoming Bill Finger documentary) and Danny Fingeroth (Superman on the Couch.) (ROOM 144)

LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT weaves together the uplifting true stories of individuals who have overcome devastating obstacles, unselfishly given to the community, and embraced their inner superhero because of their love of Batman. Through the deeply personal tales of Batman fans, writers, and filmmakers, this feature-length documentary explores the power of heroic stories and encourages viewers to find their own path to heroism. Funded by over 1,100 contributors from around the world, Legends of the Knight is a return to our childhood dreams of being a hero. Put on your cape, and be inspired! (ROOM 160) [I introduce it, then rush to my next panel.]

Would a superhero’s love life be like that of a real world soldier, firefighter, undercover detective, or rock star? Frankly, who wants to date a superhero? They show up late for dates, they run out on you at random times just to go save the world, and they bring danger into your life simply by knowing you. Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight (Wiley & Sons, June, 2012)) explores superheroes’ relationships, the human and superhuman nature of sex and love in capes and tights. (ROOM 144)


Every great superhero faces a rogues gallery full of colorful supervillains. What makes a great supervillain? How evil do they have to be? Do they resemble real criminals in any way? Are they truly insane or just having fun? Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) assembles of super-team of experts to explore what it means to be a supervillain and what kind of person could become one: Danny Fingeroth (@Superman Superman on the Couch), Eric Bailey (Henderson State University,) Peter Coogan (Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre) and maybe a villain or two. You’ve been warned! (ROOM 142)

Join us as we and great folks like Adam WestBurt Ward, and Neal Adams as we all celebrate the 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut way back in April, 1939 (cover date May, 1939), and the 100th anniversary of Batman co-creator Bill Finger’s birth.

Demazette Book Review

Here are a couple of excerpts from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette book review by Philip Martin. The complete article is online if you’re subscribed to their website, the third review in this article:

Martin did not know I was a regional author when he started reading. “I didn’t figure that out until halfway through this exceedingly readable (and fun) discussion of the psychological landscape of the Batman universe. Langley is extraordinarily well-versed in the lore and characters, and scrupulous about the questions he chooses to address.”

Final sentence: “I got the feeling it would be fun to take one of Langley’s classes.”



NerdBastards Interview: The Blame Game

From NerdBastards:

I spoke to Dr. Travis Langley yesterday afternoon about information overload, the media’s need to keep feeding us information about the killer, and those who try to blame movies, TV, video games, and comics for this tragedy. Dr. Langley is a psychology professor from Henderson State University and the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Night.

Read the full editorial and hear the interview:

The Atlantic: How the Dark Knight Became Dark Again

Quoted in The Atlantic’s article on Michael Uslan, p. 1:

While the makers of Superman “played with the bright and impossible, Bob and Bill expanded that meme by adding the coin’s other side, the dark and improbably possible,” writes Travis Langley, a professor of psychology at Henderson State University. “Duality and obsession, his enemies’ and his own, fill his stories.”

Page 2:

Director Joel Schumacher’s subsequent films strayed from the noirish direction Burton had set—”the worst thing to do with a serious comic book is make it a cartoon,” Akiva Goldsman, Batman & Robin’s screenwriter, later admitted—but Christopher Nolan installed Batman back into a gritty place, filming on the streets of London and Chicago to create what the psychologist Langley refers to as a “post-9/11 allegory for how terror breaks down reassuring moral categories.” …

“I realized that I had been thinking of my job as producing fiction for a publishing backwater—comic books—and that I was wrong: my job was being in charge of postindustrial folklore,” writes longtime Batman comics editor Dennis O’Neil in Langley’s new book, Batman and Psychology. “Batman…had been around so long, in so many media, that [he was] embedded in our collective psyches.”



CBC Book Club: Books about Batman

From CBC Books:

This week, millions of Batman fans will be lining up to see The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final instalment of the critically acclaimed films by director Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as the titular billionaire crime-fighter.

Since artist Bob Kane created Batman (and his secret identity Bruce Wayne) in 1939, the brooding character has been reinterpreted many times over by numerous writers, illustrators, directors and actors. And Batman, whose parents’ murders were the catalyst for his relentless pursuit of justice, has proven to be a rich psychological subject through which to explore the darker sides of human nature.

To mark the release of The Dark Knight Rises, we’re highlighting four non-fiction books that offer unique examinations of the iconic hero.

Read full article at CBC Books: “Books about Batman.”

Fanboy Comics Interview at San Diego Comic-Con 2012

From Fanboy Comics:

At San Diego Comic-Con 2012, Dr. Travis Langley talks with Fanboy Comics Creative Director Sam Rhodes about his book, Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight. Dr. Langley also shares which other superheroes he wants to see on his couch, his predictions for the upcoming film, The Dark Knight Rises, and how Batman has his own unique super power.

Read the complete interview at Fanboy Comics: “SDCC 2012: Fanboy Comics Interviews Dr. Travis Langley, Writer of Batman and Psychology”

AmoXcalli Interview: Professional to Professional

From AmoXcalli:

“We surveyed 504 possible buyers and the one that was the most popular was A Dark and Stormy Knight, which had been a joke I made off the top of my head one day. Well, it has multiple meanings. One, it’s a play on a very famous bad opening sentence. It’s a play on the Dark Knight and his own stormy nature. If you’re going to analyze a superhero, if you’re going to write a book about fictional characters…you have to start with Batman, the one who is defined by his psychology more than any other.”

Read the full interview: “Professional to Professional – Interview with Dr. Travis Langley.”