Classroom Review: Batman: Black and White


Just finished reading this series and I am of a mixed opinion. The English teacher in me loves the one shot, pick up and go nature of these shorts. The series is  masterfully done by some of the most talented creators of past and present. Yet, it ends up as a love letter to the hardcore fans, which is somewhat to the detriment of the new reader.
Listen, I get it , when it comes to wooing the elusive new reader publishers are stuck trying to please two masters. However, from the new reader’s perspective, this series can be a bit…frenetic. With all of that being said, this is still a fun series to dive into, and if you have any love for the Bat-mythos you will do fine swimming in the deep end with this book.

Classroom rating: 7/10. Readability is moderate for non-comic readers, but text difficulty is fairly easy. Some readers may not like the disjointed stories, but those looking for back-to-back Batman action will dig the quick nature of the storytelling.

What could you teach with Batman: Black and White?:  I would say because each book contains two or three short stories, and there is no long narrative to be bogged down by, you could really focus on reading for comprehension here. There are also opportunities for compare and contrast with each short story in each issue, cause and effect between the tragedy that created Batman and what he does, and in the case of Neal Adams’ story students could write a persuasive/argumentative essay about whether Batman can be considered a hero.

Highlights: Neal Adams’ story about social injustices where Batman is ineffectual, but a civic leader like Bruce Wayne is the true hero has an unexpected heft that adds much needed ethos and pathos. I mean, at the end of the day, Batman is just some rich psychopath who could easily do more good with his money than with his hands, but I would also love it if Warren Buffett decided to dress up in spandex and start punching purse thieves in the throat. Definitely a fun read.

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