Andrew Thigpen




College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in English (MA)


Alexander Grant


Batman, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, Joseph Campbell, Mythology, Scott Snyder


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America


In 1988, Jeffrey Lang and Patrick Trimble wrote an article called, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow,” which explains the absence of a hero of the American monomyth in comic books. The American monomyth was proposed by Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence and describes a community in harmonious paradise threatened by evil. The normal institutions of law and order fail to defeat the evil, but fortunately, a hero from outside the community arises to resist temptation, defeat the evil, and return the community to its peaceful condition. Lang and Trimble observe the death of Superman during the events of the 1986 story Crisis on Infinite Earths as the death of the American monomythic hero in comics. But Lang and Trimble failed to consider that Batman might be a replacement for Superman in the American monomyth. Indeed, before 1986’s The Dark Knight Returns, Batman had never been presented as the hero of any monomyth. Thus, to argue that Batman is the hero of the American monomyth, it must be established that he can function as the hero of the traditional monomyth as presented by Joseph Campbell.