Database for Animation Studies


Batman and the World of Tomorrow: Yesterday’s Technological Future in the Animated Film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Examining facets of modernist visions of our technological future and of theatricalized city and stage spaces in the 1993 animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, this article explores the cultural meaning of technology in graphic fiction. The confrontation scene between Batman and Joker in the grounds of Gotham’s World’s Fair, the author argues, echoes the 1939 New York World’s Fair with its modernist urban optimism and pop cultural fascination with new visionary technologies, as well as the modern history of moving pictures and multi-media spectacle. The article spotlights the power of the Batman story to participate in, and contribute towards, complex cultural inquiry and transmedial discourses around technology and popular entertainments. Through the exquisite medium of animation – which allows animated characters to be placed on an abstract architectural city stage – Mask of the Phantasm also embodies modernist visions of the ‘ideal’ stage character in a medium that creates non-realist art and more complex possibilities for movement, thus transporting modernist thinking into the 20th century.

  • Title (Japanese)
バットマンと未来の世界: アニメーション映画『バットマン/マスク・オブ・ファンタズム』にみる過去の未来予想図
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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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