Monday, January 24, 2011

Query: Linguistic Contributions of Batman

Here's a query I received from a friend (Hi, Amy!). If you have any citations to pass along, please do so directly to the email address below...

Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2011 08:20:48 -0500
From: "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro@YALE.EDU>
Subject: Linguistic Contributions of Batman

For an article I am writing on the impact of Batman on the English language, I would welcome suggestions of words, phrases, catchphrases, quotations, snowclones, and other linguistic memes originated or popularized by the Batman comic books, TV show, and movies.

Fred Shapiro

Update, 1/25: Dr. Shapiro writes further:
Thanks for the excellent responses to my query about Batman's linguistic contributions. I am hoping some comics mavens can help with me with a followup question. The Batman TV show of the 1960s was famous for its fight-scene onomatopoeic words like biff, bam, and pow. Were these words taken from usage in the specific Batman comic books, or were they general comic-book expressions employed by the Batman TV writers for their campiness?

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Blogger Pat said...

With only a few exceptions, the stories in the TV show were not taken from actual comic book plots, so when he says "the specific Batman comic books" he appears to be starting with a faulty premise.

If, however, he wants to know whether those specific examples of onomatopoeia were used in general Batman and Detective comics, the answer is yes, well before the advent of the TV show.

For example, Batman #168, which came out a little over a year before the TV show, included "thwunk!", "crash!", "pow!" "kwump! kwump! kwump!" and "wroosh! wroosh!" (among others) as sound effects in the first story alone.

2/09/2011 7:22 PM  

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