Tag Archives: batman

First International Symposium on “Batman”

So, an interesting email came in through the Hugoye Listserv a few days ago. Let me share the first bit of it with you:

(15 – 17 April 2008)

The city is not a simply inhabited space. Beyond that, it is a location of identity, belonging and dynamic human production processes. Seen from this perspective, Batman is an urban centre which appeared in the history quite late. […]

Now, when I was reading this, I did not have a very good night’s sleep (my daughter is in the middle of a teething fit) so I read the first line of the title and wondered to myself:

“Why is a comic book convention being advertised on a Syriac Language email list?”

Then I took a second look:

“Ahhh. Batman as in Batman Turkey, not Batman as in Batman & Robin.”

Posting about the irony of this back on the Hygoye list, I soon received an email from Mark Dickens, over at Clare Hall at Cambridge University, whose first reaction was very close to mine. After we chatted about things easily confusable with Batman besides Batman (such as Batnan… ooh headaches), he said something that made my day:

But then again, who knows, perhaps there is a Syriac version of the Batman comics waiting to be discovered in some musty scriptorium somewhere…

That would really be something! Just imagine an American comicbook superhero, ferreted away in a monastery somewhere by a monk, embarrassed by his western tastes in recreational reading material, only to be uncovered many years later and thrust center stage by international media. It’s a silly fantasy that only ancient language geeks like me would ever find funny or even entertain. 🙂

But then….. I thought to myself:

“What would Batman look like in Syriac?”

And a few hours later, prompted by a convenient and sudden episode of insomnia, I came up with this:

Batman: “Go! After him Robin!”
Robin: “He’s mine!”