The Caped Crusade, Dark Heart, & Alexander Chee

Mar 25, 2016

Today, from TV's campy crusader to the Dark Knight, Batman has been reflected American anxieties and social norms for almost 80 years. We'll explore his appeal as a mere mortal among superhumans, making him a magnet for our heroic dreams. 

Then, the phrase, "if it bleeds, it leads" has long been a critique of journalism, but a new book of pulp-fiction style stories by New England reporters plays up the lurid, sensational, side of following crime. Today, we'll talk to two of the veteran reporters behind Murder Ink.

Plus, a pair of true crime writers comb through the dark fantasies exposed at the trial of Seth Mazzalia.

Listen to the full show. 

The Caped Crusade

This weekend Batman and Superman will face off in multiplexes across America. It will be, as the trailer promises, a classic set-up.

If you choose to side with man, that'd be Batman, but which Batman? The scrappy guy bent on avenging the death of his parents at the hands of criminals? The smarmy playboy? The brooding dark knight growling his way through the 1990s? In nearly 80 years of fictional life, batman has reflected the aspirations and anxieties of America's changing culture. He is, as Glen Weldon observes, a bat-shaped Rorschach inkblot for us to project meaning upon.

Glen Weldon is a panelist on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. His new book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture charts the evolution of Batman along with the growing influence of nerds on mainstream pop culture.

Related: Batman Through the Decades: From Campy Ham to Dark Knight and Back Again?  

Murder Ink

You've heard the saying - if it bleeds, it leads. Well that's kind of the point for a new collection of short stories called Murder Ink: Thirteen Tales of New England Newsroom Crime.

Dan Szczesny is an author, a seasoned journalist, associate publisher of the Hippo, and the editor of Murder Ink.

Oreste P. D'Arconte is the former publisher of the Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and a writer of pulp fiction. His story "One Way Dead End" is just one of the tales in Murder Ink.

Dark Heart

On the evening of October 9th 2012, 19-year-old UNH student Lizzie Marriott left her home in Chester, New Hampshire to meet up with a co-worker in Dover. She was never seen again. For the next two years the tragic circumstances of Lizzie's disappearance  dominated the headlines and details of the case rocked the seacoast.

Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie Flynn wrote about the Seth Mazzaglia case in Dark Heart: A True Story of Sex, Manipulation and Murder and co-hosts of the podcast Crime Writers On. ​Rebecca is also NHPR's digital director. 

10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Alexander Chee

There are a few murders in The Queen of the Night, one of the year's most-anticipated novels, but they serve a plot that is intentionally over the top, reflecting the improbably tragic, melodramatic grand operas of old and the aria from Mozart's opera The Magic Flute that gives the novel its name. Author Alexander Chee joined us for our 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop series and podcast to share the un-glamorous process of getting his elegant novel on the page.

Related: 10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Alexander Chee