Batman fans are worried the mass shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises will forever be associated with the legend of the black knight.
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Comic-book historian Arlen Schumer is worried said he is concerned the shooting will taint the culture and mythology of “an American treasure”.
''I don't want it to be the second line of the Wikipedia entry, like Watergate is to Nixon,'' he told Fairfax Media.
Schumer cautions against drawing premature parallels between the massacre and Batman.
Whether Batman fiction motivated alleged gunman James Holmes is still unclear but reports surfaced after the shooting that Holmes, his hair dyed a reddish-orange, had told arresting officers he was Batman's rival, the Joker.
Travis Langley, author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight echoed Schemer’s warnings and said there were still a lot factors that were unknown.
''The degree that he might be lost in fantasy, we don't know. I think it's safe to assume he had some kind of need for others to notice him.''
“Clearly, we are influenced by popular culture,'' said Langley. ''The tricky part is quantifying it. There are millions upon millions of influences on us all the time. Our culture is one of those influences, but we don't know to what degree. Even if it turns out that Holmes is preoccupied with Batman and the Joker, there are so many other variables involved,'' he added.
Entertainment research consultant Gene Del Vecchio doubts the massacre will impact the Batman brand, saying that it's a ''trivial issue in the face of such tragedy”.
''There is apt to be little or no monetary effect on the Batman franchise,'' said Del Vecchio.
''People go to movies, play with toys, buy soundtracks and read comics in order to escape. Escapism is such a powerful human desire that it won't be affected by the recent event.''
But Schumer is not so easily convinced and is determined not to refer to the real-world tragedy in his future writings and lectures about the Batman because ''to give any credence to what he did by analyzing it is enabling it and making us co-conspirators.''