Within the last couple of weeks I came across the mention of a book while following a discussion of the recent The Dark Knight Rises.
The book is called Batman: Unauthorized
and the reference to it piqued my interest. So I looked it up and took a chance ordering it from Amazon.
I'm really glad I did as I've just finished reading it. It's edited by Dennis O'Neil and is a collection of eighteen separate essays by various writers and their distinct views on various aspects of Batman and his world.
It was fascinating even when I didn't agree with what I read. Because above all it was thought provoking and all with a touch of humour. The articles touch on why Batman is such a great literary character and why he still fascinates us after more than eighty years existence. It's also apparent that all these writers like and even love Batman even when they're offering critical observations. In that it's similar to David Gerrold's book The World Of Star Trek.
There are articles on what it might really cost to be Batman, evaluating Bruce Wayne's psychology, a look at Batman's little remembered sci-fi era of the late 1940s to early '60s, what the campy '60s series really meant, the work of Frank Miller, the evolution of Batman and a helluva lot more.
And you have to read "To The Batpole!" by Alex Bledsoe. I guarantee you will laugh your ass off even as you see the characters stay perfectly true to form.
If you love Batman then I highly recommend this book.