However, the shooting might affect the tone of the franchise moving forward, especially considering Dark Knight tales have often mirrored what's happening in our world, whether Batman is taking down Nazi saboteurs in the comics or dealing with terrorism post-9/11 on film.
"I suspect the stories were heading in an even darker direction," said Langley. "They are going to recognize that the public are looking at it differently now and might be ready for something brighter and more heroic."
Since Frank Miller's seminal 1986 comic series "The Dark Knight Returns," which bleakly painted an aging Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to rescue a doomed Gotham, and Alan Moore's 1988 Joker-focused "The Killing Joke," the franchise has mostly veered away from the "KA-POW!" campiness of yesteryear toward the grittiness associated with the modern Batman.
Tim Burton's big-screen "Batman" introduced a brooding Caped Crusader to the masses in 1989, paving the way for the '90s deco-style Batman animated TV series featuring gangsters and femme fatales, as well as Rocksteady Studios' moody 2009 video game "Batman: Arkham Asylum" and its 2011 sequel "Arkham City," starring a diseased Joker on the brink of death.
"I think that change reflects popular taste," said Vasilis Pozios, a Batfan and Detroit psychiatrist specializing in risk assessment. "Batman has been around for almost 75 years now. There are many adult fans, and they have much more mature tastes now. We've seen that with the Nolan trilogy, which deals with very sophisticated and psychological ideas."
H. Eric Bender, a San Francisco psychiatrist who presented the panel "Detecting Deviants in the Dark Night: Profiling Gotham City's Serial Killers" with Pozios at San Diego's Comic-Con last year, said because mass shootings are so rare, it's nearly impossible to know what motivates killers and what impact — if any — the fiction they consume has on their psyche.
Schumer, the comic book historian and author of "The Silver Age of Comic Book Art," isn't interested in that. Like some relatives of massacre victims, Schumer refuses to even utter Holmes' name so as to not feed the suspect's perceived need for attention.
What's more, the author of "The Silver Age of Comic Book Art" is determined not to refer to the real-world tragedy in his future writings and lectures about the World's Greatest Detective because "to give any credence to what he did by analyzing it is enabling it and making us co-conspirators."
Schumer knows that the Batman will, as usual, prevail.
"Hopefully, the greatness and timelessness of the Batman mythology will conquer this particular tragedy," said Schumer, who lives in Westport, Conn. "I'll do my best in my corner of the universe to ensure that the focus of Batman is always on Batman and not what happened in Colorado."
AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang/.
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