Michael Chabon is the author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Ulf Andersen/Getty Images hide caption

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Emotional Armor: Superheroes like Batman (Christian Bale) function as talismans when our fears are darkest — symbols of good, and of justice, when we wonder whether either exists. Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Pictures