Holy mackerel, Batman! An Australian university is hosting what it claims is the world's first academic conference on superheroes.
Hundreds of scholars, lecturers and film buffs will descend on Melbourne University today to reflect on the enduring popularity of Batman, Superman and other caped crusaders.
Speakers will argue that Superman was modelled on mythical Greek heroes such as Hercules and that characters like Captain America draw inspiration from Norse legends.
The four-day event, Holy Men in Tights - A Superheroes Conference, has attracted participants from New Zealand, Britain, Singapore, Canada and the United States.
Organisers bridle at suggestions that it is a gathering of uber-geeks, pointing out that the conference has attracted heavyweight academics from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"There have been comic conventions before but this is the first time that so many academics have got together to talk about superheroes," said conference organiser Professor Angela Ndalianis, a lecturer in film studies.
"We have classical scholars comparing Odysseus with Batman, and looking at the cross-over between the legend of the Amazons and Xena, Warrior Princess."
... alas, I can't find any more details on this one.