top of page


Foreword by DC and Marvel Comics Artist Jay Leisten
*Winner 2021 Literary Titan Gold Book Award
Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 12.04.21 PM.png
Literary Titan Gold Book Award.png

Matthew Hodge continues his fascinating explorations of pop culture media with another first-of-its-kind book --- one entirely devoted to the musical scores of Gotham City villains! Why should Batman's famous music always get all the glory? It's finally time for the Dark Knight's rogues gallery to take musical center stage.


These pages shine a fascinating spotlight on the psychological and emotional musical representations constructed by many composers of film, television, and video games for numerous portrayals of Batman's historic and iconic villains. This book discusses dozens of Gotham City characters, including well-known villains like Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, Ra's al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, Scarecrow, Bane, Black Mask, Victor Zsasz, and Killer Croc, as well as villains less-known in general mainstream culture, including Music Meister, Phantasm, Daka, Wizard, Clock King, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus, Romulus, Ventriloquist, Scarface, Professor Pyg, Firefly, Hugo Strange, Professor Milo and more!

(2021, Pulp Hero Press, 260 pages)


Available in Paperback
(Kindle version coming soon)
More store options coming soon!

Foreword Excerpt

Below is an excerpt from the book's Foreword written by Jay Leisten, a prolific DC and Marvel comics artist who has helped bring to life several incarnations of Gotham City's cast of characters, including the titles BATMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUICIDE SQUAD, BIRDS OF PREY, NIGHTWING, and BATWOMAN.



     In this fascinating book, you will have an opportunity to gain additional musical insight, as I have, thanks to the work of Matthew Hodge. He beautifully lays out the style, influence, and history of the musical themes throughout decades of Batman-related media — specifically those sounds representing Gotham City’s infamous troublemakers. Matthew expertly navigates the process behind crafting musical passages for Batman’s notorious villains, set in a key that reinforces the emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of their intriguing villainous stories. Without this support from the music, these on-screen narratives would be severely lacking. Matthew raises up these oft-forgotten heroes of Hollywood music to a new level of thought and appreciation. This valuable book has given me an immense amount of insight and respect for the people behind the baton.

     I hope you will savor the following pages as I have, and as you read on, gain additional knowledge of the musical scoring craft. This book isn’t just for those who are already familiar with film, composition, and music theory; it provides entertaining and important insight for us all. Music lovers and novices alike will benefit from Matthew’s engaging and clear writing.

     Gotham City Sounds: The Music of Batman Villains shows us how we can all find greater enjoyment as an audience when we better understand the musical ideas underlying the mental and physical aspects of a character on screen. Whether it’s a theme for a maniacal clown, a prankster obsessed with riddles, a cat burglar with nine lives, a seductress with a green thumb, or a man with a literal frozen heart, Matthew teaches us how musical masters construct scores that emotionally and psychologically affect us as viewers. So, find a comfy chair, grab a tub of popcorn, and click your remote to watch a few of your favorite Batman villain scenes while you read along with this unique and cleverly-penned book.

-Jay Leisten

DC and Marvel Comics Artist


Jay Leisten is an award-winning American artist and illustrator for comic books and graphic novels. He has worked on prolific projects that have made the New York Times Best Seller lists, earned several award nominations and honors, and inspired live-action films, including CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) and LOGAN (2017). His published works for DC Comics include the titles BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, SUICIDE SQUAD, JUSTICE LEAGUE, BIRDS OF PREY, GREEN LANTERN, NIGHTWING, THE FLASH, BATWOMAN, and CONSTANTINE. His published works for Marvel Comics include the titles AVENGERS, SPIDER-MAN, THOR, BLACK PANTHER, X-MEN, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, WOLVERINE, INCREDIBLE HULK, FANTASTIC FOUR, and DAREDEVIL. His other works include the titles TOMB RAIDER, WITCHBLADE, DARKNESS, and INFERNO. His website is


Literary Titan’s five-star review of Gotham City Sounds: The Music of Batman Villains describes the book as “alluring,” “fun,” “intriguing,” “fascinating,” “mentally stimulating,” “lighthearted, “easy to understand,” and “a fantastic read.”

-Literary Titan 5-Star Review

“Gotham City Sounds: The Music of Batman Villains takes readers on a different journey through Gotham City - a musical journey…These composers are Hollywood’s unsung heroes, their powers of persuasion second to none. A fascinating read.”

-Reader's Favorite 5-Star Review

“Scanning decades of Batman history, Gotham City Sounds highlights the geniuses behind the music…By dissecting each villain’s specific musical theme, one will truly understand the complexity of the melodies marked for the Caped Crusader and those who aim to destroy him."

-Kristi Elizabeth

(Editorial Assistant, City Book Review)

“Captivating and informative!…Each chapter offers in-depth insights into the world of each Batman baddie…Hodge lends an expert touch in explaining musical terms in tandem with pop culture knowledge in this easy-to-read title.”

-Dr. Brett Nachman

(Professor, Author, Podcaster)

bottom of page