starwolf_oakley: (Default)
[personal profile] starwolf_oakley posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I've said on this board I don't like it when superhero comics (and other forms of pop culture) make it look like mental illness is some sort of moral failing.

Three actual psychiatrists have taken issue (pun intended) with DC Comics and their description of the mentally ill, especially Batman's rogues gallery. It was originally in the New York Times.

Newsarama covered it as well.

More and four pages from THE KILLING JOKE after the cut.



"You're trying to explain a character's villainy or extreme violence by using a real-life illness, that people in the real world have, that are very common. That's when it's harmful to people in real life."

"The psychiatrists repeated several time that they don't want the beloved villains in comics to be changed, and they are fine with depictions that show bizarre behavior. But they want the references to mental illnesses to be handled more responsibly."

Most comic book villains like murdering people for their own amusement. It is hard to describe the behavior of in "genuine" psychiatry terms.

There was praise for how Geoff Johns wrote Starman, who had schizophrenia, in JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA.

Here are four pages from BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE. While the Joker wanted to prove a point about mental illness to Batman (one bad day will drive the sanest person mad) I don't think Alan Moore was trying to write an examination of mental illness. If Moore ever did examine mental illness in a graphic novel, it would be something. (WATCHMEN touched on mental illness, but it wasn't the theme of the story.)









I recall someone once saying THE KILLING JOKE would have worked better as a Two-Face story. Perhaps.

Date: 2011-11-03 07:34 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I actually didn't mind the way they did this with Norman Osborn in Dark Avengers (if you overlook the stupid premise that they would put him in charge, of course). He had medication and therapy and got considerably better in the sense of not trying to destroy Spider-Man/not dressing up as the Green Goblin and blowing things up, while still being basically evil and controlling in a very sane and socially acceptable way. He wasn't faking it, he was never "good", but he was in control and competent.

In the end he stopped going to therapy because he was too busy with his other plans, overdid it and relapsed, but I found that pretty realistic and appropriate, too.

Date: 2011-11-03 02:09 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I'm afraid that I found the "stupid premise" there to be so staggeringly stupid that it essentially derailed anything that came about as a result of it.

Date: 2011-11-03 06:09 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
while still being basically evil and controlling in a very sane and socially acceptable way. He wasn't faking it, he was never "good", but he was in control and competent.

Sounds interesting. I hate how comics conflate mental illness with 'evil,' and sanity with being 'good.'

I've met quite a few people who are, not to mince my words, fucking nuts (at some points of their life; most people with severe mental illness have episodes of relative health).

Many of those people were also fundamentally good, kind, likeable individuals, and that shone through even in moments of florid psychosis.

Date: 2011-11-03 11:36 pm (UTC)
oroburos69: (Default)
From: [personal profile] oroburos69
That's an astonishingly terrible idea on their part (putting him in charge). And incredibly unrealistic on the part of the writers

Date: 2011-11-03 11:39 pm (UTC)
oroburos69: (Default)
From: [personal profile] oroburos69
Sorry, posted too soon!
It's incredibly unrealistic because in the United States, if you plead that you are mentally incompetent to stand trial due to insanity (yes, even temporary insanity), you go to a mental hospital where chances are you'll never be let out. If you get sentenced to 20 years in prison, at the end of that twenty years the prison has to let you out. Being confined to a mental hospital has no definite end date other than your death. You get out when the psychologists think you're stable enough that you won't hurt anyone, and that almost never happens for normal patients. It would never, ever happen with a comic book villain.

Date: 2011-11-04 12:02 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Ororo/Storm face close-up (Storm)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I'm in Australia, and here there is some chance that you will be let out (after a long time!) of a secure mental health facility, but it's still ridiculous what they did with Osborn. I think I'm one of the few people who can get past it because I read it in trades and didn't see the bit where Osborn goes on TV and basically says "I was mentally ill, so not responsible, but I'm better now!" I was presuming as I read it that he'd tricked his way into being in charge. Then I went back and found out what had happened and...no. Even if Osborn had somehow bribed and threatened his way out of a facility, there is no way the government is going to put someone with a documented history of mental health issues in charge - the discrimination against people with mental illness, let alone violent mental illness, is far too great.

Date: 2011-11-04 11:11 am (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
It was ridiculous, really, even without the mental illness thing attached to Osborn. Shoot a skrull in the face and you get appointed to the top position of national/world security? It's like suggesting 'if you shoot Hitler in the face, we'll make YOU President of the United States' to any infantry men back in WWII.

Date: 2011-11-04 11:34 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Beast, Marvel Comics (beast)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
It was ridiculous, but fortunately I'd missed that bit at the time, so I could enjoy the rest of the story arc without it being undermined by the stupid origin!

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