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 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
I strongly agree with your interpretation of TKJ; I think it was more about showing how tragedy played a common role in driving Batman and Joker to become who they are but with polar opposite results.

Kind of tangential, but I think Dwayne McDuffie did a really good job of conveying a similar sentiment in his script for the "JLA: Crisis on Two Earth's Movies" with the confrontation between Batman and Owlman:

Owlman: From what I gather, we are very much alike. Everything about you tells the tale. Your attitude, your costume, your tactics... they all scream of outrage, despair, vengeance. What terrible wrong was done to set you on this path? It doesn't really matter. Nothing matters.

Batman: There is a difference between you and me. We both looked into the abyss, but when it looked back... *you* blinked.

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