starwolf_oakley: (Default)
starwolf_oakley ([personal profile] starwolf_oakley) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-11-02 23:56

DC Comics, psychiatrists and mental illness

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.
rdfox: Joker asking Tim Drake, "'Sup?" from Paul Dini's "Slay Ride" (Default)

Re: Patient Breakdowns of Dr. R. M. Cher...

[personal profile] rdfox 2011-11-04 16:00 (UTC)(link)
Oh, definitely. Hell, a number of his villains would almost certainly be in FEDERAL facilities rather than the sort of state facilities that Blackgate and Arkham appear to be. (Though Joker does mention that Blackgate is an "old federal facility" in the opening of AA.) Hell, you'd probably have a few at Gitmo or ADX-1 (or, in the DCU, at Belle Reve) on terrorism charges. And Bane would almost certainly be doing his time in a federal facility on the inevitable drug charges related to Venom; whether he'd be doing the rest of his time concurrently is open to debate, but honestly, the narco charges alone would probably have him in the Federal pen for the rest of his life.

By the way, I forgot to mention this, but at least before the reboot, your diagnosis for Riddler was square on the money; he *was* successfully treated and rehabilitated, and had returned to society, at least under Dini's pen, as a private investigator, trading off his notoriety to get jobs. (And Bruce Wayne kept him on retainer... because Batman figured that P.I. was a perfect job for Eddie Nigma, and as long as he was making a living at it, he'd not fall back into his old criminal ways!)
glprime: (Default)

Re: Patient Breakdowns of Dr. R. M. Cher...

[personal profile] glprime 2011-11-04 22:08 (UTC)(link)
...And then Tony Daniel decides to just piss all over that. Ugh. Have yet to read a storyline by that guy I liked.

Re: Patient Breakdowns of Dr. R. M. Cher...

[personal profile] lego_joker 2013-02-24 17:56 (UTC)(link)
Erm... correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it implied that his "rehabilitation" was solely due to some bigshot lawyer throwing money at Arkham until they agreed to rewrite Riddler from "sociopath" to "eccentric", rather than any genuine competence on Arkham's part?

Go over reformed!Riddler's (admittedly short) career again - I don't think there's a single instance of Eddie displaying empathy for anyone. He's still a sociopathic jerkass who would probably smother a baby off if it would save his life - he just plays by "the rules" now.