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

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.
glprime: (Default)

[personal profile] glprime 2011-11-03 09:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Right? (sorry for your friend; hopefully he gets to a better place soon)

Morrison and other writers get on about psychology and mental health all the time because they're intellectuals with varied cultural backgrounds, but not a one of them seem to grasp any of it on the level of actual health practitioners. (BKV and Kirkman seem to do well for the most part, but I have a hard time listing too many instances of them doing more than brushes with mental instability; it's not a theme they often run with to the degree of Morrison and others.)

Morrison seems to care more about theory and philosophy than actual clinical standards; if it doesn't help the story, who cares?