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.

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

Date: 2011-11-04 04:31 am (UTC)
rdfox: Joker asking Tim Drake, "'Sup?" from Paul Dini's "Slay Ride" (Default)
From: [personal profile] rdfox
The big question, of course, in the US legal system, boils down to whether the judge rules them competent to stand trial, and if the jury finds them guilty, guilty but mentally ill, or not guilty due to mental disease or defect. If the judge rules them incompetent, they go to a psychiatric facility "until such time as they are capable of assisting in their own defense." If ruled guilty but mentally ill, they go to a psych facility until rehabilitated, then to prison for the remainder of their sentence. If not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, they go to a psych facility "until they are deemed fit to re-enter society." So honestly, it's not really the doctors' decision as to who goes to Arkham--as shown in "Arkham Asylum: Living Hell" by Dan Slott, where Warren White is able to pull off a successful insanity defense to avoid prison, figuring he'll then make a miraculous recovery in Arkham and get out in short order. (You can guess how well THAT goes.)

I do note that the implication Dini made in Arkham Asylum is that the vast majority of the inmates in the Asylum at the time are actually Blackgate prisoners, temporarily incarcerated in Arkham because it's the only secure facility that they can be moved to for a while following a bad fire at Blackgate. Honestly, the only inmates I saw who had specialized facilities for them were Mr. Freeze, Ivy, Killer Croc, and Clayface; there were also cells that were clearly the regular cells of Calendar Man and Two-Face (Riddler's cell doesn't look *that* personalized, beyond what might have been done in a few days after the temporary transfer). So beyond those who were clearly criminally insane (Zsasz, Two-Face, Calendar Man, Black Mask, and Ventriloquist), there were a few specialty cases, and a relatively small number of "lunatics" still housed in the facility; several of the buildings appear to have been temporarily reopened specifically for the Blackgate prisoners...

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

Date: 2011-11-04 06:48 am (UTC)
glprime: (Default)
From: [personal profile] glprime
Yeah, the case of The Great White Shark was interesting in its depiction of a DCU courtroom, but other than Manhunter, good luck getting a consistent (let alone real world accurate) depiction of legal proceedings.

I'd say you're right on the money for the Arkham Asylum game (least, that was my impression after playing the opening level demo recently). Dini is somebody I'd trust for creating a reasonable situation for the institution, but it's still hard to square all Bats' specific villains ending up in one place without author fiat/criminal conspiracy like in the game.

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

Date: 2011-11-04 04:00 pm (UTC)
rdfox: Joker asking Tim Drake, "'Sup?" from Paul Dini's "Slay Ride" (Default)
From: [personal profile] rdfox
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!)

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

Date: 2011-11-04 10:08 pm (UTC)
glprime: (Default)
From: [personal profile] glprime
...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...

Date: 2013-02-24 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lego_joker
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.


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