We’re all mad here: A look at Arkham Asylum: A serious house on serious earth.


The madmen have taken over the asylum, quite literally in this classic Batman story from 1989.

Written by The Invisibles writer, Grant Morrison with artwork by Dave Mckean known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman on Sandman, it shows a very different, more cerebral approach to The Dark Knight than you may have seen before.

 

The Joker & the inmates of Arkham Aslyum have seized control, after negotiations with GPD they want only one thing, The Batman. The rouges gallery are present in numbers including Joker, A “cured” Two-Face, Killer Croc, Clay Face, The Mad Hatter & Maxi Zeus, some with very different takes on their character. Alongside this main narrative is a sub-narrative delving into the sad and disturbing backstory of Amadeus Arkham, the asylums founder, a man who’s life it appeared was touched by madness from the very beginning up to its tragic end.
This story was to be the first that Grant Morrison undertook on the bat, and one he most certainly made an impression with. Widely regarded as one of the finest Batman stories and with good reason, this tale of madness & psychological horror draws heavily on symbolism whilst dipping its toe into such disparate areas as the works of Author Lewis Carrol, Occultist Aleister Crowley & Jungian psychology, indeed painting very different psychological takes on classic villains, some very disturbing such as Two-Face, who’s personally has been utterly destroyed by his therapy he is now so dependant on his coin for decision making that he wets himself because he couldn’t decide to go to the toilet & the suggestion that Mad Hatter may in fact be a Paedophile. Couple with this the surreal & haunting artwork provided by Dave McKean and you’d be forgiven for a sense of queesy, nightmarish unease reading this book.
It has been 27 year since this book was first publish and to this day it remains arguably one of the greatest Batman stories written.

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