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Batman: Arkham Asylum Comic – October 1, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: DC Comics
  • Comic: 128 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930289560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930289560
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Grant Morrison is one of comics' greatest innovators. His long list of credits includes Batman: Arkham Asylum, JLA, Seven Soldiers, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, The Invisibles and The Filth. He is currently writing Batman and All-Star Superman.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Comic
I am sure I am going to confuse a lot of Batman fans with this review and I expect a lot will rate this review as not useful, but this book is NOT a superhero comic, and it would do it a disservice to review it as such. It is instead a psychological theory presented as a superhero comic that will appeal more to fans of Eraserhead than to fans of Batman. The first thing to note about this book is that Batman is not mentioned in the title for a reason. Although Batman is in the book and Arkham Asylum is where all of his criminally insane adversaries are kept locked up, this is not a book about Batman engaging in physical battles. Batman only serves, on the one hand, as the eyes and ears of the reader so that we can explore Arkham in all its details, and on the other, as a representation of the conscious mind.
Basically, Arkham serves as a Jungian metaphor for the mind, and all of its inmates represent the hidden aspects of the unconscious, with the Joker representing (in my opinion) the Trickster archetype whose role is to challenge and tear down the conscious mind, often with humour, and sometimes at the risk of destroying it. Batman himself serves to represent the conscious facade (i.e. those parts of one's personality people present to the external world while trying to suppress the unconscious) trying to keep the inmates (the unconscious) locked behind walls. Therefore Batman, with his mask, trying to keep the inmates in the Asylum is the perfect metaphor for Jungian psychology.
However, as the artist, McKean, has pointed out in interviews, Batman himself is not the picture of rationality, dressing up like a bat to fight crime, just as Jung points out the Facade is not a totally sane representation of the Self.
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Format: Comic Verified Purchase
First, there are two things anyone interested in purchasing or reading this title should know about it beforehand. One, that it is probably not for everyone's taste as it isn't your traditional Batman vs. the villain-of-the-week sort of story, but rather a darker, more disturbing kind of tale that focuses on a deep, complex exploration of madness, told alternately from three different points of view: that of Amadeus Arkham, founder of the asylum, that of Batman and his other persona, Bruce Wayne, and of course, that of all the madmen locked up at the asylum, including the super villains.
Two, that it is "Suggested for Mature Readers" on the back cover as it's probably one of the most unnecessarily violent and ghastly graphic novels ever published under the Batman title, although, I definitely think - regardless of it being at times a bit too disgusting for my taste - that it's also one of the most original and beautifully illustrated narratives ever created for the genre. The superb artwork is perfect for the story with its surreal, dreamy, and suggestive look, even if, on occasion, it gets a little difficult to follow, especially with certain clashing combinations of colors and typographies. Still, the lavish intricacy of the compositions and the broad range of techniques used by the artist are a spectacular visual feast worth the price of the book alone.
The dual story, told in a nicely interwoven parallel, on one hand, explores Arkham's past and how his reasons for founding the asylum derived from decisions he made during the most crucial points of his life, and on the other, focuses on Batman's present day mission to go inside the asylum and, while confronting the insecurities about his own sanity, regain control of the facility after it's been taken over by the Joker.
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Comment 14 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Debi Crabtree on November 23, 2005
Format: Comic
First founded in the 1920s following the death of his insane mother, Amadeus Arkham converted his late mother's house into a mental institution, knowing little that he had set in motion a chain of events of horrific consequence and bizarre circumstance. Years later, the asylum had become a living Hell on earth, a mental hospital for the deadliest criminal individuals in Gotham City, the enemies of the legendary Batman. April Fool's Day has arrived, and the inmates have all escaped and, led by The Joker, have seized control of the asylum and drag the one man responsible for their incarcerations, Batman, into the madhouse and put him through a mad funhouse of mind cancer. Learn the disturbing origin of Dr. Arkham, and dive into the minds of some of the inmates!

I have always considered the Batman to be such a poetic character, and so this story is unique and fun to read in such its own unique, psychologically thrilling way. Writer Grant Morrison's idea in his book are mystic and focus mainly on the symbiosis between Batman and the insidious psychopaths he has time and time again helped incarcerate. "A Serious House on Serious Earth" is a Bat tale unlike any other, because the characters each represent something. Everything in the story is depicted as some form of symbolism, and include the works of the psychology of Carl Jung, the works of Joseph Campbell, and Lewis Carroll (Bat villain Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter, plays a particularly symbolic role here). The villains-Joker, Two-Face, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus, Killer Croc-each represent important symbols, even Batman himself is a form of symbolism in this tale; Dave McKean's chaotic and mystic artwork is very effective in backing this up (each page actually feels like the inside of the mind of a madman).
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