History Main / ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth

8th Dec '13 2:45:12 AM Korodzik
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arkham_asylum_-_a_serious_house_on_serious_earth_8783.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere The most serious house on the most serious street in America, where nothing remotely silly will ever happen.]]]]-]

->''Sometimes... sometimes I think the Asylum is a head. We're inside a huge head that dreams us all into being. Perhaps it's '''your''' head, Batman. Arkham is a looking glass... and '''we''' are '''you'''.''
--> -- '''The Mad Hatter'''
%%
%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes page.

A 1989 Franchise/{{Batman}} graphic novel written by Creator/GrantMorrison [[MushroomSamba at his crackiest]] and beautifully, creepily illustrated by Creator/DaveMcKean.

Amadeus Arkham ended up living the remainder of his life in the asylum he founded, after losing a battle with his own private mental illness which started at childhood and was fueled by the murder of his wife and daughter. Many years later, the inmates have taken over [[CardboardPrison (as opposed to just getting out like usual)]] and threaten to kill the staff unless Batman comes. As they plan to exact revenge, Batman runs into the depths of the asylum. What follows is a surrealist, heavily atmospheric sequence of symbols based on everything from Literature/TheBible and Egyptian mythology to Jungian and Freudian psychology.

More recent editions come with a full script, which is a ''huge'' help in understanding what the hell is going on.

The video game ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' also takes many cues from the graphic novel (along with ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'').

The title is taken from Philip Larkin's poem "Church Going".

----
!!This comic provides examples of:

* AbusiveParents:
** It is hinted that Amadeus Arkham's parents sexually abused him, specifically in the "Tunnel of Love" imagery from his childhood dreams, and the way his face is situated in said image.
** Not only Amadeus's parents, it's implied Amadeus Arkham and his wife sexually abused their daughter, Harriet. This is backed up by the drawing she did of her parents, which if you look closely also appears to be external female genitalia.
* AllPsychologyIsFreudian: And Jungian. Batman and Arkham are both fucked up because of their parents, and there's a lot of vaginas.
* AllThereInTheScript: The only way to really understand the sheer amount of symbolism and imagery stuffed in this story is by buying the 15th Anniversary Edition, which includes the annotated script. It explains the use of some images, some of the stuff that was cut out, and (not to diss Mr [=McKean=] or anything) helps to clarify what's happening in some of the more abstractly illustrated scenes.
** Like, for instance, one little inscription that's scratched into the doorway of Maxie Zeus' electroshock chamber ''[[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign in Greek]]'', which is significant to the scene, and it translates to "Discover thyself." Again, the artwork is very loosely defined (and in some cases [[WhatCouldHaveBeen bypasses the original script)]].
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
** In the notes to the script included in the 15th anniversary edition, Morrison admits that this interpretation of the Batman (as an insecure, sexually repressed, infantile mama's boy) can only apply to this comic, that it's meant to be a death and rebirth for Batman.{{Invoked}} by Morrison in response to all the interpretations of Batman as [[ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns borderline sociopathic]], and partly because this was one of Morrison's and [[=McKean=]'s earliest professional projects.
** Though the abstract storytelling makes it hard to know for sure, the story also leaves open the suggestion that Bruce Wayne may (or may not) really be either...
*** A) Possessed by an evil spirit that gives him a symbiotic connection with Arkham Asylum.
*** B) The latest reincarnation of the [[PsychoPsychologist deranged psychologist]] who founded the asylum.
** Most incarnations of Doctor Destiny have him as a 7-foot tall, muscular titan with a skull for a head. Morrison re-imagined him as an emaciated cripple, trapped in a wheelchair, wasted by his inability to dream. This incarnation was used by NeilGaiman in ComicBook/TheSandman, to good effect.
* AprilFoolsPlot: The story takes place on April Fools' Day.
* BedlamHouse: Arkham at its finest, folks. And by finest, we mean "most pants-crappingly scary".
* BeetleManiac: Amadeus Arkham inherited his obsession with beetles from his mother, who ate them because of their mythological significance as a symbol of rebirth.
* BodyHorror: "Batman... my skin is sick..."
* BuildingOfAdventure: Arkham itself.
* ClimaxBoss: Killer Croc.
* TheComicallySerious : The Batman herein is intentionally depicted at his most humorless, as a commentary on his borderline psychotic 1980s incarnations.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The Joker is ''not'' the main villain.
** Then again, the cover above is that of the 15th anniversary UpdatedRerelease. The original 1989 cover instead has a ''very'' detailed drawing of a bat flying by Arkham Asylum.
** And the Joker is the TrueFinalBoss after the BigBad is gone.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Oh yeah. Batman's rigid and stoic demenor is just his way of covering his severe emotional issues and sexual repression, Mad Hatter's love of blond little girls is taken to {{Lolicon}} levels, and Maxie Zeus is a weak skeletal man with delusions of granduer.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
** Clayface is most certainly supposed to represent AIDS.
** The bearded, white-clad, beatific-expression-wearing Amadeus Arkham's last words following his years-long effort to scratch a binding spell into his cell with his fingernails: "Finished. [[{{Jesus}} It's finished]]."
** In the part where Amadeus Arkham describes his carnival nightmares, the "Tunnel of Love" is meant to remind you of a woman's genitals.
* EyeScream:
** Joker creatively uses a nurse, a sharpened pencil, and one of her eyes to lure Batman to the asylum. [[spoiler:And then when Batman gets there, it turns out he was kidding]].
** Then there's the Joker himself, since this version doesn't have eyelids.
* [[spoiler:FakeKillScare:]] This is how Joker provokes Batman into coming for him: [[spoiler:over the phone, he acts as though he's blinding a nurse with a pencil through her eyes.]]
* FoeRomanceSubtext[=/=]HomoeroticSubtext: Part of Morrison's interpretation of Batman. Joker, sensing Batman's fragile state of mind and repressed sexuality, deliberately fucks with him, the most memorable part being when he [[TheComicallySerious slaps Batman's ass]].
* FreudWasRight: {{Invoked}}. If you read Grant's notes, you'll find that a LOT of the scenes in this story have to do with [[ChasteHero Batman's screwed-up sexuality]]. And it was mostly based on Jungian psychology, an outgrowth of Freud's work. Even {{Lampshaded}} in the comic when Arkham goes to study with Jung in Europe.
* AGodAmI: Maxie Zeus, to rather disturbing effect.
* GuiltByAssociationGag: Professor Milo
* HollywoodPsychology: The brilliant idea that SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker reinvents himself every day because he finds reality so overwhelming, so that he might be a harmless prankster one moment and a homicidal maniac the next, which amongst other things reconciles the wildly different versions of the character that have appeared since the 40's. The problem is the doctors call this "Super Sanity" and imply that perhaps he is perfectly sensible to live this way, maybe more so than the rest, and that this "Super Sanity" is unprecedented. Apart from not knowing what sanity means, the doctors are actually describing a very much precedented condition, namely dissociation or a psychotic break from reality, albeit an extreme case. Maybe {{justified|Trope}}[=/=]{{subverted|Trope}} since the doctors are obviously quacks, but the term has become popular in the Joker's fandom.
** It's 20 years later, but in his ''[[GrantMorrisonsBatman Batman and Robin]]'' series Morrison has Joker admit to the new Robin, Damian Wayne, that he isn't really crazy ("just different sane") and affirms Damian's accusations that he really isn't as crazy as he lets everyone think he is, confirming that these doctors are not meant to be taken seriously and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker is supposed to be nothing more than a sophisticated ManipulativeBastard and an evil, murdering psychopath. Again, this is ''20 years later'', so its not exactly the best authority on the subject, even if it is the same author.
* ImAHumanitarian: An early version of the script had [[spoiler:Arkham eat his dead wife and daughter following their deaths]].
** Morrison stated in the highly explanatory fully annotated script in the 15th Anniversary Edition that this is still slightly implied as is, and meant to be.
** If you look carefully in the scenes directly after [[spoiler:Arkham discovers his dead family]], you can see he has some [[spoiler:blood around his mouth and beard]].
* ImpaledPalm: Batman does it to himself with a shard of glass.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:Killer Croc.]]
* InsultBackfire:
--> '''Batman''': Take your filthy hands off me!
--> '''Joker''': What's the matter? Have I touched a nerve? How is the Boy Wonder? Started shaving yet?
--> '''Batman''': Filthy degenerate!
--> '''Joker''': Flattery will get you nowhere.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In one of the anniversary paperbacks, Grant Morrison recalls how an early version of the script was passed around for people to look at. Most of them thought the psychological horror and heavy symbolism was not only a failure, but the dumbest Batman story ever. They all laughed their asses off, and in the paperback, Morrison asks them WhosLaughingNow.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth: That is line 65 from Phillip Larkin's poem [[http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar5.htm "Church Going"]], that describes the fascination Larkin, an agnostic, feels for churches, recognizing that even when humanity will lose all faith in gods, it will always need churches as a place to reflect about life, death, marriage, etc... then you realize that the comic is about a BedlamHouse, and [[FridgeHorror humanity will always need a place like that...]]
* {{Lolicon}}: Morrison ran with the idea of the Mad Hatter having a taste for young blonde girls.
* MentalTimeTravel and StableTimeLoop: According to Morrison's script, the madness of the asylum's inmates echoed back through time which drove Mrs. Arkham (and, later, her son Amadeus) insane. But Batman's anger and confusion is what drove the two Arkhams over the edge, which leads Amadeus to write about the Bat, so [[spoiler:Cavandish]] would set the events of the comic in motion which caused the Arkhams to go insane. All because Dr. Destiny's dream-based reality-warping powers had allowed the Asylum to turn into a nightmare landscape where the veil of time was thin to begin with. And that only happened because the inmates had taken over, and ''that'' only happened because Batman had in his anger and confusion put them in there to begin with. Finally, Cavendish finishes Arkham's spell, which is intended to exorcise the mad demon that infests the asylum, but because it's April Fool's day, everything works backward and he instead is the one to send it back in time and infest the asylum in the first place.
* MindScrew
* MommyIssues: Both Batman and Arkham have metric truckloads of them.
* OnlySaneMan: Professor Milo. Prior to the story, he'd been incarcerated in Arkham after accidentally being exposed to his insanity gas, but by the time of the novel it's worn off. This is generally played for [[GallowsHumor (grim)]] laughs.
-->"I don't know how many times I have to say this. I am sane. I am perfectly and completely sane. I shouldn't be in here at all. There's been a ''terrible mistake''."
* PaintingTheMedium: Every character gets a different style of speech bubble. For example, Batman's is black with white lettering; Maxie gets blue with a Greek font... Joker's lines don't ''have'' speech bubbles containing them (but did have a deranged red color) and Clayface's were... just plain weird.
** While probably unintentional, Maxie Zeus talking about how he's a god in blue speech bubbles brought [[Comicbook/{{Watchmen}} someone else]] to mind.
** This can lead to difficulty in reading some dialogue, especially with the Joker's jagged-red font.
* PsychologicalHorror
* RealityWarper: Doctor Destiny gets portrayed this way here, although he's actually ''less'' scary than in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''.
-->'''Joker''': He seems so frail in that wheelchair but all he has to do is ''look'' at you and you stop being ''real''. He does ''so'' want to look at ''you'', darling.
* RunTheGauntlet: The inmates force Batman to at least confront, and sometimes actually fight, several classic Bat villains.
-->'''Joker''': Time to begin the evening's entertainment, I think. If you're feeling up to it.\\
'''Batman''': Up to what?\\
'''Joker''': A nice little game of hide and seek. You have one hour, sweetheart, and there's no way out of the building. One hour before all your friends come looking for you. [...] They ''all'' want to see you, so why don't you just run along now?
* SanityHasAdvantages: But not as many as you'd hope.
* ShoutOut:
** The last words of the comic:
--> '''Two Face''': [[Literature/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland "Who cares for you? You're nothing but a pack of cards."]]
* SlapYourselfAwake: Batman stabs his palm with a shard of glass to wake himself up from the disturbing experience of being psychoanalyzed by The Joker.
* SmallReferencePools: No and yes. We have SigmundFreud, ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', ''Film/{{Psycho}}'', Literature/TheBible: Jungian psychology, AleisterCrowley, TarotMotifs, quantum mechanics, and much, much more.
* TakeThat: In the 15th Anniversary edition, in the beginning of the script, Morrison writes that the script was passed around to many others before the project was completed, and that they all laughed at his attempts to integrate serious psychological symbols into a comic. Look at him now, "@$$holes!".
* TarotMotifs: Several, The Tower and The Moon in particular.
* TheCameo: Lots of classic Batman villains make background cameos, like Black Mask and Tweedledee & Tweedledum, some in a blink-and-you'll-miss-them kind of way. Then there's Scarecrow, whose presence takes up several panels, but does little more than walk from one end a the corridor to the other end.
* TheUnfought: Lots and lots. Batman only fights Killer Croc, and assaults both Clayface and Dr. Destiny. But the rest of the rogue gallery goes completely unfought - Joker, Two Face, Black Mask, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus, Scarecrow...
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Well there are therapists, just not ''good ones''...
* TooKinkyToTorture: Maxie Zeus has become addicted to electroshock therapy, seen hooked up to what can only be described as a non-lethal electric chair when Batman encounters him.
** Maybe 'addicted' is not the right word. He describes himself as a martyr, like Attis and Jesus; and he is supposed to be the lord of lightning. Maybe he just grins and bears it.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: You'll get much more out of it if you have some knowledge of psychological symbolism. If not...
** Multiple re-reads are practically mandatory as well.
** It also has the problem that, while the art is wonderful, it often does a poor job of actually portraying the events of the scene and at many points has omitted important symbolic details for the sake of maintaining its distinctive style. Reading the script, even without annotations, reveals a lot.
* WeirdMoon: Two-Face has decided it's a coin, scarred face up, which is why God had to [[CrapsackWorld create the world]].
* WorldOfSymbolism: Morrison's script was chock full of pop psychology, Tarot, Egyptology, medieval Christian mythology, and more. [=McKean=]'s creepy-ass surreal artwork just takes Morrison's three-layers-deep mythology and turns it into swirling horror. [[ThrowItIn Morrison didn't mind.]]

----

to:

[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arkham_asylum_-_a_serious_house_on_serious_earth_8783.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:[[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere The most serious house on the most serious street in America, where nothing remotely silly will ever happen.]]]]-]

->''Sometimes... sometimes I think the Asylum is a head. We're inside a huge head that dreams us all into being. Perhaps it's '''your''' head, Batman. Arkham is a looking glass... and '''we''' are '''you'''.''
--> -- '''The Mad Hatter'''
%%
%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes page.

A 1989 Franchise/{{Batman}} graphic novel written by Creator/GrantMorrison [[MushroomSamba at his crackiest]] and beautifully, creepily illustrated by Creator/DaveMcKean.

Amadeus Arkham ended up living the remainder of his life in the asylum he founded, after losing a battle with his own private mental illness which started at childhood and was fueled by the murder of his wife and daughter. Many years later, the inmates have taken over [[CardboardPrison (as opposed to just getting out like usual)]] and threaten to kill the staff unless Batman comes. As they plan to exact revenge, Batman runs into the depths of the asylum. What follows is a surrealist, heavily atmospheric sequence of symbols based on everything from Literature/TheBible and Egyptian mythology to Jungian and Freudian psychology.

More recent editions come with a full script, which is a ''huge'' help in understanding what the hell is going on.

The video game ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' also takes many cues from the graphic novel (along with ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'').

The title is taken from Philip Larkin's poem "Church Going".

----
!!This comic provides examples of:

* AbusiveParents:
** It is hinted that Amadeus Arkham's parents sexually abused him, specifically in the "Tunnel of Love" imagery from his childhood dreams, and the way his face is situated in said image.
** Not only Amadeus's parents, it's implied Amadeus Arkham and his wife sexually abused their daughter, Harriet. This is backed up by the drawing she did of her parents, which if you look closely also appears to be external female genitalia.
* AllPsychologyIsFreudian: And Jungian. Batman and Arkham are both fucked up because of their parents, and there's a lot of vaginas.
* AllThereInTheScript: The only way to really understand the sheer amount of symbolism and imagery stuffed in this story is by buying the 15th Anniversary Edition, which includes the annotated script. It explains the use of some images, some of the stuff that was cut out, and (not to diss Mr [=McKean=] or anything) helps to clarify what's happening in some of the more abstractly illustrated scenes.
** Like, for instance, one little inscription that's scratched into the doorway of Maxie Zeus' electroshock chamber ''[[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign in Greek]]'', which is significant to the scene, and it translates to "Discover thyself." Again, the artwork is very loosely defined (and in some cases [[WhatCouldHaveBeen bypasses the original script)]].
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
** In the notes to the script included in the 15th anniversary edition, Morrison admits that this interpretation of the Batman (as an insecure, sexually repressed, infantile mama's boy) can only apply to this comic, that it's meant to be a death and rebirth for Batman.{{Invoked}} by Morrison in response to all the interpretations of Batman as [[ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns borderline sociopathic]], and partly because this was one of Morrison's and [[=McKean=]'s earliest professional projects.
** Though the abstract storytelling makes it hard to know for sure, the story also leaves open the suggestion that Bruce Wayne may (or may not) really be either...
*** A) Possessed by an evil spirit that gives him a symbiotic connection with Arkham Asylum.
*** B) The latest reincarnation of the [[PsychoPsychologist deranged psychologist]] who founded the asylum.
** Most incarnations of Doctor Destiny have him as a 7-foot tall, muscular titan with a skull for a head. Morrison re-imagined him as an emaciated cripple, trapped in a wheelchair, wasted by his inability to dream. This incarnation was used by NeilGaiman in ComicBook/TheSandman, to good effect.
* AprilFoolsPlot: The story takes place on April Fools' Day.
* BedlamHouse: Arkham at its finest, folks. And by finest, we mean "most pants-crappingly scary".
* BeetleManiac: Amadeus Arkham inherited his obsession with beetles from his mother, who ate them because of their mythological significance as a symbol of rebirth.
* BodyHorror: "Batman... my skin is sick..."
* BuildingOfAdventure: Arkham itself.
* ClimaxBoss: Killer Croc.
* TheComicallySerious : The Batman herein is intentionally depicted at his most humorless, as a commentary on his borderline psychotic 1980s incarnations.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The Joker is ''not'' the main villain.
** Then again, the cover above is that of the 15th anniversary UpdatedRerelease. The original 1989 cover instead has a ''very'' detailed drawing of a bat flying by Arkham Asylum.
** And the Joker is the TrueFinalBoss after the BigBad is gone.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Oh yeah. Batman's rigid and stoic demenor is just his way of covering his severe emotional issues and sexual repression, Mad Hatter's love of blond little girls is taken to {{Lolicon}} levels, and Maxie Zeus is a weak skeletal man with delusions of granduer.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
** Clayface is most certainly supposed to represent AIDS.
** The bearded, white-clad, beatific-expression-wearing Amadeus Arkham's last words following his years-long effort to scratch a binding spell into his cell with his fingernails: "Finished. [[{{Jesus}} It's finished]]."
** In the part where Amadeus Arkham describes his carnival nightmares, the "Tunnel of Love" is meant to remind you of a woman's genitals.
* EyeScream:
** Joker creatively uses a nurse, a sharpened pencil, and one of her eyes to lure Batman to the asylum. [[spoiler:And then when Batman gets there, it turns out he was kidding]].
** Then there's the Joker himself, since this version doesn't have eyelids.
* [[spoiler:FakeKillScare:]] This is how Joker provokes Batman into coming for him: [[spoiler:over the phone, he acts as though he's blinding a nurse with a pencil through her eyes.]]
* FoeRomanceSubtext[=/=]HomoeroticSubtext: Part of Morrison's interpretation of Batman. Joker, sensing Batman's fragile state of mind and repressed sexuality, deliberately fucks with him, the most memorable part being when he [[TheComicallySerious slaps Batman's ass]].
* FreudWasRight: {{Invoked}}. If you read Grant's notes, you'll find that a LOT of the scenes in this story have to do with [[ChasteHero Batman's screwed-up sexuality]]. And it was mostly based on Jungian psychology, an outgrowth of Freud's work. Even {{Lampshaded}} in the comic when Arkham goes to study with Jung in Europe.
* AGodAmI: Maxie Zeus, to rather disturbing effect.
* GuiltByAssociationGag: Professor Milo
* HollywoodPsychology: The brilliant idea that SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker reinvents himself every day because he finds reality so overwhelming, so that he might be a harmless prankster one moment and a homicidal maniac the next, which amongst other things reconciles the wildly different versions of the character that have appeared since the 40's. The problem is the doctors call this "Super Sanity" and imply that perhaps he is perfectly sensible to live this way, maybe more so than the rest, and that this "Super Sanity" is unprecedented. Apart from not knowing what sanity means, the doctors are actually describing a very much precedented condition, namely dissociation or a psychotic break from reality, albeit an extreme case. Maybe {{justified|Trope}}[=/=]{{subverted|Trope}} since the doctors are obviously quacks, but the term has become popular in the Joker's fandom.
** It's 20 years later, but in his ''[[GrantMorrisonsBatman Batman and Robin]]'' series Morrison has Joker admit to the new Robin, Damian Wayne, that he isn't really crazy ("just different sane") and affirms Damian's accusations that he really isn't as crazy as he lets everyone think he is, confirming that these doctors are not meant to be taken seriously and SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker is supposed to be nothing more than a sophisticated ManipulativeBastard and an evil, murdering psychopath. Again, this is ''20 years later'', so its not exactly the best authority on the subject, even if it is the same author.
* ImAHumanitarian: An early version of the script had [[spoiler:Arkham eat his dead wife and daughter following their deaths]].
** Morrison stated in the highly explanatory fully annotated script in the 15th Anniversary Edition that this is still slightly implied as is, and meant to be.
** If you look carefully in the scenes directly after [[spoiler:Arkham discovers his dead family]], you can see he has some [[spoiler:blood around his mouth and beard]].
* ImpaledPalm: Batman does it to himself with a shard of glass.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:Killer Croc.]]
* InsultBackfire:
--> '''Batman''': Take your filthy hands off me!
--> '''Joker''': What's the matter? Have I touched a nerve? How is the Boy Wonder? Started shaving yet?
--> '''Batman''': Filthy degenerate!
--> '''Joker''': Flattery will get you nowhere.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In one of the anniversary paperbacks, Grant Morrison recalls how an early version of the script was passed around for people to look at. Most of them thought the psychological horror and heavy symbolism was not only a failure, but the dumbest Batman story ever. They all laughed their asses off, and in the paperback, Morrison asks them WhosLaughingNow.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth: That is line 65 from Phillip Larkin's poem [[http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar5.htm "Church Going"]], that describes the fascination Larkin, an agnostic, feels for churches, recognizing that even when humanity will lose all faith in gods, it will always need churches as a place to reflect about life, death, marriage, etc... then you realize that the comic is about a BedlamHouse, and [[FridgeHorror humanity will always need a place like that...]]
* {{Lolicon}}: Morrison ran with the idea of the Mad Hatter having a taste for young blonde girls.
* MentalTimeTravel and StableTimeLoop: According to Morrison's script, the madness of the asylum's inmates echoed back through time which drove Mrs. Arkham (and, later, her son Amadeus) insane. But Batman's anger and confusion is what drove the two Arkhams over the edge, which leads Amadeus to write about the Bat, so [[spoiler:Cavandish]] would set the events of the comic in motion which caused the Arkhams to go insane. All because Dr. Destiny's dream-based reality-warping powers had allowed the Asylum to turn into a nightmare landscape where the veil of time was thin to begin with. And that only happened because the inmates had taken over, and ''that'' only happened because Batman had in his anger and confusion put them in there to begin with. Finally, Cavendish finishes Arkham's spell, which is intended to exorcise the mad demon that infests the asylum, but because it's April Fool's day, everything works backward and he instead is the one to send it back in time and infest the asylum in the first place.
* MindScrew
* MommyIssues: Both Batman and Arkham have metric truckloads of them.
* OnlySaneMan: Professor Milo. Prior to the story, he'd been incarcerated in Arkham after accidentally being exposed to his insanity gas, but by the time of the novel it's worn off. This is generally played for [[GallowsHumor (grim)]] laughs.
-->"I don't know how many times I have to say this. I am sane. I am perfectly and completely sane. I shouldn't be in here at all. There's been a ''terrible mistake''."
* PaintingTheMedium: Every character gets a different style of speech bubble. For example, Batman's is black with white lettering; Maxie gets blue with a Greek font... Joker's lines don't ''have'' speech bubbles containing them (but did have a deranged red color) and Clayface's were... just plain weird.
** While probably unintentional, Maxie Zeus talking about how he's a god in blue speech bubbles brought [[Comicbook/{{Watchmen}} someone else]] to mind.
** This can lead to difficulty in reading some dialogue, especially with the Joker's jagged-red font.
* PsychologicalHorror
* RealityWarper: Doctor Destiny gets portrayed this way here, although he's actually ''less'' scary than in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''.
-->'''Joker''': He seems so frail in that wheelchair but all he has to do is ''look'' at you and you stop being ''real''. He does ''so'' want to look at ''you'', darling.
* RunTheGauntlet: The inmates force Batman to at least confront, and sometimes actually fight, several classic Bat villains.
-->'''Joker''': Time to begin the evening's entertainment, I think. If you're feeling up to it.\\
'''Batman''': Up to what?\\
'''Joker''': A nice little game of hide and seek. You have one hour, sweetheart, and there's no way out of the building. One hour before all your friends come looking for you. [...] They ''all'' want to see you, so why don't you just run along now?
* SanityHasAdvantages: But not as many as you'd hope.
* ShoutOut:
** The last words of the comic:
--> '''Two Face''': [[Literature/AlicesAdventuresInWonderland "Who cares for you? You're nothing but a pack of cards."]]
* SlapYourselfAwake: Batman stabs his palm with a shard of glass to wake himself up from the disturbing experience of being psychoanalyzed by The Joker.
* SmallReferencePools: No and yes. We have SigmundFreud, ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', ''Film/{{Psycho}}'', Literature/TheBible: Jungian psychology, AleisterCrowley, TarotMotifs, quantum mechanics, and much, much more.
* TakeThat: In the 15th Anniversary edition, in the beginning of the script, Morrison writes that the script was passed around to many others before the project was completed, and that they all laughed at his attempts to integrate serious psychological symbols into a comic. Look at him now, "@$$holes!".
* TarotMotifs: Several, The Tower and The Moon in particular.
* TheCameo: Lots of classic Batman villains make background cameos, like Black Mask and Tweedledee & Tweedledum, some in a blink-and-you'll-miss-them kind of way. Then there's Scarecrow, whose presence takes up several panels, but does little more than walk from one end a the corridor to the other end.
* TheUnfought: Lots and lots. Batman only fights Killer Croc, and assaults both Clayface and Dr. Destiny. But the rest of the rogue gallery goes completely unfought - Joker, Two Face, Black Mask, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus, Scarecrow...
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Well there are therapists, just not ''good ones''...
* TooKinkyToTorture: Maxie Zeus has become addicted to electroshock therapy, seen hooked up to what can only be described as a non-lethal electric chair when Batman encounters him.
** Maybe 'addicted' is not the right word. He describes himself as a martyr, like Attis and Jesus; and he is supposed to be the lord of lightning. Maybe he just grins and bears it.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: You'll get much more out of it if you have some knowledge of psychological symbolism. If not...
** Multiple re-reads are practically mandatory as well.
** It also has the problem that, while the art is wonderful, it often does a poor job of actually portraying the events of the scene and at many points has omitted important symbolic details for the sake of maintaining its distinctive style. Reading the script, even without annotations, reveals a lot.
* WeirdMoon: Two-Face has decided it's a coin, scarred face up, which is why God had to [[CrapsackWorld create the world]].
* WorldOfSymbolism: Morrison's script was chock full of pop psychology, Tarot, Egyptology, medieval Christian mythology, and more. [=McKean=]'s creepy-ass surreal artwork just takes Morrison's three-layers-deep mythology and turns it into swirling horror. [[ThrowItIn Morrison didn't mind.]]

----
[[redirect:ComicBook/ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth]]
23rd Oct '13 10:24:10 AM LentilSandEater
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** In the notes to the script included in the 15th anniversary edition, Morrison admits that this interpretation of the Batman (as an insecure, sexually repressed, infantile mama's boy) can only apply to this comic, that it's meant to be a death and rebirth for Batman. Partly {{invoked}} by Morrison in response to all the interpretations of Batman as [[ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns borderline sociopathic]], and partly because this was one of Morrison's and [[=McKean=]'s earliest professional projects.

to:

** In the notes to the script included in the 15th anniversary edition, Morrison admits that this interpretation of the Batman (as an insecure, sexually repressed, infantile mama's boy) can only apply to this comic, that it's meant to be a death and rebirth for Batman. Partly {{invoked}} {{Invoked}} by Morrison in response to all the interpretations of Batman as [[ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns borderline sociopathic]], and partly because this was one of Morrison's and [[=McKean=]'s earliest professional projects.
23rd Sep '13 10:50:19 AM JohnnyNovgorod
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* ClimaxBoss: Killer Croc.



* PaintingTheMedium: Every character gets a different style of speech bubble. For example, Batman's is black with white lettering; Maxie gets blue... Joker's lines didn't ''have'' speech bubbles containing them (but did have a deranged red color) and Clayface's were... just plain weird.

to:

* PaintingTheMedium: Every character gets a different style of speech bubble. For example, Batman's is black with white lettering; Maxie gets blue... blue with a Greek font... Joker's lines didn't don't ''have'' speech bubbles containing them (but did have a deranged red color) and Clayface's were... just plain weird.


Added DiffLines:

* TheCameo: Lots of classic Batman villains make background cameos, like Black Mask and Tweedledee & Tweedledum, some in a blink-and-you'll-miss-them kind of way. Then there's Scarecrow, whose presence takes up several panels, but does little more than walk from one end a the corridor to the other end.
* TheUnfought: Lots and lots. Batman only fights Killer Croc, and assaults both Clayface and Dr. Destiny. But the rest of the rogue gallery goes completely unfought - Joker, Two Face, Black Mask, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus, Scarecrow...
9th Sep '13 6:59:46 AM Willbyr
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* AbusiveParents: It is hinted that Amadeus Arkham's parents sexually abused him, specifically in the "Tunnel of Love" imagery from his childhood dreams, and the way his face is situated in said image.

to:

* AbusiveParents: AbusiveParents:
**
It is hinted that Amadeus Arkham's parents sexually abused him, specifically in the "Tunnel of Love" imagery from his childhood dreams, and the way his face is situated in said image.



* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: In the notes to the script included in the 15th anniversary edition, Morrison admits that this interpretation of the Batman (as an insecure, sexually repressed, infantile mama's boy) can only apply to this comic, that it's meant to be a death and rebirth for Batman. Partly {{invoked}} by Morrison in response to all the interpretations of Batman as [[ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns borderline sociopathic]], and partly because this was one of Morrison's and [[=McKean=]'s earliest professional projects.

to:

* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
**
In the notes to the script included in the 15th anniversary edition, Morrison admits that this interpretation of the Batman (as an insecure, sexually repressed, infantile mama's boy) can only apply to this comic, that it's meant to be a death and rebirth for Batman. Partly {{invoked}} by Morrison in response to all the interpretations of Batman as [[ComicBook/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns borderline sociopathic]], and partly because this was one of Morrison's and [[=McKean=]'s earliest professional projects.



* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Clayface is most certainly supposed to represent AIDS.

to:

* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
**
Clayface is most certainly supposed to represent AIDS.



* EyeScream: Joker creatively uses a nurse, a sharpened pencil, and one of her eyes to lure Batman to the asylum. [[spoiler:And then when Batman gets there, it turns out he was kidding]].

to:

* EyeScream: EyeScream:
**
Joker creatively uses a nurse, a sharpened pencil, and one of her eyes to lure Batman to the asylum. [[spoiler:And then when Batman gets there, it turns out he was kidding]].



* [[spoiler: FakeKillScare:]] This is how Joker provokes Batman into coming for him: [[spoiler:over the phone, he acts as though he's blinding a nurse with a pencil through her eyes.]]
* FoeRomanceSubtext[=/=]HomoeroticSubtext: Part of Morrison's interpretation of Batman. Joker, sensing Batman's fragile state of mind and repressed sexuality, deliberately fucks with him, the most memorable part being when he slaps [[TheComicallySerious Batman's ass]].
* FreudWasRight: {{Invoked}}. If you read Grant's notes, you'll find that a LOT of the scenes in this story have to do with [[ChasteHero Batman's screwed up sexuality]]. And it was mostly based on Jungian psychology, an outgrowth of Freud's work. Even {{Lampshaded}} in the comic when Arkham goes to study with Jung in Europe.
* AGodAmI: Maxie Zeus, full stop, to rather disturbing effect.

to:

* [[spoiler: FakeKillScare:]] [[spoiler:FakeKillScare:]] This is how Joker provokes Batman into coming for him: [[spoiler:over the phone, he acts as though he's blinding a nurse with a pencil through her eyes.]]
* FoeRomanceSubtext[=/=]HomoeroticSubtext: Part of Morrison's interpretation of Batman. Joker, sensing Batman's fragile state of mind and repressed sexuality, deliberately fucks with him, the most memorable part being when he slaps [[TheComicallySerious slaps Batman's ass]].
* FreudWasRight: {{Invoked}}. If you read Grant's notes, you'll find that a LOT of the scenes in this story have to do with [[ChasteHero Batman's screwed up screwed-up sexuality]]. And it was mostly based on Jungian psychology, an outgrowth of Freud's work. Even {{Lampshaded}} in the comic when Arkham goes to study with Jung in Europe.
* AGodAmI: Maxie Zeus, full stop, to rather disturbing effect.



* HollywoodPsychology: The brilliant idea that SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker reinvents himself every day because he finds reality so overwhelming, so that he might be a harmless prankster one moment and a homicidal maniac the next, which amongst other things reconciles the wildly different versions of the character that have appeared since the 40's; the problem is the doctors call this "Super Sanity" and imply that perhaps he is perfectly sensible to live this way, maybe more so than the rest, and that this "Super Sanity" is unprecedented. Apart from not knowing what sanity means, the doctors are actually describing a very much precedented condition, namely dissociation or a psychotic break from reality, albeit an extreme case. Maybe [[JustifiedTrope Justified/]] [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] since the doctors are obviously quacks, but the term has become popular in the Jokers fandom.

to:

* HollywoodPsychology: The brilliant idea that SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker reinvents himself every day because he finds reality so overwhelming, so that he might be a harmless prankster one moment and a homicidal maniac the next, which amongst other things reconciles the wildly different versions of the character that have appeared since the 40's; the 40's. The problem is the doctors call this "Super Sanity" and imply that perhaps he is perfectly sensible to live this way, maybe more so than the rest, and that this "Super Sanity" is unprecedented. Apart from not knowing what sanity means, the doctors are actually describing a very much precedented condition, namely dissociation or a psychotic break from reality, albeit an extreme case. Maybe [[JustifiedTrope Justified/]] [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] {{justified|Trope}}[=/=]{{subverted|Trope}} since the doctors are obviously quacks, but the term has become popular in the Jokers Joker's fandom.



* ImAHumanitarian: An early version of the script had [[spoiler: Arkham eat his dead wife and daughter following their deaths]].

to:

* ImAHumanitarian: An early version of the script had [[spoiler: Arkham [[spoiler:Arkham eat his dead wife and daughter following their deaths]].



** If you look carefully in the scenes directly after [[spoiler: Arkham discovers his dead family]], you can see he has some [[spoiler: blood around his mouth and beard]].

to:

** If you look carefully in the scenes directly after [[spoiler: Arkham [[spoiler:Arkham discovers his dead family]], you can see he has some [[spoiler: blood [[spoiler:blood around his mouth and beard]].beard]].
* ImpaledPalm: Batman does it to himself with a shard of glass.



---> '''Batman''': Take your filthy hands off me!
---> '''Joker''': What's the matter? Have I touched a nerve? How is the Boy Wonder? Started shaving yet?
---> '''Batman''': Filthy degenerate!
---> '''Joker''': Flattery will get you nowhere.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In one of anniversary paperbacks, Grant Morrison recalls how an early version of the script was passed around for people to look at. Most of them thought the psychological horror and heavy symbolism was not only a failure, but the dumbest Batman story ever. They all laughed their asses off, and in the paperback, Morrison asks them WhosLaughingNow.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth: That is line 65 from Phillip Larkin's poem [[http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar5.htm "Church Going"]], that describes the fascination Larkin, an agnostic, feels for churchs, recognizing that even when humanity will lost all faith in gods, it will always need churchs as a place to reflect about life, death, marriage, etc... then you realize that the comic is about a BedlamHouse, and [[FridgeHorror Humanity will always need a place like that...]]

to:

---> --> '''Batman''': Take your filthy hands off me!
---> --> '''Joker''': What's the matter? Have I touched a nerve? How is the Boy Wonder? Started shaving yet?
---> --> '''Batman''': Filthy degenerate!
---> --> '''Joker''': Flattery will get you nowhere.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: In one of the anniversary paperbacks, Grant Morrison recalls how an early version of the script was passed around for people to look at. Most of them thought the psychological horror and heavy symbolism was not only a failure, but the dumbest Batman story ever. They all laughed their asses off, and in the paperback, Morrison asks them WhosLaughingNow.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth: That is line 65 from Phillip Larkin's poem [[http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar5.htm "Church Going"]], that describes the fascination Larkin, an agnostic, feels for churchs, churches, recognizing that even when humanity will lost lose all faith in gods, it will always need churchs churches as a place to reflect about life, death, marriage, etc... then you realize that the comic is about a BedlamHouse, and [[FridgeHorror Humanity humanity will always need a place like that...]]



* MentalTimeTravel and StableTimeLoop: According to Morrison's script, the madness of the asylum's inmates echoed back through time which drove Mrs. Arkham (and, later, her son Amadeus) insane. But Batman's anger and confusion is what drove the two Arkhams over the edge, which lead Amadeus to write about the Bat, so [[spoiler:Cavandish]] would set the events of the comic in motion which caused the Arkhams to go insane. All because Dr. Destiny's dream-based reality-warping powers had allowed the Asylum to turn into a nightmare landscape where the veil of time was thin to begin with. And that only happened because the inmates had taken over, and ''that'' only happened because Batman had in his anger and confusion put them in there to begin with. Finally, Cavendish finishes Arkham's spell, which is intended to exorcise the mad demon that infests the asylum, but because it's April Fool's day, everything works backward and he instead is the one to send it back in time and infest the asylum in the first place.

to:

* MentalTimeTravel and StableTimeLoop: According to Morrison's script, the madness of the asylum's inmates echoed back through time which drove Mrs. Arkham (and, later, her son Amadeus) insane. But Batman's anger and confusion is what drove the two Arkhams over the edge, which lead leads Amadeus to write about the Bat, so [[spoiler:Cavandish]] would set the events of the comic in motion which caused the Arkhams to go insane. All because Dr. Destiny's dream-based reality-warping powers had allowed the Asylum to turn into a nightmare landscape where the veil of time was thin to begin with. And that only happened because the inmates had taken over, and ''that'' only happened because Batman had in his anger and confusion put them in there to begin with. Finally, Cavendish finishes Arkham's spell, which is intended to exorcise the mad demon that infests the asylum, but because it's April Fool's day, everything works backward and he instead is the one to send it back in time and infest the asylum in the first place.



*** While probably unintentional, Maxie Zeus talking about how he's a god in blue speech bubbles brought [[Comicbook/{{Watchmen}} someone else]] to mind.
*** This can lead to difficulty in reading some dialogue, especially with the Joker's jagged-red font.

to:

*** ** While probably unintentional, Maxie Zeus talking about how he's a god in blue speech bubbles brought [[Comicbook/{{Watchmen}} someone else]] to mind.
*** ** This can lead to difficulty in reading some dialogue, especially with the Joker's jagged-red font.



* RealityWarper: Doctor Destiny gets portrayed this way here. Despite this, he's actually ''less'' scary than in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''. He's also implied to need eye contact for this to work.
** Actually, all they say is that all he has to do is just so much as look at you and you'll cease being real. It's just a very old English language hyperbolic idiom being employed to express the enormity of his power.
* RuleOfSymbolism: So much.
* RunTheGauntlet

to:

* RealityWarper: Doctor Destiny gets portrayed this way here. Despite this, here, although he's actually ''less'' scary than in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''. He's also implied to need eye contact for this to work.
** Actually, all they say is
''ComicBook/TheSandman''.
-->'''Joker''': He seems so frail in
that wheelchair but all he has to do is just so much as look ''look'' at you and you'll cease you stop being real. It's ''real''. He does ''so'' want to look at ''you'', darling.
* RunTheGauntlet: The inmates force Batman to at least confront, and sometimes actually fight, several classic Bat villains.
-->'''Joker''': Time to begin the evening's entertainment, I think. If you're feeling up to it.\\
'''Batman''': Up to what?\\
'''Joker''': A nice little game of hide and seek. You have one hour, sweetheart, and there's no way out of the building. One hour before all your friends come looking for you. [...] They ''all'' want to see you, so why don't you
just a very old English language hyperbolic idiom being employed to express the enormity of his power.
* RuleOfSymbolism: So much.
* RunTheGauntlet
run along now?
22nd Aug '13 8:41:41 AM Gregzilla
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* SmallReferencePools: No and yes. We have SigmundFreud, ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', ''Film/{{Psycho}}'', Literature/TheBible: Jungian psychology, AleisterCrowley... Tarot... quantum mechanics?! That's not even half of the references.

to:

* SmallReferencePools: No and yes. We have SigmundFreud, ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', ''Film/{{Psycho}}'', Literature/TheBible: Jungian psychology, AleisterCrowley... Tarot... AleisterCrowley, TarotMotifs, quantum mechanics?! That's not even half of the references.mechanics, and much, much more.
22nd Aug '13 8:35:33 AM Gregzilla
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* MentalTimeTravel and StableTimeLoop: According to Morrison's script, the madness of the asylum's inmates echoed back through time which drove Mrs. Arkham (and, later, her son Amadeus) insane. But Batman's anger and confusion is what drove the two Arkhams over the edge, which lead Amadeus to write about the Bat, so [[spoiler:Cavandish]] would set the events of the comic in motion which caused the Arkhams to go insane.
** All because Dr. Destiny's dream-based reality-warping powers had allowed the Asylum to turn into a nightmare landscape where the veil of time was thin to begin with. And that only happened because the inmates had taken over, and *that* only happened because Batman had in his anger and confusion put them in there to begin with, and *that* only happened because oh look I've gone cross-eyed.
** Finally, Cavendish finishes Arkham's spell, which is intended to exorcise the mad demon that infests the asylum, but because it's April Fool's day, everything works backward and he instead is the one to send it back in time and infest the asylum in the first place.

to:

* MentalTimeTravel and StableTimeLoop: According to Morrison's script, the madness of the asylum's inmates echoed back through time which drove Mrs. Arkham (and, later, her son Amadeus) insane. But Batman's anger and confusion is what drove the two Arkhams over the edge, which lead Amadeus to write about the Bat, so [[spoiler:Cavandish]] would set the events of the comic in motion which caused the Arkhams to go insane.
**
insane. All because Dr. Destiny's dream-based reality-warping powers had allowed the Asylum to turn into a nightmare landscape where the veil of time was thin to begin with. And that only happened because the inmates had taken over, and *that* ''that'' only happened because Batman had in his anger and confusion put them in there to begin with, and *that* only happened because oh look I've gone cross-eyed.
**
with. Finally, Cavendish finishes Arkham's spell, which is intended to exorcise the mad demon that infests the asylum, but because it's April Fool's day, everything works backward and he instead is the one to send it back in time and infest the asylum in the first place.
22nd Aug '13 8:30:54 AM Gregzilla
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** Then again, you probably shouldn't take the Joker's ''own'' word for this either, especially since the point of that scene is that he's manipulating Damien without Damien (who's very good at noticing that sort of thing) noticing. The text story earlier in Morrison's TheNewTens ''Batman'' run not only had Batman remind Harley about the Joker's reinventing personas, it ''showed it happening''. The personality Damien faces is apparently The Clown Who Laughed At Midnight.
22nd Aug '13 8:25:13 AM Gregzilla
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* FoeRomanceSubtext: HoYay: Part of Morrison's interpretation of Batman. This incarnation's Joker loves playing up the FoeYay. Joker, sensing Batman's fragile state of mind and repressed sexuality, deliberately fucks with him, the most memorable part being when he slaps [[TheComicallySerious Batman's ass]].

to:

* FoeRomanceSubtext: HoYay: FoeRomanceSubtext[=/=]HomoeroticSubtext: Part of Morrison's interpretation of Batman. This incarnation's Joker loves playing up the FoeYay.Batman. Joker, sensing Batman's fragile state of mind and repressed sexuality, deliberately fucks with him, the most memorable part being when he slaps [[TheComicallySerious Batman's ass]].
15th Jul '13 9:52:52 AM DaibhidC
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Added DiffLines:

** Then again, you probably shouldn't take the Joker's ''own'' word for this either, especially since the point of that scene is that he's manipulating Damien without Damien (who's very good at noticing that sort of thing) noticing. The text story earlier in Morrison's TheNewTens ''Batman'' run not only had Batman remind Harley about the Joker's reinventing personas, it ''showed it happening''. The personality Damien faces is apparently The Clown Who Laughed At Midnight.
30th Jun '13 12:33:39 PM urutapu
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[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arkham_asylum_1.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:250:[[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere The most serious house on the most serious street in America, where nothing remotely silly will ever happen.]]]]-]

to:

[[quoteright:250:http://static.[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arkham_asylum_1.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arkham_asylum_-_a_serious_house_on_serious_earth_8783.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:250:[[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere [-[[caption-width-right:350:[[NothingExcitingEverHappensHere The most serious house on the most serious street in America, where nothing remotely silly will ever happen.]]]]-]



A 1989 Franchise/{{Batman}} graphic novel written by Creator/GrantMorrison [[MushroomSamba at his crackiest]] and beautifully (yet creepily) illustrated by Creator/DaveMcKean.

to:

A 1989 Franchise/{{Batman}} graphic novel written by Creator/GrantMorrison [[MushroomSamba at his crackiest]] and beautifully (yet creepily) beautifully, creepily illustrated by Creator/DaveMcKean.
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