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YMMV: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • 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 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 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 Neil Gaiman in The Sandman, to good effect.
  • Awesome Art
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Call it sick if you want, but Batman defeating Doctor Destiny by pushing him down a flight of stairs is audaciously, "I'm-the-goddamn-Batman" hilarious.
  • Freud Was Right: Invoked. If you read Grant's notes, you'll find that a LOT of the scenes in this story have to do with 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.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: "I almost wish she need never grow up."
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Joker's crack about Robin was written before Jason Todd had died in the regular books but the book came after. Morrison noted all it did was add another layer to the Joker's audacity in saying it.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Maxie Zeus only appears for one scene, but leaves a major impact. His only real role is to talk to Batman a little bit and not get any response, but his speech is chilling and sets the mood of the story perfectly.
  • Sequelitis: A "spiritual sequel", written and illustrated by Sam Kieth and entitled Arkham Asylum: Madness, was released in 2006.
  • Squick: Take your pick, really.
    • Clayface's... "condition" comes to mind.
    • There's also Batman driving a shard of glass through his own palm.
    • In the early sketches, the Joker was supposed to be dressed as Madonna.
    • Grant Morrison said that his mentor suggested a bearded Joker, symbolizing Vagina Dentata.
    • The implications, and imagery, of sexual abuse in the Arkham family are disturbing enough without Amadeus Arkham talking about his daughter Harriet.
      • "..and She is so very intelligent. And so very beautiful. I almost wish she need never grow up."
      • The panel where Amadeus is in the carnival and facing the "Tunnel of Love" was disturbing enough where it really wasn't a mystery what went on between him and his mother.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Justified. While Morrison is known as "that comic writer who does lots of drugs", he was actually straight-edge when writing this. He wrote that most of the script was written after long, sleepless nights.
  • The Woobie: Two-Face.


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