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Comic Book / Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink

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Dr. Blink, Superhero Shrink is (or was) a comic book written by John Kovalic and drawn by Christopher Jones. The comic is a Parody — essentially a giant Lampshade stuck on a basic fact about superhero comics; the lead characters are almost invariably a seething bundle of psychological issues, if you look at them at all closely. Dr. Frederick Wertham Blink himself is a professional psychiatrist who, after an encounter with his city's superhero population, wrote a book about their rather obvious issues, Chicken Soup for the Super Soul. This was not only a commercial success, it brought him a string of super-powered patients, turning him into a commercially successful specialist practitioner. Most of the stories are about the cases he treats.

Four issues (numbered 0 to 3) were published by Dork Storm Press in the early 2000s, and the contents were eventually collected with some extra material into the trade paperback, Id. Ego. Superego!. However, for personal reasons, Kovalic then ceased publishing paper comics, and although there have been subsequent hints of possible further Dr. Blink projects, little has yet appeared. However, Dr Blink is intermittently active on Twitter, posting aphorisms about superhero psychology.

The comic has its own Web site here, including most of the Dr. Blink material ever published and at least one strip that never saw print publication.


Dr. Blink contains examples of:

  • Atrocious Alias: The hellspawn born, brimstone-incarnate undead hero of vengeance (an obvious Expy of Spawn) needs a new super-name — he can't make the legions of Hell quake with his current name, "Spank."
  • Bald of Evil: Played for laughs when Dr. Blink concludes that Dr. Larry must be a supervillain just because he's bald.
  • Expy: As a lot of issues are satirical commentary on the weird psychologies of well-known mainstream comics characters, the supers they feature are often very transparent Parody expies. Each of these could be considered a Captain Ersatz, but really, the parodic intent in each case saves them from that status. Examples include:
  • Freudian Couch: Probably inevitably, Dr. Blink has a standard-issue couch in his consulting room.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Spoofed in issue #0. When Captain Omnipotent resolves some of his issues, he stops responding to all those pleas for help.
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  • Let's You and Him Fight: A common result of superhuman psychological issues, it seems.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Dr. Blink is honestly trying to do good with his work with superheroes and villains, but as this is Played for Laughs, the results are sometimes unfortunate. Aside from his effect on Captain Omnipotent (see below), he successfully cures The Quizzler of his obsessive-compulsive habit of giving his opponents clues about his plans — making him into a much more effective master criminal.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dr. Larry is a parody of Dr. Phil.
  • Overly Long Name: Captain Omnipotent's team is called the Avenging Legion of Titan Justice Defenders Society of Ameica League.
  • Planet Eater: Ginormous, an Expy of Galactus. Dr. Blink diagnoses him as an obvious victim of an eating disorder.
  • The Rival: Dr. Blink sees Dr. Larry, another psychiatrist/writer in much the same line of work, very much in this role (at least until he's talked down by Tracy and Emma). As Dr. Larry is presumably unaware of this (and Dr. Blink never does act on his feelings), Dr. Blink would have to be classed as his Unknown Rival.
  • Role Called: This title is a rather obvious parody of the trope.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Played for laughs in issue #0. A therapy session with Superman Expy Captain Omnipotent ends with the realization that the Captain is a perfectionist overachiever because of his Survivor Guilt, striving for the approval of his dead parents. A jubilant Captain Omnipotent frees himself from his heroic obsession ... causing him to ignore a half-dozen crimes and disasters occurring around him.
  • Shout-Out: Several:
    • Dr. Blink's full name is a clear reference to Fredric Wertham, a real-world psychiatrist with an interest in comic books. However, while Dr. Blink is generally eager to help superheroes, knowing that they do real good, Fredric Wertham is remembered as one of the big-name Moral Guardians, whose book Seduction of the Innocent was highly critical of comics (and led to the creation of The Comics Code).
    • One comic gives Dr. Blink's work address as 3722 Astro Tower, a thinly-veiled reference to the Astro Bank Tower of Astro City.
    • During Dr. Blink's "secret origin," he walks by Public School 238.
    • A television news segment, "Point/Counter-Point," begins with one host calling the other an "ignorant slut."
  • Soap Opera: The comic gets something approaching a continuing plot, alongside the basically one-shot gags about individual heroes, in its depiction of Dr. Blink's own private life. He is a middle-aged single parent whose daughter, Emma, is going through a fairly typical teenage phase — she has no respect for her father and goes out clubbing dressed in ways that give him palpitations. He also has something of a crush on Tracy, his highly competent receptionist, who may return the feeling.
  • Survivor Guilt: Spoofed in issue #0; see the note on Samaritan Syndrome above.
  • Twofirst Names: the Speed Demon's real name is Barry Wally.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Planet Eater Ginormous spares Earth after he learns that it's high in carbohydrates (from all those fields of grain).