[personal profile] runespoor
It struck me recently that one of the many (many, many…) reasons why Bruce is my One True Character is the eternal issue of “How sane is he?”

That’s something we talk about, both fandom and creators and occasionally in the text. Often as a joke, most often by me. It’s never done in a serious fashion in the text, because if they did acknowledge it, they would have to deal with it. But it’s true all the same, even if we don’t always accept it.

In my mind, Bruce is high functioning, but he’s not entirely mentally healthy. He’s got PTSD, which we all know but no-one in canon seems to realise or I sure hope Alfred or Leslie would’ve advised him to find a doctor. In times of high stress, his dislike of guns blooms into full-fledged phobia. He has hallucinated Batman as a separate being and he has talked to him – at a time during which he was neither wounded nor under the influence of any drugs.

That makes him relatable to me for a variety of reasons. How much do I love that a hero doesn’t have to “sane” to be smart, rational, driven, concerned about others, heroic?

I wish creators would admit it, though. His not being a model of mental health does not make him not a hero, not any more than Cass’ learning disability prevents her from being one.

Date: 2011-08-12 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oddityangel.livejournal.com
It certainly would be an interesting way to address the stigma attached to mental illness and emotional trauma. The Batman comics have so many villains with various mental issues (The Riddler's OCD, Dent and his dissociative identity disorder, The Joker and his...Jokerness...), it would be nice to see a positive character who is also dealing with his various issues.

Date: 2011-08-12 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] runespoor7.livejournal.com
They’ve gotten better at the “crazy bad guys” aspect, if only because they’ve stopped playing the “crazy” card and started giving diagnoses. Depending on writers it’s more or less well-handled; I remember a three-issue arc by Brubaker during his run on Batman where the bad guy was dangerous-because-of-his-mental-health, but the dialogue made it clear that it made him ill, not evil. That made the difference between well-handled and not, imo.

It’s also Brubaker who pointed out that you couldn’t say both that “Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist, only Batman does” and “He’s not crazy”, for what it's worth, though I don't agree with everything he did with that idea.

Date: 2011-08-12 04:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oroburos69.livejournal.com
Eh...I apologize, but it seems to me that if you subscribe to this theory "...here the bad guy was dangerous-because-of-his-mental-health, but the dialogue made it clear that it made him ill, not evil."

Then you cannot subscribe to the theory that Bruce Wayne's alternate personality/hallucinations (Batman) is "good," or even a hero. He is, after all, ill, and is acting out his illness in a manner that may appear beneficial, yet for some reason involves him assaulting people on a nightly basis. His mental illness is a tragedy that he should, but never will, get treated for. Arguably, it has limited his scope to vigilante justice rather than genuinely making a difference.

That having been said, if I view Batman as not a hallucination or a second personality, but as a costume he puts on, I agree with your points. A character who is mentally ill, yet still capable is lovely, and a nice contrast to their portrayal of other mentally ill people as being criminally insane and violent (Joker...). However, leaving him untreated in order to up the angst feels like "tortured artist" syndrome--as in you can't be a good artist unless you're tormented, so don't take those meds, kids. They make you boring.

Date: 2011-08-13 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] runespoor7.livejournal.com
On principle, you're right. In the case of Bruce, it depends on how ill he is; basically, is he responsible for his actions or not.

His mental illness is a tragedy that he should, but never will, get treated for.

That's probably the reason why DC will never in a thousand years admit that Bruce is suffering from PTSD.

Arguably, it has limited his scope to vigilante justice rather than genuinely making a difference.

I would argue that he's made a difference, both as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. He has inspired and taught others, put together several teams and webs of contacts, created scholarships and jobs...

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