23 Nov 2020
#ComicBytes: Interesting facts about DC's Arkham Asylum
The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, famously known as Arkham Asylum, has played an important role in many DC stories.
This psychiatric hospital has housed Gotham City's worst villains, including The Joker, Two-Face, and the Riddler.
Despite its prominence in all of Batman's stories, Arkham Asylum is pretty mysterious. Therefore, here are some interesting facts about this place.
Arkham Asylum was created by Denny O'Neil
Created by Denny O'Neil (co-creator of Ra's Al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, and Man-Bat), the idea of a psych ward emerged after the creator's deep dive into Batman's inner ego.
The name Arkham seemingly comes from HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos but there is no concrete confirmation about it.
Since its creation, this asylum has inspired many origin stories, video games, and graphic novels.
The asylum was opened to honor Elizabeth Arkham's memory
When Elizabeth Arkham was diagnosed with dementia, her son Amadeus took care of her. This inspired him to pursue psychiatry as a career.
After Elizabeth's suicide, he inherited the family home and turned it into the Arkham Asylum.
However, it was Amadeus who killed his own mother and repressed the memory. So, he was actually insane and opened this place for his shady agendas.
Technically a prison, Arkham Asylum carries out experimental treatments, too
Although it began as a rehabilitative mental institution, Arkham Asylum is now seen as a fictional prison where secret experimental treatments are common.
For example, in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, the doctor replaces Two-Face's iconic coin with a die, and then a tarot deck. With these many options, Two-Face is unable to make any kind of decision.
Arkham Asylum has the worst staff in the entire world
Not only is this place unable to keep psychopathic criminals locked up, but it also has a long list of criminal employees. After all, it was started by an insane person. Supervillains Hugo Strange and Scarecrow have worked here in some incarnations.
Additionally, instead of the psychiatrists treating the inmates, the inmates are often turning the staff into insane villains. Remember Harley Quinn?
Batman has a strong connection with this asylum
Arkham Asylum has seen Gotham's worst villains, who are directly Batman's enemies. But there are times when the Caped Crusader himself gets incarcerated in Arkham (voluntarily, of course).
For example, once he enters the institution undercover as a patient to test Arkham's functionality after it is rebuilt by Jeremiah Arkham for housing supercriminals. Interestingly, he finds that Jeremiah was becoming crazy like his family.