EDITORIAL: Does Every Comic Book Hero Suffer From Multiple Personality Syndrome?
The case of having more than one personality is common and well known today. The fact to become something else and how another side of your own else can often lead to darker effects. But is this case often present in the medium of comic books and why do we not notice it as much? Hit the jump for more!
A common fact that most heroes share is their own identity. Whether or not they have something to hide or choose to. As with Batman he is not only Batman in spirit but there is a man under the costume, Bruce Wayne. As Bruce Wayne tries to function life as a normal human being, Batman functions life as a vigilante and a crime fighter. What's only in common is that they are the same person. Heroes having secret identities dates back to the early days of comic books themselves. The concept of such as in example, "Your own neighbor next door could be a superhero". Most of these heroes are just normal human beings and while some of them are not. For this subject alone as the title of the syndrome relates to a more human side, I am focusing on the more human characters we know. Yes, Batman is a common case of this issue and one of the more popular. Actor Christian Bale even stated the character does have the slight deficiencies as mentioned. To become something you would not normally become, these are things that can take a toll on the mind itself. It's a factor of mentality and a matter of state in being.
Bruce Banner aka The Hulk is an outright example in this case also. When Bruce Banner becomes angry, he turns into a green monster known as The Hulk. The Hulk is commonly known as Banner's other personality. Bruce Banner and The Hulk's own origins commonly derive from the classic story, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which is commonly associated with the mental condition of split personality. How clever can it be to use the basis of a common mental condition and turn it into a wideselling comic book character? This is what most human heroes are in an essence. They suffer and they constantly get hurt. Each one of them in a span faces a tragedy which untimely makes them unstable for a brief period. The factor of being unstable and uncontrollable all links back to a certain mental condition.
Spider-Man is another enemy in these grounds within the conditions stated. Not just the fact of his own identity (referring to the Peter Parker Spider-Man) but also the way he tries to balance life. He sometimes just wants to be normal but can't as he feels the need to constantly help people. In his own mind no one else can and only he can help them. Whenever he hears danger he immediately is surged to suit up as Spider-Man, a sense within his mind kicks in. The side known as Spider-Man takes over. Peter Parker tries to constantly fight it by being talkative within the suit and using witty humor, he communicates in a way he normally wouldn't. The two personalities are now at war with each other, but one manages to prevail. The Spider-Man personality issue was further more outlined more clear with the introduction of Venom which when bonded with Peter Parker brought out his own darker side. Again another comic book making a clear statement of Multiple Personality Syndrome. Also if you didn't want to take it from the hero point of view look at many villains also crowded with the same element such as Two-Face.
Why do writers feel the need to use such a syndrome as a basis when it comes to most comic book heroes? Well for one point, it's an interesting subject. It's a subject that can be explored in many ways without even having to state the obvious. Some would call it vaguely crude to touch upon the subject matter as it is a real life issue, but as many if properly treated in translation it would work to an extent. There are many more examples towards this subject but what are your own thoughts and opinions on this topic? Thank you for reading and as always leave a comment below.
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