We love to see our action heroes duking it out with their arch-nemesis. The bigger the battle, the more we like it. What we don’t typically think about is the mental affect this has on the superhero. Constantly fighting for your life can take a toll on your psyche. DC Comics and Tom King are tackling this subject with their new upcoming title, Sanctuary.
At the DC in DC convention, King revealed that he will be taking the writing lead on this new initiative. There isn’t much more information on the title. We don’t know if it will be an ongoing series, a limited series, or a lead-in to a bigger event.
According to King Sanctuary will follow crisis centers in the DC universe designed for superheroes to come and discuss the personal and psychological effects of a career in crime-fighting. King had this to say at a panel discussing PTSD and trauma in comics and comics writing:
The DCU has a bunch of superheroes and all they do is fight, every time, and that must have a psychological effect on them, right? You can’t live a life of violence and not feel that violence deep in your heart—and we also have a group of superheroes, the Trinity, who care about these other heroes.
They sort of feel like parental figures, the foundation that stands beneath them. And they care about them for two reasons: one, because they’re good people, but two, if superheroes feel trauma and it drives them a little mad, that’s a danger. So, as both a practical and a compassionate matter, they’ve set up something called Sanctuary, which is a place that you can go, modeled on veterans’ crisis centers—which is an interesting name for them—and talk about this trauma and admit that this had an effect on you; where you can admit that being a superhero and seeing a life of violence and seeing people get hurt around you, that that has some sort of impact on you—and Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman can help you.
I like the series that let us have a glimpse into our favorite superheroes personal life. Knowing they have the same fears, frailties, self-doubts as everyone else humanizes them to the reader.
There are also readers that don’t want to see their favorite characters vulnerable. They want to look at the superheroes as something to strive for.
Either way, Sanctuary is a great story concept. Tom King has proven he can write complex stories well. We are in for one heckuva ride.
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