Comics Creators

Mentally unstable heroes


I thought it was interesting to discuss heroes, antiheroes, and antivillains, that are mentally unstable.
All great protagonists have not only physical, but mental weaknesses and downfalls, just in the same way as many memorable antagonists have had moments not of pure evil but of a sliver of good.

Deadpool is the obvious choice to talk about. He’s crazy, funny, and generally well written, but I was wondering if anyone knew any other great heroes, possibly in indie books, which are mentally unhinged. It adds another meaning to the word “hero”.

This may sound like self promotion, but it’s not: in my old, now deleted, story Spies and Miracles, it had six main characters, the main of which was named Alex Steele. He was basically Captain America at the time. He was brave, courageous, and outright heroic.
In my first iteration of it’s comic adaptation, named MIST: VOLUME ONE, I decided to make him insanely more charismatic, funny, and sort of a comic relief.
But in my recently-started translation from the last iteration’s script to the final draft, I’ve decided to introduce Alex as an outright mad-hatter Rorschach-like anti-villain, who would eventually show his warmer and more heroic side to the rest of the protagonists as the story goes along. But the main change is the shift from perfectly heroic, to extremely charismatic, to a completely crazy person. There’s a scene where he sings a child’s song, but I write him wearing a hood all the time to imply the fact that he is retreated from society, apart from reality.

Is anyone else reading or writing a story with a psychologically unhinged protagonist? I would be interested to read it also.


Frank Miller’s All-star Batman springs to mind.


Claremont-Byrne Wolverine.


Interesting. I’ve always been meaning to read more Batman comics but haven’t really known which ones to read. Would you recommend All-Star Batman to read? Also, let me guess, is it Batman that’s unhinged? Because if so, that’s really interesting. Batman, for me, has always been a dark, brooding, and sad character that fought of the Joker all the time, but it would be great if he finds himself becoming the Joker.


Moon Knight.


Also, is the book you’re referring to All-Star Batman of 2016 or All Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder of 2005?


When Iron Man was an Alcoholic. Alcoholism is technichally a psychiatric condition.


Wolverine is also an unhinged character. I would say he’s more unhinged in the way of animalistic, rather than murderous or losing touch with reality. Definitely quite alot of allegories can be matched up with Logan.


As a large Marvel fan, it shames me to know barely anything about Moon Knight. That’s probably due to the fact that he has little to no presence in large events, and he hasn’t got a run currently. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I want Moon Knight to be presented more by Marvel.


There’s actually a really interesting scene in Avengers Disassembled (Scarlet Witch goes absolutely mental, makes the day the worst day for the Avengers), where Stark is in a large UN conference, and he’s not drunk in ages. He suddenly starts acting like a drunk and starts acting up. This is due to Maximoff’s powers but it’s still quite interesting.


You will be happy to hear that Marvel have a Moon Knight book out at the moment (by Jeff Lemire and Greg Scott I think). It plays with the whole idea of his mental instability.

And it is really rather good.


Oh, they are all tweaked somehow, at the very least hideous at forming or maintaining a human relationship.

If anybody wants a clarification on a point, flag me. I don’t teach Psych 1 for free!


I’m glad the MK book hasn’t been touched by the MU at large. It keeps it unique and the narrative consistent.
The Ellis and the Lemire editions are the best by far.


Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, isn’t crazy by default, but the scale of her powers, just like with Jean Grey, really don’t help her psychological state. In Avengers Disassembled and House of M, she uses her powers to destroy the Avengers and change reality in total in that order. This is mostly due to her, being in love with Vision and wanting children, conjuring up children from literally nothing. These children were then restore to nothingness again, making Maximoff go absolutely off the hinges.

Hank Pym is also quite interesting psychologically.


Professor X’s son, Legion, comes to mind. Also, Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol had a similar character, Crazy Jane.

I think it will be tricky making the character sympathetic enough, especially during the descent into madness. I’d would be interested if it was something along the lines of Julianne Moore’s protagonist in the movie “Still Alice”, where the character tragically realizes she’s losing her memory, personality and mind. If it’s just madcap crazy like Deadpool, Gwenpoole, Joker, Harley Quinn – then it’s just a one-trick pony to me and pretty one dimensional since the character will never develop. I did like the recent issues of the latest Suicide Squad, where Harley regains her sanity while everyone else goes insane, and is shown to enjoy that’s she’s “normal” again and that’s just not just a love-struck character trying to be as wacky as possible.


I’m actually quite interesting in reading those two runs. I’ve read Ellis’s Extremis and loved the ride. Do either one of them explain Knight’s origin in some way?


Yeah, I gave up on Gwenpool for many reasons. One was that is was hard to sympathise with her. I find Leto’s Joker great, but the writing doesn’t give much character development, with the little scenes he gets in the final cut. Heath Ledger absolutely killed it. The performance was excelent, just like Leto, but the dialogue and its implications just nail it.


Jessica Jones has PTSD, and in the TV show she’s got a severe anxiety disorder as a result.


Some of Bendis’ best work.


Batman is a psychotic.

Frank Millers Batman is not more noteworthy than anyone else, really. Batman is completely deranged across all platforms and creators.