Superheroes in comic books may save people and the world from all manner of threats, be they criminals and villains on Earth or much larger, intergalactic bad guys threatening the whole world. But all of that world-saving comes with repeated exposure to a lot of violence and now, DC Comics is doing something to give their heroes a chance to deal with that exposure.
During a panel at the DC in DC event this weekend, writer Tom King revealed that DC Comics has created a place for superheroes to deal with the PTSD that comes from the violent job of saving the world -- Sanctuary.
"Every DC comic is full of violence," King said. "It's fun and exciting and I love reading about that, but do we talk about the consequences of that, both on the characters and the readers, and they asked me to think about that and do something with it. And we are. We've created something, it's called Sanctuary. We're creating something where it's sort of like a crisis center for superheroes. And it's going to be DC wide, all the superheroes and it's going to be a place where these superheroes who are living violent lives every single day -- Batman gets in a fight every single night, five times a night."
Violence in comic books has been a topic that has come up many times over recent years, but usually in the same way that violence in movies, television, and video games often comes up -- how it effects viewers and children. Many times, particularly in comic books, the impact of that continuous violence goes unacknowledged with the good guys always getting back up to continue the fight without acknowledging that they're impacted, too and, according to King, the message Sanctuary will send is that even heroes struggle with mental health but, more than that, even heroes need help.
"And so, we're creating this space where superheroes can go that sort of mimics the good work people are doing for veterans around the world where they can have a space where they can actually admit that this violence has had consequences for them and has affected them mentally, so that your greatest heroes, who are inspiring our children, can say proudly: yes, I've had some mental difficulties, and yes, working with people has helped me through them. And we don't hide behind that," King said.