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Posted by G-Man (39225 posts) - - Show Bio

In comic books, the safety of the world depends on the world's greatest superheroes. It's the heroes that are always there to save the lives of the innocent and to put a stop to the plans of world domination by the supervillains.

There are many reasons why and how the heroes get their start. Most of them do it without any sort of compensation. Their personal lives are often placed on the back burner while they dress up in their costumes and use their powers and abilities to save lives.

Besides a need or sense of obligation to 'do the right thing,' are superheroes completely mentally stable? Most people do want to be good and do the right thing but is there some insanity present when it comes to superheroes doing their job day in and day out?

== TEASER ==

The mental facilities of Moon Knight have often been called to question. It was Marc Spencer, as a mercenary, that seemingly died in the desert. He was apparently resurrected by the Egyptian god, Khonshu, in order to be his vessel of vengeance. Taking on the guise of Moon Knight, Spector also created different civilian guises (billionaire Steven Grant and cab driver Jake Lockley) to assist in his battle against evil. As a result, it's been questioned if he suffers from multiple personalities.

In the current issues of Moon Knight, he's taken up another persona as a TV producer. He even admitted that he hears voices and that all superheroes have to be crazy in order to dress up and do what they do.

Is this really the case? Spider-Man lives by the motto, "With great power comes great responsibility." Does that mean he isn't allowed personal happiness? He has suffered personal loss time and time again. He's had so many failed romantic relationships due to his commitment to being Spider-Man. He feels guilt over failing to stop the criminal that killed his Uncle Ben when he had the chance but does that mean he has to live the rest of his life placing his personal happiness behind his need to be Spider-Man?

Why the need to yell it out?

Batman is one of the world's best heroes and he also rarely allows any time for himself. His personal life as Bruce Wayne is a sham. It's a persona he created to cover the cost of his activities as Batman. He was a child when his parents were killed in front of him. There wasn't anything he could have done to prevent it. Now he is pretty much obsessed with putting a stop to evil.

Dressing up as a giant bat was a way to instill fear in the cowardly criminals but this is a guy without any true superpowers. Batman has trained both his body and mind to always be prepared against any contingency. He is even willing to stand up to the likes of Darkseid if given the chance. Is Batman just confident in his personal training or is he a little wacky in the head?

The world needs heroes. For us in the 'real world,' we have police officers, fire fighters, doctors and paramedics that are there when we need them. All of those are professions. They all get paid for their time and do get scheduled time off to have a personal life. They also don't go jumping into dangerous situations wearing tight-fitting costumes.

The sense to do the right thing is a strong factor. Those with the power to stand up to villains should use it to save innocents. We often see even superpowered heroes go up against enemies that have more firepower than they do. You don't see heroes running and hiding. Besides having superpowers or some sort of edge against supervillains, do heroes have to be a little crazy as well?

Maybe they are all a little crazy. But if it wasn't for that tiny bit of craziness, where would everyone be? It's a crazy world and aren't we all just a little bit crazy as well? It's the people that claim they aren't that you really need to keep an eye on.

#1 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29813 posts) - - Show Bio


Moon Knight. I miss you.

#2 Posted by zackattack529 (1408 posts) - - Show Bio

mmm naa i dont think so..just misunderstood..people call me crazy all the time...but i just rape there mothers and skin their fathers alive and then i have school the next day :)

#3 Posted by Neverpraying (1565 posts) - - Show Bio

Everyone is Insane. End of debate.

#4 Posted by Mega_spidey01 (3080 posts) - - Show Bio

its a mad mad mad  world we live in by gary jules.

#5 Posted by BlackArmor (6213 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, yes they are

#6 Posted by Deadcool (6900 posts) - - Show Bio

Madness/Insanity is just another way that the brain adapts to the enviroment, we all have that, there are just things that the people accept and things that the people reject, if you are not like the others arround you then you are crazy, we all are crazy.

#7 Posted by NightFang (10856 posts) - - Show Bio

Heroes like Batman are somewhat insane, but the Superman types are sane and just want to do good.

#8 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5639 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe they are to sane. They get bored with their mundane everyday lives and have to go jumping off rooftops to fill the void left. I mean, if I had the insane skill/power sets these guys and gals do, I'd probably go do the same thing.......minus the "super"villains of course, 'cause who'd be crazy enough to go up against a guy sane enough to go jumping off rooftops wearing nothing but a skintight body suit.......and with the consent of the police/governing officials of course........yyeeeaaaaa......





#9 Posted by Phaedrusgr (1701 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe they're the logic ones and all the others insane due to their acceptance of evil, corruption etc.

#10 Posted by Xaviersx (86 posts) - - Show Bio

Comic book superheroes are often paneled at the height of their insane encounters with insane criminals also usually wearing spandex. The insanity, so much spandex or so little modesty. Readers sometimes don't cater to watching the quiet moments, and the thought that there may be a lot of quiet moments inbetween the insanity. As for the superheroes, 1. as a hero they have that drive to do, and 2. yes, there is a bit of crazy in the approach, the spectacular of it . . . how many of them just trip the criminal who'll fall and knock themselves unconscious and be anonymous for the deed? Chicken or egg, which comes first the outrageous superhero or the outrageous supervillian(s)?

#11 Posted by jubilee042 (1376 posts) - - Show Bio

i'll tell you a secret, all the best people are.........................................insane

#12 Posted by LordRequiem (1332 posts) - - Show Bio

If people can be called insane for doing something of their own volition, then donning tap shoes and dancing can be called equally insane. It's all preferencial.

#13 Posted by Eyz (3184 posts) - - Show Bio

Considering what they do, from kid sidekicks to "veterans" superheroes...

The spandex costumes...

The fact they always end up getting the "ends up in asylum" storyarc...


#14 Posted by Trylks (29 posts) - - Show Bio

Spoiler alert: watchmen (movie).

The point is that if every character was completely normal, them all would be the same character. One of the best examples is Watchmen, every different character has a very different personality, the megalomaniac, the "never compromise", the "everything is a joke"/"fuck that guy"/"who cares" guy, etc. They are not very sane either, Dr. Manhattan could be suffering a depression perfectly, for instance. When depicting a character it's easier and more useful to take the characteristics to the limit, you can consider it a thought experiment, that's why they are fairly insane in the end.

About jumping against enemies that are stronger than them, it's the hero of one thousand faces, the myth that is everywhere. Even in anime (ghost in the shell 2nd gig): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQrIQ3E8-HM but that's cool, isn't it?

moar! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRIgBPtC2zA

#15 Posted by The Stegman (29139 posts) - - Show Bio

" I've proved my point. I've demonstrated there's no difference between me and everyone else! All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up as a flying rat? You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else... Only you won't admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there's some point to all this struggling! God you make me want to puke. I mean, what is it with you? What made you what you are? Girlfriend killed by the mob, maybe? Brother carved up by some mugger? Something like that, I bet. Something like that... Something like that happened to me, you know. I... I'm not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice! Ha ha ha! But my point is... My point is, I went crazy. When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! I admit it! Why can't you? I mean, you're not unintelligent! You must see the reality of the situation. Do you know how many times we've come close to world war three over a flock of geese on a computer screen? Do you know what triggered the last world war? An argument over how many telegraph poles Germany owed its war debt creditors! Telegraph poles! Ha ha ha ha HA! It's all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for... it's all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can't you see the funny side? Why aren't you laughing?" - The Joker to Batman

#16 Posted by GothamRed (2615 posts) - - Show Bio

while it's either yes, or they're the only sane people living in a world of insanity, but it's so hard to tell that you may as well go with the former.

#17 Posted by krilling (2497 posts) - - Show Bio

When you dress up in a fancy costume, wear a mask, go out to catch some bad guys and put your life on the line (even though you're not a "professional" who get paid for this job like a cop), you must be nuts. Even when you don't have personality disorders.

#18 Posted by Superguy0009e (2404 posts) - - Show Bio

you need to be a little crazy to dress up in a costume and fight crime

#19 Posted by weaponmaster (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

Many in the Comic book industry seem to be that's for sure.

#20 Edited by Lurkero (340 posts) - - Show Bio

The tight spandex costumes are remnants of the old days when comic characters were not considered for mature audiences and just wanted to be fun. Some characters have dropped the spandex, but it's still very prevalent.

I think you must be crazy to want to fight crime and not be willing to kill some people. The Batman argument is that he would have a much easier time if he killed the villains he faces. It is legal to kill in self defense, so I don't understand what the problem is...unless Batman is crazy.

It might be okay to let the regular criminals go to jail (unless they start murdering people), but the supervillains need to be stopped with the greatest force. Usually due to convenient writing, supervillains are defeated, but still left the chance to come back somehow.

I also think it's unnecessary for some heroes to try to lead normal lives. Superman doesn't need one, Martian Manhunter doesn't need one, Green Lantern (many DC heroes fall in this category for me). Why try to live a normal life when it would be much easier for you to take on crime in your hero persona? Superman doesn't have to worry much about people sneaking up on him since he can be in the Justice tower or the Fortress and out of harms way when he sleeps. Heroes like Batman and Spiderman need more anonymity because they are more vulnerable in their downtime. I still don't understand why Spiderman is scared to tell his family and friends who he really is. If he can't trust them with that secret then he probly shouldn't be around them so much.

#21 Posted by NightwalkerRevan (124 posts) - - Show Bio

If this were our world (like the 'real' super-hero vigilantes) I'd say yes for sure. Dressing up in a spandex costume and going out to fight crime isn't exactly normal or practical behaviour. However in comics the spandex costumes are a convention that come (as someone said above) from a time when comics were aimed primarily at children as an audience and they have remained a convention for most super-heroes and the worlds they inhabit. Super-heroes and super-powered beings are a reality in the comic worlds, and the heroes wear spandex costumes, it's just how it is. Of course individual heroes can be seen as more unstable then others, Superman is pretty stable and sane, Bats is I think is boardline insane at times, and the Punisher is I think insane.

#22 Posted by nickthedevil (14854 posts) - - Show Bio

What truly is: "insanity"?

a mind unlike our own? nope.

#23 Posted by The Lobster (1698 posts) - - Show Bio

I never liked when people use the word "crazy" in this context. Crazy is just a behavior deemed by society as unacceptable, there is nothing wrong with being crazy. Insane is a better word, because insane implies mental illness. Do superheroes have a mental illness? well yes, but everyone has a mental illness. 
I recall watching a movie where someone said "It's a trap, if you smile too much the psychiatrist will write you down as being delusional, if you don't smile then they write you down as being depressed, and if you smile only occasionally they'll write you down as being emotionally unstable"..... so basically according to psychology, no one is purely sane.

#24 Posted by Deadknight (1001 posts) - - Show Bio

I did love that Moon Knight moment when I found the preview that had that scene.

#25 Posted by BatUniverse (153 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is Paranoid, not insane, he suffer the death of his parents, and that was a critical damage to Bruce Wayne, he study all the life powers an weakneses of the Justice League, talking ´bout that, I can't wait to JLA Doom!

#26 Posted by Edamame (29524 posts) - - Show Bio

Sanity (or insanity) is a social construction that was created simply for the purpose of societal separation. It is highly subjective, and it has no true meaning (at least for me).

#27 Posted by fodigg (6210 posts) - - Show Bio

A very Watchmen-esque topic this time. I'd say no considering the world they live in has a bit more historical precedent for superheroes. Unlike our world, where I think people like Phoenix Jones are actually probably a little crazy.

I think the litmus test for if a hero is crazy or not is if they can poke fun at the silliness that is involved in their role as a hero. If they can find the humor in it, they're less likely to be taking it so seriously that they're unbalanced. This can be Spider-Man poking fun at his own costume, the X-Men arguing about leather vs. spandex, or even less intentionally funny scenes like Superman lamenting to Superboy that "Ma made me this cape," after the latter accidentally fries a hole in it.

But if a guy is freaking all about it with no sense of humor at all he's probably unbalanced.

#28 Posted by jahelmsjr (6 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sorry this is sort of off topic; but is there something I don't know about Moon Knight? Why does he have spiderman and fantastic four arms?

#29 Posted by Out_of_Space (778 posts) - - Show Bio

One way or another every hero is insane...

#30 Posted by Vitality (1832 posts) - - Show Bio

Here is a better "Off My Mind"... How insane are we...they readers and comic book site staff members...who idolize those we believe to be insane?

#31 Posted by obscurefan (297 posts) - - Show Bio

If Brian Michael Bendis is writing them, then yes.

#32 Posted by EdBlank (840 posts) - - Show Bio

If you look at what happens when real people dress up a costumed heroes then you can categorically say "yes". It's nuts to go out and be a street patrolling vigilante. The main difference is that the people in the comics do a MUCH better job than the police, but in life anyone who wants to fight crime should really just join a police force or be a security guard, bouncer, body guard, bounty hunter, repo man etc. Insanity is real. To me it means you are not seeing what's really in front of you. That's crazy. You see an old lady but you think it's the angel of death. You see a huge pile of garbage in your living room and it looks like a pile of treasure to you.

#33 Posted by victoriancuckoo (245 posts) - - Show Bio

of course they're insane

#34 Edited by kfhrfdu_89_76k (4697 posts) - - Show Bio


Probably because EVERYONE are.

I`m actually sick of some superheroes being insane. But they already are, so it shouldn`t be changed.

And, no. Spider-man isn`t insane. A persons mind is more stronger than you would think.

Nice article.

#35 Posted by Buckybarnesdd (7 posts) - - Show Bio

Kick-Ass realy demonstrates the insnity of superheroes.

#36 Posted by ohanaman (12 posts) - - Show Bio

Let's be honest. If you are out there running around in tights and you don't have any actual powers.

Hey good on you, however you'd have to be either a little cuckoo for cocco puff and have a tendency to tilt after a few windmills.

#37 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2135 posts) - - Show Bio

If you dress up as a bat... your insane.. 
in any costume your insane.. 
You know what they are ALL insane for trying to save or destroy the world!

#38 Posted by GraveSp (335 posts) - - Show Bio

No just because you don't have a normal life doesn't mean that you are insane. If you like at stories like Batman Beyond and The Dark Knight Returns, you see that Batman is able to quit being Batman, at least for a time being, if he wishes to. Also if Superheroes lived in a world where they are the only ones being a Superhero, like say Kickass, than it would be a situation where you may want to consider them insane, but in the DC/Marvel Universes being a Superhero is actually a common enough thing, and it is something that people get rewarded for so it makes sense that others would join in.

#39 Edited by Xenozoic Shaman (422 posts) - - Show Bio

I would think this question would depend highly on the power status of the individual. Are they comparatively invulnerable like Superman? If so, it's not insane from a personal safety perspective. Without powers? I would say that the chance of being mentally imbalanced increases, if you're wanting to fight the sort of things they do, and you have no powers. It does not mean that they're insane, but unless they're clever like Batman, or have some sort of edge/skill/knowledge/technology/numbers, something that gives you a chance vs super-powered villains, it probably increases the odds that you're imbalanced.

...and then of course there's Deadpool. Ah, Deadpool...

#40 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

Crazy is as crazy does really. Fact is I think you have to be a little crazy for anyone to do what superheroes do regardless of what motivates them to be soldiers in the ever-present fight for justice. Whether endowed with superpowers or not, each and every superhero must either not realize the risk of going out every night seeking retribution for wrongs done by criminals or just altogether ignore the dangers outright. Some like Spidey of course use that as motivation for their crusade by saying there is something bigger at hand with the use of powers when used responsibly while others take the vigilante route like the masked avenger types. One way or another, no matter the reason superheroes do what they do, there has to be implied nuttiness behind their decision to fight the good fight.

#41 Posted by LittleSocrates (43 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope, they're just filled with agape. Superheroes function in an understanding of the religious, not an understanding of the material and capitalist.

#42 Posted by difficlus (10659 posts) - - Show Bio

@Edamame said:

Sanity (or insanity) is a social construction that was created simply for the purpose of societal separation. It is highly subjective, and it has no true meaning (at least for me).

QFT dude...

i mean what IS sane?

#43 Posted by briangermain (62 posts) - - Show Bio

It depends to some it only means you are crazy if you do not understand the consequences of your actions. Hate to quote SEAL but "We're never gonna survive unless we get alittle crazy".

#44 Posted by gothicshieldagent (84 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree,what is insane? Very few people are classified insane by definition or in a clinical context. Is wearing an outfits and fighting others in outfits with the possibility of dying horribly insane,I don't know...is it normal,no but again what is normal,i mean a delusional mind perceives reality differently than one that is not. But is it any more insane than being on a "reality" show or us discussing comic book superhero's mental health? It's all relative.

#45 Posted by FantasticMrInvisibleTorchThing (56 posts) - - Show Bio

"You can't quell or squash insanity. You can't understand it. You can't dose it with logic. Put it in a box and label it and make the world safe again. Insanity is the very dark place." - Johnathan Crane

I feel like the answer is no. Why is it insane to do the right thing? Unless of course, asking that question makes me insane as well...

#46 Posted by Hashbrowns (76 posts) - - Show Bio

Sanity or insanity are not a medical issue, but a legal one. I might go so far as to say that society likes to assign "insanity" to any action taken by another which is so abhorrent, that people feel the need to have some magical separation between the perpetrator's character and society's. We want to believe that we could never be capable of "insane" (read: Evil) actions because we aren't broken like "that insane guy". We want to believe we're good. We aren't good, not one of us, no matter how many times we tell ourselves we are.

Are some people's minds not working properly? Maybe. But the "science" (to use the term loosely) behind that is so utterly flimsy as to be completely useless. We really have no solid practical knowledge about mental health, and an honest psychologist will admit that.

You could argue that the concept of costumed superheroes do is unrealistic, and maybe they would even be wrong and commiting a crime by doing so, but don't just slap a "that's crazy" label on it and shrug.

#47 Posted by TheWitchingHour (1350 posts) - - Show Bio

Well I suppose it depends on what you consider insane or how you define it. If it's simply a deviation from the norm then yes, most superheroes are insane. They wear brightly colored costumes and fight crime. For any reasonable human being that's insane. But once again not all comic book characters are treated as human beings. They are gods or aliens or robots or mutants and they are not governed by the same psychological taboos as the rest of us. Superman is a nigh invulnerable, why would he question for a second putting his life in danger? It isn't in danger in the first place. That would be like me saying I'm insane for eating cold pizza for breakfast. Sure it's bad for me and I should have something with a little more fiber and more fruits and vegetables but it's not gonna kill me right then and there. Spider-man while not being indestructible still has amazing powers that make him more than likely to survive any given situation. But character's like Batman and Moon Knight for instance are a different story. Moon Knight is insane, that's pretty well established and part of his character. Batman however can be written as the insane vigilante or he can be written as an unstoppable force for justice. He either has devoted his entire existence to waging a war he is destined to lose or he is Sisyphus pushing the boulder. He can interchange between man and myth and that's one of the things that makes him such an appealing character. I'd say almost every character with clearly metahuman abilities is sane (unless specifically written otherwise) because anyone if given the chance would utilize those same powers for good or evil (depending on the person in question). Characters without metahuman abilities however seem to straddle the fence between sane and.....you know.....not. For example every hero in Watchmen ranged from somewhat mentally unhinged to totally insane and none of them had superpowers (excluding Dr. Manhattan who lost touch with humanity). So it's easy to write them off as insane when in reality the reader is jealous that they themselves can't fly so nobody else can either.

#48 Posted by RedOwl_1 (1743 posts) - - Show Bio

Mmm... depends that what is your definition of sane and insane, is like when I brought a bunch of roast crickets (yes u read it well roast crickets) to school for lunch everybody said to me "Oh u are crazy" or "u are weird" some "what happens to you?" and "Are you insane or something?"

But u know I bought them in a exhibition of Oaxaca's traditional food that means that they see that like something usual nothing weird or estrange so if I go to Oaxaca and I bring crickets of lunch anybody is going to yell me those phrases. I'm not going to be insane there.

So what is insane? and what is sane? For me superheros aren't insane but someones are pretty insane like Batman like G-man said in a post called "Why Batman won't be a good boyfriend" or something alike

#49 Posted by SpidermanWins (4142 posts) - - Show Bio

Great Article. I agree for the most part with what is said here.

#50 Posted by GothamBat (652 posts) - - Show Bio

It's sad how it's considered insane to want to help people these days...