Tom King Announces ‘Sanctuary’, A Trauma Center and Safe Haven for DC Superheroes

Tom King announced the creation of Sanctuary, a place superheroes can go to deal with the PTSD and trauma the comes with saving the world.  The announcement came at the DC in DC “Aftermath” panel where panelists were talking about the trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder that can come from saving the world, fighting villains, and dealing with intergalactic threats.  Being a Superhero is a violent job, and Batman and Mister Miracle writer Tom King announced that Sanctuary will be a place where heroes can go to deal with the violence they may have to deal with every day.

The idea seemed to generate a lot of excitement at the panel from Gotham’s JW Cortés, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murphy, and fans, and King was very excited to elaborate saying,

“It’s something I’m really proud of and it’s one of those — I call it a Geoff Johns idea, where it’s so obvious, why didn’t anyone do it before me?   “These are heroes who live violent lives — that’s all they do is violence, all day long, and to ignore the psychological impact of that seems foolish at some point. We know enough that violence affects you in some say. We know that these superheroes care about each other. Superman cares about Wonder Woman, Batman cares about Green Lantern — and so they set something up to help with the violence. It just seems obvious. 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.”

How Sanctuary will be integrated into the DC Universe, whether it be a location available for use in any comic or a stand-alone comic, is currently unknown.  Violence in comic books is often mentioned in the context of how it can affect readers.  It is very similar to discussions revolving around violent video games, TV shows, movies, etc.  Rarely do we see the lasting impact violence can have on a superhero who is forced back into the fight time and time again.  The overall goal is to show that sometimes heroes need help too.

The Sanctuary will be designed to imitate the similar centers designed for veterans in need.  It will be a safe space where heroes can admit the toll violence has taken on them and work through their mental difficulties.

King has rarely spoken about post-traumatic stress before this announcement, despite that it is a heavy theme in Mister Miracle.

“I don’t know if freeing is the right word; I think maybe nerve-wracking is better than freeing.  It’s hard to talk about this stuff because you don’t want to admit you’re vulnerable in any way, even though the process of writing is taking your vulnerabilities and putting them on the page. You hope nobody notices that part of it, and so when you have to talk about it explicitly, there’s something about it: everybody is seeing you a bit naked, and you kind of want to run away. But of course it was thrilling and worthwhile.”

This seems to be an initiative that everyone can get behind, and I am excited to see how it gets applied in the DC Universe.  King’s Mister Miracle #6 was just released and can be found in stores and online now.

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Ari Bard

I am currently a Sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying mechanical engineering. I have been in love with DC since I saw the animated series and movies in the early 2000s. I started reading comics regularly at the start of Rebirth. My favorite character is Martian Manhunter.