Clinical Psychologist Dr. Drea Letamendi and co-host Brian Ward return to WonderCon this year to host a delightfully fun and insightful episode of The Arkham Sessions podcast where they discuss the psychology of the Caped Crusader with acclaimed Warner Bros. Animation writers Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Jeremy Adams (Batman: Soul of the Dragon).
I had never listened to this podcast before watching this panel, but I gotta say, I really enjoyed it. They dove into the concept of the three sides of Batman: the billionaire playboy (Bruce Wayne), the vigilante protector (Batman), and the broken man underneath it all (simply referred to as “Bruce”), which was fascinating to me. I’ve always subscribed to the notion that Batman is the real identity, while Bruce Wayne is the mask, but this idea of a trifecta made a lot of sense to me and I have been thinking about it ever since.
They also touched on the psychology of wearing masks, even bringing up the point that many cosplayers say that they feel more like themselves when they are in their costumes. It allows people a certain sense of freedom from themselves, lowering inhibitions so the true self can shine through.
One thing they brought up that I found really interesting was the question of which is better for Gotham City – the vigilante or the philanthropist? On one hand, as Batman, he is cleaning up the streets of crime, or at least trying to. But as a philanthropist, he could put money into better mental health facilities, infrastructure, better policing, etc. So, which really is better? It’s definitely a debate I’d love to have.
Be sure to check out the whole panel below, and keep an eye out for more DC Comics related coverage from this year’s WonderCon virtual event.