How many people have died during the battles between superheroes and supervillains? How many families torn apart by the violence? How many city blocks have been destroyed? Do heroes feel the weight of their deeds, see the faces of their innocent victims?
Collateral and emotional damage aren't topics that are often explored in comic book stories, but that's about to change, according to comic book writer Tom King (Nightwing, Batman, The Omega Men), writes Bleeding Cool News. At a DC Comics panel in Washington, D.C. today to discuss battlefield trauma, The Aftermath: Battle & Trauma in Comics, King announced an initiative called Sanctuary. The title references a place where superheroes can go to deal with the lingering emotional effects of their regular violence-soaked exploits.
“Every DC Comic is full of violence,” King, a former CIA counter-terrorism operations officer, said. “It’s fun and exciting and I enjoy 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.”
Describing it as "a crisis center for superheroes," King stated that Sanctuary would be available to all of DC's do-gooders, even the ones without powers of mass destruction. "Batman gets in a fight every single night, five times a night," he said.
He went on to say that this center would parallel veteran relief programs in the real world. "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.”
There is no confirmation date yet for the release of Sanctuary.