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Arkham (Gotham or Lovecraft)


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#1 TheBrickster

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 02:50 AM

When I think of Arkham Asylum, I think of Arkham, Massachusetts, the fictional city that appears in HP Lovecraft's horror stories.  Is there a link?  Perhaps.  

HP Lovecraft, for the non-horror fans, was an American author who wrote horror and sci-fi stories during the 1920s and 1930s.  He was most popular for his Cthulhu Mythos relating to a series of ancient and powerful deities and the cults that worshipped them.

Arkham is mentioned in some of Lovecraft's stories as well as Arkham Sanitarium, institution for the insane.  

Batman stories call the institution Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, and it first appeared in 1974 (Batman comic 258-October).  The asylum was named after the mother of Amadeus Arkham, founder of Arkham, who suffered mental illness most of her life before committing suicide.

Ironically, Lovecraft's actual mother was committed to the Butler Hospital for the Insane (real institition), where her husband had died, after suffering from hysteria and depression for a long period of time.

I was unable to find any mention of Lovecraft in the history of Batman but I think that Lovecraft's Arkham provided early inspiration, esp. for Arkham Asylum.

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#2 Deinonychus

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 02:52 AM

I never thought of that...but you make a strong argument for that being the case...why the heck not, Lovecraft and madness go hand-in-hand  X-D

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#3 TheBrickster

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 02:54 AM

Makes me want to read more about Batman.

#4 TheBrickster

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 05:33 AM

Well, in doing some further reading about the Asylum, I stumbled upon this.  I suppose my hunch was correct, but not as original as I thought:

"In reality, Arkham Asylum is named in honour of the fictional city of Arkham, Massachusetts, one of the settings of H. P. Lovecraft's horror stories. In fact, when the asylum first appeared, it was actually in the city of Arkham; its Gotham location, and the consequent alternative explanation of the name, were later retcons. H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham Sanitarium may have been inspired by the Danvers State Insane Asylum (aka the Danvers State Hospital) in Danvers, Massachusetts" - Arkham Asylum, Wikipedia

Further information on Arkham and Lovecraft can be found in a web article entitled: Spirit of Lovecraft Haunts Cambridge, New England, 10/20/05, at Lovecraft and Arkham

And an actual picture of the real Danvers State Hospital:

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#5 Cutty

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 06:22 AM

I do not wonder about this finding as it comes only naturally. Gothic horror is a very subtle element in Batman-storytelling of which the name "GOTHam" is only the peak of the iceberg (as far as obvious inspiration is concerned).

Now I'd just like to see a Bat-Villain named "The Winged Squid from the Stars"  *wub*  *sweet*  now that'd be awesome!
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#6 Merkel

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Posted 13 July 2006 - 02:56 PM

View PostCutty, on Jul 13 2006, 07:22 AM, said:

I do not wonder about this finding as it comes only naturally. Gothic horror is a very subtle element in Batman-storytelling of which the name "GOTHam" is only the peak of the iceberg (as far as obvious inspiration is concerned).

Now I'd just like to see a Bat-Villain named "The Winged Squid from the Stars"  *wub*  *sweet*  now that'd be awesome!

Actually, I think the relation between the words Gothic and Gotham is not as obvious as it may seem. As far as I know, Gotham is a sort of nickname for New York, and that's where the name Gotham City came from.

#7 TheBrickster

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 01:21 AM

View PostCutty, on Jul 12 2006, 11:22 PM, said:

I do not wonder about this finding as it comes only naturally. Gothic horror is a very subtle element in Batman-storytelling of which the name "GOTHam" is only the peak of the iceberg (as far as obvious inspiration is concerned).
There are numerous Gothic authors.  I think it's neat to be able to link one aspect of the Batman stories to a particular author; one who had experiences with such an institution (esp. if you've read some of Lovecraft's books).

Further, adding more interest to the Lego Arkham Asylum, is the fact that it may have been based on a "real-life" place (Danvers pictured above).  I find these facts very interesting adding curiosity to the story and Lego creation.




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