Batman's Traumatic Origins

Thus the stage is set for Bruce Wayne’s identification with the bat as his means of mastering trauma. Approximately 20 years later, when the re-traumatized orphan Wayne ponders the choice of his secret identity, he sees the bat and the curtain rises on his transformation to a “weird figure of the night.”

This story closes as it opened, with Batman perched, above the city, atop a stone sculpture protruding from the ridge of a skyscraper—a sculpture of a vulture.

The final caption reads, “He breathes deeply, filling himself with the night—and steps forward and falls—as he fell when he was a child—as he will fall for the rest of his life.”

DC / Dick Giordano (via)


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Richard A. Warshak is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He is the author of Divorce Poison: How To Protect Your Family From Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing.

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