Saving the world doesn't necessarily mean you go home happy. How's the mental health of your favorite superhero? A comic aficionado and a board-certified psychiatrist look at the various neuroses of your favorite heroes and villains and provide options for treatment.
Creators on the Couch - Pocus Hocus 5
Allen & Will join the Five-Timers Club as we bring them back to talk Pocus Hocus 5! We also discuss Grandma Chainsaw, Monty Python, and more!
Creators on the Couch - Pocus Hocus 5
Chapter 2, Book 1 When last we left our… heroes? Protagonists? Characters (5:14)
How many books is chapter 2? (9:22)
How many chapters is the story? (9:32)
Grandma Chainsaw discussion (28:45)
Kickstarter rewards (39:32)
Ending (43:13) Kickstarter
Next episodes: Ted Anderson interview, Kang, Animal sidekicks
Plugs for social
First four appearances First
Fourth - Anthony (2:20)
XKCD Monty Python - Anthony (26:40)
TV Tropes - Gainax Ending - Anthony (27:37)
Apple Podcasts: here
Google Play: here
Issue 167 - Jessica Cruz
We wrap up Lantern Month with a case study in PTSD, Jessica Cruz! Lock yourself in your apartment and listen now!
Issue 167 - Jessica Cruz
Intro Thanks to everyone who joined us for the watch party Background (1:56) Jessica Cruz created by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, and Ethan Van Sciver in Justice League #30 (July 2014) Jessica was on a camping trip with her friends when they witnessed mobsters burying a body - the mobsters killed her friends to prevent witnesses, but Jessica escaped When she returned, she suffered from anxiety attacks and agoraphobia, and locked herself in her apartment for four years When the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 came to the planet and Power Ring was killed, his ring found Jessica and bonded to her because of her fear - the ring took over and led to her attacking the Justice League & Doom Patrol With the help of Batman & Hal Jordan, she learned to use the ring and control it, instead of letting it control her During the Darkseid War, his daughter Grail summoned the Black Racer to kill the Flash, she managed to overtake the ring’s control long enough to jump in front and attack the Black Racer - it killed the entity in the ring, and left Jessica presumably dead, until a Green Lantern ring approached her and turned her into the newest Earth Lantern Hal partners her with Simon Baz, the other new Earth Lantern, and right after they start working together, they have to take on Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Corps, who are constructing a Hell Tower on Earth - they destroy the tower, but the Rage Seed was still implanted in the Earth She joins the Justice League, and helps them take on Doctor Manhattan (unsuccessfully) Gets stranded on an outpost alone in space for a year, and managed to fight off Sinestro Corps members when they came to the station in search of supplies - she earns a yellow ring after this, and joins the Sinestro Corps as the Lantern of 2814 Issues - Theme is “You got this… but what if you don’t?” (6:48) PTSD - Agoraphobia PTSD - Anxiety (13:05) PTSD - Imposter syndrome (20:41) Break (31:31) Plugs for SNEScapades, Last Sons of Krypton, and Jeremy Whitley Treatment (33:25) In-universe & out of universe are the same - Skit (feat. Lauren from Legends of SHIELD) (39:02) DOC: Hello Jessica, I’m Dr. Issues JESS: *deep breath & exhale* Hello Doctor DOC: What can I do for you? JESS: Well to be honest I’m a little creeped out DOC: Why is that? JESS: This isn’t what I expected. Your office is… unique DOC: I have to admit I’ve made some recent changes. I have to keep up with the latest breakthroughs in therapy. JESS: It looks like you may have gone backwards instead. DOC: What do you mean? JESS: Well, first of all I thought there would be a couch. Why is there a beanbag? And what is that lavender smell? DOC: I have come to realize that the environment is very important for patients to get better. That beanbag is warm and comforting and lavender is known to be very soothing. But I didn’t stop there. I’m sure you’ve noticed that tall lamp as well. JESS: Yeah, I think that’s something that I should really talk to you about. It looks like something I’ve been… Researching. DOC: it’s part of my new concierge model. I want to be able to dedicate myself to my patients more and in a fashion that will allow for the best results while not stressing me out. But I apologize, I just realize I haven’t really focused on why you want my help in the first place. JESS: ‘Cause I’ve been through some bad stuff, that’s why. And there are some serious times I feel like I can’t do this at all. DOC: Well I can’t blame you for feeling that way. That’s pretty common. What does that do to you emotionally? JESS: It makes me wanna jump out of my skin sometimes. I become a nervous wreck. DOC: Anxiety. Got it. But I notice with what you have, clearly you have been managing very well for yourself. JESS: What, the ri
Issue 166 - Atrocitus
THIS EPISODE SEETHES WITH RAGE AS WE DISCUSS ATROCITUS! FEEL THE ANGER THROUGH YOUR SPEAKERS AND INTO YOUR HEART
Intro Green Lantern watch party THIS SATURDAY NIGHT 8:30 PM Eastern
Background (2:35) Atrocitus created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver in Green Lantern #25 (Dec 2007)
The Manhunters were created by the Guardians of the Universe to protect the universe, but they went rogue and obliterated all life in Sector 666 - Atros was one of only five survivors in the entire sector
He renamed himself Atrocitus, and he and the other four survivors called themselves the Five Inversions - they performed a ritual and discovered the prophecy of the Blackest Night, which foretold the destruction of the universe at the hands of the Guardians - after attempting to defeat the Guardians, he and the Inversions were imprisoned on Ysmault
Abin Sur traveled there and began questioning Atrocitus about the prophecy - he freed Atrocitus from his prison to help guide Abin to Earth, but Atrocitus broke free and attacked Abin, retconning why Abin Sur’s ship crashed to Earth
He then created a divining rod that led him to William Hand, aka Black Hand, but before he could kill Hand, Sinestro & Hal Jordan intervened - Hand escaped with the rod (also a retcon), and Atrocitus was returned to his prison on Ysmault
While in prison, his rage helped him create the red power battery, which he used to murder his fellow Inversions, creating rings and a central battery - he used these rings and batteries to create the Red Lantern Corps, who would assault Sinestro and anyone responsible for the destruction of Sector 666
During Blackest Night, the other corps leaders bring him to his home planet, and he has a moment of grief for the loss of his family - he temporarily allies with the other spectrum corps
Made a deal with Guy and Ganthet that once Krona was defeated, Atrocitus would take possession to enact justice - although Krona was killed, Ganthet gave Atrocitus the corpse to do what he wanted with it
Loses his ring to Guy Gardner, who joins the Red Lanterns as an undercover mole for Hal Jordan
DC Rebirth - creates a Hell Tower on Earth to plant the Rage Seed that will birth a new Rage Entity - the tower is destroyed by Simon Baz & Jessica Cruz, but Dex-Starr managed to deliver the seed before the tower was destroyed
Issues - Theme is the pain & rage cycle (9:36) Ruby - why would a psychologist go straight to rage?
Ruby - Rage in dealing with loss (16:04)
Really the only Red Lantern capable of thought - how does that affect his rage, and does it mean it’s capable of being tamed? (23:11)
Break (29:53) Plugs for Geek Peak, Bedknobs & Broomflicks, and Jordan Blum
Treatment (31:11) In-universe - Attempt hemodialysis on Atrocitus
Out of universe - Minus the powers, he’s a very angry man raging at the world because of his loss (33:15)
Skit (39:19) Hello Atros, I’m Dr - ATROCITUS AND YOU ARE NO DOCTOR
*Gulp* Hello Atrocitus, I’m Dr - I SAID YOU ARE NO DOCTOR TO ME. I do not recognize your title, only the title of MASTER OF RAGE HOLDS ANY MEANING TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE TO the power it provides.
*pause* Um…I mean, I can’t lie, man. I’m here as an…um…professional…to -YOU ARE WASTING TIME, Doctor Issues.
*Rapid* I’m here to make sure you don’t destroy all of existence because you are so powerful and mad and I don’t want to offend you but I need to do my job so please just let me…Atrocitus…sir -I HATE WHINERS. WHINING is the provenance of those too incompetent to comprehend the veracity of the world and TOO WEAK TO COMPEL THE CHANGE REQUIRED to bring JUSTICE to those who would cause DESTRUCTION AND PAIN TO THE INNOCENT.
*exasperated* OH COME ON! I’m doing my best here. Just tell me why you’re so angry. -*seething* EEEEEEEVVVVVVVERRRRRYTHII
Issue 165 - Guy Gardner
We kick off Season 10 and Lantern Month with the prickliest Earth Lantern, GUY GARDNER! How does Doc survive a session with someone like this? Tune in to find out!
Intro Welcome back for Season 10
January is Lantern Month
Patrons will get an exclusive episode, plus a watch party of the Ryan Reynolds movie
Background (4:00) Guy Gardner created by John Broome and Gil Kane in Green Lantern #59 (March 1968)
Guy is the child of an abusive alcoholic who regularly beat him, giving him an aggressive nature and a defiance to authority
In college, however, he shifts and becomes engaged in social work, and later a teacher for disabled children
When Abin Sur’s ring sought out a successor, Guy Gardner would have been chosen had he been closer, but since Hal Jordan was in the vicinity of the crash, he was selected
He later becomes a reserve Lantern, backing up John Stewart
Hal’s power battery explodes in his face, trapping him in the Phantom Zone - when he is freed, he is comatose and suffering from brain damage for many years
The Guardians revive him and give him a new ring & outfit, and charge him with assembling a team to battle the Anti-Monitor - the brain damage during his coma altered his personality, leaving him immature, arrogant, and violent
He is a founding member of the Justice League International, although he chafes against Batman’s leadership - Batman knocks him out with one punch, and when he awakens, he is empathetic and caring - until he hits his head again, and he reverts to his abrasive self
Loses a fight with Hal and surrenders his ring, but later finds a yellow ring of Sinestro’s
After losing an eye in another fight with Hal/Parallax, he drinks from the Warrior chalice and unlocks dormant powers hidden in his DNA - he then becomes a shapeshifter that can create weapons from his limbs
He is returned to full human in GL Rebirth when the Parallax entity is stripped from the main power battery, and he becomes one of the trainers for the new Corps, later becoming a member of the Honor Guard
During Blackest Night & War of the Lanterns, he wears a Red ring and then a Sapphire ring, fueling himself with rage over the death of Kyle Rayner and his love of the Corps
New 52 - He gets dismissed from the Corps after the Guardians create the Third Army to replace all Green Lanterns, but regains his ring, and along with Simon Baz & other Lanterns, they defeat the Guardians and restore the Corps
Then he joins the Red Lanterns, working as an undercover agent on behalf of the Green Lanterns - he takes over from Atrocitus as leader, and uses his rage against what he felt as disrespect from Hal, John, Kyle, the Guardians, and the Corps
Issues - Gotta love ‘em, because otherwise you’ll hate ‘em (9:03) All right, so...Guy Gardner. The friend in the group no one really likes that much. The really difficult coworker who's indispensable and you have to try and get along with because you know he's not going anywhere. The guy who never really grew out of his high school jock phase. We've all known a few Guy Gardners in our lives. Some of us may have even been a Guy Gardner at one time and not know it. Guy's really not that much of a mystery. His issues are right there out in the open in big blinking neon letters.
Cockiness and abrasive personality. If you aren't aware of how great a Green Lantern, superhero, or a man Guy is, just ask him. He'll be happy to tell you all about it. If you have a disagreement about Guy's assessment of himself, he'll also be happy to correct your misconceptions. Loudly, at first. Violently, if loudly doesn't get the job done. Guy's got an incredibly big mouth and certainly doesn't mind telling you exactly what he thinks of you. This tends to make him more than a little difficult to get along with as a person, and much more difficult as a teammate. It's become a ru
Issue 164 - Raven
We take on the Titanous daughter of Trigon, RAVEN! How good is Anthony's Tara Strong impression? How do you handle an empath? All this and more in our season finale - listen now!
Intro Patrons get an extra episode We’ll also do a watch party of the Ryan Reynolds movie Unwittingly this is season finale January is Lantern month Background (5:09) Raven created by Marv Wolfman & George Perez in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980) Raven is the daughter of the demon Trigon and a human woman, Angela Roth - Raven was raised in Azarath to control her emotions by monks so she could control her demonic powers, which include astral projection, teleportation, and emotional manipulation When she learned Trigon was planning to invade Earth, she first approached the Justice League for assistance, but when they refused, she reformed the Titans as the New Teen Titans to battle Trigon, who they imprisoned in an alternate dimension When Trigon inevitably escaped, he corrupted Raven and took her over - the Titans killed her, allowing the souls of Azarath to possess her body and kill Trigon, after which she was resurrected, free of his control Became Dark Raven after she was possessed by her evil conscience, and implanted her good soul in Starfire (although she said she implanted a seed of Trigon) - the evil Raven then attempted to destroy Starfire, but was defeated by the Titans, and her good soul was placed in a new body She later enrolled in a high school under the name Rachel Roth, and dated Beast Boy for a while She broke up with Beast Boy and left the team, although the two were unrelated Discovered three half-brothers, children Trigon had with other mothers, who tried to use her to access their father’s realm - Raven used her powers to make her brothers so greedy they stole Trigon’s power New 52 - her origin is practically similar, but initially she was operating as a double agent for Trigon under his control During a battle with the Crime Syndicate, Raven was sent several thousand years into the past, where she used her powers to teleport herself and the Titans forward to the future, before returning to the present - all the chronal manipulation severed Trigon’s connection to her She and several other heroes were kidnapped by Damian Wayne, who was putting a team together to battle Ra’s al Ghul She and the other Titans create a school to train new students Issues - Her heart is not her own (9:15) Emotional repression Seemingly cannot escape her father’s manipulation & control Empath power leaves her vulnerable to emotions of those around her Break (36:39) Plugs for Scotch N Sports, Popcorn Psychology, and Meredith Finch Treatment (37:50) In-universe - Out of universe - Skit (47:44) Hello Raven, I’m Dr. Issues. -Hello. *longest pause that almost makes listener think there’s something wrong with the episode* Umm, what can I do for you? -Well, we can talk about…stuff. I guess. Ooooooookay, such as… -I don’t know. *another awkward pause, but not as long as the first* Feel free to talk about whatever you want. I’m not used to digging this hard to start a conversation when the person booked the first session themselves. -I got a recommendation. I’m flattered *pause* Is there something holding you back? -*sigh* I was trying to avoid using this *Azarath Metrion Zinthos* Aaaah, that’s better. You should be easier to talk to now. What did you do? -I had to find a way to let a part of myself out. But I needed a willing vessel. You work just fine. I’m a good listener, not an empty vessel. -I didn’t say “empty,” just willing. You’re an empath. I can tell. Then what is it that I’m supposed to carry? -Oh I don’t know…the weight of soul crushing guilt that you can never do anything to make your problems go away, or stop those that created you from ruining your life, or trying to find someone that takes you seriously for more than a fling, or…grrr…even when I throw it awa
Issue 163 - Gladiator
Things get cosmic as we discuss GLADIATOR! Doc has no shortage of confidence when it comes to dealing with this Strontian - are you not entertained?
Intro Extra Life reminder
Background (3:50) Gladiator of the Imperial Guard created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum in The X-Men #107 (Oct 1977)
Introduced as a member of the Imperial Guard of the Shi’ar Empire, serving under Emperor D’Ken, brother of the exiled Lilandra
Kallark is a Strontian, and the race is incredibly strong, but only when devoted to a principle - Kallark and other Strontians were vying for a spot in the guard, when they were ordered to return to Strontia and kill their elders - only Kallark obeyed without question, learning that it was a test of loyalty set up by the elders to protect the homeworld
He encountered several heroes along his journey, as he continued to serve whoever was in charge of the Shi’ar Empire - D’Ken, Lilandra, Deathbird, and Vulcan
Kallark defends the Empire against Vulcan and his assault, but when Vulcan leads a coup and takes over, Kallark is honor-bound to serve, although he has fleeting thoughts of doubt
On Vulcan’s orders, Kallark and the guard attack the wedding of Crystal and Ronan, intended to unite the Kree and Inhumans, though he sides with Lilandra to prevent her execution, he is unable to prevent a later assassination
He accepts the position of Emperor of the Shi’ar to prevent further bloodshed and war, but appoints two advisors to help him handle most of the logistics of running the empire
Joins the Annihilators to give himself an outlet for fighting, but refuses a leadership role
Joins the Galactic Council, where he decides that Earth must be destroyed to save the universe from incursions, but when it was restored, no memory remained of the destruction
Put a time-displaced Jean Grey on trial for her “future” crimes as Phoenix
After Xandra is discovered, Kallark hands over the throne of the Shi’ar empire to her and returns to his role as head of the Guard
Issues - More than you think you know (11:10) The waxing and waning of his self-esteem and focus. It's a function of the Strontian species that their physical abilities are all directly tied to their confidence level and their belief in themselves and their purpose. When Gladiator believes he can do so, he is powerful enough to knock planets out of their orbit, burn Galactus with his heat vision, and is said to have once ripped a black hole in half. Which I really hope was just an idle boast, because there's just...so many things wrong with that sentence. When he doubts himself, he becomes weak enough to get smacked around by Cannonball.
A slavish devotion to his sense of duty. Gladiator takes his oath of loyalty to the Shi'ar throne and his position as Praetor of the Imperial Guard VERY seriously. He begins his career of imperial service when the Emperor orders him and the rest of the cadets being evaluated with him to kill the Council of Elders of his home planet as a test of loyalty. Most of the rest of the cadets refuse the order and rebel. Gladiator obeys it without question. He's had to serve a string of emperors and empresses who were objectively very bad people, from T'Korr to D'Ken to Deathbird to Vulcan. He hates the things he's ordered to do most of the time, but is a loyal servant of the throne through and through, purposefully keeping his focus single-mindedly on his duty in order to keep his powers at their maximum level and best perform his duties. The only time he ever wavers is when he's ordered to execute Lilandra, which is a pretty high bar, all things considered. (18:38)
Lack of faith in his ability to lead anything that's not the Guard. When Vulcan and Deathbird are dispatched after War of Kings, Gladiator really doesn't want to take charge of what's left of the empire, and would rather anyone else be leader besides
It’s about comics, yes, … but it’s much more
I recently discovered this podcast and have really enjoyed it despite not really knowing much about comic books. What little I do know I recall from childhood, and it always seemed even then that comic book heroes had pretty rough lives. So the idea that they may benefit some mental health treatment never seemed a far stretch. Things have gotten better in recent years in terms of the public discourse on mental health and treatment access but, even now, mental health needs are not something many people are terribly open about. There is also so much misinformation in the general public, especially among leaders and others who have the power to make legislation (different subject; won’t go into that here). By doing a nuanced show like this where listeners can hear that even their heroes could benefit from help - well, it’s kind of a public service, in a way, since it helps destigmatize taking care of this aspect of one’s health for all us non-superheroes. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Nothing Else Like It
Great guys and an amazing podcast! Doc and Anthony approach their subjects objectively and never fail to always remain professional. Such amazing insights and knowledge!
This is a great podcast offering the look at mental health of superheroes. That is brilliant!!