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DC Comics

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From DC Database

Location Template Location Template
Arkham Asylum

Official Name
Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane
Arkham; Arkham Hospital; Arkham Sanitarium; Mercey Mansion

Location Details


Star System





First appearance



Arkham Asylum is located on the outskirts of Gotham City, and is where those of Batman's foes considered to be legally insane are incarcerated (other foes are incarcerated at Blackgate Penitentiary). Although it has had numerous administrators, its current head is Jeremiah Arkham. The Asylum does not have a good record, at least with regard to the high profile cases; escapes are frequent (on at least one occasion, an obsessive-compulsive multiple murderer was signed out of Arkham into the care of an incontinent, alcoholic vagrant, on the grounds that he "looked like a responsible citizen"), and those who are 'cured' and released tend to re-offend. Furthermore, several staff members, including at least one director, have ended up as residents, notably Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Lyle Bolton and, in some incarnations, Doctors, Jonathan Crane and Hugo Strange.

Originally known as Mercey Mansion, the hospital was run by Amadeus Arkham. Arkham himself was slowly driven insane shortly following the grisly murder of his wife and child by a lunatic named Martin "Mad Dog" Hawkins. Dying inside his own hospital, custodianship of Arkham Asylum was passed down to his nephew, Jeremiah. [1]

Jermiah Arkham took a hardline approach towards the care of his patients. He completely renovated the interior of the hospital, tearing away the old Victorian-style architecture, replacing it with newly designed interconnecting corridors patterned in the style of old classical labyrinths. With little regard for the hospital's dark history, Jeremiah was certain to destroy old remnants of the old asylum, including his uncle's private journal. [2] Arkham hired Hiram Contractors to handle the renovations. What Jeremiah didn't realize however was that the company foreman, Zolly Hiram, had been blackmailed by patient Victor Zsasz into building a secret corridor that connected to several padded rooms, including his own. This later enabled Zsasz to affect a temporary escape from the asylum. [3]

Years ago, the original Arkham Asylum suffered massive structural damage when the criminal Bane orchestrated a large-scale break-out, setting dozens of patients free. [4] As a result, Jeremiah Arkham was forced to close its doors and relocate. He established a new Arkham Asylum at the site of the abandoned estate of Eric Mercey on Mercey Island.


Jeremiah Arkham installed the most state-of-the-art security measures when he took control of the asylum. Video recorders were installed in every room and corridor with two guards stationed on every level twenty-four hours a day to discourage bribery. Even Arkham himself was required to present identification to access various levels of the hospital. All exterior windows at Arkham were installed with heat detectors and microwave motion detectors. Magnetic foils in the walls were used to block radio waves from penetrating locked cells. Although security protocols were highly efficient, they were not foolproof. Within weeks of the renovations both Mister Zsasz and Batman succeeded in breaking out of the asylum. Additionally, Batman's former partner, Nightwing even succeeded in breaking into Arkham. [5]


Although nobody actually lives in Arkham permanently, it being an asylum, it has an infamous list of frequent residents. It's most notorious inmates throughout the years include:


  • The first appearance of Arkham Asylum is often mis-credited as Batman #326. This was actually the first issue where it was referred to as Arkham Asylum. In previous appearances, it was known as Arkham Hospital.
  • According to Bob Rozakis:
Actually, Denny O'Neil introduced the asylum in 1974's BATMAN #258, which established the Joker and Two-Face as residents. Here and in #260, it was referred to as Arkham Hospital, "a polite name for an asylum which houses the criminally insane." These early stories also placed the building in Arkham, New England, not Gotham. City.[6]
  • The Name is based on the imaginary City of Arkham, Massachussettes from the Stories of Howard Philips Lovecraft

Recommended Reading

  • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
  • Batman: Knightfall
  • Batman: The Last Arkham
  • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell
  • The Joker's Asylum

See Also

Links and References

  1. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
  2. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1
  3. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #4
  4. Batman #489
  5. Batman: The Last Arkham
  6. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Arkham Asylum By Bob Rozakis

Arkham Asylum
Stories Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth | Arkham Asylum: Living Hell | Batman: The Last Arkham | The Joker's Asylum | Arkham Asylum (video game)
Asylum Inmates The Joker | Two-Face | The Riddler | The Mad Hatter | The Ventriloquist | Scarecrow | Harley Quinn | Poison Ivy | Killer Croc | Zsasz
Other Comics Underworld Unleashed: Devil's Asylum #1 | Showcase '94 | Batman: Mad Love | The Batman of Arkham | Arkham Asylum: Tales of Madness
Other Characters Batman | The Batman Family | Jeremiah Arkham | The GCPD | Aaron Cash
See Also Arkham Asylum Images | Arkham Asylum Appearances | Gotham City | Gotham City Locales | Batman Villains
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This article uses material from the "Arkham Asylum" article on the DC Comics wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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