Thursday, December 11, 2014

Doctor's Orders

Sometimes our heroes juggle so much on their plates, it's a wonder more of them don't end up going crazy. You'd think a few of them would at least be in therapy, wouldn't you? Quicksilver certainly has skirted the sanity line, sometimes even tripping over it; Wolverine has undergone "psychotherapy" (which is just a less abbreviated form of the word "therapy"); even the Hulk has been on the couch, though with his rage in check. But back in the 1960s, when there weren't that many heroes to speak of, making an appointment with a psychiatrist was still a novel approach for a hero to take:

For instance, imagine Captain America going in for a session or two--but, in those days when he was almost constantly regretting the circumstances of Bucky's death, it wasn't really surprising when he sought out a psychiatrist to help him put things in perspective. But, jeez--you call this perspective??

As we might expect, the esteemed Dr. Faustus had something up his well-tailored sleeve:

When it came to super-beings, therapy could be a dangerous occupation even for doctors who were on the up and up.  Any psychiatrist who consented to treat Robert Reynolds, the Sentry, would have his work cut out for him and then some. Not every doctor would want to have a lit fuse lying on his couch:

For while the Sentry was in crisis response mode practically 24/7, it was his doctor who had assumed responsibility for the fate of humanity:

As for Spider-Man--well, as hard as he struggled to lead a double life and make ends meet, we can assume his session might look something like this:

But as it happened, that first visit to a psychiatrist didn't go the distance, since Spidey reconsidered almost immediately. But why was he there in the first place? Mysterio, in his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man, decided to disguise himself as Spidey in order to discredit the wall-crawler. But he ended up doing more than that. Convinced that he was somehow really committing these crimes, Peter Parker was turning into a basket case:

And so Peter, as Spider-Man, drops into a doctor's office as only he can. Though he doesn't, er, stick around long, to his doctor's disappointment:

Spider-Man certainly gives new meaning to the term "outpatient," eh? Of course, he eventually got the goods on Mysterio's operation--much to Jameson's disappointment:

It looks like Jameson would be a good candidate for therapy. And, after a few sessions, so would his therapist.


Anonymous said...

I remember reading that Spidey story in one of those Giant Holiday Grab-Bags (I think) and Mysterio convinces Spidey he's going slowly mad including a great scene in an "upside-down room" where all the furniture has been nailed to the ceiling which all leads to Spidey about to reveal his secret identity before J.Jonah Jameson bursts in for some reason and accidentally saves the day. A great little story but looking at it now it's rather worrying how easily Peter accepts he has a split personality - come on Pete, this is Marvel - shape-shifting supervillains/androids/aliens are a dime-a-dozen !!

Comicsfan said...

With a little more experience under his belt, Colin, that probably would have been a good way for Peter to look at it; but at this point in time he's still figuring all of this out--and, given the evidence, he may have felt he had good cause to wonder if he might have taken on a little too much.

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