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Official Site: DC Comics
The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, commonly referred to simply as Arkham Asylum, is a fictional psychiatric hospital in the DC Comics Universe, usually appearing in stories featuring Batman. Many psychopathic criminals from across the DC Universe, mostly from Batman's own rogues gallery (such as the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Two-Face, the Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Black Mask, and Harley Quinn) have been imprisoned within the Asylum and also escaped from it. Arkham Asylum is also a notable reference to writer H.P. Lovecraft, who's used his fictional "Arkham Massachusetts" in many of his short horror/science fiction stories, such as The Colour out of Space.
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, recent comic books have featured Jeremiah Arkham. Inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft, and in particular his fictional city of Arkham, Massachusetts , the asylum was created by Dennis O'Neil and first appeared in Batman #258 (October 1974); much of its back-story was created by Len Wein during the 1980s.
Arkham Asylum does not have a good record, at least with regard to the high profile cases (most notably the Joker who is frequently shown escaping at will); and those who are 'cured' and released tend to re-offend. Furthermore, several staff members, including directors Dr. Amadeus Arkham (Founder) and Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, as well as staff members Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Lyle Bolton and, in some incarnations, Drs. Jonathan Crane and Hugo Strange, have committed serious crimes.
In addition, prisoners with unusual medical conditions that prevent them from staying in a regular prison are housed there. For example, Mr. Freeze is not always depicted as insane, but he requires a strongly refrigerated environment to stay alive; Arkham, with special conditions required for certain patients or inmates being a regularity rather than exception, is potentially seen by authorities to be an ideal location under such circumstances.
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