Today, BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM debuts on xBox 360, PS3, and PC. Even if you are not a gamer, there is much to be feared and admired in the game’s presentation and storytelling. It’s an extraordinarily well-crafted tribute to Arkham Asylum, the decaying repository for Gotham City’s fiercest foes.
Two key influences seem to be 1.) Batman’s 3D graphic user interface during the climactic sonar scene in last year’s THE DARK KNIGHT, and 2.) more interestingly, ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH.
AA: ASHOSE is a hugely unsettling 1989 graphic novel written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Dave McKean, who is most famous for CORALINE, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, SANDMAN, and other ghastly collaborations with Neil Gaiman. In AA:ASHOSE, Mr. McKean brings the haunted hospital to life by combining his stylized sketches and paintings with old & eerie found objects (a dissected stopwatch here, a piece of string there). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Meanwhile, the place itself seems to take its name from Arkham, Massachusetts, which happens to not exist in real life. Rather, it’s a town created by famed horror author H. P. Lovecraft.