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Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Nov 4, 2020

Flip a coin - heads, you listen to us analyze Two-Face. Tails, you listen to us analyze Harvey Dent. Either way, you're getting a realistic discussion of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.


  • Two-Face (Harvey Dent) created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942)
  • In his first appearance, he's Harvey Kent, later renamed to avoid confusion with Superman 
  • He's an attorney who gets acid thrown in his face during cross examination, and chooses to embrace the duality of his appearance - uses a coin flip to determine his actions
  • "Cured" due to plastic surgery


  • Crisis reinvented his past - grew up with abusive father, who would flip a coin to determine whether to beat him


    • Diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but he worked through them to become DA in Gotham - worked as an ally of Batman and Gordon, until he was attacked with acid by Sal Maroni 
    • No Man’s Land - Two-Face controls a portion of Gotham, but during the “trial” of Commissioner Gordon, he calls upon Harvey Dent to serve as his defense attorney, forcing Dent to “cross-examine” Two-Face, and he acquits Gordon
    • Healed by Dr. Thomas Elliot, aka Hush, who attempted to blackmail Dent to help him against Batman, but Dent is “cured” of his bipolar - until murders pop up with Two-Face’s MO, implicating Dent, and the Two-Face persona resurfaces, causing him to re-scar himself
    • New 52 - now his origin is that of a defense attorney whose clients try to kill Commissioner Gordon - he then becomes DA and prosecutes them - one of them disfigures him with acid - later battles Batman and reveals he knows his identity, before attempting suicide
    • Rebirth - The attempt effectively destroyed the Dent persona, but convinced Batman “Harvey” was still in there, if only Batman would help him with the cure - Batman sedated Dent and forced the dual identities to remain
  • Issues (08:22)
    • Bipolar - THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS
    • Schizophrenia - THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS (15:32)
    • Abusive childhood - OK, that’s fairly accurate (21:38)
  • Break (28:25)
  • Treatment (30:12)
    • In-universe - Treatment for recidivist activity stemming from trauma
    • Out of universe - Work on assisting with decision fatigue, and use “coin flip” for small decisions while leaving thought and time for big ones (34:58)
  • Skit (44:30)
  • Ending (52:17)
    • Recommended reading: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale
    • Next episodes: Tim Drake, Luke Cage, Clones
    • Plugs for social


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