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Jeremiah Arkham is a fictional supervillain and the head of the Arkham Asylum in DC Comics, created by Alan Grant. Arkham was created in 1992 and became the second villain to take up the mantle of the Black Mask.[1] Arkham slowly "lost his mind" during his time in the Asylum, subsequently becoming the second Black Mask.[2] Though described as a sadist,[3][4] Arkham seems to believe his intentions are for the benefit of his patients.[5]

History and origin

Arkham's Black Mask is still canon and has been 'floating around' since the early 2000s, visible on the "Batman Universe" podcast. Although remaining canon, Jeremiah isn't usually the Black Mask used in films and media, including the Arkham game series where he wasn't mentioned. Jeremiah's obscurity has been his downfall, with his latest comic appearance in DC's rebirth in 2016.[6] Jeremiah inherited the Arkham asylum from his late uncle Amadeus Arkham, who named the asylum in wake of his dead mother, Elizabeth Arkham.[7] It's also believed to be named after the fictional Arkham, Massachusetts.[8] Jeremiah was driven mad by the belief he could cure every patient, stemming from his teenage years when he talked a gunman down.[9] This 'savior complex' lead to trouble in his adulthood when he attempted to send his prisoners to attack the Batman, after admitting himself to the hospital to stop the criminal Victor Zsasz.[10][11][12] Zsasz was secretly freed by a contractor for a bribe,[13] and he used the time outside to murder the citizens of Gotham, and when thwarted by Batman, an enraged Jeremiah sent Amygdala, Riddler, and other inmates to attack the Batman.

In other media


Doctor Arkham appeared in Lego Batman: The Videogame, sporting a gray coat and clear glasses in contrast to his usual white lab coat and white glasses similar to Hugo Strange.[14] Arkham's Lego minifigure in the game can only be unlocked on the Nintendo DS version.[15][16][17][18]


Jeremiah was portrayed by wrestler Rob Kellum in The Devil's Daughter. The cast consists of student Lillin Rector as Harleen Quinzel, Faneal Godbold as Harley Quinn, Cory Willins as the Joker, Crystal Cleaveland as the Poison Ivy, Heather Six as Catwoman, and Ashley McHam as Police commissioner Barbara Gordon.[19][20][21]

Creative history

Arkham was created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle and first appeared in Shadow of the Bat #1 in 1992.[22] In his first appearance, Batman was committed to the asylum for allegedly killing a police officer.[23] In the issue, Dr. Arkham is shown to believe he can convince the Batman to willingly reveal his identity to him.[24] After Batman: No Man's Land, Shadow of the Bat was replaced by Batman: Gotham Knights.[25] In the course of about two-hundred comics, Jeremiah's original character was flanderized, turning from a compassionate doctor who believed he could cure any patient to an "obsessed manic wreck".[26] In a reference to his childhood, the Joker held a gun to Arkham and forced him to watch the inmates leave the asylum after an attack from Bane, while the Joker tried to scare the administrator into madness (later saved by Batman).

Related characters


CatwomanCatwoman would eventually kill Jeremiah.

Death Rattle – Death Rattle is a cult-leader locked in Arkham and an alleged psychic. Death Rattle founded his own religion centered around his cult and is a spiritism cult leader. Erasmus believed he could communicate with the dead, suggested by his name as a play on the death rattle phenomena. He disliked Jeremiah due to his position as warden.

Jason Todd – Along with Dick Grayson, Jason Todd worked for Batman and developed a distaste for Jeremiah, especially while Jeremiah took up the mantle of Black Mask.

Victor Zsasz – Along with Erasmus, Zsasz initially seemed indifferent to Jeremiah, speaking about a "disease" his uncle contracted. After Jeremiah became Black Mask, however, Zsasz became a natural enemy for Jeremiah.

Poison IvyPoison Ivy was a regular inmate for Arkham Asylum, leading to her rivalry with its head, Jeremiah Arkham.

The JokerJoker attempted to destabilize Jeremiah's psyche and cause him to become insane.

Victor Zehrhard – Victor was the warden of the rivaling Blackgate Penitentiary.


Aaron CashAaron Cash is a guard at Arkham Asylum who's frequently appeared in stories and comics.

Amadeus ArkhamAmadeus had a good relationship with his newphew before his death.

Wild – Wild's family was murdered by the Joker leading him on a path of vengeance as a vigilante.

Wyndham Vane – Wyndham Vane was a psychiatrist at Arkham who performed dangerous therapy without authorization.


BatmanThe Batman repeatedly stopped Jeremiah and admitted him to Arkham, although Batman seems to think Jeremiah is ill, despite worsening it at times. As such, Batman has tried to help the doctor.

Dick GraysonDick was one of the characters who took up the mantle of Robin and worked alongside the Batman, who believed Jeremiah was insane. As such, Grayson helped Batman thwart Jeremiah multiple times. Despite this, Dick shares his goal of helping the doctor.

Hamburger Lady – Hamburger Lady was part of a series of inmates imagined by Jeremiah.

No Face – No Face was a part of a series of inmates imagined by Jeremiah.

Solly Bean – Solly Bean is a cannibal in arkham whose urges are stopped by his medication. When medicated, he's friendly with the other inmates and guards. Bean also has clinical depression treated by antidepressant pills.

Hugo StrangeStrange was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum with Jeremiah, although their professional relationship was never mentioned


Shadow of the Bat / Batman: The Last Arkham

Shadow of the Bat is the first appearance of Jeremiah.[26] In the story, a contractor releases Victor Zsasz, enabling Zsasz's murder spree shortly after.[27] When the Batman discovers the bodies, he recognizes Zsasz's killing pattern, although it was known that Zsasz was in the Asylum. Eventually, Batman finds the escape the contractor left Victor and captures him.[28] When Jeremiah discovers Batman had not only feigned insanity, but also stopped Zsasz's 'exposure therapy', he is enraged and releases patients on Batman, most notably Amygdala (who Jeremiah was manipulating) and Riddler.[29]

Batman: Knightfall

In Knightfall, Bane breaks into Arkham Asylum and frees the inmates as the Joker holds Jeremiah at gunpoint. Joker drives Jeremiah to near insanity until the Batman saves him.[30]

No Man's Land

In Batman: No Man's Land, Jeremiah heads to the ruins of Arkham and finds his late uncle's journal. Jeremiah decides to rebuild Arkham Asylum in his uncle's image. While the asylum is finishing renovations, workplace accidents begin to pile up, including Killer Croc's tank filtration rupturing, Mr. Freeze's room gets warmer, along with the Raggedy Man being freed. Later on, Alyce Sinner is shown to be having sexual relations with Black Mask (Roman Sionis). Alyce then returns to the asylum and projects Amadeus Arkham's voice to incite a riot with the inmates.[31] After Batman returns the inmates to their cells, Raggedy Man is then found dead, which upsets Jeremiah deeply. Later, it's revealed that this is part of the Black Mask's plan to defeat the warden of Arkham. Afterwards, the warden is put into a cell and it's revealed that his personal patients (Hamburger Lady, No Face, etc.) were all figments of his imaginations.[32]

DC Rebirth

In DC Rebirth, Jeremiah at one point had sexual relations with Dr. Ingrid Karlsson who gave birth to their child, then Karlsson died. To keep his daughter (Astrid Arkham) safe, Jeremiah raised her within the walls of Arkham, where she developed a hatred for the Batman, and she later became the Arkham Knight.[33]

Battle for the Cowl

In Battle for the Cowl, Arkham is causing mass-destruction in Gotham even exploding Arkham Asylum.[34] This is his first appearance as Black Mask.


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