17 January 2010

Ask Your Doctor (No, not Dr. Hurt. Or Dr. Death. Or Dr. Hugo Strange.)

Scott at Polite Dissent is a doctor who likes superhero comic books. He often posts dissections of medical scenes in those comics, such as the emergency cricothyroidotomy in All-Star Batman and Robin and the recent spleen damage in Red Robin. He seems to admire the now spleenless Tim Drake for his medical knowledge and counseling skills.

Each Monday Scott shares a “public service announcement,” either a single page within a comic book, such as Alfred’s promotion of a paper drive during WW2, or an entire issue, as when the Teen Titans and Protector took that controversial stand against illegal drugs.

A while back, Scott analyzed a special seasonal allergy issue of Batman financed by Schering in 1999 and set in DC’s Animated Universe:

Poison Ivy [a regular antagonist] has recently broken out of prison and this [rare orchid] is just the kind of plant she likes to steal. Sure enough, she shows up and Batman and Robin spring into action. Unfortunately Robin is so sedated from his over-the-counter allergy medication that he lets Poison Ivy escape with the orchid.

When Batman and Batgirl head out to track down Poison Ivy and the orchid, Robin wants to come along, but Batman grounds him because of his antihistamine-related grogginess. Robin starts to sulk, but Alfred sends him to his doctor who prescribes him a non-sedating antihistamine
This advertising in comic-book form came with this maze, challenging us to lead Robin and Alfred to the doctor (who I imagine saying, “Young man, you seem to be wearing a mask”), and then to a pharmacy for a brand-name drug which shall go unnamed here. The comments on this blog entry note that a rare side effect of the class of drugs in question, especially in kids, is anger and aggressive behavior—the last thing we want from a Robin.

The drug in question has since become available without a prescription, and continues to be heavily advertised.


Anonymous said...

It WOULD explain a lot of his post-RIP behaviour wouldn't it?

Though I imagine an issue ending with Dick declaiming "Tim, the reason you've been a miserable sod all these months is... YOUR ANTIHISTAMINES!" might be seen as a little lacking in traditional drama

J. L. Bell said...

So far as I can recall, neither the mainstream Tim Drake nor this animated Tim Drake ever shows a susceptibility to allergies when a drug company isn’t paying for it. So I suspect that fans might find that particular explanation out of character as well as anticlimactic.

Still, it might provide him with a new nemesis: Pollen!

Anonymous said...

Still, it might provide him with a new nemesis: Pollen!

Poison Ivy's new sidekick? :)