DC Comics reportedly censored a number of their older comics in new reprinted and updated versions.
Fans including Vito Gesualdi noticed DC Comics is now covering up some of its female characters in past art, such as Wonder Woman and Artemis. Characters are being covered over to expose less skin than before. Gesualdi’s tweet and photo comparison are below.
DC Comics is currently reprinting some of their older works.
They are also editing them to make sure none of the female heroes have a butt crack. pic.twitter.com/VFy8qeT120
— Vito Gesualdi (@VitoGesualdi) April 24, 2019
Another user correctly pointed out this is Michael Turner’s artwork from Superman/Batman by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner that was originally published in 2004 in Superman/Batman #10.
If you will censure Michael Turner´s work, at least bring someone who understand how butts work pic.twitter.com/d9qloiu1EK
— GENZOMAN (@MrGenzoman) April 24, 2019
These new reprints are part of an exclusive deal DC Comics cut with Walmart last year. The censored artwork takes place in Walrmart DC Giant-Sized Superman #9 and Superman #10. It’s unclear at this time if Walmart required the censorship in order to sell the issues or if this was a publisher initiative from DC Comics.
For decades, artists have drawn women to appeal more to a young male demo, often facing censorship. Jim Steranko’s run on Nick Fury in the 70s was heavily censored and notoriously edited to cut out what the Comics Code deemed too lurid or sexy.
Much of that censorship went away in the 80s and 90s to make room for greater amounts of mature content, even in mainline titles at DC Comics and Marvel. The rise of edgier characters and their creators at Image and Dark Horse came about at that time. But the pendulum appears to be swinging back in the other direction.
DC Comics censorship of their older artwork appears to follow suit in this swing backward for fandom, that could be aimed more at American audiences. Sony America put in place a policy to censor Japanese video games released for the PlayStation 4 in the USA. Reasons given were “protecting children,” balancing content, and lessening exposure of visuals on streaming platforms that can be viewed as demeaning to women in the wake of #MeToo.
Coincidentally, the UN stated their intent this year to impose an initiative internationally to combat child exploitation and pornography. This initiative brings an added risk of a crackdown on anime and manga which is highly loose and sensationalized thematically based on the standard set forth by the UN. Other works like popular novels, famous movies, and cartoons could also fall victim.
Depictions of women in comics have been met with more scrutiny ever since Gail Simone coined the phrase Women in Refrigerators Syndrome — taken from an issue of Green Lantern (#54, 1994) in which one of Kyle Rayner’s enemies killed and dismembered his girlfriend Alex DeWitt before stuffing her body parts in Kyle’s fridge.
In fact, DC Comics faced criticism for the now infamous Batgirl cover which homaged the Killing Joke. The calls of outrage against the cover resulted in artist Rafael Albequerque stating he asked the cover to not be published.
More recently, DC Comics faced criticism over a recent issue from Heroes in Crisis, where a number of people complained about the “sexualization” of both Batgirl and Poison Ivy.
What do you make of this move by DC Comics and Walmart to censor Michael Turner’s artwork?