The end of the world is nigh when Batman and Robin comic books include curse words in order to shock and entertain a jaded and bored fanbase. 


DC Comics claims the curse words are, indeed, there on the page, but those bad words were supposed to be “blacked out” by the printing process. 

Yeah, right.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

DC Comics has pulled back tens of thousands of copies of “All-Star Batman and Robin”
No. 10 due to a printing error that put two R-rated words into word
balloons in the story.

Which words?

Well, one begins with “F” and the
other begins with “C” — and, yes, it’s that C word.

The New York Post gets even more graphic:

“Text every friend you’ve got, s- – -heads,” Batgirl tells a group of incredibly foulmouthed, drug-dealing thugs in “All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder” No. 10.

“Sell your poison somewhere else. This here arcade belongs to the f- – -ing Batgirl.”

The S- and F-words were supposed to be blacked out, but two shades of black were used, and the expletives are clearly legible, as are the thugs’ A- and F-words – and even a number of C-bombs.

While “All-Star Batman & Robin” isn’t aimed at kids, it also doesn’t have a “mature readers” warning on the cover.

There’s no such thing as a coincidence — so don’t think for an instant DC Comics didn’t know precisely what they were doing with their printing process — their determined effort to degrade the language of our culture in print was on purpose and preplanned. 

Only the guilty mind grinds on excuses.

DC Comics are in business to sell comic books and to create buzz.  By making up this artificial cussing crisis — they’re grabbing newspaper headlines for free and making the comic book collector world go crazy-mad as they try to get their hands on the despicable, and instantly collectible copies — and all the while DC Comics are “excusing” themselves all the way to the bank!

We must see through this sort of uncouth attack on our culture and the meme of the subversion is the supreme SuperHero and beloved sidekick that, unfortunately, so many of us have come to look upon for demonstrations of morality and imitated vested values in a crumbling world.

When our adored heroes betray us and sink beneath us to look down on us and drag us into the gutter with a language that decays and condemns instead of lifting us into the light — we are required to turn away from their darkness and reject their product by refusing to purchase.

We must instead manufacture our own entertainment idols that celebrate the best of us — while fighting the worst in us — all without needing to lower the language to debase the culture.

36 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    I grew up reading Tintin, Asterix and other regional comics – and the highest level of expletives used by Captain Haddock (in Tintin adventures)was:
    …”Baboon!!! Beast!!! Caterpillars!!!…”
    …”Ten thousand thundering Typhoons!!! Billions of blue blistering bernacles..”
    We used to mug these word up, use it to our friends and used to think – “wow, we are using curse words!!!”
    http://eksith.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/captain-haddock/
    Ha!
    I am quoting Chris Ware here, who is the author of the book – “Jimmy Corrigan – The Smartest Kid on the Earth”; his view on “why Tintin was never popular in the USA” is very interesting:
    P.O.V.: Although some have approached its widespread popularity, there is no exact parallel to Tintin in American comics. Why do you think this is so? What in American comics comes closest to Tintin and approximating the cult of Tintin? In other media?
    Chris: Tintin was fundamentally too sexless to really catch on in America. There are hardly any girls in Hergé’s stories, and there’s also a peculiar sense of responsibility and respect in Tintin that is antithetical to the American character, or at least that of the budding individualist nine-year-old boy who just wants to set things on fire and has been weaned on much more outrageous stories. I’m not even sure if it’s fair to say that there is an analog in American culture to Tintin, actually. I read a few serialized episodes in a magazine my mom subscribed to for me when I was a kid and it made me feel really, really weird; I didn’t like it at all. I could tell that it was “approved” and “safe” and it immediately bored me, because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with what I thought of as the “real” adult world, which was for me at that time superpowers and crimefighting. (I like Tintin now, of course.)
    I am glad I didn’t have learn real curse words in my childhood!!!

  2. Hi Katha! Tintin is still lost on me. I don’t get the idea of the comic book even though I love and appreciate your fine article on the topic. I’m not even sure if Steven Spielberg can make Tintin interesting enough to the masses unless the comic characters have secret superpowers or are secret psychopaths or in someway transgendered… Dennis the Menace is probably the closest thing we have to Tintin… and Dennis was always the bad boy that made others do good.

  3. Hi David,
    I know and I don’t mind…
    I don’t think you would discard Tintin because he is a “good boy” – you may discard the idea of comic strip as a whole.
    Dennis is mischievous and fun!!! You don’t expect anything else from a five-year-old!
    I was a fan of Archie too!
    Curse word in a kids book is plain and simple unacceptable. They don’t need that kind of exposure which jeopardizes the core value.

  4. I was always a Peanuts fan. I read the very early Peanuts comics in book after book with great delight. I’m open to Tintin — I just want to understand his worldwide appeal beyond the USA… is Tintin the worldwide “soccer/football” fanaticism that we still don’t “get” here in America?
    The curse words in that comic book were intended not for children, but rather for adults, but I argue children are much more likely to read a comic book — any comic book! — than any adult.

  5. Hi David,
    That whole “it was supposed to be blacked out” thing that DC Comics is rolling out doesn’t fly.
    Unless they are tied to some very arcane printing technology, there is no way that you can make an editorial decision, no matter how late in the process, to ink particular words out and not be able to just remove them altogether.

  6. That’s right on point! DC Comics things we’re stupid, Dananjay. But we’ve all lived through eight years of political mistruths and lies and so now we don’t believe anything on the surface and we question everything in the depths. That’s bad for business and good for us.
    If you can black out a bad word you, can also just delete it or suggest it with dashes — “f – – k” — but they didn’t. They used a two-color black printing process that “just happened” to show the real bad words printed beneath. What a total, disgusting, disingenuous, joke on us all and the collectors now clamoring to buy the “inadvertent” naughty bits!

  7. Yes David, Peanuts!!!
    Here you go…
    P.O.V.: Although some have approached its widespread popularity, there is no exact parallel to Tintin in American comics. Why do you think this is so? What in American comics comes closest to Tintin and approximating the cult of Tintin? In other media?
    Daniel: Probably Peanuts, at least in terms of popularity and respectability, comes closest to Tintin. I don’t know — I’ve always been mystified by the intensity of love for Tintin in Europe. I like the books very much, and admire Hergé’s work, but having never seen a Tintin volume until I was a teenager, I have no visceral pop culture nostalgia inflecting my appreciation.
    http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2006/tintinandi/sfartists_clowes.html
    http://www.goworldtravel.com/ex/aspx/articleGuid.%7B54014CA4-0ECB-4146-8346-3A74D6F95584%7D/xe/article.htm
    I guess David, apart from its characteristic uniqueness and subtle humour – Tintin is widely popular in the world because of its unusual depth, and it’s “the real world is my home” kind of appeal.
    You are right about the “Soccer/Football” craze though!

  8. I appreciate that analysis, Katha. I wonder why Spielberg thinks he has a hit in Tintin? He might find international success but that isn’t enough in the movie world. You must have a blockbuster hit in America in order to fester in the rest of the world.

  9. Hi David,
    I do not think he is going for an “instant hit” here, because he surely knows about Tintin being non existent in the USA.
    I think he is sure of its world wide craze, or he is surely very fond of the subject, or he wants to try something new about which he is very confident.

  10. I’ll see Tintin twice. That’s just how much I love Tintin. 🙂 I don’t care for foul language in my comics. When you say that all comics are largely read by kids, do you mean in this country or outside of this country?

  11. But you aren’t a typical, mainstream, American, Gordon! You have specialized, eclectic tastes. Tintin is made for you! When I say comic books are made for kids I mean cartoons and the whole idea of SuperHeros are aimed at the child mind. Adults may have a niche market, but most of the interest in cartoon heroes is from children.

  12. In Japan, there are telephone book sized comics that are meant only for businessmen aged 35-55. There are some written for elderly women. I guess Japan is the exception to the rule.
    I would think people would love Tintin! I mean, it’s full of adventure and excitement. Plus you have the angry captain, the bumbling police detectives, the brilliant professor who seems unusually myopic – what more could you want? 🙂

  13. I was talking about American comic books, Gordon, and American SuperHeroes. I bet if you’d go to Middle America right now: South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and visit mainstream public elementary schools and ask the kids about Tintin — less than 1% would have any idea who or what you were talking about…

  14. Hi David,
    I was too sleepy to reply last night.
    I was not purely intuiting about Speilberg, he had this plan for a long time when he took the rights for this movie in early ’80s.
    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/03/08/arts/EU-A-E-MOV-Belgium-Tintin-Movie.php
    He knows what “Tintin stands for” as all the 24 adventures have sold 220 million copies worldwide and have been translated in ‘n’ number of languages.
    My “gut part” is – nothing good comes out without a risk!

  15. Spielberg’s story is Spielberg’s David, and mine is mine!
    Two different versions of the same story!
    I can accept a different story line on one condition – I want every character behaving in the same way, not Tintin acting like Superman or so – no hidden surprises there!

  16. It will be a challenge to try to meet the storytelling and the character growth in a whole new story, Katha. I think that’s a better thing than just “filming the page” like we get with the Harry Potter books. There’s no active movie imagination in any of those movies. They just the filmed version of the text. Boring.

  17. Yes David, that is going to be challanging. I also think with a new storyline Spielberg can stay away from the eager expectation/ comparison with his movie with the book…
    99% cases the film disappoints.