Arts & Culture

Batman’s genitalia sparks debate

Jacob VanHoutan, Staff Writer

Last week saw the release of the first issue of the newest Batman comic book, “Batman: Damned,” the first comic published under DC Comics’ “Black Label.” The point of the reboot, and the new label, was to make a version of the caped crusader for mature audiences. There was controversy surrounding this comic when it was initially published because it featured a clear outline of Bruce Wayne’s male genitalia.

This began a firestorm of articles and stories being written about the comic that showed Batman’s wiener. Soon after, DC Comics censored those images and reassured everyone that future issues would no longer include any scandalous images of the Dark Knight.

This response has opened a whole new discussion. At first, the controversy focused on the idea of a comic showing very sexually explicit content. This isn’t the first time that sexual images  have been shown in comics; it happens all the time. Countless comic book heroes have been shown lying in bed together, so something like this isn’t too far fetched. However, it has never been as graphic. The original image, gives an outline of it, and it implies more than directly shows anything. Instead of standing behind the decision, DC decided to change it, shifting the focus of the controversy on whether or not we should be covering it up in the first place.

I don’t think comics should avoid sexual content. I think that if you are focusing on making content for mature audiences, you should be able to tackle any subject matter you so please. The issue that might stem from this particular image is it  doesn’t really have any impact on the story or the character. The image feels forced in there to drum up attention for this more mature line of comic books. Someone who is working in any artistic field should be allowed to create something they want no matter the content. However, you shouldn’t be adding in a lot of swear words, extreme violence, or graphic sexual content just for the sake of it. You should be using those mature elements to add to the characters and the story you are trying to tell. I don’t think DC should hide from this decision, but I also think that if they are going to continue to show graphic content, there should be some kind of purpose behind it other than just wanting to show his penis.

This article first appeared in the Friday, September 28 edition of The Echo.