As many of you saw this week, DC issued a recall of the Frank Miller/Jim Lee All-Star Batman and Robin issue, citing printing errors.  Any issues that may have “accidentally” reached the local comic shops were supposed to be destroyed.  The printing error in question had to do with a couple four letter words and the dark censor bar that just wasn’t dark enough to block out those words.

When you send out an announcement like that, two things are bound to happen; A) LCSes that want to make a fast buck are going to sell the issue for 10 times the cover price, and B) the offending errors are going to show up on the Interweb’s Net.

Yes, we were aware of what the words were earlier this week, but were waiting for the actual pages to surface.  You can see one of those panels after the jump.  Oh, and if you are under 18, don’t click that More link, because after all, we wouldn’t want you exposed to anything that might be offensive – although I’m pretty sure your walk/ride to school in the morning is filled with worse language than what is presented in this issue.


The other offending word starts with C and ends in a T and I’m not talking about CAT.

goddamn Batman and fucking Batgirl, now there’s a title I’d by week after week.  I know there are those of you that absolutely hate All-Star Batman and Robin, and I used to feel the same way, but I’ve since turned around and really dig this series.

What do you think?  Was DC correct in recalling the issue, or should it have just let it slide?  On the one hand, the issue hasn’t sold gang-busters, but on the other, once the issue slips into the hands of some parent group, DC would be in deep trouble.

You can see the full pages in question at Comic Book Resources

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Bean525
    September 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm — Reply

    The thing about this that seems odd to me is, why wouldn’t they just print a box? Rather than priniting the offending words and printing a box over it, just print the box. I just don’t get it.

  2. hermit
    September 10, 2008 at 12:53 pm — Reply

    they had to do something, no matter how silly it is. otherwise DC would have parents on their back for a while, and they don’t want that kind of publicity.

    what i find weird is, why did they found the mistake AFTER shipping. nobody proof-read these things?

  3. DrStrangeCubicle
    September 10, 2008 at 1:01 pm — Reply
  4. September 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    I’d prefer that they stayed consistent within a family. Is Batman an “all-ages”, or “young teen” or “adult” family? I don’t think they should have a Batman Adventures aimed at youngsters, and a Batman with adult language, nudity, gratuitous sex, (or whatever DC can think of). They were treading on thin ice when Brian Azzarello was writing Batman.

    It would be better if DC had a Vertigo Batman-like hero where they can do what they want.

    As a retailer, it is challenging enough to keep comics from getting into the wrong hands. But trying to determine what might happen when Billy goes home with ASB&R and the mom sees it can cause “major” problems for a store (search for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund stories). Billy, already being exposed to Batman, is going to gravitate to other Batman stories.

    The other thing that can be done, but is very inconsistent within the industry is to have some standardized system of rating issues (aka TV ratings L=Language, V=Violence, etc). This is NOT censorship, this is informing customers what kind of product they can expect when they purchase the item.

  5. ~wyntermute~
    September 10, 2008 at 2:06 pm — Reply

    James kinda hit on something that bugs me about modern comics… We have too many “versions” of the same hero, by virtue of that person appearing in different teams/cross-overs/books/mini- or maxi- series, etc…. For instance, Batman’s RIP storyline, ASB&R, anything involving the Justice League (which has, like, 12 incarnations), Trinity, and “Gotham After Midnight” (the “pulp-horror” series, I may have got the title wrong.).

    No, I don’t really have a solution either, because I realize that it’s a business. Businesses need to make money, so why not pimp what you’ve got into absurdity if buyers be buying… Anyway, I’ve drifted a bit from James’ point, but I guess the common thread here is “consistency”. We both would like some degree of it, just on different facets of the biz. :)

  6. September 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm — Reply

    Wyntermute – While titles like JLA, Batman, and Detective all feature Batman in the DCU proper, the All-Star line a different brand, very much like Marvel’s Ultimate line. Unfortunately for DC, they haven’t branded correctly, so someone who sees ASB&R will think it is the same Batman as Johnny DC, and DCU proper. I’m sure DC has no idea it is confusing everyone…

    I’ll have a follow-up article on all of this next week, as a possible fix to the situation.

  7. September 10, 2008 at 3:31 pm — Reply


    If you’d like a retailer response (or input) prior to posting the article, you know my email. You can probably still find my opinion posts on this kind of thing by searching my name on icv2 from a few years back. My opinion probably won’t be the “standard” retailer opinion, but it will be “A” retailer opinion.

  8. September 10, 2008 at 6:50 pm — Reply

    This just occurred to me: Swamp Thing, et al, can’t be in the regular DCU because it might lead some poor innocent child to an adult themed book by Vertigo by mistake. However, you can take the most recognizable icon DC has and have one of his books publsihed with profanity covered up in a way that even the same child you’re supposedly protecting from Air and Fables could have told you would screw up eventually. Priceless. Who’s getting fired for this?

  9. David
    September 10, 2008 at 9:58 pm — Reply

    After reading my copy today – with the not-dark-enough-black-bar, I think it’s time we all just quit being fan boy wusses (and I’m totally talking about myself here) and just stop buying the book. I’m failing to see the point of the story, the publishing schedule and now…the language.

    Sadly, my 8-year-old son will learn the meaning of the c-word soon enough. Better that he not learn from the God-damn Batman….

  10. September 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm — Reply

    Holy !@#$ Batman! I’m not gonna lie to anybody, I’m mostly a Marvel guy (with the exception of some much loved Vertigo titles) but point being I’ve never been a reader of any of the main stream DCU characters or books. Nothing against them. Its just when I started reading comics I had a better familiarity with Marvels continuity so it was easier for me to pick up.

    If I knew there was hardcore profanity and adult times going on in DC I think I’d probably be reading more of it. But that is exactly the problem. I’m also a father of two young boys and I would have had no idea. ASB&R. Title sound friendly enough to me. Robin is in it! It’s gotta be all ages, right? Apparently not. I’m not really sure if I’m complaining because the “Ultimate” line is absolutely no different. But I agree with Mister Deckerts opinion of putting some labels on there. The “Parental Advisory” on the barcode helps, sure. But I’d like to know what my kids are getting into, y’know? (Okay, and which books I should be reading. I’ll admit it. I’m a perv.)

  11. Luke Stevens
    September 11, 2008 at 8:17 am — Reply

    I absolutely love the art in this series, but every time I see some writing segments I’m turned off. Maybe I’ll pick it up and give it a try anyway.

  12. jim rice
    May 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm — Reply

    I love this series. I love everything about it. Except that it doesn’t come out. And that it’s censored.

    DC should have just made this a mature comic tho. Few things annoy me as much as black bars or #%#% crap. Let’s have our curse words! I don’t give a crap about the kiddies. That’s what the age rating thing is for.

  13. MIckey
    May 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm — Reply

    HOnestly, they should have let the comics be sold how they were. Isn’t it supposed to be a graphic novel type of deal, I mean it’s got vigilanty justice already, and i’m sure that most kids now days hear worse from their parents and telivision.

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