Batman: Damned Forced DC to Rethink Who They Were as a Publisher

At the ComicsPRO meeting of comic book retailers at Charlotte, North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio talked to assembled retailers there about what happened with Batman: Damned.

The comic book series written by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo made international headlines after Bleeding Cool first reportedand showed – that Bruce Wayne received rather visible full frontal scenes in the first issue.

The news spread fast, the comic sold out from its 110,000 print run, but a second printing was refused. Jim Lee put the issue down to 'production errors' with the explanation being that the colour lightness had been lifted in the comic to stop it being too murky which saw a certain something be more visible than in the retailer printed preview from the month before publication.

As a result, Batman Damned #2 and #3 were significantly delayed to be redrawn and a New Puritanism descended across the DC range. The Black Label imprint for mature readers superhero titles appeared to be curtailed, The Other History Of The DC Universe was disappeared, and the greenlit series Second Coming, a light religious satire, would have had so many changed made to it that the creators decided to pull the title. And DC let them.

Dan DiDio spoke to ComicsPRO retailers about the whole affair. Bleeding Cool has been told that Didio told retailers that he didn't want to go back to press on Batman Damned #1, because he was embarrassed. It's an embarrassment that cost DC – and retailers – dear, the first print sells for $100 plus, and the second issue had more orders than the first, quite the rarity.

DiDio says he didn't notice the penile presence until the colours were brightened – his decision – so it may have been a lack of proofreading.

He states that the collected edition for later in the year will have a number of corrections in it to the first issue. I look forward to doing a before-and-after version at some point.

They have made Batman: Damned #2 returnable as a result – though no retailers seem to have an issue with returning it. The sales have been too high.

But moreover, DiDio told retailers that the Batman: Damned situation caused DC Comics to 'rethink who they are as a company'. Hence all the changes that came down.

It really was the Batpenis that took down a publisher. And one that has been redefining itself in the long shadow it has cast…

Batman: Damned Forced DC to Rethink Who They Were as a Publisher

Lots of DC Comics stuff hitting this weekend on Bleeding Cool – you can keep up with this #DCWeekend tag….


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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