Patrick Potter is the owner of Comic World, a comic store in Florida. He has written an open letter to Dan DiDio, publisher of DC Comics, regarding Batman Damned #1 by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, published by DC Comics yesterday.
Which, unless you have been living under a penis-shaped rock these bast few days, featured a full-frontal appearance of what some internet japesters are dubbing Batman's Batawang.
Re: Batman Damned #1
As a retailer, I would have appreciated knowing in advance that the book would prominently feature Batman's genitalia, so I could have cut my shelf copies off my order form.
While DC may see no harm in this type of gratuitous display, and may feel labeling it "mature readers" is enough of a deterrent to under-18-age buyers getting their hands on it, you should have — at the very least — polybagged it with a warning to retailers to not sell copies to anyone under 18.
I guess it's no big deal to you if some parent looks through our shelf copies, sees Batman's penis, then files a complaint with the local authorities resulting in some clueless retailer's arrest. I haven't forgotten Friendly Frank's or the reasons why the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund exists.
I will bag and label my shelf copies of this issue, and will refrain from ordering shelf copies of DC Black Label titles in the future. You have indeed successfully made an impression with your new line, Dan. Good luck with that.
Owner Comic World, Largo, Florida
For those who forget, or never knew in the first place, Friendly Frank's was a comic book store in Lansing, Illinois, where twenty-two years ago, police officers bought a number of comics, then returned to seize comics including Omaha the Cat Dancer, Weirdo, and Heavy Metal. Store manager Michael Correa was arrested in handcuffs and police shut the store down for five days. Elektra: Assassin, Love & Rockets, Ms. Tree, Bodessey, and Elfquest were added to the list of titles for which Correa faced charges of display of obscene materials.
A massive funding campaign for his appeal was created in the comics industry, and the fundraising was dubbed the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a charitable organisation that continues to this day.
Correa was found guilty, fined $750 and sentenced to one year of court supervision. The CBLDF funds recruited a First Amendment lawyer Burton Joseph for appeal, and the guilty verdict was overturned in 1989 and the CBLDF was established with the remaining funds.
Might they be in need again?