Is Howard Chaykin's Latest Cover His Most Offensive Yet?

Howard Chaykin's Divided States Of Hysteria #2 is published by Image Comics tomorrow and you can expect ructions. But why wait that long? Fresh from the controversy kicked off by the now-withdrawn cover of the Divided States Of Hysteria #4 (only beaten by this latest offender), the cover to DC Comics' Newsboy Legion & Boy Commandos coming in September.

Jack Kirby's two wartime kid gangs share their first adventure together in a novel-length tale written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin! When the Boy Commandos arrive in New York on the trail of a secret Axis agent, they're greeted as turf invaders by the crime-fighting Newsboys! Can these kids put aside their rivalry and join forces to protect the home front? This issue also includes the story "Turn on the Heat," starring the Newsboy Legion, from STAR SPANGLED COMICS #27, written and illustrated by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Is Howard Chaykin's Latest Cover His Most Offensive Yet?

Firstly, note the position of the policeman's baton in his hand. Clearly a penile extension, held in the hands make it a tool of masturbation, and surrounded by children as well. It is reminiscent of covers such as this…

Is Howard Chaykin's Latest Cover His Most Offensive Yet?

… though that was clearly an accident. Chaykin is doing it on purpose, looking to sully Jack Kirby's name by taking two of his creations and treating them in this fashion. Kirby would have never created something that could have been interpreted in this manner!

Is Howard Chaykin's Latest Cover His Most Offensive Yet?

Okay, okay, but look at all the other messages Howard is dropping in. There may be no explicit racial slurs, but "Wilbur Thrush" is a reference to an intimate infection, in a film also starring "Hamilton Crabbe", we get a cropped off "Bone" above "Two Pants", a female character is being "grabbed", there's a "Horner" theatre… and the bottom left of the cover looks like it might actually be where the withdrawn cover from Divided States #4 may have actually taken place.

That's before you even get into the unchallenged existence of child soldiers, child labour, adult exploitation of such. Oh and "Lowe's State" may indicate depression and I'm sure there must be something objectionable about that somewhere.

Will DC Comics withdraw this cover as well, while there is still time? Let them know what you think at San Diego Comic-Con!

And yes, Divided States Of Hysteria #2 is out tomorrow, I just couldn't wait.

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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