A year ago, Warner Bros cut a scene from Space Jam 2 featuring Pepe Le Pew. People just realised and as a result, people are saying that the cat-stalking skunk has been cancelled. And as a result, the Pepe Le Pew cover of Starfire #6 from DC Comics with Starfire and Pepe Le Pew from 2016 has sold copies for up to $55 raw after being a $2 comic just a few weeks ago.
Looney Tunes #240 from 1961 from Dell, the first appearance of the character in comics, has sold copies for $46 on eBay but current auctions are up to $81 already. But more recent appearances are also jumping.
Criticism of the cartoon character is nothing new. Dave Chapelle called him a rapist in his stand-up movie twenty-one years ago. Comic creator and animation writer Mark Evanier observed that even Pepé's cocreator Maltese "wasn't too fond of him", while noting that when he included a Pepé cameo appearance in the script for an issue of Gold Key Comics in 1975, he learned that no model sheet of Pepé existed, and that a Warner Brothers representative said there was "not enough interest in that character". But now there's the whiff of an idea that somehow the character is being "cancelled" by left-wing activists, suddenly he is a beloved character that must be rescued – by buying lots of copies of things that there are plenty of in some kind of virtue-signalling gold rush.
None of these comics have become any rarer, Pepe Le Pew cartoons are still sold and streamed as before, nothing published or broadcast actually been cancelled by anyone, and there has been no call to do so. But the comic book market is a funny thing.