DC Comics Courts Controversy by Giving in to Authoritarian Chinese Complaint About Batman Poster
In a story that originated with Variety, DC Comics has pulled a social media post meant to advertise a new Batman comic book title. Titled “Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child," this comic hits stores on December 11, and is written by the legendary Frank Miller.
The hot pink words “The Future is Young," dominate the poster, as we see in the foreground, a black-clad Batman holding a Molotov Cocktail. A Molotov Cocktail is usually a bottle filled with a flammable liquid, such as gasoline, with a lit fuse, commonly a rag or other fabric. It is used by throwing it at the target. When the bottle shatters, the gasoline is exposed to the flame, thereby causing combustion. This improvised firebomb has historically served as a weapon of the oppressed and guerrilla-type forces facing more powerful foes.
The recent Hong Kong protests pit pro-democracy protesters against the harsh authoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party. DC Comics is owned by Warner Brothers, which sees China as a major market for films. Not long after these complaints appeared, then the Future is Young poster disappeared from official DC and Warner social media accounts.
Semi-official Chinese outlets believe the imagery of Batman with a Molotov Cocktail, and dressed in a black-appearing costume, indicate sympathy for the protesters in Hong Kong. DC Comics and Warner Bros, have declined comment on this issue. Many American fans of Batman see this as a cowardly act on the part of DC, citing the fact that Batman is supposed to stand for integrity and justice, and is not seen as one bending the knee to a dictatorial government or power. Considering that Batman is a founding member of the JUSTICE League in particular lends this whole affair the aroma of hypocrisy on DC’s part.
It will be interesting to see what sort of imagery is in the actual “Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child" comic book when it comes out on December 11.
The since-deleted DC Comics social media post is seen below.