In case you haven’t heard by now, All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder #10 has been recalled due to strong language that seemed to slip by the editors, interns, secretaries and janitors at DC Comics and actually make it to print last Wednesday. DC quickly put out a demand to all retailers to destroy all copies. Many retailers did not catch the mistake in time and sold the book. Over 300 have found their way on to eBay and some are going for as much as $100. Also, many retailers have not complied with the demand and you have to wonder if owners of the stores have been selling copies on eBay or other avenues under different names to make a quick buck.
Yes, shame on them for doing so. DC’s mistake should not be their gain, but shame on DC for letting the mistake slip through the cracks in the first place. They should have known better. To DC’s, limited, credit the book was sent off with ink blotted over the “four letter words”, as it was intended to be, but the printer did a horrible job and you could see right through it. DC should have never of allowed these words to be put in the book to begin with. It was a creative move by creator Frank Miller, but it was also very dumb and now everyone is paying the price.
But shame on Miller, too. As a professional he should known that this could of happened. When asked about the oversight not even he could drum up a worthy excuse, “This is the first I’ve heard of it. I have no idea how this awful thing happened. It’s just one of those terrible and glorious things that happen time to time in publishing.” But that’s not all. Now comes word that the art on a page of the book has been edited, too. Originally in one large panel Batgirl is shown apprehending two criminals by the family jewels. It now it looks like she is punching them in the stomach.
But to play devils advocate, I have to wonder what the big deal is anyway. First of all, this book is geared for an adult audience. Miller is known for his violence and use of strong language in other books. Why should this be any different? All DC really has to due is tag the book for Mature Readers, like Marvel’s Punisher MAX line and everything would be OK. Another strike against DC for this debacle.
But now the cat is out of the bag (and on eBay) and DC is looking the worse for wear. DC could have done things a lot differently, such as: Issue no recall and keep the book on the stands but tell retailers to sell only to the over 18 crowd. Sure the book may look like crap with gray-tone lines running word balloons, but in hindsight the whole company looks like crap. This would have insured that no black market for the book would exist, or if there was any, the damage would have been lessened.
DC should have also released an addendum of the “Search and Destroy” letter to say when a new printing of the book would take place; so far it has yet to do so.
And on a Collected Edition note, when Volume 2 of Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder is released, it should contain the full unedited version of #10 along with and explanation and apology by DC Comics Executive Editor Dan DiDio, who has been conspicuously absent from this whole affair.