The latest Walmart exclusive 100-page giant comic book, Superman Giant #7, is stirring quite a bit of buzz on the internet, but not with excitement for the Tom King-penned story. Instead, it’s the repeated torture and murder of Lois Lane across the issue’s pages that have fans in an uproar.
The issue, which officially went on sale in select Walmart stores today, sees King paired up with artist Andy Kubert on a Superman story that sees the Man of Steel languishing in an intergalactic waiting room. While there, his mind begins to wander to some dark places — presumably out of anxiety. How dark are those places? It seems that the issue contains 12 pages of Lois Lane’s brutal and graphic murder over and over again, including an opening splash page that sees Lois gruesomely shot in the head by Lex Luthor.
The idea of violence in comic books itself isn’t what’s at issue, though. For most of those speaking out on Twitter, the issue lies in two specific places: the intended audience for the book and the fact that it’s a female character’s imagined extreme suffering being used to further the pain of a male character — a variation of the women in refrigerator trope. As many online have noted, the Walmart exclusive books are intended as entry-level books for readers many of which are children. The books are merchandised in most of the store that carry them alongside child-friendly games, such as Pokémon cards and many of the reactions on Twitter are coming from parents who don’t feel they can share the issue with their kids. One reader even referred to the issue as “a 12 page Lois Lane snuff comic” — something they do not want their child to see.
As for the concern as to it being Lois who is tortured and murdered repeatedly, others felt like it was an inappropriate way to work through whatever issue King is trying to explore as there are other ways to do that or, at a minimum, it’s better left in something other than a child-accessible Walmart exclusive comic.
These criticisms of Superman Giant #7 aren’t the first that have come up for King’s works in recent months. His work on Heroes in Crisis has also drawn a bit of backlash from readers and to an extent for similar reasons. The series, which was billed as being an exploration of mental health with superheroes, utilizes the brutal murder of superheroes to further that aim. Most recently, a controversial cover for Heroes in Crisis #7 that featured a dying Poison Ivy leaked and the outcry prompted King to ask DC to pull the cover.
“An unfinished cover for Heroes in Crisis 7 was leaked prior to going through the standard DC approval process,” King tweeted last month. “I did not like the cover. I discussed the situation with DC editorial who agreed with my objections. This cover will not be used. Thank you.”
As for Superman Giant #7, there have been some fans calling for the issue to be pulled from shelves due to the disturbing Lois content. Read on for some of the criticism of the issue — and note, some of the tweets may contain images from the book — and be sure to share your opinion on the issue in the comments below.
Superman Giant #7 is on sale now in select Walmart stores.