Superman Comic Draws Criticism for Showing Torture and Murder of Lois Lane

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.


Hillary Chute’s ‘Why Comics?’

Hillary Chute is probably today’s premiere scholar of comics, so it’s no surprise that Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere, her carefully researched analysis of this often-neglected art form, reads like a social and cultural history of the United States over the past 80 years. However, while the tome might well be used as a textbook, Chute is an accomplished prose stylist, and the many comics — a number in full color — that illustrate her argument make for an invigorating reading experience.

Chute’s history begins in earnest with the 1938 introduction of Superman in the first issue of Action Comics. The history of comics is full of ironies, so it should come as no surprise that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of one of the most famous characters on the planet, sold the rights to their work, in perpetuity, for $150. In 2014, a mint copy of their first comic was auctioned for more than $3 million, and of course they and their heirs have missed out on the hundreds of millions of dollars the various incarnations of Superman have generated over the intervening decades.

Fortunately, not all cartoonists have fared so badly. R. Crumb of “Keep on Truckin’” fame and his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb live in a huge home in southern France; Harvey Pekar was the subject of a film, American Splendor, starring Paul Giamatti; and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was made into a Tony Award–winning musical. Yet it’s artists on the edge of popularity, those who push boundaries and get themselves into trouble, that seem to interest Chute the most.

The book’s chapter titles are phrased as questions, which the chapters themselves attempt to answer, usually by zeroing in on one cartoonist who has had a significant impact in that particular area. The chapter entitled “Why Disaster?”, for example, discusses comics’ ability to cut to the heart of horrifying issues with a few well-drawn panels, and focuses on Art Spiegelman’s Maus. “Why the Suburbs?” looks at the brilliantly depressing comics of Chris Ware, while “Why War?” examines the “comics journalism” of Joe Sacco, highlighting his masterpiece about the Bosnian War, Safe Area Goražde.

While some squeamish readers may be put off by the violence and sex on display, overall, it’s hard to imagine a more entertaining and insightful introduction to this constantly evolving world than Why Comics?


‘Young Justice: Outsiders’ Reveals Superman’s SPOILER

The latest episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders continues to reveal surprising new changes for the heroes and villains, with new sidekicks and relationships and super teams debuting every week.

The ninth episode of Young Justice Season 3, called “Home Fires,” reveals some major changes for Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent which is likely to have major ramifications for the future.

Warning: Spoilers for Young Justice: Outsiders below.

In the episode, Iris West-Allen hosts a babysitting session for other superpowered families, with her future grandson Bart Allen (AKA Impulse) helping out with the toddling Tornado Twins. Many other heroes attend, including Will Harper and his daughter Lian, Mera and her son Artur, and a lot others.

The big shock comes toward the end of the episode, when Lois Lane arrives carrying a baby in a Superman outfit, making it clear that she and Clark have indeed had a child. If it weren’t clear enough, he has the same blue eyes and spit curl as his father.

The baby is named Jonathan, meaning that Young Justice is likely following the current DC Comics canon to a certain extent.

Jonathan Kent is the latest character with the mantle of Superboy and is the son of Earth 1’s Lois and Clark, who survived the New 52 reboot and eventually replaced their updated versions. In the comics, Jon and Damien Wayne team up to form the Super Sons, going on their own adventures often against their father’s wishes.

As we saw in a previous episode of Young Justice, Talia al Ghul shows up with a baby, heavily hinting at Damien’s future in the animated series. Should we get another big time jump in the series — or if Young Justice continues for a few more seasons — perhaps the series will make the Super Sons the latest members of the Team.

Young Justice has made a lot of changes to Earth-16 in the latest time jump, referencing some major storylines from the comic book canon. Producer Brandon Vietti explained the thought behind the time jumps and these references while speaking to

“We knew it could be a controversial decision doing like time skips between seasons, but you know that was part of the reality that we are trying to build into the show,” Vietti said. “In order to really show growth you need a long period of time, and that’s just not something that we’re able to do with the limited number of episodes that we’re given to tell these stories.


“We try to plan it so hopefully we would never frustrate fans with a lack of information about a character while they’re growing,” he added. “We try to just put enough in there to sort of whet their appetite to make them wanna know more without ever losing the thread of the story we are trying tell.”

The mid-season finale of Young Justice: Outsiders will air next Friday, January 25th on DC Universe.


DC has a new comics imprint about teens. And, of course, it’s by Brian Michael Bendis.

Clockwise from top left, Robin, Wonder Girl, Jenny Hex, Impulse and Teen Lantern team up in the first issue of “Young Justice.” (DC Entertainment) David Betancourt January 17 at 4:23 PM

Few creators in comics work their magic with youth movements quite like Brian Michael Bendis.

During his almost two decades as one of the top writers at Marvel Comics, Bendis ushered in the biracial Spider-Man Miles Morales (co-created by artist Sara Pichelli). But before that, he had to kill off the teenage Peter Parker/Spider-Man he’d written for Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line.

The news was devastating to pre-Miles fans. Making Spider-Man into a Spider-Kid had been a big hit once before. Could he pull off the same success twice?

The answer was a resounding yes.

So when Bendis started having top-secret meetings with DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio in Los Angeles to discuss one of the biggest free agent splashes in a comic-book generation, the question of DC’s teen heroes came up.

DC didn’t “have a line that focuses on the teen heroes,” Bendis says, “just that moment where they are deciding who they are and how the world works.”

Didio decided in that moment that Bendis was the guy to bring back Young Justice — a junior Justice League with a roster of teen DC favorites that includes Robin the Boy Wonder (the Tim Drake version), teen Superman clone Superboy (the 1990s version), super-speedster Impulse and Wonder Woman protege Wonder Girl. The plan was to create a new youthful imprint, called Wonder Comics, built around a new “Young Justice” series, which originally debuted at DC in 1998.

Two years ago, after Bendis announced his arrival at DC, he was flooded with social media pings from fans asking to bring back not only “Young Justice” but also Conner Kent, the Superboy spawning from the now-classic “Death of Superman” and “Reign of the Superman” story lines of the early 1990s.

The Wonder Comics imprint debuted last week with the first issue of “Young Justice,” written by Bendis and illustrated by Patrick Gleason. And the return of the 1990s Superboy is the biggest moment of the launch so far.

Bendis realizes much of the initial attention of Wonder Comics will be geared toward the return of the cocky clone Conner Kent/Superboy, a character with many fans despite being away from DC continuity for some time. “Young Justice” will explore where Superboy has been.

He says fans should know the character is in good hands with Gleason on art duties. “Every time I looked at anybody involving [Superboy] they just looked at me [and said], ‘Don’t mess it up,’ ” he says. “Patrick, who is as deeply rooted in the modern DC Comics as any artist, is coming with me to make sure this is all being done with the proper love and care.”

Bendis will also oversee the retro-nostalgia-fueled “Wonder Twins” (written by Mark Russell and art by Stephen Byrne), “Dial H for Hero” (written by Sam Humphries and art by Joe Quinones) and a new heroine in “Naomi” (written by Bendis and David F. Walker and art by Jamal Campbell).

The “Young Justice” No. 1 cover, illustrated by Patrick Gleason. (DC Entertainment)

Wonder Comics is intended for new readers, but Bendis recognizes that adults who grew up loving characters such as Superboy, Impulse and Robin in the 1990s will probably be interested in these adventures. He says readers new and old should be satisfied. But don’t let the nostalgically designed superhero suits fool you: These stories take place in the here and now.

“These characters are back in continuity and telling a future-forward story that really matters to the DC Universe right this second,” he says. “That is the absolute best way to introduce them to a new audience.”

The first issue of “Naomi,” written by Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker and illustrated by Jamal Campbell, arrives next week. (DC Entertainment)

Balancing out the return of so many fan-favorite characters with Wonder Comics is the creation of a new one: Naomi, a young girl of color in a Pacific Northwest neighborhood where nothing ever happens, yet she is somehow connected to the one time something (involving superheroes) did happen in her town.

Being allowed to freely create new characters at DC reminds Bendis of the time comic-book legend Jack Kirby came to DC in 1970 after years at Marvel and created the Fourth World, which resulted in the making of the New Gods and one of DC’s greatest villains ever, Darkseid.

“This is not the Fourth World, and I would never compare myself,” Bendis says. “But you can’t help but [say] you’ve been given the exact same freedom to do something with it. So David and I and Jamal have been working very hard to build something brand new. The story starts very intimate and small, and it opens into an enormous thing that literally will be added to the DC universe and any writer can play with.”

As for the eventual Naomi/Miles Morales comparisons, and whether Bendis can strike creative lightning twice bringing a new character of color to a major publisher, he says: Stay tuned.

“People are going to see a connection,” he says. “But other than the authenticity which we’re bringing her, people are going to see this is a completely different thing and how exciting that is.”

Read more:

The voice behind some of the top black superheroes in comics is now writing about Frederick Douglass


Bendis’ Superman #7 comic reveals massive change for Superboy

Superboy is back on Earth, and he’s … a little different. Last year, Brian Michael Bendis launched his first major storytelling effort at DC Comics with The Man of Steel, the six-issue miniseries that kicked off his still-ongoing run with Superman.

The Man of Steel was full of big ideas, including a new villain, new takes on classic characters, and a new journey for Jonathan Kent, aka Superboy. Today, in Superman #7, Bendis is finally exploring the impact of that journey, and it could be huge.

**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Superman #7 below.**

As you may recall, in The Man of Steel #6 Jon Kent and Lois Lane left Earth with Superman’s father, Jor-El, to undertake a kind of cosmic field trip to teach Jon about the universe and perhaps cheer him up a little bit after he saw a bleak future for himself after getting rejected by the Teen Titans, among other things.

Jor-El believed the trip would be an essential part of his grandson’s development, while Lois planned to tag along to both help her son and write a book about the journey. Lois very quickly decided she wasn’t needed on the trip and came back to Earth. Three weeks later, Jon came back too … but he’s not the same. 

Check out one of the opening pages from this week’s issue:

Superman #7 page

DC Comics

So Superboy is now very nearly not a boy anymore. His trip lasted years thanks to some kind of black hole experience, while only weeks passed for his parents back on Earth. After Superman takes him back to Lois, who demands an explanation, Jon begins to tell the story of exactly what happened to him, but much of the first issue is for the readers’ benefit more than his parents.

We get to see the early days of the journey, including a visit to a space station where he meets several different alien species and does some fighting alongside his grandfather. We see the moment Lois decided she was in over her head and took off for Earth in a shuttle. Then the issue ends with a warning from Jonathan Kent about his grandfather, setting up the next part of this arc.

“Grandpa is completely insane,” Superboy tells his father. “And we have to do something about it. Sorry, Pa.”

The issue ends there, with Superboy stressing that he’s been trying to get back to warn his father about his grandfather’s problems for a while. We have no idea yet exactly how these issues manifest, how long they’ve been problems, or what Jor-El’s doing now, so we’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out. For now, we just know that Superboy will definitely never be the same.

Superman #8 lands February 13.


REVIEW: ‘Superman,’ Issue #7

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Superman #7 Unity Saga: House of El Part 1 is published by DC Comics, written by Brian Micheal Bendis, art by Ivan Reiss, Brandon Peterson, and Jason Fabok, inks by Oclair Albert, colors by Alex Sinclair, with letters by Josh Reed and Carlos M. Mangual. The story points to a hard struggle ahead for the Man of Steel, even as he is reunited with his son, as a lot of history begins to unfold.

The very first image we see within the book is the kind of warm/awkward embrace that generally results from parents welcoming their kids home. It is a nice human moment. I always love grounding the power and scale that Superman is known for with panels like this. Upon being further reunited with Lois, Superboy starts catching his parents up on the surprisingly long journey he’s been on, despite only been away for a few weeks.

Learning about the early adventures in space with Superboy, his grandfather, and Lois, was an interesting read. Seeing Lois in a version of the Superman suit was an unexpected treat. Being reminded of just how far Superman’s legend stretches beyond just earth is shown in a strong and emotional way. It is a great way to remind readers how much weight follows the “S” wherever it goes. By the end of the tale Lois has returned to earth feeling that her son is in good hands and there isn’t much need of her there. But clearly something has gone wrong and what that is the lure to keep the reader coming back.

Bendis writes a very fluid issue, that manages to keep a natural feel to the characters, despite the small time jumps making it easy to come off as a little broken narrative. However, when I saw the title page and read that there were three different artists on this book I was concerned that the look of the story would come off disjointed, as often happens when art styles switch mid-issue, but I was pleasantly surprised to not be pulled out of the story by any changing art styles. It compliments each other nicely and I didn’t even notice significant differences which allowed me to just take in the information that poured off the page.

The art also provided a solid assortment of character designs with the various aliens seen in this issue. Nothing truly unique, but a good variety of colors and designs make the settings feel vibrant and entertaining. While all the elements of the book come together well, it is the beginning of a setup for the ongoing arch, as such it is slower than I would’ve like, with presumably more setup to come next month. This feels necessary but would be better if there had been some way to accomplish this while breaking up all the background information that is given to the reader.

Ultimately though this setup issue doesn’t do anything too exciting but it is a good launch point for the story going forward that leaves a hook that has me hoping for an exciting story that could both challenge the House of El, as well as deliver a solid emotional pay off if Bendis and crew can deliver on the story they have laid the groundwork for.

Rating: 3.5/5 symbols of hope


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Blizzard Had to Convince DC That Superman Kicks People

There’s no such thing as asking too many questions when you’re adapting popular superhero characters. One wrong read of a character’s mythology and you’ll suddenly find yourself dealing with an army of surprisingly irate fans. Still, when developing the SNES fighting game Justice League Task Force, Blizzard found themselves trying to answer the rather bizarre question: “Can Superman kick?”

In an interview with IGN, Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham remembers having to submit their design decisions to DC in order to make sure they were true to the comic characters and universes. In the process, they found themselves in a rather awkward position when DC informed the developers that Superman isn’t really someone who would kick anybody

“How do you make a fighting game where all of the characters can kick except for one?” asked Adham. In an effort to get around this rather awkward design problem, the team got their hands on as many Superman comics as they could in order to find an instance of Superman kicking that they could use as leverage. They didn’t find any panels featuring a full kick, but they did notice something relatively close. 

“There’s a panel in the Death and Return of Superman where Doomsday and Superman are fighting, and he knees Doomsday,” said Adham. “We then pointed at that specific comic, [that] page, and we said ‘Superman does kick. Or, at least he knees. Can he knee?’”

The team got the go-ahead to put a knee attack in the game, but the process of having to get permission to design the simplest of fighting game features was one of the reasons why Blizzard decided to stop developing adaptations

“From that point forward, we knew that we would always want to create our own IPs,” said Adham. “The joy of making games goes hand-in-hand with creating worlds and creating characters.”

Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


DC Comics set to release comic about the ‘Second Coming’ of Christ

The controversial new comic series will be released in March.

DC Comics, the company that boasts Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman among its lineup, is getting set to release a new comic series, Second Coming, in which Jesus of Nazareth will be one of two main characters. DC has the plot summary on their website:

Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful super hero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex! But when Christ returns to Earth, he’s shocked to discover what has become of his gospel—and now, he aims to set the record straight.

The plot seems to be written without informed Christian perspective on our Lord and Savior. In an interview with Bleeding Cool, author Mark Russell goes into the details,

“An all-powerful superhero, named Sun-Man, has to share a two bedroom apartment with Jesus Christ. The conceit is that God was so upset with Jesus’s performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then.”

Russell goes on to add that God wants Jesus to be more like Sun-Man.

“God then sees this superhero on Earth a few thousand years later and says ‘that’s what I wanted for you!’ He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other. They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.”

While Russell does not mention how exactly Jesus will be helping in a super-hero capacity, he did say that Christ would bring “empathy, understanding, and generosity” to those in the comic. In real life, however, his portrayal is bound to bring public outcry from the Christian communities.


DC Comics

In the comic, Jesus will be outraged by modern Christians and what has been done in his name, Russell said, “[Second Coming] is about Jesus coming down and being appalled by what he sees has been done in his name by Christianity in the last two thousand years.”

Within this theologically incoherent narrative, Jesus will not have any Godly powers, he will not be omniscient and, while God plays the role of disappointed father to the failed Christ, there appears to be no Trinitarian aspect mentioned.

The series is set for six issues and will begin in March. There is currently no word on whether the company, which has struggled with its cinematic offerings, will be attempting a film version of this story in the future. Also no word on whether comics featuring other religious figures will be forthcoming at any time.


FACT CHECK: Is DC Comics Publishing a Series Depicting Jesus Christ?

In January 2019 readers contacted us looking for confirmation that DC Comics will feature the biblical figure Jesus Christ in a different light.

The series Second Coming, written by author Mark Russell with art by Richard Pace, does indeed exist. But while DC is publishing it, the book will be a part of their Vertigo line, which is geared toward more mature readers. The first issue will be released on 6 March 2019.

The series’ official synopsis describes it as a work in which “God sends Jesus to Earth in hopes that he will learn the family trade from Sun-Man, an all-powerful Super Hero, who is like the varsity quarterback son God never had. But, upon his return to Earth, Christ is appalled to discover what has become of his Gospel and vows to set the record right.”

As is the case with most Vertigo titles, the book will not show Jesus interacting with mainstream superheroes such as Superman or Batman. Instead, Russell said in an interview published in August 2018, Jesus will find himself rooming with Sun-Man:

The conceit is that God was so upset with Jesus’ performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then.

God then sees this superhero on Earth a few thousand years later and says “that’s what I wanted for you!” He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other. They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.

Russell, whose prior works Apocraphya Now and God is Disappointed in You also dealt with biblical subject matter, said that because his version of Jesus is being released from imprisonment, he has no idea how his teachings have been interpreted on Earth.

“They have him more as mascot on t-shirts to prove they’re on the winning team,” he said. “[Second Coming] is about Jesus coming down and being appalled by what he sees has been done in his name by Christianity in the last two thousand years.”

The pop culture site Bleeding Cool, which published the interview with Russell, also reported on 9 January 2019 that his series had begun getting attention from religiously oriented and conservative news outlets including the Christian Broadcasting Network (which called Russell’s take on the Jesus character “closer to blasphemous than biblical”) and Fox News, among others, attributing the spread of the story to an op-ed published on the comic books news site Comic Book Resources earlier that month.

Bleeding Cool also noted that in 1989, DC Comics refused to publish an issue of the Vertigo title Swamp Thing that would have depicted a meeting between Jesus and the titular character. Between 1995 and 2000, Vertigo published the series Preacher, a comic that dealt with a human preacher, Jesse Custer, on a self-appointed mission to find God (depicted as a glowing human figure) and hold Him accountable for escaping from Heaven. The series has since been adapted for television.

DC Comics did not comment on the online criticism concerning the release of Second Coming.


‘Superman: Red Son’ Movie Reportedly in the Works

Some of the most popular stories from the history of DC Comics have been turned into animated feature films, and now it looks like Mark Millar’s beloved Superman Elseworlds tale is joining the ranks.

According to a report from Revenge of the Fans, Warner Bros. Animation is moving forward with a Superman: Red Son movie.

The original comic series, which was released back in 2003, told the story of an alternate universe in which Superman landed in the Soviet Union instead of Kansas. This brought the ideals of “nature vs. nurture” to the forefront, and explored how being raised in 1950s Russia would have affected Superman’s rise to power, and whether or not he would have held the same values.

In addition to breaking the news about the potential new project, Revenge of the Fans also shared the film’s supposed cast list. None of these voice actors are assigned a role, but the list is filled with familiar names to fans of the DC Animated Universe.

The cast includes Amy Acker, Anna Vocino, Diedrich Bader, Greg Chun, Jim Ward, Jason Isaacs, Jason Spisak, Jim Meskimen, Paul Williams, Phil Lamarr, Phil Morris, Roger Craig Smith, Sasha Roiz, Tara Strong, Travis Willingham, Vanessa Marshall, William Salyers, and Winter Zoli.

There has yet to be any news as to who could voice Superman, but Travis Willingham would make the most sense, considering he’s provided the voice of the character on several occasions. Deidrich Bader has voiced Batman multiple times in the past, and the Caped Crusader is a character that appears in Red Son, so that casting is a possibility as well.


While DC has yet to confirm this new film, Bader went a long way towards doing just that this week. Not long after the initial report went live on Twitter, the actor quoted the tweet with the phrase “Excited to be a part of this!” The tweet has since been deleted.

Are you excited for a potential Superman: Red Son movie? When do you think it could arrive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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