An ad claims “there are no limits in the world of #DCBlackLabel,” but fans are quick to point out the line’s limits when it comes to nudity in Batman.
A Twitter post advertising the adult-oriented DC Black Label comics line claims “there are no limits in the world of #DCBlackLabel,” but fans have responded en masse pointing out one particularly infamous limit.
The limitation in question is Bruce Wayne’s penis. The first printing of the first DC Black Label comic, Batman: Damned #1 by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, featured a visible outline of the superhero’s genitalia, but this evidence of nudity was edited out of the digital edition and all reprints. Many have responded to DC’s “no limits” post by sharing the uncensored image or otherwise calling out the post on its dishonest advertising.
Some responses to the advertisement seem based in an urge to point out its technical inaccuracy, or simply the trollish joy of sharing images of Batman’s schlong that DC editorial doesn’t want you to see. Many other responses, however, have pointed to a deeper issue regarding how DC in particular, and American pop culture on a broader scale, is far more comfortable with graphic displays of extreme violence than it is with honest depictions of nudity and sexuality.
Batman himself has become a talking point recently in regards to this double standard, since Harley Quinn co-showrunner Justin Halpern revealed that DC would not allow the ultra-violent TV-MA animated series to include a scene wherein Batman was to go down on Catwoman. According to Halpern, the DC executive who objected to the scene made the claim, “Heroes don’t do that,” and when challenged on this statement, clarified that such a scene would cause issues in regards to toy sales.
The DC Black Label publishing line was launched in 2018 with the release of Batman: Damned. Like DC’s older Vertigo line, Black Label books are intended for a mature audience and allow for more violent and explicit content, but whereas Vertigo tended to lean more towards creator-owned books, Black Label books have mostly been set in the mainline DC Universe and have focused on big-name superhero characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. When Vertigo shut down in 2020 following a failed relaunch in 2018, all series previously being published under the Vertigo label were rebranded under DC Black Label.
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