A promotional advertisement Illustrated by artist Rafael Grampa for the new Frank Miller penned Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child was pulled by published DC Comics after outcry on social media by Chinese critics. The image, depicting Batwoman wielding a Molotov cocktail with the words “The Future Is Young” was seen as support for the recent protests in Hong Kong.
The Global Times, one of China’s state-run newspapers, reacted negatively to the campaign stating that DC “implied its support of Hong Kong’s rioters” with the image. Other critiques poured in according to Variety: one critic wrote on China’s Weibo social media service “The black clothes represent Hong Kong, the mask represents Hong Kong, the Molotov cocktail represents Hong Kong, what else here doesn’t represent Hong Kong???”.
Almost as soon as the criticism began pouring in, the higher-ups at DC had the image pulled. The company, and by extension its parent company Time Warner, is becoming heavily dependent on the emerging Chinese market (Aquaman grossed $292m in China, and Shazam grossed $43.8m). The company, in it’s acquiescing to the Chinese government’s demands is joining the ranks of the many western companies like TikTok, Marvel Comics (and by extension Disney), and video game studio Blizzard (seriously, check out this article) to allow their products to be altered to conform to the whims of the repressive regime that has been found to consistently violate the human rights of it’s citizens.
Given the idea that “if you give a dictator an inch, they will take a mile”, I’m going to assume that this will be an ongoing story. Spoiler Country will follow up on any new developments as they occur.