Captain Underpants Graphic Novel Recalled Over Racism Concerns

A graphic novel spinoff of Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series will no longer be published or [...]

A graphic novel spinoff of Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series will no longer be published or distributed by Scholastic, after concerns that the book "perpetuates passive racism" towards the Asian community. The book in question, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, is written and illustrated by Pilkey, and was initially published in 2010. Pilkey initially confirmed the news in a video on his YouTube channel, which Scholastic later corroborated in a statement. The decision also includes removing and returning existing copies that are in circulation at libraries and schools.

"Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism. We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake," Scholastic's statement reads. "Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication."

In the world of the Captain Underpants franchise, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk is a fictional comic book written by main characters George Beard and Harold Hutchins, which attempts to cover what they believe to be scientific facts. The book sees its cavemen characters learning kung-fu at a school in 2222 A.D., with representations of Asian characters and Asian culture that some have deemed problematic.

"About ten years ago I created a book about a group of friends who save the world using Kung Fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution," Pilkey's video apology reads. "But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people."

Pilkey also confirmed that the profits he and his wife earned from The Adventures of Ook and Gluk will be donated to charity, particularly to organizations that help combat anti-Asian racism.

"My wife and I pledge to donate all of my advance and royalties from the sale of The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future to charities that provide free books, art supplies, and theater for children in underserved communities; organizations that promote diversity in children's books and publishing; and organizations designed to stop violence and hatred against Asians," Pilkey continued. "These non-profit charities include: We Need Diverse Books, The AAPI, and TheaterWorks USA, among others."

This comes just weeks after Penguin Random House confirmed that it would no longer be publishing multiple Dr. Seuss books due to their racist or offensive imagery.

What do you think of The Adventures of Ook & Gluk being pulled from publication? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!