Next month, Frank Miller's Batman saga returns with a new book titled The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child, which will mainly follow the story of Superman and Wonder Woman's son, Jonathan Kent. While fans are certainly looking forward to the release of the book, much of the recent attention surrounding Miller's latest outing has been marked by controversy. DC Comics has become the latest big company to remove posts based on backlash from China.
DC shared a promo cover for The Golden Child in which Batman is throwing a Molotov cocktail in front of the words "The Future Is Young" written in bright pink letters. After the post was shared online, some folks in China complained that a lot of the cover's imagery was supportive of the pro-democracy protests taking place in Hong Kong.
Per Variety, Chinese users on Weibo complained that the use of the cocktail was connected to the more violent tactics used by the protesters, and that the black suit worn by Batman alluded to the clothing worn by the protesters. Some even argued that the Golden Child in the title referenced the color yellow, which is a mark of the protests.
"No matter what the reason, to put an image like this up at a sensitive time like this means you have a death wish," one commenter wrote on Weibo.
There's no direct connection to the Hong Kong protests in the cover art, outside of the vague symbolism mentioned above, but it was enough to cause DC to pull the image down. The Golden Child cover was removed from all social media channels following the backlash.
That didn't exactly work out in DC's favor, because the removal of the post has gotten its own fair share of criticism, with readers in the United States complaining that the comic publisher is simply giving in to the censorship rules of China.
DC Comics didn't respond to Variety's request for a comment.