Breaking News Bun Toons! YAY!

This just in...

This just in…

I wasn’t here last week to clear this up, but I’ve finally pushed my way back onto the internet to tell you all what you think.


Broken batgirl toys

For those of us who survived it, the 90s was a time when everyone we admired as heroes were getting raped, maimed, wounded, destroyed, murdered, raped and murdered, and more….all in service of making fantasy super-heroes more “realistic”, the greatest oxymoron in fiction.  We’ve still got echoes of that nowadays, what with DC’s  chopping off the arms of beloved characters, or Marvel killing off of their flagship heroes…but there’s a sense of none of it being permanent lately.  We all KNOW, Wolverine will be back, and Alfred’s missing hand won’t last past the next continuity reboot.

For some reason, though…the atrocities done to female characters left more permanent marks.  Black Canary’s sexual abuse at the hands of Mike Grell created physical and emotional scars that lasted for decades.  Batgirl’s physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Alan Moore and later, the DC editorial staff, landed her in a wheelchair for a generation (while Batman’s trip to a wheelchair lasted a year and has never been mentioned since).

There’s a new crop of fans who weren’t there during the comic character holocaust, and don’t want to know about it.   Especially the female fans, who don’t, as a rule, enjoy the breaking of toys the way we boys often do.

These fans have spoken.   And I’m on their side…

Let’s glue the good toys back together and never discuss this stuff again, shall we?

PS:  I hope I don’t have to explain the difference between editing and censorship on this subject.  I’ve heard a few morons getting confused about that….

Ty the Guy OUT

The ultimate Broken Toys comic book.

The ultimate Broken Toys comic book.  I’m happy to see the misfits smiling.

But does this make you happy to see this  happen to Green Lantern?  (I shouldn’t give the editors at DC any ideas….they have a thing about severed limbs.)



For the last new Bun Toon from two weeks ago, click here.

For the last new Bun Toon from two weeks ago, click here.

For last week's re-run Bun Toon, click here

For last week’s re-run Bun Toon, click here

For the Bun Toon archive, click here

For the Bun Toon archive, click here

37 responses to “Breaking News Bun Toons! YAY!

  1. Will Shetterly

    Hey, I thought it was cool when Lightning Lad lost his arm to that space whale in the ’60s, but I agree with you about the anti-hero faux-realism of the ’90s. “Realism” and “superheroes’ should rarely be used in the same sentence. Superheroes are a metaphor, and therefore many subjects in superhero stories should be treated metaphorically. Rape is at the top of that list—anyone who can’t find another way to write a superhero story about how horrible it is to force people to do things they don’t want to do should give up on the idea of becoming a writer someday.

  2. The only thing that I did like about the “realism” that Batgirl went through was that she became Oracle that was an amazing making an omelet out of a mess of shattered eggs, and as Oracle she was one of the most powerful and influential comic book characters who was other-abled. It was nice to see someone who was grossly and disgustingly sexually violated, hurt and in a wheelchair be a role model per se for those in wheelchairs in the comic book world and the reader world, other that Charles X who is is a mega mutant in a tricked out hover chair. Barbara as Oracle was rather unique, not even Batman could do her job and they all depended on her skills and reason. Now Barbara is Batgirl and I found that derivative and boring because as Oracle she was an adult woman not a girl, also I rather enjoyed Stephanie Brown as Batgirl she brought a verve and young panache to the mantel, I also liked Cassandra as BG. Anyone can be Batgirl but there is only one Oracle and now she is gone.

    • I agree with you that Oracle was a great character, but I’m going to say in SPITE of her origin story, not because of it. It was still the victimizing of the female version of Batman in a way they’d never consider doing to the male Batman (and since they were BOTH in a wheelchair at the same time, DC proved they don’t consider the two versions of the character at ALL the same.) The Elongated Man’s wife Sue: Raped and murdered. Black Canary: Raped and Maimed, and though she was technically a widow at the time, her husband, Larry, had died fairly bloodlessly, almost off panel. BATGIRL: Crippled and metaphorically raped (or literally, I’m fairly sure that was the inference of the original story). Hawkgirl: Brutally murdered (in more than one DC Universe!). We don’t really need to go back to “women in fridges” debate, it’s settled facts now. Breaking the female toys is a way to make a story “dramatic” and no one cares to fix them they way they ret-con away the male maimings by the next round of continuity crossover events. Aquaman got his hand back. So did Lightning Lad. So will Alfred, etc. etc. etc. Batgirl will never be free of this until the fans shout loudly enough to STOP reminding everyone of it, which they did. YAY!

      • Yes you said ‘in spite of’, another way of saying what I said, you know making an omelet out of broken eggs… 🙂 but you know language and words etc…
        I LOATED and still loath that female characters are always collateral damage in “this male world of comics” it gets my gander up. I hated what happened to Sue, her story made me cry and so did the epilogue story of Ralph trying to solve her brutal murder, for me they are the most wonderful loving and romantic paring in DC comics.
        I hate it all, and as much as I enjoy comics I find that many male creators and artists and many a fanboy ruin them for me.
        Female characters always get short shrift, and I hate it with the heat of ten thousand suns, so much so I no longer read Wonder Woman who was and is my favourite super but I cannot abide how Azzarello and now the Finches have made her over. Janky business, and we all know that they would NEVER do that to Batman for there would be anarchy.
        I have stopped reading DC sadly, I never read Marvel, I am now enjoying books like Saga, and Rucka’s Lazarus and it has been a treat so far!

        To be honest I was very surprised that they brought the Killing Joke story up again considering this is the NU 52 and they seemed to want to flush away the past, (but I guess that does not apply to the brutalization of female characters?) also that book was mos def not for kids.
        I do concur with you about the difference between good editing and censorship. Sadly many do not understand the concept of the two.

  3. Oh and thanks ever so Ty for trying to tell me and everyone what we should think. 😉 🙂

    • To be fair, Ty stated his opinion; you stated yours. Either you’re both telling people what to think, or neither of you is.

      • Will Shetterly I was just making light of what Ty said at the start of the post.
        He is a funny guy with wit, I like that about him.
        Either you did not read what he wrote in fun or you did not get what I said in fun with funny faces in tow.

        • Will Shetterly

          Ah, my bad. It’s the internet, and I’ve seen too many people make that objection seriously—Poe’s Law is often the only law. Anyway, glad you weren’t serious.

  4. I understand why people feel the way they do about Barbara Gordon/Oracle staying in a wheelchair in a universe that’s got Doctor Fate and Ted Kord and so on in it. I can see how it would seem like misogyny. I can.

    But I’m guessing most of those people didn’t get letters from people in wheelchairs talking about how much it meant to them to see a superhero–and not just any superhero, but one of the most capable and competent–in a wheelchair, how it made them feel, how important Oracle was to them.

    There was a lot wrong with comics back then. But that’s why, in the 90s, at least, Barbara/Oracle stayed in the wheelchair.

    • Scott, as I said above, Oracle was a TERRIFIC character, and terrific for diversity, but I maintain it was in spite of her origin, not because of it. No amount of positive letters about Bruce in the wheelchair would have made a hair’s difference in keeping him in it past Sondra Kinsolving’s magic paralysis remedy. The work Gail and others (yourself included) did, spun gold out of a terrible mess with Barbara, no question…By the way, there’s a new Oracle, isn’t there? I can’t recall, it’s a guy this time, right?

  5. Wasn’t it the late Kim Yale who made the omelette out of the broken eggs of Babs Gordon? So yeah, they even disrespect female CREATORS.

    There was a lot wrong with comics back then. There’s even more wrong now. RISE OF ARSENAL #3 was when I tapped out and never went back. You know the one I mean. When Roy got so high, he beat up some homeless people and then hugged a dead cat. After he almost raped his villain-ess ex but couldn’t because he lost his erection. That was it for me. I used to read Jonah Hex, until they cancelled it.

  6. Anthony O'Neill

    Stuff like this is the reason I still read silver and bronze age stories, and old Richie Rich comics….I just want innocent fun…I’ll tune into the news for rapes, murders and maimings..

  7. Very well stated, Ty. You explained this so well in a mere eight panels.

  8. I agree with you completely (especially about Oracle being a great character despite her origin), but I think it’s fair to point out that Grell says Canary was not sexually abused. Not that that makes Longbow Hunters any less of an atrocious story. And of course Moore has completely disavowed Killing Joke

    • Grell says Canary wasn’t….?!? Go back and look at the images. Her pants and underwear had been removed, so was her bra. She’s hanging by her wrists and covered in blood, with a clearly broken nose. In the panel JUST before Arrow shoots his abuser, he’s cutting off the one remaining article of clothing, her blood soaked shirt, clearly torn open to reveal her breasts and pubic area. So, Grell suggests that she was stripped of her clothing, hung by her wrists and bloodied but no sexual abuse is suggested by her being stripped nude at knife point. That’s utter bullshit. Backtracking, guilt ridden bullshit.

      • Yeah, I know. I feel safe in saying ANYONE who has read that comic assumed she was sexually assaulted. But that’s what he said. Even as a callow teenager Longbow Hunters left a bad taste in my mouth and ruined me for Grell’s work. Which is too bad because Jon Sable was one of what I think of as the Big Six titles that taught me comics had so much more to offer than just Marvel and DC (the others being Mage, Zot!, Nexus, Mister X and…Stig’s Inferno).

        • I was so upset by Longbow Hunters, I was VERY confrontational with Mike when I first met him. I called him a misogynist and a lazy writer to his face, and he generously asked to take me to lunch to discuss it. We never saw eye to eye on the story, but I grew to like Mike enormously.
          And you’re clearly an 80s comic child, considering those titles (all done by friends and fellow 80s travellers!)

  9. So the comic code was all true, and Fredric Wertham was right, and teens or even kids who stumble upon a comic book which happens to depict A VILLAIN terrifying a woman… will grow up to become rapists or killers.
    Let’s bring back the comic code and make sure these fictional superpowered characters are not even allowed to throw a punch, just like in the good old days!
    In other news, teen delinquency is caused by violent videogames.

    (I am a woman and a fervid feminist, and what horrified me wasn’t that cover with Joker and Batgirl: what horrified me was the censorship of it!!! When such things happen, it feels like the closeted gay man who hates gay people because HE is gay but won’t accept it. When we live in a era in which we are terrified of any form of fictional violence, it shows much, much bigger issues.)

    • I’m not sure you understand the word “censorship” or how it’s applied. What happened was actually called “editing”, since the folks who decided not to run the cover were the editors, and not an outside authority imposing their will on the publisher…not even REMOTELY the same thing. ALSO: No one was horrified at the cover, at least not around here….it was more annoying that Batgirl was being treated differently than other heroes. I’m not sure anyone was worried that the cover would lead to imitative violence (I’ve certainly never come across that idea until you’ve suggested it), only that it would continue to treat Batgirl differently than it treats Batman, Green Lantern and the rest of the cast at DC. You’re tilting at invented straw man windmills, Andrea….

      • Will Shetterly

        I realize you’re a Canadian, but you may want to read the ACLU on censorship: From : “Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.”

        When editors bow to pressure, it’s legal, and it’s censorship.

        • None of which happened in this case. The editor who assigned it, the artist who drew it, and the creative team on the book ALL agreed to pull the image as they ALL deemed it inappropriate. No one forced their hand, they all took in information from their audience and acted accordingly. If I change the formula for “Coke” and the new formula doesn’t sell, and I go back to the original formula, was I “censoring” the new Coke, or was I reacting to market forces? What if, say…I had a character get married, and later, the editors, after seeing sales decline, decide to write in a story where the marriage gets cancelled because of a deal with the devil, or perhaps an infinite crisis…is that “censorship” of the marriage, or a change in editorial direction? It’s rare that EVERY SINGLE PERSON INVOLVED in an editorial decision is in complete agreement, but this was one of those rare times it happened. Every. Single. Person. Involved. Agreed. No. One. Was. Forced. The choice was made after considering information from their marketplace. This was the complete and utter, 100 percent, opposite of censorship in both spirit and definition of the word. Any other conclusion is wilful ignorance or a need to be annoyed.

          • Will Shetterly

            Well, except for the fact they saw a shitstorm brewing and decided the safer course was to head for the nearest port.

            Mind you, I don’t damn anyone for hiding when the pitchforks are coming out.

            • A “safer course” for any business is to please their customer base. That’s the entire idea behind business. Do what your customers want, and you’ll make money. Don’t put out products that anger your customers, don’t push an agenda your audience doesn’t want, or you’ll lose money. Again: Not even remotely the same thing as censorship, no matter how much you twist the meaning of words to bend to this situation. It’s called editing, and it’s always been called editing. I’m baffled why anyone would even try to attach the word CENSORSHIP to any or this, except the word is rich with negative connotations, and people want to be negative.

              • Will Shetterly

                From the ACLU link: “Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period.”

                So, yes, private censorship is perfectly legal, and in business, it’s done in the hope of maximum profit.

                • Once again: That’s not comparable. First off: McCarthy WAS in fact, investigating Hollywood through the HUAC, an utterly governmental organization, and the private pressure groups were working within that environment of ACTUAL government censorship and pressure. (one might even argue the Comic’s Code was cousin to censorship along those lines…) ALSO: The threat of an organized boycott against Hollywood was a huge part of the blacklists of the fifties, whereas boycotts were never discussed for the Batgirl cover, so the example is hardly applicable. Apples and Oranges, but thanks for playing.

                  • Will Shetterly

                    Well, the ACLU thinks it’s revelevant, and while McCarthy was on a crusade, he had not succeeded. Or rather, getting people to cave without having to actually pass laws was his success.

                    So, yes, sticking to dictionary definitions, that was censorship.

                    As for the Batgirl cover, you really don’t think there was fear of boycotts? The pitchforks were being waved. Even if the company wasn’t afraid, the individuals had to have been worried about what might happen at their next convention appearance. You do grant, I hope, that the uproar came before the decision to make changes.

                    • Ty Templeton

                      By what mechanism do you distinguish between a market reacting to a situation (an uproar, as you put it), and a segment of the market unduly pressuring a business to act against their best interest? The mechanism I use involves looking at the things that actually happened, and to weigh whatever external pressures on DC and the creative teams were involved against those events. You speak of thinking that DC might have been thinking there was a fear of boycotts? Your argument amounts to speculating on what someone in DC might have been speculating about, when we have actual published comments from the editor and artists involved making clear statements about their choices and why they asked for the cover, and ultimately why they chose not to print it., and it didn’t involve boycotts or censorship. There’s no need to speculate.

                    • Will Shetterly

                      Oh, there’s never need to speculate, and correlation is not necessarily causation. To be clear, in this case, I agree that the creative people made their choice. So did Elia Kazan.

                      But we can drop this now because I’m only quibbling about the principle. Killing Joke offended me, but I’m the sort who thinks believing in free speech means I have to support the right to speak of people who offend me.

                      Really, sorry about a contentious discussion when you’re not feeling well. I love your work, even when I disagree with you, and hope you’re feeling better soon, if not already.

          • Will Shetterly

            Oh, and to be clear, I generally agree with your take on The Killing Joke. I think “realistic superheroes” is an oxymoron, and that rape in superhero stories is a failure of the writer’s ability to find an equivalent metaphor couched in superhero terms. For example, the Purple Man’s power is already a violation; you don’t need to have him force people to do sexual things to show that.

      • So you call it “editing”, because the word “censorship” sounds too bad. But let’s look at what happened here: they made a cover, an image expressing a concept and an idea – a dark concept and a dark idea maybe, but nonetheless a concept and an idea.
        Then people, as people love to do these days, decided to become outraged about it. Because, I will repeat once more, when things go bad in society, it’s easier to blame some random art form rather than look inside at the real problem.
        And DC, as DC loves to do these days, bowed and censored- nay, EDITED the cover. “Editing” in this case means “removing content that someone found offensive”. And isn’t “removing content that someone found offensive” the exact definition of censorship? You might call it editing, but it STILL is censorship.

        Ty, I love your works, and I’m a big fan. But we definitely are in a disagreement here, and I hope you’re defending this stupid censorship only because you work in the business and therefore aren’t allowed to go against the decisions of your employers. Because I could understand that, and I know how it feels when you disagree with the guys in charge but can’t speak against it.

        But my job isn’t in the comic business, so I can call this for what it is: a bad step towards the Comic Code. Because I am sure the Comic Code started with small things such as this.
        Death, rape, violence and bad things are part of life. I think it’s much more sick to hide those things and pretend they don’t exist in our world, rather than drawing or writing about them. Besides, this comic cover is so mild I would let a 8 years old buy this comic.

        I also don’t buy the excuse that “it’s sexist because Batgirl is not treated like other superheroes”. I mean… WHAT? You of all people should know the Joker makes no discriminations… I am sure people would have suddenly decided Joker was sexist, had Robin been female when Joker bludgeoned him to death.
        What I am saying is, this cover might have had that Robin in the same situation as Barbara Gordon.

        And as a final note, I grew up reading Lobo comics. I have the full collection of all of them. Do you know how old I was when I bought Lobo comics? I was in primary school.
        And do you know here, in Italy, what comic did they include with each Lobo issue? Hitman.
        I was a nine years old girl who grew up reading Lobo and Hitman. I know by first hand experience that this censorship business and shielding the innocents is complete bull.

        I am 100% certain that society has issues when they desperately try to hide the real world from fiction. It’s when society can accept that awful things exist and include them in their media, that society is going well.

        • “And isn’t “removing content that someone found offensive” the exact definition of censorship?”
          Nope. Not even remotely. It’s also not the definition of cheese sticks, a motorcycle or a zoo cafeteria. Words have meanings, and censorship involves (let’s quote the oxford dictionary here) “The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security:”.
          People complained and a business responded. That’s what businesses do when people complain. If they don’t, they don’t stay in business very long. For censorship to happen, the business has to change their publication because an OUTSIDE FORCE (a governmental or political force) has suppressed or prohibited it.

          Let’s now look at the definitions of suppression: “to forcibly put an end to something”
          and prohibition: “The action of forbidding something, especially by law: or, A law or regulation forbidding something:”

          I’m gob-smacked baffled that this simple idea is zipping right past everyone here.
          Applying the word “censorship” to a simple, everyday act of editing, is the height of silly. It’s looking to be outraged (much as you claim the internet was upon seeing the offensive Batgirl cover in the first place.)

          As to reading Hitman and Logo when you were young, that’s fine. Heck, I drew an issue of Lobo, so I’m hardly against that character or series. I’ve never suggested that young minds are as corrupted by fiction as nervous nellies seem to think they are, and I’m all for free speech. Always have been.
          Which is why this isn’t a free speech issue. NO ONE’S FREE SPEECH WAS INHIBITED one iota in this event. The artist asked to have the cover removed, so his free speech was not suppressed or prohibited. The editor and creative team of the book asked to have the cover removed so their free speech was not suppressed or prohibited. The publishers got to make a statement about the event, so no one suppressed or prohibited their rights.
          How is this confusing to anyone?
          You say you hope I’m taking this position about the Batgirl cover flap because I work at DC comics and don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with the staff there.
          Nope, I’m taking this position because I understand the meaning of words, and don’t get confused by the definitions of “editing” and “censoring”. This isn’t a discussion of opinion here…it’s a plain and incontrovertible fact.

          Can we stop this very, very silly redefining of already well defined words, now?

  10. Let’s make it easy for ya:
    Please tell me the agents, organization or external force that suppressed or prohibited anyone at DC in any way during this event.
    Just tell me who it was, and I’ll start to understand where you’re coming from. But I can’t figure out who you think this agent, organization or external force was, doing all the suppressing and prohibiting things.

    Fans? Police? Churches? God? Obama?
    Ty 🙂

    • No, Ty, we shouldn’t stop this discussion, unless you want to shy away from the truth by stepping into idle semantics (“it’s not censorship it’s editing, so it’s all ok!”).
      Listen up, and learn this important truth: THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE OUTRAGED BY SOMETHING.
      Should I remind you that some people got outraged at Batman and Robin, claiming they promoted homosexuality? Shall I tell you some people wanted Sailor Moon removed from television because, again, homosexuality? What if the authors of those things gave in to these demands and “edited” their work?
      Furthermore, do you know there is apparently a book about how the Teenage Ninja Turtles are against Christianity?

      If we bend over everytime someone complains about something, we soon will have NOTHING. Nothing.
      You don’t like something? You don’t buy it. You think that cover is offensive? Do not buy that damn comic. You do not whine and stomp your feet like a child who wants every single thing to go their own way.

      You said you drew Lobo (incidentally, when? I’d love to read it; odd that it’s not in my collection! Gimme info so I can buy the issue 😛 ). It’s not the same thing as a LITTLE CHILD reading Lobo, and Hitman. And then playing the first Mortal Kombat game ever released with her friends, ripping out heads and hearts of fictional characters. And then sitting in front of the tv with her parents, watching a violent action movie like Commando or Robocop.
      And I dare to say that it’s thanks to my upbringing that I didn’t grow up into a crazy person who becomes outraged at some mildly dark comic book cover. Thanks to my upbringing, I know the difference between real violence and fantasy violence, because unlike what some people might have you believe, kids KNOW the difference. So I don’t freak out for a comic book cover.

      I’ll say it again. In all-caps, once more, just to, y’know, underline it. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE OUTRAGED BY SOMETHING. You can’t give in, because you will never get the end of it. It’s impossible to make a work of art that will not offend anyone.
      It makes me think of an issue I own of Judge Dredd, in which closeminded parents protests holding signs with phrases such as “reality is offensive”. Think about it.

  11. Censorship would be if DC *HAD* published the book and stores refused to sell it, or put it on their shelves with a brown paper cover. The image is all over the ‘net–if it’s important to anyone, they can print it up and post it over their computer. Hell–they can buy a blank sketchcover and ask an artist to recreate it for them. The artist has said that the final image was done to the specifications of the editorial department to include many of the details people found upsetting, so those who are so worried about the artist being censored are completely missing the point. The image was posted, people reacted badly to it, and DC Comics realized it could affect their sales so they responded to their audience. It’s the equivalent of a production company running a test screening and altering the ending of a movie based on the results. Perhaps all those so excited about this censorship episode should hunt down the producers of Fatal Attraction–since the ending was changed after test audiences hated it. Was that censorship? No–it was marketing.

  12. This discussion is asinine. That the Hollywood blacklist was even mentioned as being anywhere near equivalent to this is ludicrous.

    Implying that a commercial decision like this is somehow just as bad as say, how the Chinese government restricts the Internet debases the reality of true censorship.

    Have you defenders of free speech considered that maybe the public commentary over the cover made those involved with producing it consider that maybe they had made a poor artistic decision? If the cover had depicted Batgirl bent over and crying while being graphically sodomized by the Joker would you still consider it censorship if fans complained and DC pulled the cover? Sometimes you just make a mistake and don’t consider it until someone else points it out.

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