Monday, February 25, 2008

Batman SNOW 192 page 1




Here is the first page of the Batman story that Seth drew. On the left is the page as Seth drew it. Above is the page as it was printed. You can see the small comic figures of Batman and his valet Alfred in the margin of the original. Seth also constantly drew bunnies around Alfred, and they also were removed. I would think it would be hard to take TOO seriously a guy whose work uniform consists of tights, a cape, and a cap with little pointy ears, but then I have never been a serious follower of Batman, or of any other comic book superheroes for that matter.

4 comments:

j_ay said...

Ha! That’s fantastic! I love the bunnies around Alfred all the time.
And yes, I’m sure these editors/powers-that-be tend to take all this a weeeeee bit too seriously (its comic books, people!).
I’m recalling an essay I read by Harlan Ellison when I was a teenager in which he was hired by Disney to do some writing and once he was introduced to his colleagues he started riffing on a kind of pornographic scenario involving some of the Disney characters. As the crowd gathered around listening apparently some of the Serious higher-ups got wind of it and by day’s end he was asked to leave. The last line of the essay was (something like), “At Disney, no one [expletive deleted] with the mouse.”

(…any of the above anecdote could be off due to memory lapse…)

Gareth said...

Hi Vicki,

I love this page! Yes, Disney, DC, and Marvel probably have a lot in common as regards their sacred cows. It's a shame Seth wasn't allowed free reign. However, I'm also surprised that these issues weren't picked up on before the pages were inked - I'd have thought the editor would have vetoed it earlier (unless it came in later as a dictat from above...). Are there any other censored pages? I'd love to see them.

Vicki said...

Since Uncle Walt was trying to build an absolutely safe world for children, I suspect that he was concerned lest any hint of sly humor crept in that would amuse the adults and go over the heads of the children. DC has no such overriding concern. But I am not sure just what their concern is about extra bunnies gathering around Alfred.
When the SNOW book first came out, there were some people who didn't like the character of Batman as Seth drew him. They seemed to think he had too much in the way of ordinary human weakness, and they wanted their superheroes served up Super. It may be those particular fans that DC was concerned about.

As for why these issues came all the way to the inking stage before the offending images were excised, here is what I think happened. Seth was given the project, but no particular deadline. It may have been a little bit of an experiment on the part of DC. Seth was living in Tokyo, then he went to India for a month or so during the time he worked on it. He finished the book (and was paid for his work) maybe a year before DC decided to actually print it up. He told me that DC--a Time Warner subsidiary--has so much money that they can waste it on paying for projects that they never actually use. So they did not keep very close tabs on what he was doing during the drawing stage. That would explain why they didn't look at the pencils first and say, "No no no! Batman is a serious guy; no bunnies, butterflies, or cartoons in the margins."

I'll post some more censored pages. Good idea.

j_ay said...

-gareth
However, I'm also surprised that these issues weren't picked up on before the pages were inked

Seth of course did his own inking, so there was no need to scan penciled pages, which the editor could then look at.
I’d doubt an editor went over any (rough) layout pages Seth may have done before the final drawings. And these little flourishes may have come spontaneously.
If they were written into a script (highly, highly, highly doubt it as this just seems *so* Seth) then the editor would have probably killed it then and there.

-vicki
Since Uncle Walt was trying to build an absolutely safe world for children, I suspect that he was concerned lest any hint of sly humor crept in that would amuse the adults and go over the heads of the children.

Sure, but I think that essay was an example of an institution taking things a wee bit too far, or seriously. It was just some people chatting, not really laying out a real project they wanted to do.
But people will be people, as there are past cartoons of Porky Pig (WB, not Disney of course) letting out a “son of a bitch” and various 0.50 second risqué animation inserts into various cartoons…

But I am not sure just what their concern is about extra bunnies gathering around Alfred.

Ohhhhhhhh dear Vicki, spare yourself the anguish of, even for a moment, trying to figure out what goes through the mind of the loud portion of comic book readers.

To try to be somewhat fair to DC, since Seth’s story was in an ongoing, monthly Batman title (Legends of the Dark Knight) I think they (DC) want to try to keep it somewhat in line with ‘what is and whatever shall be’.
In continuity, if you will.

FF/Iron Man Big in Japan is a mini-series, independent of the two characters’ monthly books. I’d heavily guess that editors would have hacked apart Big In Japan if it were to have been within the ‘regular’ books.

I don’t know much about DC, and have no particular respect for Superman (boring!), but they did let Mike Allred have some fun with him in a miniseries joining him (literally) with Allread’s Madman character.
So occasionally they can have a laugh.