In June, DC Comics launched a new, adult-oriented imprint, Black Label, and a press release declared it would be “DC’s home for classy, collectible superhero stories aimed at mature readers looking to be challenged and surprised as they’re entertained, with an eye for the unique and remarkable.”
The new imprint certainly is mature, with challenging and surprising images. Like Batman’s penis. Batman: Damned #1, released on Wednesday, includes an outline (a classy presentation) of Batman’s circumcised penis, which yielded countless reactions and actual coverage of the, well, reveal.
In Batman: Damned #1, where Batman investigates the mysterious, potentially paranormal murder of the Joker with occult expert John Constantine (imagine a chain-smoking Sting with super powers), Batman retreats to the Batcave and changes out of his costume. There, in full view of his lower half, a buck-naked Bruce Wayne lets his little buddy hang in one panel in the comic.
The moment is actually quite scary. In exposing himself to the dark, supernatural elements of the DCU, Bruce’s childhood trauma resurfaces. A mental break in the Batcave, whilst surrounded by his costumes, renders Bruce naked and vulnerable, maybe for the first time.
See for yourself in the screenshot below.
Warning: full-frontal, though tastefully shadowed, NSFW comic nudity ahead.
Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, the minds behind Batman: Damned, tell Inverse they wanted to expose Batman’s humanity, though not just literally.
“One of the problems with Batman right now is that he’s always up on somebody else,” Azzarello says. “But if you write a story where someone else has the upper hand on him, it completely changes the dynamic of the story. Anytime you take control away from Batman, he’s suddenly a way more interesting character.”
Indeed, it sounds like there’s a lot of elements about Damned that really work, like the inclusion of Constantine, and the gritty, realistic style of the artwork. Those things deserve some attention. But so does Batman’s Dick Grayson.
Twitter, as always, had some excellent, relevant takes on this important cultural topic.
Unfortunately if you have a digital version of the book, you may now be spared from gazing upon the hero’s exposed member. Because in the digital copy of Batman: Damned, the image that includes it has been censored.
So if you desperately need to see Batman’s penis, you’ll have to pick up a physical copy of the latest Damned installment and check it out in person.