Examining What Went Wrong With ‘All-Star Batman’ #10

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger is best known to comics fans as the editor of Who's Who In The DC Universe, Suicide Squad, and Doom Patrol. He's written and edited several Star Trek novels and is the author of The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. He's known for his work as an editor for Comics Scene, Starlog, and Weekly World News, as well as holding executive positions at both Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

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28 Responses

  1. Russ Rogers says:

    Didn't Michael Davis recently point out that Milestone had done something very similar? They "crossed out" the bad words, but left them legible. Now the words Milestone crossed out were probably "Hell" and "Damn," not "Fuck" and "Cunt." And the writers at Milestone could actually write dialog.What Dickwad thought this was a good idea? Frank Miller? What a jerk off! FUCK isn't blacked out, it's fucken highlighted! It's just fucking stupid. Even with every other fucken word fucking blacked out, my asshole could write better fucken dialog! Frank Miller and the DC editors had a daisy-chain cookie party where they stuffed their heads up each other's asses and said, "Looks good from my perspective!" Is it rude to think this comic makes them seem like total douche bags?

    • Dwayne McDuffie says:

      “Didn’t Michael Davis recently point out that Milestone had done something very similar? They “crossed out” the bad words, but left them legible.”

      Milestone never did that. Some curse words were rendered as “squiggles,” rendered something like Snoopy’s slow burn thought balloons. The curse words were never written in the scripts, much less lettered, then scribbled out.

      • Rick Taylor says:

        You guys displayed taste.:)

      • Russ Rogers says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Dwayne! Like I said, Milestone could actually write dialog. A class act. Even Beetle Bailey uses a version of squiggle swear. It's a comics tradition. I just think that if you put that many squiggles, that many $#@!%^&* or that many black bars on a page, it just starts to look stupid. Because it IS stupid. Bad writing. Bad editing. Bad printing. Fraggen' Bad.

        • Cory High says:

          If you don't like it, don't buy the book.Acting like a child and calling Frank Miller a jerk-off because… well I don't know really… why ARE you calling Frank Miller a jerk-off? Did you read the entire article? Is it just because you don't personally like his writing?In any case, you should probably settle down before you hurt yourself over something trivial like this.

          • Russ Rogers says:

            It was my crude and failed attempt at irony. In general profanity and crude language make the speaker sound ignorant and stupid. I was trying to humorously demonstrate that by being crude and profane. Batman, Robin and Batgirl don't swear. They haven't sworn for 70 years; there is no reason to begin now. Miller's writing is lazy. Worse, it's out of character. This isn't a bold reinterpretation of a classic character. This is a perversion of one.

  2. Robin Riggs says:

    From what I can see in the scan it's not the lettering that has been "backed up" but the bar. In theory that should totally cover the lettering. Unfortunately it looks like the lettering is actually burned through the CMY plates for that bar leaving the letters themselves lighter than the bar giving an effect similar to when part of an all black cover is given a gloss coating to make it into two distinct shades of black.You don't always need an expensive proof to see this happen. I've observed it at times proofing on a simple home printer if part of the black doesn't have the other colours underprinting it. It's tough to see on screen even with a calibrated display but on paper the colour buildup (or lack of it) is usually plain to see.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    Exactly.When comics moved to Photoshop it was discovered that that black was automatically backed up with the other three colors. So production steps had to be taken to remove the color in the lettering to keep it from going off register.If you were going to cover up the lettering special steps would have to be taken to cover them up effectively.Another 'brilliant concept;' that doesn't sound like it was properly beta-tested OR press checked.AT DC no one says 'no' to the 500 lb. canary.

  4. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I don't think this issue is going to be nearly as rare as previous recalled books that got stopped before they entered the distribution channel. I'll bet anyone that goes to a comic shop regularly will be able to get one. As for the people who hear about it in the news and goes for one to have the rare thing, well that's another story. Plus I expect to see a fully scanned copy available by the time I get home tonight. Heck, where do you think the scanned pages we've seen so far came from?It's a little windfall for the comic shops, and little publicity for DC, bad or no. I expect to see very few copies actually getting destoyed.I guess I get why they're using the real words under the bars – it's the print equivalent of just bleeping the middles of dirty words; you didn't actually say the word, but everybody knows what word it was, so you have the best of both worlds. But they've used the same trick in the previous issues, so I wonder why it didn't work here. Probably because it's been sooo long since the last issue, they forgot what the settings were…DC has had a couple of printing goofs lately – someone didn't load the font file for German lettering in FC#3 so Ubergirl's dialogue had garbage characters where there should have been vowels with umlauts. And that was a fter a three-week delay that they'd blamed on "production issues", which was assumed to be other printing delays.

  5. Rick Taylor says:

    Was there an actual 'story point' to the potty language?Can't wait to hear this.

    • Jonathan (the other says:

      Checked the page at the link – looks like Miller wanted to include his version of "street language". Seems more likely to me, though, that punks like those would use "bitch" – "cunt" would be used when the sexual connotation is intended ("that cock-teasin' cunt never did put out!").One of the benefits of Asperger's Syndrome is that I'm accustomed to analyzing the way people use language… :)

      • Russ Rogers says:

        People seem to be of the opinion that there would be "no problem" if the black bar censoring of certain words had worked. Wrong. Even then the impression would be that not only do street thugs speak with stilted, uneducated speech where every other word is a sexual or racial slur, a religious epithet or some other vulgarity, but the HEROES also talk this way. Frankly, that's bull shit! This arcade belongs to the FUCKing Batgirl.Frank Miller used vulgarities in his dialog because he was too lazy or poor a writer to make his dialog interesting without them. I'm of the opinion that Batgirl doesn't say "Fucking." She didn't for 40 years. It's out of character for her to start now. A clever writer (a better writer) could convey a sense of anger and urban chatter without resorting to a page of dialog that looks like a censored letter from the war front. What are these kids supposed to be yelling, details on Allied troop movements?

  6. Tom Fitzpatrick says:

    To be honest, let's say that Miller's what's wrong with ASBAR.He's insane from Hollywood corruption. ;-)

    • mike weber says:

      Miller was always a misogynist (well, never mind "misogynist" what – supply your own noun here.)He seems to be obsessed with putting some dirty-little-boy "clever" sexual twist on at least one female character when he reworks a strip – consider Karen Page and Selina Kyle.And i fear for Sand Saref.

  7. Bob Rozakis says:

    Hey, Rick, this is clearly the fault of the Production Department! Don't they FUDGING know how to cover up BULLSPIT like this?! (Actually, I think this "embarrassment" was probably masterminded by some disgruntled former production manager who secretly infiltrated the printing plant. No one else would know how to do it.)

    • Rick Taylor says:

      OK. I friggin' admit it. I flippin' flew up to Montreal and effin' sabotaged the stinkin' book!

      • Bob Rozakis says:

        I knew it! All those years you spent palling around with Larry the press foreman were laying the groundwork for this triumph of evil!

  8. Rick Taylor says:

    Seriously gang. After chatting with Bob offline we constructed a probable progression.The files probably weren't constructed right and given a final check. Production should have given the printer a test flat. The printer could've done draw downs, asked for any file tweaks they might've needed and stuck in on press with a book of similar format, teaked the files again and then done the rest of the book.You think with all those Veeps of design, production and creative someone would've had the ability to see the potential for this.

  9. mike weber says:

    I remember a sublime moment in "Hitman" with Monaghan and Nat the Hat in the Marines, caught goldbricking by a tough DI, and the DI's balloon said "You {not even if it were Vertigo}…" or words to that effect.

  10. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    I recall a pretty good running joke from the (allegedly) L. Ron Hubbard Mission Earth books. The conceit of the books is you were reading transcriptions of the logs of an alien sent to infiltrate Earth. The computer who does the translation has a rule where it cannot ("Even if pounded upon") print foul language, replacing it with "[bleep]". The character in question was a foul-mouthed fellow, and the text is filled with phrases like "[Bleep] you, you [bleep]ing son of a [bleep]tch!"

  11. Kristopher Wooldridg says:

    This is entirely too hilarious, though it is worse than the "bullshittinging" error from one of the earlier comics. Wow.

  12. Tyson Durst says:

    What about profanity in comics in general? I'm not saying that Batman comics should start embracing extreme profanity but should all comics across the spectrum of genres and publishers have black bars on naughty words? Or is Peter Griffin onto something when he once said "Lois, sometimes it's appropriate to swear."?