DC Comics Claims Mix Up With Highly Criticized ‘Titans United’ Green Lantern Variant Cover Yet Silent on Wider Issue
Over the weekend, there was an understandable uproar online regarding DC’s editorial choices for their upcoming Latin American Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) variant issues. Like previous cultural month celebrations, DC featured special variant covers for stories in print that featured Latinx leads, by people of a similar background, and while nice art alone would have been great, the trouble arose when people began to notice that all of the art seemed to boil down what makes them Latinx to the food they eat. As we’ve previously discussed, for one or two characters, this may have worked, but for seven—yeah, no. That’s making it a punchline.
Making matters worse, another version of the Titans United: Bloodpact variant (featuring Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern) began to be shared online because it was an example of decentralizing the food, and the artist (Jorge Molina) stated as early as June 20 that the version that appeared to be going to print wasn’t his original vision. He also shared the historical inspiration for different aspects of the art alongside that original vision:
That just made it seem worse that the version that seemed to be going to print prominently featured Rayner carrying a plastic bag of tamales, as seen here.
Then, early Monday morning (August 29), NPR published a story about the situation and was one of the only publications to feature an official response from DC. According to NPR, DC stated that news of the official cover was “incorrectly reported” and that it would actually be the tamale bag-free version, though Molina had seemed to think, for months, that wasn’t the case.
It is part of DC’s internal creative process to receive and develop multiple versions of comic artwork from our artists. Some are released as variant covers, others are never used.
DC on the other covers
The next day, Molina tweeted, “Sorry about the confusion—the edited version I drew was an alternative option, not final.” I may just be reading into this, but I wouldn’t exactly be surprised if this is just Molina trying to stay on the good side of one of the biggest comics publishers in the world. Still, Molina was the first person to talk about the edits back in June (where he could have been the source of the confusion) on Twitter and in a now-deleted Instagram post.
Further complicating the matter is that no other artist has said anything about the controversy, and while DC may say the final cover was incorrectly reported, sometime before August 29, the official DC Twitter account deleted a tweet in the announcement thread, conspicuously leaving only the Titans cover out of the lineup. While mistakes do happen (on the news side and the comics side), even if that were the case, this comment by DC fails to account for the wider trend within special covers to reduce a whole ethnic background down to a food—which is not to place blame on the individual artists but all of the decision makers who let that overall picture come together.
Molina’s variant was one of seven, and NPR noted that “the company didn’t address controversy over other planned covers.” Maybe they need another week of workshopping some statement about doing better next time, when this can be avoided if the people making the decisions from the editorial board all the way to the top (Warner Bros. Discovery) were as diverse as the characters in DC canon.
(via NPR, featured image: DC Comics)
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