Wal-Mart Exclusive Superman Comic Causes Controversy


Superman Draws Controversy


Superman Giant #7 caused controversy this month over several pages depicting the torture and murder of Lois Lane. Many detractors cited the violent content as being inappropriate for the target audience of the Wal-Mart exclusive books.

Women In Refrigerators

In 1999 Gail Simone coined the phrase “women in refrigerators.” Its origins lie in Green Lantern #54 and are used as a reference to the trend of media creators killing or injuring women in order to advance the storyline of a male hero. The phrase stuck and an entire website tracking the various stories featuring this convention sprung to life. Unfortunately, that was 20 years ago, and while progress has been made, there are still countless examples of this trope on display in comics. 

The latest offender comes from Superman Giant #7,  the 100 page comic available exclusively at Wal-Mart. The Giant series began last summer and features four popular heroes, Superman, Batman, Teen Titans, and Justice League America. However, the latest Superman offering features extended sequences of the torture and murder of Lois Lane in Clark’s imagination. Obviously, this isn’t an outright use of the women in refrigerators trope. However, it’s a little strange for Clark to be so obsessed with Lois dying while he’s away, and clearly leaves readers questioning what author Tom King is going through to put this story in Giant #7. But the primary controversy lies in the book’s target audience: kids.

Tom King’s Misstep

Yes, many people pick up the Giant books for their kids. They’re a fantastic value. For $4.99 customers receive a 100-page comic feature their child’s favorite superheroes. It’s a no-brainer for being good at the store treats. On the other hand, adult comics fans buy them and read them with their children to stir a love of comics in them. And that’s where the controversy lies. Many people the book to task on social media over the graphic pages of violence featured in this month’s issue. One Twitter user referred to the pages as “a 12-page Lois Lane snuff comic.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the book’s author, Tom King’s depictions of violence against women are part of a larger conversation in comics. A leaked (and unused) cover for Heroes In Crisis 7 showed a dying Poison Ivy. Following a backlash, King clarified the cover was not approved and would not be used as the issue’s final cover. While that’s certainly true, it does make one wonder why King’s go to plot points involve the murder of women and a meticulous depiction of their demise.


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