The Canadian Press is reporting that DC Comics has denied requests to allow the Superman logo to appear on the memorial statue for Jeffrey Baldwin, a five year old Toronto boy who died as a result of child abuse in 2002. Baldwin and his sister were removed from the care of his parents after abuse allegations in 1998, but it seems that his maternal grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, were no better. According to reports form the trial, where the grandparents were convicted of second degree murder, Baldwin was kept in a locked bedroom where he lived in his own feces and drank from a toilet. He died of starvation.
Recently, an Ottowa man named Todd Boyce, moved by the story, raised money to erect a memorial to Baldwin by artist Ruth Abernathy that would depict Jefferey dressed as his hero, Superman in a bronze statue. However, according to the Press, DC Comics would not allow the statue to use the Superman logo:
But DC Entertainment — home to the comic book superhero — will not grant Boyce permission to use the Superman logo on the statue.
"It was important for me because I really felt I wanted to capture the photograph of Jeffrey wearing his Superman costume and have it as close to that as possible," Boyce said.
"Basically they didn't want to have the character of Superman associated with child abuse. They weren't comfortable with that."
Boyce said he was angry and emotional when he first learned of their refusal, but after subsequent conversations with people at the company and their lawyers, he softened his stance.
"(I) realized that the most important thing is to have a fitting monument for Jeffrey, that it's about him," Boyce said. "To be fair to DC I don't think they wanted to say no. I think they gave it serious thought."
Some people are calling for us to reset the Has DC Done Something Stupid Today counter over this, but at this stage, I think it would be disrespectful to Jeffrey Baldwin's memory to use a tool of mockery and sensationalism to address this tragic situation. While I understand that this is likely a PR quagmire for DC, I do think they should have allowed the logo to be used. However, it seems that a compromise has been worked out, and the logo will be changed to use a J instead of an S for the memorial, which seems like a more personal and fitting tribute anyway. After this final change, the memorial will be complete.
While some of the children under the care of Bottineau and Kidman were reportedly treated better, at least one of Jeffrey's sisters was reportedly subjected to the same conditions, but was allowed to go to school, where she receieved nutrition that probably saved her life. Several media outlets have contacted DC for comment on the story, but at this time, none have published a response. We'll keep you updated.