With the departure of artist Frank Cho from the role of Variant Cover Artist for DC's Wonder Woman comics, the internet is currently engaged in a heated debate over the meaning of censorship. Is it censorship for a company to request changes to the cover of a comic book from a work-for-hire artist? No one seems to know, but Frank Cho sure thinks it is, telling Bleeding Cool:
Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it's a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)
We thought it would be a good idea to, once and for all, get to the bottom of this important issue. Here to explain censorship to us is Professor of Censorship of Mass-Produced Consumer Products by the Companies that Make Them, from the prestigious Trump University, Thaddeus T. Puffinbottoms.
"Censorship is a complicated issue," Puffinbottoms explained, "which can most accurately be summed up as: if you don't like the decision, it's censorship."
"Absolutely," Puffinbottoms continued. "Comic book artists have an undeniable right to produce whatever they want, and comic book publishers have a responsibility to publish it completely unchanged, or else they are engaging in censorship. You can't censor art."
But comic books aren't necessarily art in and of themselves. They're commercial products that consist of art, mass produced and sold for profit. When it comes to work-for-hire comics produced by major corporations, they're often produced under guidelines from the company's editorial and marketing departments, and are subject to changes which may alter the story, the art, or both, as contractually agreed upon by all parties. Declining to publish a cover on a comic book that the company feels would be detrimental toward their long term goal of making a profit, no matter the reason, doesn't prohibit the artist from creating the art. That's not censorship; it's business.
"No," Puffinbottoms told us. "It's censorship."
You're sure you're a real professor?
"Are you trying to censor my academic credentials?!" Puffinbottoms asked, indignant.
Okay, okay. So comic book publishers have to publish whatever the artist gives them, regardless of whether they feel it's in their interest to do so, even if the artist just photocopied their butt onto a sheet of paper, or else they're censoring the artist?
"Yes," Puffinbottoms confirmed.
So if Frank Cho wants to draw a Wonder Woman panty shot on the cover of a book where the writer of the book, Greg Rucka, doesn't feel it's appropriate, and the writer asks for some changes to be made, and the publisher crops the panty shot off of the cover, that's an instance of the publisher, DC Comics, engaging in censorship?
"Of course not!" Puffinbottoms replied.
Phew! Okay because this was getting pretty cra--
"It's an instance of both DC Comics *and* Greg Rucka engaging in censorship," he interrupted.
"Comic book art of women's butts and boobs is one of the most important examples of First Amendment rights," Puffinbottoms explained. "That right shall not be infringed upon."
Sure. No one should tell you that you can't make that art. But the First Amendment doesn't say that someone else has to publish and promote it, right?
"Wrong," Puffinbottoms said. "As former president and author of the Constitution, Patrick Henry, once said, 'Give me an upskirt shot of a popular female superhero, or give me death.' I believe, like a lot of Constitutional scholars, that the intent of the original authors needs to be considered when interpreting this important document."
Founding Father Patrick Henry
But Patrick Henry didn't... there's so much wrong with that, we don't know where to start.
"Furthermore, it clearly says right there that the censorship is ten times worse if the people calling for the censorship are SJWs," he added.
What?! That dumb term wasn't even invented until like last year!
"Are you arguing with the founding fathers?! The Congrefs of the United States?" demanded Professor Puffinbottoms. "Don't you love America?!"
We didn't say that!
Document written by the "Congrefs" of the United States
"Then you agree that Frank Cho is the victim of censorship most foul!" he concluded.
"Case closed," declared Puffinbottoms, crossing his arms.
Someone should really look into filing a lawsuit against the university that gave this guy a diploma.