DC Comics recently informed retailers that they have cancelled their plans to reprint the 1940’s Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil because of concerns about the book’s contents.
In an apparent attempt to avoid negative publicity, DC Comics recently canceled their plans to reprint a 1940’s comic collection titled Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil. Though described as “typical” of the time, the story often depicts racial and ethnic stereotypes that were common to the era.
In the email sent to retailers, the publisher wrote “After careful consideration, DC announces that the Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil Deluxe Edition HC (JUL180783) is canceled due to concerns over its contents. This title will not be resolicited.”
Comic industry figures such as Bone creator Jeff Smith and Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen took to Twitter to voice their opinions over the cancellation…
“The black characters are depicted in a very stereotypical manner, which was sadly typical of the time, and so were the Japanese characters – which, again, was typical in WWII…I don’t see why they don’t reprint it. I hope they do reprint it, and say, ‘This is what was done at the time, and it’s pretty bad, but it’s also part of the story.” – Jeff Smith
“I think at this point–DC is trying to dodge a bullet because of the Shazam! movie. They don’t want the negative publicity associated with the racist Fawcett Captain Marvel material.
The Monster Society of Evil is a big, attractive, irresistible carrot to DC because it’s a long, multi-part story which includes all of Captain Marvel’s major foes up to that point, including the ONLY Golden Age appearance of Mr. Mind.
Most Fawcett Captain Marvel stories are relatively short. Few are multi-part stories and almost none are continued from one issue to another. There were a couple serials but the Monster Society of Evil was the only really long one (25 8-12 page chapters).” – Erik Larsen
It’s easy to see why DC wouldn’t want to bring such negative attention to a character that is about to be featured in their first solo film. Although it is a part of the character’s history, now might not be the best time to publicize a divisive comic story.
Stay tuned for more information as it releases, as always, we will be watching!
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