Robot 6

Swastikas removed from Image Comics artwork for December’s Previews

Pigs #6

Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson said on his blog yesterday that the cover for Pigs #6 and an image from Glory #23 include swastikas and thus will not be featured as originally drawn in Diamond’s December Previews. The catalog is distributed in Germany, where the law prohibits the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations,” which includes the swastika if used in conjunction with Nazi idealism.

“This is nothing new,” Stephenson wrote. “Swastika-laden images have been prohibited from appearing in publications sold in Germany for decades at this point. I’m not sure I understand what the point is, though. World War II did happen, and Nazis did exist. I understand not wanting to encourage modern day Neo-Nazi groups, but censorship isn’t a particularly effective weapon against hate groups of any kind. Plus outlawing specific Nazi iconography seems strangely revisionist, as though it’s best to just not acknowledge the impact that symbol had, or the evil associated with it.”

The law Stephenson refers to is a remnant of the “Denazification” efforts in Germany by the Allies after World War II. Among other initiatives, the Allies sought to remove all symbols of Nazism, such as the swastika, from German culture. In a post written in 2009, when a swastika appeared on a cover for The Boys, German writer Marc-Oliver Frisch noted that the law has an exceptions clause, that it “shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes.” While The Boys issue with the swastika was not distributed in Germany, the German version of Maus, however, uses the original cover art that includes the swastika — but convention posters that used the Maus artwork have also been known to be confiscated by German authorities.

“Now you could argue that the paragraph clearly says that one of the exceptions is a work of art, which comics clearly are,” German blogger Subzero wrote in a post earlier this year. ” Well, not here in Germany and I guess it’s going to take a few decades till somebody here is willing to go to court on that point. In Germany comics don’t have that position.”

The Glory image that will appear in the catalog will not include the symbol, while the Pigs cover will be blurred out, as seen in the above image. You can find the Glory image by artist Ross Campbell, and a larger version of the uncensored Christian Ward-drawn Pigs cover, after the jump.


Pigs #6



The law Stephenson refers to is a remnant of the “Denazification” efforts in Germany by the Allies after World War II. Among other initiatives, the Allies sought to remove all symbols of Nazism, such as the swastika, from German culture.

This practice continues in a number of countries which had governments allied with the Reich. The reason being is that with the end of WWII, Nazis and Nazi-sympathizers did not simply disappear: many melted into the background, or even stayed in government after shedding outward signs of their past political associations. So for much of continental Europe, Naziism is still a present threat to democratic society– one only has to look to parts of Eastern Europe where there has been a public rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators as national heroes.

I wonder if they are going to remove from the history books too.

Neo-nazis are not new as is Hezzbahlah in the middle east.Nazis helped arab fight imperialism in WWII and there is no stigma in the culture there because they hate hebrews also. Hezzbahlajh is almost wholly backed by Iran. Irans president worships Hitler and styles himself a Naz.. Irans army goosesteps and salutes in kind. The Swastika is missing tho….
Books such as thes remind us that the evil of 70 years ago has not been snuffes out.

I just going to look at it from the out side… I just see that in Germany unfortunately, that comic books are not deemed worthy of being called art. And I don’t see and Nazi propaganda. I am not big on German law or anything, clearly they are still tweeking things (like all counties). But here we are used to freedom of speech, regardless of it. So why should Germany censor comics? Regardless of idealism shouldn’t an artist be allowed to express?

So Previews is censored and… it didn’t explicitly say… will the issues themselves be available in Germany or no?

I think the bigger issue is that Glory cover. What’s up with her anatomy?

What I don’t like is that almost all of the swastiks on the cover of Pigs are “untipped.” The Nazis placed the swastika on a diagonal in their iconography, as Ross Campbell has drawn in on the cover of Glory. The only correct one on Pigs that I can see is the large one on his face. Without being tilted, the swastika is a symbol in many Eastern spiritual traditions (which is where it originated).

Of course, the swastika, no matter how it’s tilted, is going to be interpreted by most people as being symbolic of Nazism, but I wish people would get it right when they’re using it like this.

In Germany, it is illegal to use the swastika no matter what the context or medium — it’s not just comics. It’s not my country and not a history I have to live with as my own, so I am not going to comment on the wisdom, ethics, or rightness of such a law.

“In Germany, it is illegal to use the swastika no matter what the context or medium — it’s not just comics.”

That’s nonsense.

Do you care to elaborate, Marc-Oliver? If I’m wrong, I’d like to know what is correct, not just be told in such a rude way.

Also? “The German (and Austrian) postwar criminal code makes the public showing of the Hakenkreuz (the swastika) and other Nazi symbols illegal and punishable, except for scholarly reasons. It is even censored from the lithographs on boxes of model kits, and the decals that come in the box. Modellers seeking an accurate rendition often have to either stencil on the marking, or purchase separate decals. It is also censored from the reprints of 1930s railway timetables published by the Reichsbahn. The eagle remains, but appears to be holding a solid black circle between its talons. The swastikas on Hindu and Jain temples are exempt, as religious symbols cannot be banned in Germany.”

So I was wrong about it being used in a scholarly context. You could have just said that, Marc-Oliver, but instead you chose to be rude for no discernible reason. What is wrong with people?

I wonder if they are going to remove from the history books too.

It’s not that Germans want to censor their history– they know their history all too well and grasp that Germany will likely forever be perceived in light of the Third Reich. The issue is that Germans want to ensure that no form of Naziism returns to any prominent position in their society– consequently they have banned the very symbols that would allow any neo-Nazi movement to organize itself around.


Apologies if my comment seems rude to you, but the sweeping blanket statement you made (““In Germany, it is illegal to use the swastika no matter what the context or medium — it’s not just comics.”) was very baffling to me for two reasons.

The first is that it’s contradicted by the very article it appears under.

The second is that live in Germany, and this is in my TV guide for today:

That’s a documentary on the Third Reich, and it’s neither uncommon nor illegal to encounter swastikas in this and in other contexts over here.

I guess every culture has its taboos. I heard that they had to call the TMNT cartoon Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Britain, and they censored the scenes in Bruce Lee movies where he used nunchaku.

This makes me wonder if such revision of history is responsible for the Avengers cartoon stating that it was Hydra that the allies fought against not Germany, Italy and Japan? Also, Hydra seemed to have a big part in the Captain America movie, for a movie set in World War II it certainly didn’t have a lot about the Nazi’s, well beyond being the source of Hydra and the Red Skull.

Anyone know if this is the case?

I’m disturbed at this comment made in the linked post:
>>>Donna Barr said…
Sigh. The old “Left-right = good-evil” canard again? It’s actually “Left-right = male-female,” as in yin/yang. But then let’s not go into states of good/evil = male/female, shall we?

I see we’re all trying to let the Nazis win, again, by allowing them to keep the great sacred cross.
What is the intent here? Should we reclaim swastikas like Dante reclaimed PorchMonkey in Clerks 2?
Currently Germany is in a kind of shock due to series of right wing killings but since the reunification a lot of hate groups roam the countryside, especially in the east. Sometimes they chase someone down or set someone on fire, sometimes they just hand out flyers showing horrible caricatures of refugees sent "back home" on flying carpets and leaking boats.

You might be a Norse god follower or Zen buddhist or whatever but when in Germany I would still prefer you not displaying this part of your personality by flashing a swastika in public. Fact is there are millions of foreigners in Germany living in fear of violence by hate-driven real-life racists and Nazis. This atmosphere is kept going with graffiti of swastikas etc. A turkish mom whose kids are beat in school for being a foreigner is not gonna give two shits if your swastika on your t-shirt is tipped or not. And even if you explain the evil "stigmatization" behind it it will not make her feel much better. So I for one am quite okay with a Verbot the way it is now.
I never had a problem with getting any books via my german comic shop, even Dave Sim's Judenhass, which you could not, judging by the cover alone, have marked as scholarly.

On the other hand, that cover on Pigs with the crosses looks stupid, I mean what is that supposed to show? Tattoos? Certainly not, but it is not knife cuts either. Would like have looked better if they had left it off.

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