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Nearly five months after the debut of DC Comics’ “New 52,” the Washington, D.C., Fox affiliate has taken aim at the “edgy makeover,” zeroing in on the controversial first issues of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws.
For the Fox report, titled “Relaunched Comics Using Sex and Violence to Sell” on the affiliate’s website, correspondent Sherri Ly turns to child psychologist Neil Bernstein, who characterizes the much-discussed sex scene between Batman and Catwoman as, “sort of like a fictionalized Playboy for kids at its worst.”
He goes on to suggest the comic may pose a danger to young readers, as overexposure to sex and violence could encourage aggression. Yes, really. “I think too many kids would be put in harm’s way or at risk,” he said.
Bernstein also dissects Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, in which Starfire propositions Roy Harper for sex, later saying, “Love has nothing to do with it.” “We want our kids to think sex is an act between two consenting mature individuals who care deeply for one another,” he says. “That doesn’t really come across and it’s too easily to misconstrue things particularly for a kid.”
And to underscore just how dangerous and easily misconstrued the comics are, Ly … went to a local middle school, and showed them to some children. Sherri Ly and Fox 5: putting kids in harm’s way?
While it can be, and certainly has been, argued that those issues of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws are sexist, misogynistic or just downright bad, or that other comics in the DC relaunch have been gratuitously violent and gory, Fox 5 ratchets the debate to alarmist, Wertham-esque levels.
For further evidence, look no further than the promo for the report, which promised tips on “HOW TO K.O. THESE COMICS BEFORE THEY CORRUPT YOUR KIDS!” It’s that teaser that led the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to release a retailer advisory on “how to manage a media attack,” which breaks down “how to deal with hostile cameras if they come to your store.”