Robot 6

Retailer at center of ‘Powerpuff Girls’ dust-up issues open letter

powerpuff girls6

Dennis L. Barger Jr., the retailer who last week publicly criticized the “sexualized” nature of Mimi Yoon’s Powerpuff Girls #6 variant, leading Cartoon Network to withdraw the cover, has released an open letter in which he calls upon the comics industry to police itself, and to keep film studios and television networks out of the decision-making process.

The remarks from Barger, co-owner of  Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Michigan, follow a sharp response by Yoon in which the artist criticized him, in part, because “he brought up kids and used protecting kids and kids’ perspective in his reasoning/excuse.”

In his open letter, in which he touches upon a dwindling readership and the need to reach a younger audience, Barger writes, “I will not discuss why this cover upset me and this is the last time I care to talk about it, aside from this. I did not feel that it was appropriate for the cover of a book aimed at young children, especially young girls, and many people agreed with me. A Hollywood corporate machine like Warner Bros and Cartoon Network would not have pulled it unless enough people saw that this was inappropriate in some way.”

Read Barger’s full letter below:

Let me start this letter out with a cliche … children are the future of this industry. If you do not subscribe to this philosophy, then you might as well stop reading right now. There is no other way to put this — our industry of print comic books is dying. The number of readers is falling fast. By my estimate, there are roughly 70,000 readers for each of the best selling serialized comic books released today. After counting cross-over readers from the Big Two and people who only read Indy comics, I would guess that we have around 120,000 actual people reading comic books today. Judging from the attrition rate that we are losing readers, we need 12,000 a year to start reading comic books and getting hooked on visiting the stores that remain. When you consider that there are roughly 2,000 comic shops that number means each store needs to be making six new readers a year.

I am a huge supporter of IDW and especially their all-ages line of comics. It wasn’t until they released My Little Pony comic books, that I decided to dedicate almost 10% of my store to a kids’ section. Now when I say kids, I mean kids the age of my children, 6-12 years old. This is the pure age that if you get them into a habit of reading, they will read for a life time. I have been a huge supporter of IDW’s cartoon network licenses with Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls. Not that Boom! Studio’s Adventure Time and Regular Show weren’t enough, but the kids and fans of those shows weren’t coming in on a regular basis enough to dedicate the space to just them. Now it seems that everyone has dedicated an effort to a kids’ line of comics, most notably DC Comics, Art Balthazar and Franco offerings. But nothing got them through the door on a regular basis like My Little Pony. IDW showed me that as a publisher, they had a great commitment to getting kids through my door and I wanted to be ready for them when they got there. When a kid comes into my store, they are greeted with a sucker, left over Free Comic Book Day comics, Archaia’s Mouse Guard hardcovers that I ordered enough to have for freebies and a kids’ section of all-ages comics from every publisher. I feature books like Jeffrey Brown’s Vader and Son and Brad Meltzer’s new book I am Amelia Earhart and every small price point kids’ toy I can buy from Diamond. I create new comic readers every time they walk through my door.

I know I am creating my six new readers and then some. I spend $2,000 a year on Free Comic Book Day for kids alone, giving each kid who comes in 10 free comic books from our selection. By spending that money today, I will hopefully make those kids customers for life. It is my “get them off the video games and into comics” philosophy. And let me also say, that in my opinion, this is the last generation of kids that we have a chance to win. They are saturated to the point that “pop culture” is the only culture around them. If we can’t win these kids over, surrounded by Avengers movies and TV shows with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Batman Legos, Star Wars cartoons and video games and Walking Dead zombies on every parents T-shirt, then I don’t know what will.

Which brings me to the point of this letter, The Powerpuff Girls #6 comic book subscription variant by Mimi Yoon. A phenomenal piece of art by an extremely talented artist, commissioned by Cartoon Network and mandated to be placed on a licensee’s comic. It was submitted through Diamond Previews to retailers, ordered by retailers and finally on Final Order Cut Off date seen by me for the first time. It was clearly missed by several people, because some didn’t find it offensive and other just simply didn’t look hard enough. When I finally saw it, I was floored, angry and dismayed. In this day and age, when that happens, you do what everyone does, share your feeling on social media. We all do it, only in this day and age, people listen. Media picks things up and more social media shares it, and it continues. If anyone in this industry doesn’t think we live in a 24 hour news cycle, you are kidding yourself. Everything happens in 24 hours. It took 24 hours for Bleeding Cool to run a story on a facebook post; it took 24 hours for more to pick that up; it took 24 hours for ICV2 to call Cartoon Network; and it took 24 hours for them to cancel the variant cover and media around the world to pick up that story.

It also took 24 hours for people in this industry to paint me as the villain in all of this. I will not discuss why this cover upset me and this is the last time I care to talk about it, aside from this. I did not feel that it was appropriate for the cover of a book aimed at young children, especially young girls, and many people agreed with me. A Hollywood corporate machine like Warner Bros and Cartoon Network would not have pulled it unless enough people saw that this was inappropriate in some way. Count how many things Hollywood has lost money on because there was a controversy. You’ll only need 1 hand.

We are the only ones who can police our industry, the comic book industry. We are the creators, publishers,distributors, retailers and customers. Comic book creators work diligently to create content which brings in customers. Publishers take risks on a daily basis with their bottom line to make sure there is work for creators and products to sell. Distributors make sure that the retail side is properly supplied. Retailers pick and choose what books they think they can sell, take risks on everything they order, and supply the customers with the products they want. Customers look to the others to make sure they have books every Wednesday that are high quality enough to shuck over $3.99 apiece, every week of the year. Sometimes when I talk to people in our industry they lose sight of a few links in that chain.

Let me point out to you, Hollywood is not a link in that chain. For licensed comic publishers it may be, and for customers who only read licensed comic it is. For creators sitting around and waiting for that fat proverbial “Hollywood Movie Check” it might be … but from start to finish, Hollywood is not in that chain. We need to remember this. Hollywood came into this chain and told a publisher what they had to do, for no one’s betterment but their own. Hollywood needs us, the comic book industry, we are the frack needed to pump into their dying wells. The second we lose sight of that we are done. We cannot let them into the middle of our industry. No one from Hollywood has to tell creators like Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples how to create new readers, no one from Hollywood walks into a comic shop and tells retailers how to create new readers, and IDW knows how to create new readers without Hollywood dictating what’s on the cover.

All it takes is six young new readers created by every comic book shop when they walk through the doors to maintain this business we all love.

All it takes is one giant mistake to upset the parents of those new readers and we will lose this industry.

Dennis Barger
Co-Owner of Wonderworld Comics
Taylor, MI

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Comments

68 Comments

After what’s happened in the last few days, this is one topic that won’t die down overnight. Then again, the comics industry has been too dependant on Hollywood.

On the surface, I can see the guy’s point. I can see why some might think the cover is inappropriate for a kids comic, though I don’t see it that way. I also completely agree that we need to get more kids reading (a problem that has dozens of causes, though I’m not really sure “appropriateness” is anywhere near the top of the list).

That said, there’s a few basic flaws in his outrage:

1) It’s a variant cover. This cover is not for kids, it’s for collectors. If he doesn’t want the cover displayed in his store, he can just put out the regular cover.

2) While it’s great that he has a kid’s section – really, I think it is – what does the other 90% of the store look like? I’m assuming it probably looks like any other comic shop, meaning that it’s full of covers and posters and statues of covers JUST LIKE THIS OR RACIER. Sexualized images of Mary Jane, Catwoman, Power Girl, etc are surely all over the place.

All that aside, I really don’t see the issue with the cover. Is it because Yoon, while imagining the PPG as teenagers, gave them a bit of a bust? I’m sure there are plenty of other comics aimed towards kids that have similar looking body-types. They look like typical teen superheroes to me.

Apparently, Hollywood shouldn’t have any input on a comic based on a TV cartoon. And licensors shouldn’t ever tell publishers what to put on the covers. Just, apparently, on the insides.

Hooray for bringing kids into the industry with non-Hollywood-controlled books like MY LITTLE PONY and ADVENTURE TIME and VADER & SON and SAMURAI JACK. And what a good thing it is that Mimi Yoon got bounced off the variant cover of a book kids might read, because IDW knows better what should be on their covers, which is why they’ve hired her to do something else, and Boom’s got her doing work for that clearly non-kid-favorite ADVENTURE TIME.

Whatever one thinks of the PPG cover flap, this is a pretty muddled rant, embracing the power of Hollywood licenses for attracting kids to comics and then declaring that we don’t need Hollywood having any say over those very books.

kdb

I love how he begins with how much money he spends on comics.

Sorry but he’s wrong on this one.

The good villains always think they are the heroes. This is your shop, Mr. Barger. If you felt this cover was too mature for a kids book, then don’t display it in the kids section. Easy cheesy. I hope you have many customers who come into the store and call you out for censorship and your meddling. I would if I were in your shop.

“Censorship and meddling?” From what I can tell, he simply expressed his opinion. Whether you agree with him or not, that’s all he did.

“We are the only ones who can police our industry, the comic book industry. We are the creators, publishers,distributors, retailers and customers. Comic book creators work diligently to create content which brings in customers. Publishers take risks on a daily basis with their bottom line to make sure there is work for creators and products to sell. Distributors make sure that the retail side is properly supplied. Retailers pick and choose what books they think they can sell, take risks on everything they order, and supply the customers with the products they want. Customers look to the others to make sure they have books every Wednesday that are high quality enough to shuck over $3.99 apiece, every week of the year. Sometimes when I talk to people in our industry they lose sight of a few links in that chain.”

OH NO. WHY DOES THE INDUSTRY HAVE TO BE POLICED BY SELF APPOINTED WATCH DOGS. OHHH NOOO.

Men on the issue of female portrayals in comics . . . go!

:P

“It was submitted through Diamond Previews to retailers, ordered by retailers and finally on Final Order Cut Off date seen by me for the first time.”

So does this mean that the variant was available to order before the artwork was revealed?

If so that makes a bit of a difference when it comes to the whole “Don’t like it, don’t order it” argument. As for not displaying it in the kids’ section, if that’s where they’re normally stocked then where else do they go? The kids’ section will be down however many copies of that variant they’ve ordered and the others go… with the superhero comics, the teen and older TV and movie tie-ins, where?

Another factor is that not everybody gets to choose which varient they end up with. I’ve got some of the more limited cover varients for some titles not because I wanted them particularly, but because not living near a reliable comic store it’s just all I could get, specially if I end up having to order online (most companies I’ve ordered from will try and send you a particular cover, but won’t garauntee it).

Also Robert Kirkman was insulted Mr. Barger because you didn’t mention Super Dinosaur . . . booo!

He never explained what he thought was so ‘sexual’ about it.

Donald James Cornholious Esquire

January 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I am glad there are Mr. Bargers of the world are out there keeping such lurid material safe out of our children’s hands. Oh the horror of prepubescent teens and their delicate sensibilities being offended by a cover of such as displayed in this article. Oh dear heavens! For shame for shame! Bravo, Mr. Barger, perhaps you can stock chastity belts, and promise bracelets right next to your actions figures and statues for us to purchase.

This all smacks of “Oh god, someone please think of the children!!!”

They did that once before … and it created the Comics Code Authority. Remember them?

So, new rule 1 of the Barger Comics Code: “Dare not age up child superheroes. And if you do, make certain they look like they never went through puberty … or, by god, you’re sexualizing children!!”

Okay, I published this on Facebook but let’s put this here. I agree 100% with Kurt ( as Barger was talkin’ percentages there). Once again I present the argument that Barger only has 10 % of his shop dedicated to all-ages comics the rest is filled with comicbook violence and scantily-clad females in impossible positions that evoque some kind of fantastic karma-sutra. He should put his money where his mouth is and jettison the adolescent boy wank mags and dedicate his business to “wholesome” comics. He has no leg to stand on I’m afraid. he’s a hypocrite and an exploiter.

The artwork looks like the licensed Halloween costumes. I don’t remember any false outrage about those.

He who smelt it dealt it.
(colloquial, by extension) Used to suggest that a person calling attention to or complaining about a given problem may in fact be the source of the problem.

Mercenary Librarian

January 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Honestly, when I saw the headline, I really expected the retailer to be Buddy Saunders of mycomicshop. This is the kind of whiny nonsense he likes to spew.

most audiences who like the powerpuff girls, were ten when it first aired. they are now twenty somethings. all mediums have to evolve and become more adult at some point to sell well. otherwise they have a dead property on their hands. Compare this cover to a supergirl cover. its not near as suggestive, yet ill bet the same parents who would have a prob with this, would have no prob with supergirl. smh Hypocrites. there’s nothing wrong with the girls here, growing up with the audience who is now in their twenty somethings, as they were ten when the power-puff girls first aired. this man needs to be fired. not praised.

The man, Dennis Barger, did not make the ultimate decision to kill the cover. Really, end of story, eh? You want to fire off on a dude having an opinion, knock yourself out. Just remember, the money pulled it, not the retailer. He merely stated an opinion that the money then agreed with.

Also: sex sells comics, and even the original take on the power-puff girls story-lines screams sex. ever watched an episode? im sure children wouldn’t get it, but as they re watched most episodes later, they realized what was actually insinuated. its the same with word girl. its the same with almost every cartoon. why? because the networks know sex, and the suggestion of it, sells well. and they WANT kids subconscious minds geared and ready for it, so that they will purchase things later in life, that have sexual advertisements attached to them. its this way with literally EVERYTHING we purchase, from fast food, to cars, to action figures, to comics. you cant have it both ways. its either an adult medium, which newsflash: IT IS, as only adults read comics…or its not, and its silly to believe its not an adult medium. look at comic cons. look at comic shops. 95% if not higher, that purchase, are females and males aged 17-100 years old. fact. they make up the majority of who buys, therefore its catered to them, and sexualized. (which is a good thing.)

“It was clearly missed by several people, because some didn’t find it offensive and other just simply didn’t look hard enough.”

Oh, for God’s sake. Dennis, this is the dumbest, most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard you say, and I HAVE PATIENTLY LISTENED TO YOU TALK A *LOT*.

As a retailer and a consumer, I (and my retail partners) looked at this cover and–truthfully, honestly–saw an innocent “Adult Legion”-style variant, a “let’s do another episode where we see Lisa Simpson as an adult”/”what’ll the Powerpuff Girls look like as teenagers?” riff. There are huge, enormous numbers of us (including my girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter) to whom it never even occurred this was anything other than that. I still can’t wrap my head around the notion that anyone born after 1920 thinks of this image as “sexualizing preteen girls,” and I’m sorry, but I really do have to wonder about (and get icked out by) someone who immediately does. “Latex bondage dresses”? Really? That’s your take on this?

I salute your commitment to kids’ comics and a kid audience, Dennis, I really do. And I’ll grant that this one specific image might not be the most representative PPG image ever marketed. But of the two of us, I don’t think I’m the one who registered “perv” on this particular Rorschach test. I defend your right to scream “Won’t somebody think of the children???” at the top of your lungs–it’s a free country–but it’s hard to take seriously from a retailer who asks strippers to wear panties emblazoned with his company logo so their pictures can go up on Facebook for customers of all ages to see. You might want to allow that (as usual) your barometer might be a little more uniquely calibrated than you think it to be.

Norman Pettingill

January 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm

“It was clearly missed by several people, because some didn’t find it offensive and others just simply didn’t look hard enough”.

Nice assumption by Mr. Barger. No, the cover was not missed by several people. It was just not considered offensive by any other comic shop owner/Diamond Previews reader.

The fact that this was a cover for a variant (and therefore much harder to find and more valuable to collectors) makes it very close to a stone cold guarantee that this particular version of the comic would never make it into the hands of any kid anywhere.

Just speaking for myself I thought the cover was quite funny, in that the Powerpuff Girls were all grown up, but were still kicking Mojo’s ass. Clearly the humor was lost on at least one person.

How does one man, putting the opinion on his own Facebook, cause him to be THE reason for the cover being pulled? I mean, what are the logistics on that one? One dude – you give him far too much credit. I’ve known him forever. He stated a reasonable opinion on the target audiences for a piece of art. The money then made the decision to pull the cover. How this whole thing reads “one comic book guy somewhere in Michigan pulled the cover” is ignoring a whole lot of other activity and logic that it would take to get a cover like that pulled. Ever seen this scenario in other places? Tons, but it’s only the money that makes the call, not the voices of the people below it.

Corporations, in other words. Corporations who want to make money off of their clients make decisions based on their continued desire to do so. That’s really where the anger should be placed, if anger needs placement at all.

One thing I just remembered is that the variant covers are all printed on the inside cover, so the argument that it would only be for adult collectors doesn’t really hold up. Every kid with the regular version would also have that cover art printed in their copy.

All variant’s are printed on the cover. not the inside cover. where did you get that? ive purchased variants. the reason they are called variant’s is because the cover art is different from the main cover. the variant’s are usually one cover out of a hundred. so no, they are never printed on the inside of “every” cover at all, nor are they ever printed on the inside. its 1 in 100 of the outside covers that has variant artwork. and yes, sales facts show that sex sells comics to BOTH girls and boys, because only adults buy comics in the majority. its been that way for two decades now.

On the inside front cover of every issue of Powerpuff Girls (and every other IDW comic I have) are the other available covers, probably because they want to sell people multiple copies (which is totally fair enough). Believe me, they’re there.

Barger fears Yoon!

Bravo Mr Waid!

idw is not the norm then, and i have some recent idw rocketeers that don’t have the variant’s. the point is that this is not sexualized, but it would be a better thing for idw to make money if they did sexualize the pp girls. all of the original audiences grew up. they spend more on comics than children, therefore they are the ones who should be catered to. then u also have sexual under tones in the original series. so that kinda shoots cartoon network in the foot.

This guy would have a heart attack if he ever took his kids to the beach. What an @SS.

shawn defiant, the original audience grew up and now some of them have kids and are introducing those kids to the shows, comics, books and movies that they liked at that age.

And saying that adults buy more comics so publishers should concentrate on them over children, even on children’s titles is just horribly shortsighted.

Admitting facts of the medium we are discussing is short-sighted? look at the majority sales. adults. and adult orientated graphic comics. fact. the shows had what is no widely considered to be sexual undertones. fact. – other characters have grown more adult, and when this occurred, shock of all shocks, yes, they garnished more sales. why? its an adult medium. females buy into manga at age fifteen, and sometimes before this…wheres your outrage at that? are you suggesting manga isn’t riddled with sexual undertones and overtones? it is. then, im sure that if you or anyone you know is a parent,. that you allow the kids to watch commercials when watching tv. all of which in some way promote sex. lol. its fine in that instance though right? nope. cant harp on this, and then allow that. despite our best censorship fanatics, some of which pay for said sexual marketing and commercialization, we still have sex everywhere. some people just choose when & what to criticize, while leaving worse images alone. wheres the outcry of star sapphire on the cover of green lantern and new guardians? wonder-womans wearing a bathing suit to fight in? wheres the outcry at others like supergirl, or starfire? …al of which little children could read, as there’s no nc-17 label on them. all of which have suggestive attire.

Let’s see…. Vast majority of internet comments have been negative toward Mr Barger, therefore he must be in the right. Good job Mr Barger.

That was on this very site a couple years ago. Just sayin…

So … what are you just sayin’?

That no one cared about it back then on this very site.

This is much ado about nothing and says more about certain comics people than it does about the cover itself. This isn’t a sexualised portrayal unless you consider having breasts at puberty being sexualized. They aren’t ass-up and they’re not making out so where’s the sexual component in this picture? I get the impression that this component is actually being brought to the table by the viewers who are looking for a new gender controversy without taking the time to understand modern gender ideas.

These are cartoon versions of what other cartoons would look like as teenagers. Their anatomy is not swollen or overstated. Really, the only argument here is that their dresses are shiny. Maybe it’s polyester and the artist just hasn’t gotten it down yet.

The fact that the guy who started this kerfuffle has no problems with stripper-tizement is telling. I get the feeling that women can only be sexual on his terms. Maybe he’s upset that developed women are holding power over the male antagonist? I dunno. Before I saw his stripper shots I just thought this was another iteration of a Temperance Movement but now it feels weird. This dog don’t hunt.

Y’all can Taliban up certain depictions of women and make real ones ashamed because you can’t stand the kind of beauty they want to portray but acknowledge that a lot of the same folks who are upset about this are just fine with sexy Rule 63 cosplay fetish portrayals of other kid-based characters.

They need to relize that comics and some cartoons tend to grow up with their audiences thats how it works they started out as little girls and for kiddies now they grow with the audiences and thats what keeps the audience interested.

First let me address Mr Busiek’s comment. Kurt part of the reason we are in declining sale point of this industry is because we have an industry that didn’t embrace ideals like yours in keeping the few readers we held onto through the 90’s purge. We wouldn’t be in this mess if the industry wasn’t out looking for the next hot thing, when they had talented men like you that they weren’t giving work to. But we have in front of us what we have. We have a declining readership that the people in power don’t want to keep and have very few in the industry creating new ones. But as for your slightly sarcastic remarks to my dislike of Hollywood’s outside influence. I state that Hollywood needs us, they are strip mining and outright stealing our industry for every idea they have, and not giving much back, except for one. They have created the fertile breeding ground of the last great hope for our industry, the kids. They have surrounded them with our culture for us, something that the 10,000 stores in the 90’s couldn’t do, and lord knows that the 2,000 stores of 2000 didn’t have the resources to do. So now it is up to us, when they come through our doors to show them something else from their environment that is where it came from. Hollywood does not pick and choose the writers and artists in most licensed comics cases, the publisher submits who they want and the licensor agrees (usually signing off trusting the publisher).

You are mistaken on the point about IDW choosing the artist, as stating in other stories on this, IDW says that this was a Cartoon Network “Mandated Cover” which means they told the publisher what they had to put on the package that they created without the network. I was hardly alone in thinking this was not appropriate for my daughter or other girls her age, or I am sure that CN would not have ordered it pulled. Hollywood loves to exploit controversy for money.

As for Mark Waid’s comments, I have offered many times to debate the many things that he has been dead wrong about in this industry, I will take this as the one time I won’t dignify his jibes with a polite comment in return. My invitation is open, any time and anywhere to discuss our industry at great lengths but an internet flame war will not be that place.

Your Fellow Retail Terrorist,
Dennis

Actually, Dennis, to be fair, it was my offer to debate you in public, which you accepted–not the other way around. We’ve clearly not yet found the venue, but I gotta tell you, it’s stuff like this that really makes me worry it’ll be a huge waste of time. I’m gradually coming to suspect that it would be hard for most anyone to find significant common ground with you on even the most basic fundaments of reality. I’m sure you’ll be happy to tell me otherwise in Atlanta in a few weeks. See you there.

Its an ADULT medium period. sales reflect this. the ages of people who actually buy prove this. comic cons prove this. Barers remarks are outdated, morally corrupt, and borderline insane, as they are about a clearly adult dominated buyers market. then we have the original fan base for the PP Girls who are adults now. kids do NOT read comic books. they make up maybe 3% of this marketplace if that. this cover does not put them in sexual situations. the outfits are tame compared to star sapphires, and star-fires outfits. i don’t see a pg-13, nc-17 rating on any DC comics. i then see no point for this cover to be pulled. independent companies do not, and should not cater to censorship like this. in this day and age its really low for someone who sells bloody and other sexualized comics, to even have a kids section. practice what ya preach. if this cover is bad to you, you should not be in the comics retail business at all.

Mark Waid = Beast Mode

Mark, that is a little short notice for a show I wasn’t planning on attending half way across the country, but I think two midwest retailers could find somewhere a little closer to home for this discussion/debate,

Might I respectfully counter with the MSU Comics Forum Feb 21-22 with Keynote speaker Stan Sakai

or your store’s home state of Indiana at the Indiana Comic Con March 14-16th.

and then there is of course Gem City Comic Con April 5&6th one of my favorite shows in the midwest where this debate was first proposed (and yes my mind is fuzzy) probably by you. I’m sure Jesse could make room in his schedule for this.

I await your answer

Dennis

Horus the Avenger

January 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Wait…is this the same Dennis Barger of Men In Black Toys infamy?:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!search/Dennis$20Barger

So now HE’s supposed to be the savior of the industry?

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

this guy is stupid, his argument about being for/about kids is insulting. he knew the controversy it would generate, he knew the free publicity his store would receive. you sir (and im using the term extremely loosely here) are a fake!

So, while I agree with almost everyone else’s take on the way to view this cover (older version of the girls), I do think those recommending how to stock it are missing something… This is the subscription variant. In other words, it is SUPPOSED to only be sold to customers with a pull-list at their local comic shop. I don’t know if that’s how all retailers treat it, but by that definition it will never make it “on the rack” to be seen by anyone of any age.

Of course, this also begs the question, if any of your subscribers are pulling this for their kids, why not keep some of the regular cover aside and offer the poor unsuspecting parents a choice? Just a thought… And not one that matters now that this cover won’t see the light of day.

Something I’m curious about, Dennis. How many children in your store have subscriptions to the PPG comic?

Are there any actual children that would have even gotten this varient?

There are a lot of women that loved this variant, probably fans from long ago. They probably thought to themselves oh cool the “girls” all grown up. I imagine variants are worth a little more than standard right? So maybe people with jobs would only be able to afford it and not kids and these people with jobs (adults) are probably the only ones who know this variant existed. The cover by Mimi Yoon being scrapped is probably the freshest example of oppression on women in the comic book industry. Way to go Dennis you just prevented one more comic book cover featuring young women created by a woman from reaching the shops and in the process angered a legion of fans. We have a man who clearly enjoys getting a face full of female breasts thinking he knows what’s best for women. I used to love watching the show when I was a kid, I remember them being strong and practically invincible except maybe when a powerful villain would find a way to weaken them but as always temporarily. Dennis L Barger Jr. is just another villain The Powerpuff Girls had to face, hopefully they get back up to knock him out.

Mark, I humbly submit that debating this hypocrite will prove that old adage… You know the one… Something about levels and beating you with experience…

If i own a property, why wouldn’t I be able to tell you what I want on the Cover to my property solely because you’re publishing it? how does that make sense? p.s. Cover is all over the place, now, I never would have seen it otherwise… Thank’s for that.

The purtian should open a religous shop, better suits the self rightous fool. Its arses like him that lead to the censorship agency the Comic Code Authority.

1) Man posts opinion on internet
2) Comic news entity reposts his opinion for comments
3) Opinion gains traction through discussion
4) Publisher decides it doesn’t need the controversy and pulls variant

and now the original man who had the opinion is at fault? At fault of what, exactly?

The worst thing that happened here, if we’re looking at this negatively, is that a single variant was pulled.
The best thing that happened here, if we’re taking Dennis’ side, is that we’ve removed one more instance of imagery meant to invoke a sense of bodily insecurity in little girls being exposed to it.

While I did not originally even notice the cover in my Previews, since this took off, I’ve weighed the two sides and decided the best outcome happened. There was no loss to having that variant pulled but there was plenty of gain.

As for people screaming CENSORSHIP and VILLAINY!, the guy made a facebook post and defended his opinion. I don’t know what it takes to be a villain these days, but it seems to only require you to state something that goes against mass-media fueled common opinion.

@Mack –

We don’t know who to blame at Cartoon Network – but we know who started it.

Hey Glenn, thanks for responding.

I just don’t see the point in blaming anyone here since nothing truly bad happened (afaik). On Dennis’ side, he felt the need to post his opinion, which is a completely blameless act – right or wrong. On the publisher’s side, they decided the negative reactions were not worth it and pulled the variant hoping that it didn’t affect their income too badly. We can’t blame them either since that income is their primary concern.

So what is it that really went “wrong” here? Is there anything at all to fault someone for?

The worst I can think of is that someone really badly wanted that variant and is now unable to obtain it. I don’t think that’s too many of us and I don’t think it’s anything to get riled up over either.

I have met this man, Dennis Barger before he runs a horrible comic shop that is sinking faster than the Titanic did. This is probably a publicity stunt to save his failing company. I wonder if we will find this “overly sexualized” covers on his Amazon and eBay shops. Do not fall for this man’s faked pleas of concern. Comic readers are up and there are many great stores handling this with grace and poise and not ranting for unwarranted reasons.

As TIM said” He who smelt it dealt it.
(colloquial, by extension) Used to suggest that a person calling attention to or complaining about a given problem may in fact be the source of the problem.”

Wonderworld and Dennis Barger are complete hypocrites, whiny about one comicbook cover while running a promotion to give away Eminem comicbook. Whil ehe is entitled to his own opinion, he is not entitled to dictate the opinions of others. Any real fans of comicbooks will stay away from a shop that promotes censorship.

>> You are mistaken on the point about IDW choosing the artist,>>

I didn’t say they chose the artist, look again.

I sarcastically said it was a good thing the cover was pulled because IDW would know better who to hire. And then pointed out she’s doing other covers for them and other kid-comic material for Boom.

>>I was hardly alone in thinking this was not appropriate for my daughter or other girls her age, or I am sure that CN would not have ordered it pulled. Hollywood loves to exploit controversy for money.>>

Actually, Hollywood’s a bunch of chickenshits who often cave to tiny threats, blowing complaints wildly out of proportion.

But certainly, you’re absolutely entitled to think the cover inappropriate for people of your daughter’s age, and not sell it to them. You’re even entitled to not sell it to people you get to come to your store by advertising on stripper underwear, if you so choose.

I do wonder, though, if you’re as diligent about making sure all those little kids who come into your store to buy the other covers won’t catch a glimpse of something so prurient, shocking and psyche-damaging as this relatively tame image; perhaps either curtaining off the 90% of the store where images of young women in tight clothing abound on covers, or keeping your main stock in trade behind the counter and by-request-only, lest young eyes glimpse such a thing.

kdb

I own a comic shop. I’ve worked in comic shops since 1989 when I was a Junior in high school. Since 1989 I’ve spent maybe six months not making the bulk of my living from the comic book business.

1. Every store should police itself.

That didn’t really happen in this case as the decision was taken from me when the latest watered down version of a Wertham plea to spare the children went out. I’ve read the history of that road, spoken to the men who lived it, and quite frankly I don’t care to see it revived.

2. Let’s clarify what a subscription variant is.

A sub variant is a non limited cover that can be ordered in any quantity a retailer chooses. Most variants are given out (or sold) based on hitting specified order counts. Such as this taken directly from Diamond’s retailer site for FOC (final order cut off): (NOTE: For every 25 copies of the standard edition of Aquaman #28 ordered you may order 1 Steampunk variant edition by Richard Horie). To get one of the variants you have to order 25 copies.

For a subscription cover variant the dealer orders as many copies as they want. Also, there is no penalty for offering up this cover to non subscriber customers. I have always ordered a 50/50 style breakdown of all covers offered, and sold them to whomever might want them.

The only reason I bring up the variant issue is that some believed only collectors would ever see it. That’s not true.

3. MY LITTLE PONY is what is stated as getting a larger kids area set up in the store, but then a rant against Hollywood ends the letter.

MLP is a direct result of Hollywood being in our stores. We invited them into our stores. You specifically increased your kids product based on Hollywood, and then you want to say their not a part of it? How does that work? Disney owns Marvel, Warner Brothers owns DC, and I’d hazard a guess that the majority of creators creating creator owned books are hoping for a license deal of some sort (my apologies to those who don’t want a deal), and then it’s stated that we can’t let Hollywood into the middle of our stores. They’re not in the middle. They’re in the forefront. They’re producing movies getting more attention for these characters than the entire lot of our comic stores coming together to buy a Super Bowl ad to somehow find “six new customers”.

No. Instead thank you Hollywood for blurring the line between nerd and pop culture. Thank you Hollywood for making it cool to love comics to the non geek. Thank you Hollywood for more promotion than any of the comic companies could have ever afforded on their own. Thank you Hollywood for helping me discover a lot more than six new readers a year.

4. Every comic shop needs to cultivate six new readers a year.

Set the bar low enough and you’re bound to be successful. I am looking to create two to three new subscribers a week. Six a year wouldn’t keep up with normal customer attrition for the average store.

5. I am glad that you’re finally supporting kids comics, and it took a massive seller to get you involved. There are a lot of retailers that were supporting kids comics, and thinking that the children are the future long before it was incredibly profitable to do so. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Also, Diamond has been preaching the same thing since their first of the newly relaunched seminars.

6. Cheap plug for a buddy. Jesse Noble does put on a great show with GEM CITY. I’ve been to it several times promoting the KOKOMO-CON, and where I would probably show up to see the Mark Vs Dennis debate I hope he avoids the side shows.

7. Be groovy.

So much bad logic in many of these emotional opinions. If Dennis owned IDW & CN, I could see everyone’s panties being in a wad. All I’ve seen is some personal attacks from dipshits who couldn’t draw heat if they were lit on fire.

Blame a guy who owns a store and put his opinion on Facebook for a decision made by IDW & CN.

Do any of you making this statement know how difficult your position is logically? You scream for free speech. All Dennis did was speak (well, on his FB page, but still). He’s not allowed the same freedoms you are claiming to defend for the artist?

It’s little wonder that the level of discourse amongst you has fallen to name calling and character dispersions. Your arguments themselves have so little merit it is frightening. If you all used logic in this discussion, the level of hate leveled at Dennis would be much, much less.

Follow the money, find your answer. Peace and Audi. I don’t believe either sides opinions on this issue will be solved with further debate in this forum, as most of the appeals against Dennis have been purely emotional.

Dennis’s logic wasn’t perfect either, by the by. However, it was his opinion, just like you have yours. He didn’t spit vitriol at you all, he merely voiced his opinion on his FB.

I’m not sure how to parse the arguments here about “Hollywood” and the comics industry. The main point — that the cover in question is a turn-off to parents and kids — is at least a point that people can respectfully disagree on. But how exactly would the film industry die without comics? And why should a partnership between a comics publisher and a film/TV studio be entirely dictated by the publisher? Just because we like comics more?

Film, TV, books, and comics are creative industries, often involving the same creators and stories in different mediums; that’s how it has always worked. They all have ideas, both independent and dependent on ideas from each other. It’s fine to say that comics is the best medium and rally around that, but I think this “they’re ruining us!” mentality is really weird, not to mention completely out of line with any normal functioning licensing relationship.

The power puff girls are 20+ years old now!!! not little kids. this variant was a what if scenario, just like all variants usually are. don’t like comics? don’t purchase or sell them then, because all comics, especially comics from independent companies are sold and marketed to ADULTS, NOT children.

Compare this cover to a supergirl cover. its not near as suggestive, yet ill bet the same parents who would have a prob with this, would have no prob with supergirl. smh. there’s nothing wrong with the girls here, growing up with the audience who is now in their twenty somethings, as they were ten when the power-puff girls first aired.

then u also have sexual under tones in the original series. so that kinda shoots cartoon network in the foot. several episodes have what could be construed as having sexual undertones…where was the outrage then?

look at the majority sales. adults. and adult orientated graphic comics. fact. the shows had what is now widely considered to be sexual undertones. fact. – other characters have grown more adult, and when this occurred, shock of all shocks, yes, they garnished more sales. why? its an adult medium. females buy into manga at age fifteen, and sometimes before this…wheres your outrage at that? are you suggesting manga isn’t riddled with sexual undertones and overtones? it is. then, im sure that if you or anyone you know is a parent, that you allow the kids to watch commercials when watching tv. all of which in some way promote sex. lol. its fine in that instance though right? nope. cant harp on this, and then allow that.

despite our best censorship fanatics, some of which pay for said sexual marketing and commercialization, we still have sex everywhere. some people just choose when & what to criticize, while leaving worse images alone. wheres the outcry of star sapphire on the cover of green lantern and new guardians? wonder-womans wearing a bathing suit to fight in? wheres the outcry at others like supergirl, or starfire? …all of which little children could read, as there’s no nc-17 label on them. all of which have suggestive attire.

This guy has the right to his opinion and the right to contact a company and express that opinion. As do we all. It turned out the company thought he made a good point and cancelled the cover. Nothing wrong with any of that. You people cry censorship, but that’s ridiculous. A private company made a decision not to print something without being pressured by the government or even a citizens group. That’s not censorship.

My personal opinion is that the cover turned the Powerpuff girls into plastic looking Bratz dolls (and the uniforms kind of look like cheerleader uniforms, complete with spanks- which the artist makes sure we got a glimpse of- but made of latex for some reason). The artist could have done an all grown up cover that didn’t turn the Powerpuff girls into the stereotypical ideals of female beauty that girls are bombarded with every single day, but she chose not to. Considering the target audience of this comic should be kids (even if adults enjoy it, too), I’m not impressed.

I remember when DC started printing something like “Comics aren’t just for kids” on their covers back in the ’80s. It’s ironically sad in retrospect.

Won’t someone please think of the children?!

” The artist could have done an all grown up cover that didn’t turn the Powerpuff girls into the stereotypical ideals of female beauty that girls are bombarded with every single day, but she chose not to.”

“I remember when DC started printing something like “Comics aren’t just for kids” on their covers back in the ’80s. It’s ironically sad in retrospect.”

Well said.

I should add as well that the only reason I read comics today is because I used to pick up newsstand copies of Simpsons comics for my kids and when they were missing a Treehouse of Horror from that year, I decided to try the LCS. Bongo secured 2 child readers and 2 adult readers for the industry by creating family friendly comics and distributing them through newsstands.

Since then we’ve picked up Adventure Time, Regular Show, Herobear, Peabody and Sherman, and the phenomenal Rocket Girl which my little girl is a huge fan of. I got two issues of Midas Flesh as well and it seems to have a great depiction of smart independant kids. None of these pander tired imagery and stereotypes and that is what I’m looking for in media as a parent. We never bothered with PPG or MLP; depictions like Yoon’s are the reason I keep that “bubblegum” media far away from my home.

We need more of this for the industry, Hollywood or no Hollywood.

wait wait wait…

“Archaia’s Mouse Guard hardcovers that I ordered enough to have for freebies”

1.Has he READ Mouse Guard? Because that stuff’s bloody dark for little kids.

2.How many retailers do you know have enough money to GIVE AWAY HC TRADES??? Especially of something like Mouse Guard which round my way scurries of the shelf (see what I did there/) .

3. Yes he has EVERY right to his opinion, then he has to accept it’s going to get jumped on right or wrong. And in this case retailer imposed censorship (WHICH IT IS) has exposed an ignorant tool with a kneejerk that could send a child into orbit.

He comes across as a ignorant weirdo.

Is this kids section located just inside the front door? If not, your shelves must be bare, or covered up since most comic book covers nowadays have more graphic images than teenaged Power Puff Girls on them, and these little innocent tykes would have to walk past them to get to the kids area. The horror!! I’ll have to tell my comic shop to censor everything, just in case some young ones decide to pop their heads in to see what wonders await them, only to have their lives forever scarred by a Gen13 cover accidentally put on display for the perverts of society to ogle at.

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