The Rumour Awards 2011: Controversial Comic Book Of The Year

12. The Infidel #1 got its moment in the sun, courtesy of Nightrunner appearance in Batman (see below) as The Daily Show made mock of this comic book created in the shadow of 9/11 that took a rather negative view of Muslims and Islam – with a comic-within-a-comic seeing a superhero dressed in pigskin fighting in the Middle East. Author Bosch Fawstin has a second issue scheduled for February, he seems to have switched his ire of late away from Barack Obama to Ron Paul.

11. Justice League #1 may have been the best selling North American superhero monthly comic book of 2011, but it really divided fans. Still does, I was hearing conversations about it just last week. Was it a brave new way to introduce the cast of the League gradually to a potential new audience, through the figures they were most aware of thanks to the recent movies,  or was it a stretched out, unsatisfying comic that didn’t offer what the cover promised? Both sides were able to produce anecdotal evidence of the non comic-reading friend, family member or co-worker who either loved or hated the book. It did however get close to half a million in total sales…

10. Detective Comics #1 was a book intended to be read by a young teenage audience and up, but its final page caused a considerable stir, the bloody severed face of The Joker pinned to the wall. The book would go on to sell four printings and has become one of the best performers in the  New DCU.

9. Superman #712 was more controversial in what it wasn’t than what it was. It was intended to be a Superman issue starring a Muslim supercharacter but was pulled at the last minute and replaced with a fill-in issue starring Krypto, a comic that itself had been repeatedly pulled. Comics Alliance went to war, believing the replacement was over the fact that it featured a positive Muslim supercharacter, Bleeding Cool was informed by a source close to the editorial team that an opening scene, featuring Superman rescuing a kitten had suddenly become totemic for Dan DiDio of all that was wrong with superhero comics, but the creators of the comic itself? They were never told…

8. Detective Comics Annual #13 featured Nightrunner, the character that so incensed Bosch Fawstin (above), introducing a French Muslim parkour runner as the French recruit for Batman Inc, putting Batman-backed vigilantes into the heart of modern cities. Published in late December 2010, the publicity took a little while to come. A French Batman was too much for some people, and when Drudge Report made comment, it was only going to end in battle.

8. Batgirl #1 was more controversial before publication than afterwards. Bringing back Barbara Gordon to the lead role, it took her out of the wheelchair and lost DC its most prominent disabled character. However, this was mollified by Batgirl#1 being really good, and the transformation in Barbara being directly addressed, and her history very much being a part of her.

7. Holy Terror was always going to be a controversial comic book, and certainly gained considerable publicity from its Batman-against-the-Terrorist-Muslims high concept. But it would be a blog post by Frank Miller that would kick this up several notches, as he attacked Occupy protesters for, well, not serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even those that did, apparently.

6. The Big Lie by Rick Veitch and Gary Erskine was another 9/11 publication, one that saw a scientist travelling back in time to save her husband from death on that very day. But in doing so, it also laid out a number of versions of events more commonly embraced by the “Truther” movements. So, yes, that was certainly going to get coverage.

5. Superman #900. American Citizen No Longer! This story smashed through the newsphere, giving Comics Alliance who broke the story a massive spike in traffic, as Drudge, Bill O’Reilly and more piled on, as Superman made the more measured point that when a figure is seen as representing a country, all their actions are given new meaning or interpretation.

4. Life With Archie #16. It isn’t the first gay wedding in a mainstream comic book, that honour would go to Mark Millar and Gary Erskine’s The Authority. But the marriage of an adult soldier Kevin Keller to his black boyfriend in an all ages publication put Archie Comics ahead of Marvel and DC on the progressive front in an instant.

3. Catwoman #1 portrayed Catwoman having sex with Batman, her thought processes during the act, and all sorts of writhing. It’s a shame as this book has turned into a rather sophisticated and emotionally resonant thriller, that for many this will be its defining moment. The scene itself had been repeatedly reworked and redrawn over one concern and another, so the finished product was never going to please many, but it did inspire all manner of parodies.

2. Ultimate Fallout #4, featuring Miles Morales, a black/latino teenager under the Spider-mask, replacing the now deceased Ultimate Peter Parker, caused huge concern in some quarters with Spider-fan Glenn Beck taking time out to blame it on a conspiracy caused by Michelle Obama.

1. Red Hood And The Outlaws #1. It has to be the winner. The treatment of Starfire as a sexually aggressive, scantily clad woman with a different way of perceiving reality was clearly at odds with the original treatment of Starfire as a sexually aggressive, scantily clad woman with a different way of perceiving reality. Of course they didn’t have the internet as much back then, just letters pages in the Comic Buyers Guide, so there was a natural lag. This time, every website had an opinion and had to express it loudly and vocally. DC even responded to the bad publicity on Twitter. And when a seven year old girl got into the mix, there was no putting the frog back in the box on this one.

 As for 2012… depends if those Watchmen prequels are as real as I think they are.