Readers of Bleeding Cool are familiar with the antics of one Frank Cho, largely because Bleeding Cool has entire teams of interns constantly scouring Cho’s social media outlets looking for anything Cho has said or done that can be remotely viewed as controversial so that we can turn it into a clickb– um, investigative report. The superstar artist has spent the last several years locked in a bitter battle with a group of comic book fans over his “outrage” variant covers, which show popular female superheroes in varying states of sexualization while Spider-Gwen, whose creator didn’t take kindly to one of the very first outrage covers, shouts “outrage” in the background. The cycle goes like this:
Cho releases an outrage variant. Bleeding Cool immediately publishes the outrage variant with a salacious headline. Fans on social media react to the variant. Some enjoy it. Some are disgusted by it. Some are bored by it. And others fall everywhere in between. Supporters of Cho, including other notable comics artists, claim that Cho is the victim of “censorship” because of any complaints about the covers in what is perhaps the most audaciously ironic part of the entire process because the outrage covers are literally more widely publicized through Bleeding Cool articles than all but maybe two or three other ongoing stories (such as Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter’s personal vendetta against the X-Men or Rich Johnston’s friendship with Kieron Gillen) in history. Rinse. Repeat. Again and again.
Bad Little Children’s Books is an “adult children’s book” which features satirical children’s book covers in the style of Little Golden Books. Drawn by an author named Arthur C. Gackley, a name which is believed to be an alias (perhaps it actually is Frank Cho himself?), the fake covers in the book frequently rely on “outrageous” humor:
Often, these outrage covers tend to rely on “outrageous” humor of the racially charged variety:
After being featured in The Huffington Post, where reporter Claire Fallon wrote, “It’s not particularly fresh or funny to reiterate widely held prejudices against certain groups, nor is it clear, at least in Bad Little Children’s Books, whom the target of mockery is meant to be,” publisher Abrams Books responded by – you guessed it – invoking “censorship,” writing in a blog post:
Abrams recently published an adult humor book called Bad Little Children’s Books, a collection of patently offensive parodies of children’s book covers. The book follows in the long tradition of parody that, with humor, attacks attitudes and built-in societal perceptions with equal ruthlessness. Its intention is to shine a spotlight on stereotypes about race, gender, and difference that have become commonplace in today’s world and to, in fact, skewer all levels of societal bias. This is exactly what successful parody and satire is meant to do.
It was never our intention as publisher, nor the author’s, to spread or support hateful messaging. Some reviewers and commenters on social media have taken elements of the book at face value, which, we believe, misses the point of the book as a work of artistic parody and satire. We stand by our publication and invite readers to make up their own minds.
And including a statement from the National Coalition Against Censorship:
The book was even featured on CNN yesterday, in an article which concludes with a statement from Texas Supreme Court attorney and former English professor Jason Steed:
There may be a fine line with trying to make a point with satire and really hurting a lot of people. Everyone needs to figure out where the line is and decide what it means to be responsible.
Finally, this controversy has made it to the pinnacle of outrage cover journalism: Bleeding Cool. Now all Abrams has to do is begin producing new Bad Little Children’s Books approximately once every two weeks, and whichever lucky website is the Bleeding Cool of the children’s book universe will have a license to print clicks.
Excuse us, as we have to leave suddenly and abruptly end this article. We have to speak to our editors about starting up a Bleeding Cool children’s books category on the front page.
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