A DC social media post promoting Frank Miller's upcoming Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child is being accused by some of promoting China's pro-democracy movement, according to Variety. DC, who has declined to comment, reportedly posted but then removed the images from its Twitter and Instagram pages, although the publisher has not acknowledged any connection to the criticism and removal.
The ad (seen at right), uses Rafael Grampa's variant cover art with the text "Future is Young" added to it. DC has released similiar ads, repurposing Grampa's art, with the same text.
"But the poster came under fire from Chinese internet users who contended that it contained coded messages in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests," explained Variety. "They said that the Molotov cocktail alluded to young Hong Kong protesters’ more violent tactics, that the 'dark knight’s' choice of black attire referred to the black-clad Hong Kong protesters, and that the “golden child” of the book’s title was a veiled reference to the color yellow, which was taken up by previous pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong five years ago."
The character shown in the cover is Batwoman, a.k.a. Carrie Kelly.
"No matter what the reason, to put an image like this up at a sensitive time like this means you have a death wish," writes an unnamed social media commentor, as reported by the Hollywood trade.
The ad is no longer on DC's social media.
Responding to the controversy on Facebook, Grampa has described the situation as "surreal."
Neither DC nor series writer Frank Miller have commented on this issue, however the original Dark Knight Returns delved deeply into politics - presenting then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan as a key antagonist for Batman.
Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child is due out December 11.