DC Comics Faces Backlash for Deleting 'Batman' Artwork That Caused Controversy in China

Batman Begins 2005-Christian Bale- Photofest-H 2016
<p><em>Batman Begins</em></p>   |   Warner Bros./Photofest
Chinese social media users blasted the company for posting artwork from Frank Miller's upcoming 'Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child' comic that allegedly referenced the Hong Kong protests.

DC Comics faced a backlash on Twitter after news reports that it had apparently deleted Batman artwork from its Instagram account in response to a wave of complaints on Chinese social media.

The controversy began Thursday, when DC Comics' Instagram account posted artwork from Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child an upcoming DC Black Label comic written by the legendary scribe Frank Miller. The image showed a masked Batman hurling a Molotov cocktail as well as the words "the future is young" in the background, and it was shared by DC's various Twitter accounts and Instagram page. 

The image quickly began to circulate on Chinese social media site Weibo and the messaging app WeChat, with many suggesting the image was a reference to the ongoing political protests in Hong Kong, which has seen scores of masked people take to the streets and the prominent use of Molotovs, and therefore DC's support for the protestors. 

Since the image was posted, Weibo and WeChat has seen a wave of negative comments about the art and there have been calls for a boycott of DC. One Weibo user wrote, "If DC really wants China, they wouldn't have done this." 

Later Thursday, the image was removed from DC's social media accounts. 

The removal of the image, and the reporting of its removal, led to DC facing a backlash in U.S. and elsewhere, particularly Hong Kong, as people on Twitter and Instagram accused the company of censorship and kowtowing to China, likening DC's capitulation to recent China-related controversies faced by Hollywood studios and the NBA.

On Twitter, @meigi_elf wrote, "Really disappointed on @DCComics. Just because of China citizen comment few word of Hong Kong democracy, DC choice to del the post on IG....China is affecting US freedom!" 

Another Twitter user wrote, "Whether or not @DCComics supports the #HongKongProtests is a matter of lesser significance here. The question we should be asking is: Why should we allow our values and our opinions be dictated by China?" 

See some of the other reaction on Twitter.