Sex, censorship, movies and comics: a dangerous combination

A few days ago, illustrator Justin Halpern told Variety that a sex scene between Batman and Catwoman had been censored in the animated series of Harley Quinn. The reason? According to Halpern, DC Comics executives made it clear that superheroes “don’t do that.”

Specifically, the new episodes would include a scene in which Batman practiced oral sex with Catwoman. But in the end, the entire sequence was removed at the request of the executives. When Halpern asked for specific explanations about the removal, the explanation was a very straightforward one. “We sell hero toys. It’s hard to sell a toy if Batman also performs oral sex on someone. ”

And while both Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, co-creator of Harley Quinn, they clarified that they enjoy complete creative freedom, the restriction never ceases to amaze. Is it a new limit of what can or cannot be shown in animated series? What causes censorship in a creative field that is usually very broad and little given to restrictions?

It is not the first time that an animated product has been censored, but it is certainly one of the most striking occasions. The fact that DC made it clear that the scene would be deleted because it would affect the market and marketing is a declaration of intent. Does the censorship arise due to the pressure of the possible sale of products? Or is it something more related to editorial lines that are becoming increasingly complex?

Sex, a mask and an auspicious setting

The Serie The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson on Amazon Prime Video caused commotion at the time of publication. It was his twisted take on the world of superheroes based on the extreme use of violence and sex. For its television version in live action, showrunner Eric Kripke managed to capture the tone and rawness of the animated version. With just one exception.