Comic-book fans are seeing the first signs of the aftermath of the Dark Knight Rises theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., last Friday.
DC Comics has asked retailers to delay selling Batman Incorporated issue 3, which was scheduled to be available in shops and online Wednesday, out of respect for the victims and their families. Its new on-sale date will be Aug. 22.
Batman Incorporated artist Chris Burnham tweeted on Monday that the issue, written by Grant Morrison, would be delayed a month "due to some grim imagery that would seem wholly inappropriate given the Aurora killings."
If sales are delayed in sensitivity to the circumstances, "I think that's pretty much OK," said Brian Hibbs, owner of the San Francisco store Comix Experience.
But because of the late notification, not all retailers will get the message in time, Hibbs said. "So I'm sure some stores are going to be selling it (Wednesday), and that's going to be a big problem."
Comics are recalled occasionally due to printing errors and sometimes due to content, according to Hibbs. In one instance, DC pulled an issue of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2000 fearing legal action from rival Marvel Comics because an authentic old-time ad for a similarly named feminine product was used in the comic.
Burnham wrote that Batman Incorporated was postponed to make sure DC was doing the right thing in light of the tragedy. He also told a fan that "pulping them" was not an option.
"It's not just a Batman comic with guns in it," he wrote. "There's a specific scene that made DC and the whole Bat-team say, 'Yikes.' Too close for comfort."
Another situation that might be too close for comfort: The flagship Batman series is scheduled to begin a new story line involving the Joker in an October issue. Suspected shooter James Holmes likened himself to the Batman villain to arresting police, according to New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. (Holmes dyed his hair red, though, while the Joker has always had a green coif.)
However, Hibbs doesn't think DC will change its plans with that story arc.
"A couple of weeks from now, people will get over the sensitivity of it and we'll be back to normal, as these things tend to happen," he said. "Post-9/11, we were told that it was the death of irony and we were no longer allowed as a society to be ironic, and three or four months later, everything went back to normal. That's just sort of the human condition, isn't it?"
By Brian Truitt