This might be the silliest-ever form of hoping to avoid controversy.
Because the 1980s were in many ways a bad bad time for mainstream comics – mainly because the culture was rapidly changing while the industry pretended otherwise for as long as it could – there exists a curious record of some remarkably silly risk-aversion. Perhaps the most egregious is the way a pro-gay rights story in Captain America somehow manages never to use the word gay, but an equally frustrating version occurred on the pages of the 80’s Miracleman revival.
The Miracleman revival was originally written by Alan Moore (later, Neil Gaiman would take over for a spell), and the series was a dark, deconstructionist take on the character and comic tropes (there are some superficial similarities to Moore’s work in Watchmen). It had occasional nudity and some rather edgy profanity, and issue #9, released in 1986, went full bore super graphic nudity. That’s thanks to Moore’s, and artist Rick Veitch’s graphic depiction of childbirth that, without question, left nothing to the imagination.
The response at the time was occasionally reminiscent of the concurrent freak out over popular music. As Bleeding Cool notes, in 1987 Diamond’s Steve Geppi wrote a breathless, panicked screed professing his outrage about issue #9, saying in part that “Diamond values its retailers too much to take chances on such a dangerous situation… We cannot, however, stand by and watch the marketplace become a dumping ground for every sort of graphic fantasy that someone wants to live out.” In case you’re paying attention, he did not have this same reaction two years later when DC held a contest to find out whether or not Robin should be brutally killed. Ah, morality. (For what it’s worth, he eventually backed down about this. Still, ugh.)
The thing is, the profanity and light nudity were not particularly gratuitous, and the childbirth scene, while incredibly graphic, was presented as a beautiful, life-affirming experience. The only possible objective anyone older than 10 could have to it would be offense at the notion we are all creatures of blood and bone. It was absurd to freak out about childbirth, mild swearing and nudity in the mid-80s. And it’s especially weird to worry about it now.
But fear not, there are still people who think it’s better to avoid even the hint of controversy, despite the fact that the complete Preacher is in a bookshelf next to me right now, and you can still buy it without any problem at all. And so it is that for the upcoming reprinting of Miracleman issues 6, 7 and 8, Marvel plans to release them pre-sealed in plastic bags. You know, just in case impressionable kids open the comic up and discover to their horror that it was written by someone who wants them to think.
Presumably, they’ll do the same for issue #9. And presumably, someone will have to explain it to them that the world moved on from being freaked out about this stuff in like 1995. I look forward to 2024, when Lobo’s Blazing Chain of Love comes pre-sealed by DC. Of course, perhaps I’m not thinking about this correctly: the decision to pre-seal the issues has us all talking about them, and it’s guaranteed I’m going to buy them. So… maybe that’s the point. Never mind, well played, Marvel, well played.
Incidentally, you can read the controversial issue #9. WARNING: It is very not safe for work. It is also not remotely offensive, but it is very not safe for work.
Via Bleeding Cool;