WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: Damned #1 by Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo and Jim Lee.
Today marks the debut of Batman: Damned #1 by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, the first book released under DC Black Label. The nascent imprint is aimed at a slightly more mature audience than DC's mainstream offerings, which was made very apparent when readers caught a glimpse of Bruce Wayne doing the most human thing in the world.
As he enters the Batcave after a night of fighting crime and solving a murder (the Joker's, no less), Bruce Wayne starts taking off his superhero suit with each step. The camera pulls out to show his nude form from the front, never pulling away, revealing, for the first time ever, Bruce Wayne's penis.
Needless to say, it didn't take long for the news to hit. While social media had plenty of jokes and screencaps to offer up, readers who had purchased the issue from comiXology were treated to a censored version of the comic. In the digital release, the Caped Crusader's lower half is wrapped in shadow, obscuring his genitals.
CBR has been informed that, while Black Label is an imprint for mature readers, it was decided Bruce Wayne's nudity was not additive to the story. Thus, the digital version blacked out the scenes. Additionally, CBR has confirmed that future printings of the issue will use the altered panels.
It's a bit of strange situation. After all, nudity doesn't always have to equal sex, and everyone has felt the desire to just throw off their clothes and walk around in the buff inside their own home -- or Batcave.
The comic book industry has always had a strange relationship with nudity. Women can be illustrated pretty close to nude at any point. Men, on the other hand, not so much. Showing Bruce naked from the front in Damned without any trace of comedy is something that should probably be done more. Surprisingly, it somehow winds up making Bruce an even more relatable character. Even the Caped Crusader just needs to let it all hang out sometimes.