The latest issue of the Walmart-exclusive comic Superman 100-Page Giant has sparked controversy over a story by writer Tom King and artist Andy Kubert in which the Man of Steel worries about the different ways Lois Lane could die while he’s away. The 12-page story in Issue 7 has led some parents to raise objections on Twitter.
"I’ve been buying the Walmart Superman books and sharing them with my 10 year old son each month. It’s been a fun until now. I won’t share #7 with him because a 12 page Lois Lane snuff comic isn’t something I want him to experience," one parent said.
"I thought this was a family friendly line," another reader wrote.
Warning to all parents: the current Walmart Superman book by Tom King features 12 pages of Lois Lane being brutally and graphically murdered over and OVER again on page. I’m hearing it’s ::extremely:: disturbing. Please be careful before your children see it. 😥 https://t.co/78RXsm0RZJ— Shades of Limelight (@CertainshadesL) January 19, 2019
One page, which has surfaced online, shows Lois' brutal murder by Lex Luthor. In the image, Luthor tells Lois to beg for her life. When she refuses, he shoots her in the head. The last panel on the page shows her body splayed out on the ground, covered in blood, with the fatal wound just cut off by the bottom of the page. Though Lois' various deaths in the issue are all in Superman's head, upset readers have compared the story to the "women in refrigerators" trope, where women are killed off for the purpose of causing male characters pain.
Other readers, however, believe the story paints an accurate picture of anxiety and provides some insight into what makes Superman human and relatable.
Well, unfortunately, that is what fear and anxiety feel like. Especially, when a loved one is concerned. I think everybody had those fears at one point or another, and those who did not,sadly, will. Problems won't be solved by ignorance. King is fairly tackling difficult issues.— Marko Radulovic (@Dante1293) January 21, 2019
When reached for comment, King said in a statement to CBR, "Because it isn't widely available, I'm not sure people know the story (which is beautifully told by Andy, Sandra, and Brad). So here it is: On a mission far from home, Superman tries calling home. Lois doesn't answer. As people do when they can't get in touch with their loved ones, he starts imagining worst case scenarios. Why won't she answer? Images of her demise crowd his thoughts, driving him crazy. In the end, the line connects and Superman and Lois discuss how worried they are about each other."
"They both lead dangerous lives; however, neither of them asks the other to compromise that life. Lois has her career; Superman has his. Despite the worry and risk, they trust each other, they depend on each other. Regardless of the hard of it all, they both go forward and they both continue to save the world," he continued. "To me this is a metaphor for the best parts of love. Love comes with stress, agony, risk, vulnerability, and we shouldn't deny that stress, agony, risk, and vulnerability."
"However, love also comes with the unique joy of putting your faith in someone else, of knowing that someone else puts their faith in you. This story is not about the deaths of Lois Lane or the anxieties of Superman; it is about the love of Lois Lane and the love of Superman, the enduring strength of these amazing, iconic characters," he concluded.
When DC's line of Walmart-exclusive Giant books was announced in June, it was described as "a great way for new readers to get into comics and follow the characters they’ve grown to love in TV and film" by DC Publisher Dan DiDio. However, while they are intended as gateway comics, it should be noted that the books were not specifically pitched as a kids-friendly entry-point.