U.K. publisher says it was forced to cover Cerne Giant's famous feature

A U.K. publisher contends it was forced to redraw a character based on England's famed Cerne Abbas Giant following objections by digital distributors to the figure's erect penis.

Britain's largest chalk hill figure, the mysterious 180-foot naked man overlooking Cerne Abbas in Dorset is widely known for his enormous erection, which has been called "Britain's most famous phallus."

The giant appears in Eco Comics' Englishman #1, alongside characters based on such legendary figures as St. George and the Green Man, but not without a noticeable change: the loss of his prominent member. That's described by the publisher as "a compromise" that permits the issue to be distributed more widely online.

“It seems a sad indictment of the times when a legendary landmark like the Cerne Giant – which any man, woman or child can visit any day of the week – must be covered up in a comic book," the publisher said in a statement. "So much for freedom of art and expression. But, through pressure, our hand has been forced. Outlets, particularly in the U.S., refuse any form of nudity in comic books. It seems that powerful conservative groups scare them far more than any supervillain.”

Eco Comics doesn't specify which distributors objected to the nudity. However, the publisher's website indicates its digital comics can be purchased directly, or through comiXology and My Digital Comics.

Helen Mann of The National Trust, which manages the Cerne Abbas site, told BBC News,"The Cerne Abbas Giant stands out as a unique character in the Dorset countryside and the National Trust has never censored images of him. We like him as he is."

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