DC Comics On Starfire Controversy: ‘Pay Attention To The Ratings’
Prompted by the resoundingly negative critical response to Red Hood And The Outlaws #1’s dubious, oversexualized depiction of the superheroine Starfire — in particular, the disgusted reaction of a 7-year-old fan of Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans, a popular animated series in which a version of Starfire appeared — DC Comics released a terse statement via Twitter (here and here) that advised unhappy readers to “pay attention to the ratings.” The full statement is as follows:
We’ve heard what’s being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic. We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.
Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 is rated “T -Teen”, which DC Comics defines as “Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.” Fair enough, then. By that guideline, the book is obviously inappropriate for a 7-year-old. But the 7-year-old girl’s question, and that of Shortpacked’s David Willis and our own Laura Hudson remains valid. Should a Starfire comic book be targeted so narrowly? As part of the bold and massive publishing initiative and mainstream outreach that is DC’s New 52, does using characters best-known from all-ages cartoons in books like Red Hood And The Outlaws make sense?