Old Shame: Comic Books

  • Tintin creator Hergé has a couple.
    • The first, Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets (1929), is ripped off wholesale from a single book condemning the Communist regime and has extremely primitive art, which was never updated to his later style. Hergé only republished it during the 1970s and solely because many bootleg copies were sold during that time. Still, it was kept in its original black-and-white form, without any alterations, and in an act of Canon Discontinuity kept out of the regular Tintin canon.
    • The second, Tintin In The Congo (1930) contains many old stereotypes of Africans, causing a furor in the UK when it was released to the English reading public in 2005. There was also an unsuccessful private prosecution in Belgium to try to get the book banned as incitement to racism. Tintin's psychotic maiming of wildlife (blowing up a rhinoceros with a drilled hole and a stick of dynamite) is pretty hard to take as well. Hergé recognized this in retrospect and begged for them to be left out of print. Unlike the Soviet adventure, Tintin in The Congo was later redrawn and republished in color and with Hergé's later more polished art style. The rhinoceros was spared in the Scandinavian edition (except for the newest Swedish translation) and the English color edition.
    • A third example is Tintin The Shooting Star (1941), created during the Nazi occupation of Belgium; it originally featured a stereotyped Jewish-American villain, who in later versions was altered to be of an unindicated ethnicity. A very antisemitic comedy scene with two rabbis was entirely cut.
  • Quick and Flupke: Some episodes in which Quick and Flupke playfully imitate Hitler and Mussolini were never reprinted. During the 1930s it was just meant as an innocent joke, but after World War II these gags were suddenly not that funny anymore.
  • The 1930s Mickey Mouse comics count as this, since many of them contain racist stereotypes, Mickey attempting suicide, and other themes contrary to the image of Mickey Mouse today. Because the comics themselves were believed to be in the public domain, Eternity Comics, an independent company not affiliated with Disney, attempted to anthologize "The Uncensored Mouse" in comic-book format in 1989 without permission from Disney, doing everything they could to prevent a lawsuit (using all-black covers, shrink-wrapping them so nobody would flip through the books, acknowledging Disney's rights in the copyright page, etc.). They were shut down anyway, because even if the comics were in the public domain (which is questionable), the characters weren't.
  • Jhonen Vasquez, author of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee, and creator/showrunner of Invader Zim put out a single-issue "throwaway" comic called the Bad Art Collection early in his career, which was exactly what it says on the cover. When someone brought a copy to a signing event at a convention he responded with his usual good grace and humour; and commented, laughingly, "Oh my God, someone actually bought this thing," while signing it. According to Vasquez, the origin of the collection was him writing the cartoons back in school in order to get people to stop bugging him to draw for them. Unsurprisingly, the Bad Art Collection has been out of print for at least a decade.
  • Mexican cartoonist Rius published many comic books in the 60-70s. Being a firm believer in Marxism, he dedicated much of his work to socialism/communism and prophesized the fall of capitalism. One of the most famous examples of this is the book he made under orders of the Cuban government about the Cuban Revolution. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, he admitted that he had to eat his own words and that he never drew anything negative about the socialist states of the time because, in his own words, he "didn't want to provide ammunition for Imperialism."
  • For a long time, this was the attitude Mark Millar took towards a collection of early strips he wrote for Sonic the Comic in the nineties, insisting that he only wrote them for the money to pay for his wedding. He seems to have softened his stance on them lately, though.
  • Even though he hasn't taken it out of publishing, David Herbert would like everyone to forget Warriors of the Night, which is his first graphic novel.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Before leaving the title, Jim Valentino disowned two issues brainstormed with Rob Liefeld, Guardians of the Galaxy #28-29, having a "lackluster script" and "barebones plot", and criticizes Annual #2 for being unable to look at the art.
  • Peter David has said he regrets killing off Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk, and that the rash decision was the result of the traumatic divorce he was going through at the time.
  • Kurt Busiek accompanies his signature on copies of Spider-Man/X-Factor: Shadowgames with the refrain, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
  • Similarly, Christopher Priest claims that whenever a fan asks him to sign a copy of the Triumph mini-series he wrote, he apologizes.
  • Andy Schmidt formally admitted that The Transformers Continuum was of poor quality, but thanks to Denton J. Tipton and Carlos Magno making fun of him over it at the IDW offices, he wasn't allowed to forget it.
  • While they don't regret writing Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, creators Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn wince in hindsight at their inclusion of Attempted Rape early in the series, and Cohn says it'd be the first thing to go if he ever had another go at it.
    • Despite this, the short-lived New 52 version of the comic (by Jem and the Holograms creator Christy Marx) also included an attempted rape scene.
  • Mark Waid regrets killing off Ice in Justice League America.
  • Robert Kirkman introduced the character of Freedom Ring during his run on Marvel Team-Up, a gay hero who was touted by Joe Quesada himself as an upstanding example of gay male characters in the Marvel Universe... who was then killed horribly at the end of the three-issue arc. Kirkman apologized for "killing 25% of Marvel's gay population," admitting that he wanted to write a story about a newbie hero making newbie mistakes and dying because of it, while also wanting to write a story about a gay hero, and the two plots intersected in the worst way possible.
    • And he very much regrets the early death of Shane in The Walking Dead. He never dreamed that the series would last as long as it has, and thinks he could have done a lot more with the character.
  • Marvel writer Mark Gruenwald originally created the Scourge of the Underworld as a plot device for disposing of villains who were too minor, redundant, or ill-conceived. He eventually conceded that he often expressed some disappointment in what he saw as the short-sightedness in killing so many potentially "fun" villains rather than re-imagining or improving them.
    • All except for Turner D. Century. He was an embarrassment to everyone at Marvel. He was created by veteran Marvel writer J.M. DeMatteis, probably in an attempt to create a creepy/surreal/absurd/insane villain with maybe a pinch of social commentary, but instead, he got one of the biggest joke villains in Marvel's history. Even DeMatteis didn't regret what happened to him.
  • Suske en Wiske: Creator Willy Vandersteen already made comics during the Second World War before he struck gold with Suske & Wiske after the liberation of Belgium. One of the stories he drew were antisemitic cartoons for a Nazi SS magazine. Vandersteen was smart enough to do this under a pseudonym and this secret shame was only revealed in 2010, literally 20 years after his death. Even his relatives claimed he never told them anything about this.
  • Astérix: Creator Albert Uderzo has apologized about the very anti-German Asterix and the Goths album. In this story the Goths (Germans) are depicted as being evil and militaristic. He said the story was made just two decades after World War II and anti-German sentiments were still vivid then. In later "Asterix" stories Germans are depicted more sympathetically.
  • Jon Gray, one of the many artists for Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, has said he'll always regret drawing the scene where Sonic is slapped by Sally.
  • Undoubtedly the case for Nick Simmons with Incarnate. He gave up his comic book career and shut down his DeviantArt account when the backlash over his alleged plagiarism in the book came to light.
  • Eric Powell is extremely negative in his attitude to his earliest issues of The Goon. He keeps them available because he understands that people want to see them, and they include some content that is important for later plot developments. However, the TPB is called Rough Stuff, and contains no less than four prefaces apologising for the content, three prose and one in comic format, in which the characters themselves complain about how they were drawn. Powell considers the art to have been very bad and the comedy too broad and silly.
  • Kevin Smith has said he regrets agreeing to do the Orphaned Series Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target, and that he only did it to hold Joe Quesada to his word after he'd promised that Smith would get to write the next encounter between Daredevil and Bullseye.
  • Most at Marvel Comics, in particular writer Chris Claremont deeply regret The Avengers #200, which almost immediately caused an uproar among fans for its controversial storyline regarding Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) giving birth to Marcus, the son of Immortus who had impregnated Ms. Marvel in Limbo with the intent to have himself reborn in the mortal world to claim her heart; said impregnation was the result of Marcus seeking out the affection of Ms. Marvel with whom he desired intercourse to create a new hybrid race, a feat only accomplished after manipulating her feelings with Immortus' machinations. This revelation drew accusations that the story in question had glorified rape, infamously dubbed by one reviewer as "The Rape of Ms. Marvel". Condemnation towards the comic's implications prompted Chris Claremont and his team to publish "Avengers Annual #10", featuring the return of Ms. Marvel to Earth from Limbo that directly addresses the events of the aforementioned issue and the Avengers' lax reaction to the acts committed against her.