Well, this is curious. I really must know what about. “The first thing they complained about was my use of the word virgin. At first it was just the word itself, then they said that Lois Lane is not a virgin and I shouldn’t imply that she is. I said I’m not implying anything, a kibitzer in the office is making a joke. One of the editors actually started screaming at me over the phone. But anyway, I can’t use the word virgin. In another scene Perry is not allowed to be drinking alcohol. He’s pulling out a bottle of scotch from his desk drawer and offering a swig to Lois. Lois declines, and that’s the point behind it. In fact, the whole thing is that everybody’s got their faults. And, as the story progresses we see that even Superman has his faults, if you can call humanism a fault.”

“Lois Lane is privileged to have the very first interview with the red and blue flying man and she, along with everybody else, cannot help but regard him as a god of some kind, but Superman is really just trying to show her and the readers of The Daily Planet that as a person he is just as human as they are, you know, he’s trying to demystify himself. But in order for that premise to work, I had to show all the principle players’ faults. There’s two for Perry. First he’s an unwitting sexist, a chauvinist, and also he likes the occasional nip of scotch at the office. But now it has to be changed to Pepto Bismol. Obviously that trashes my character study of Perry White right there, and if I use only his “back-up” fault, his sexism, it can hardly be considered offensive because the boys at DC have yet to complain about it.”


This is the problem with iconic characters that serve to create much in the way of licensing and merchandising revenue for their owners. But it is true that you can have one set of books for children and one for adults, and humans can tell the difference, so I can’t help but think that this censorship is stupid.

“It is. I’m glad you understand this. I presented this story as a sophisticated work in its context and format, yet within just the first few pages the editorial hatchet is cutting out its heart.”

Alex chimes in, “It’s not just DC. MONSTERS started out as a Hulk book in 1984 and Marvel wouldn’t publish it because one of the secondary characters said the word ‘goddamn’. They said you could say ‘god’ and you could say ‘damn’ but you couldn’t say ‘goddamn’. And this wasn’t just Jim Shooter (head of Marvel in 1984) because we took it about three years ago to Bobbie Chase (an editor at Marvel) and she said it was great, we want to publish it, but we don’t allow ‘goddamn’.” We all nod knowingly and sadly.

Windsor-Smith turns back to the art and script. “It’s Perry and one of his failings, but he’s still a good man. He says to Lois ‘A guy just flies up to your 30-story window like that. Phew!’ Lois says ‘I was stammering, Perry. I lost it.’ ‘You want a shot? Calm the nerves?’ ‘No, I’m falling apart. I need to talk to you straight, Perry.’ It’s a good scene. It shows their mutual compassion. All in one panel. But, no. I can’t do it.”