Image Comics has apologized for cover art that showed the violent lynching of a man of color.
Gizmodo reported that the cover of Issue 4 of The Divided States of Hysteria shows the lynching of a Pakistani man who has been castrated. A racial slur can be seen on a name tag on the man's shirt.
In a statement on Saturday, Image Comics public relations director Kat Salazar apologized “over the distress caused by the cover.”
People have described the cover to [Divided States of Hysteria Issue 4] as distasteful, and they’re right, in that: ALL hate crimes are horrifying, dehumanizing, and distasteful, and the intent of this cover was to challenge people to look at what we as a society have become. Every hate crime is perpetrated under the cover of willful ignorance, because there is always someone content to turn away from what is really happening or label shameful truths as “alternative facts.” What’s more, ignoring that these hate crimes exist—and that they are happening right now—watering down in any way how bad things have become, seems like a cop out, like turning a blind eye at a time when we all need to be paying attention.
Jordan Calhoun of Black Nerd Problems explained why the cover and the apology were problematic.
This is not shock value. If it were just a book meant to be provocative for the sake of being provocative, Image would not be publishing it, so by the transitive property the fact we are publishing it means it not provocative for its own sake. It is, however, meant to make you angry. Yes, the dictionary definition of provocative is “deliberately causing anger or another strong reaction,” but we have uber good intentions. We are all oppressed. It bears on us all.
Note: Raw Story has pixelated the lynching image in the picture above.