8 Memorable Comics Screw-Ups
Mistakes happen. Sometimes those mistakes end up in print with a distribution in the hundreds of thousands. Here are some classic screw-ups, printing errors, and unfortunate coincidences that have graced the pages of comic books and newspaper strips over the years.
1. THE FAR SIDE/DENNIS THE MENACE MIX-UPS
In 1981, a newspaper layout error swapped the captions between a The Far Side and a Dennis the Menace strip to hilarious effect.
Two years later, it happened again!
2. DOC OCK FORGETS WHAT COMIC BOOK COMPANY HE WORKS FOR
When Amazing Spider-Man #3 debuted in 1963, Spider-Man was still relatively new—but was that an excuse for writer and co-creator Stan Lee to confuse him with a character from the competition?
3. CAPTAIN AMERICA'S TRASH TALK FAIL
This goofed attempt at tough talk from Captain America in Tales of Suspense #92 in 1967 has earned the honor of being one of the funniest lines of dialogue in cartooning history. It would later be corrected in reprints.
4. THE $%&#ing BATGIRL
In All-Star Batman & Robin #10 (2008), Frank Miller made this already weird and controversial series even more newsworthy when he gave the new Batgirl a potty mouth. Despite all of the curse words being blacked out, the contrast between the ink used for lettering and the ink used for censor bars resulted in clearly legible swears showing through. Eventually, DC recalled the issue.
5. GARFIELD'S VETERANS DAY INSULT
Garfield is not known for making controversial political statements, but many readers took great offense to this strip that ran on Veteran’s Day in 2010. Creator Jim Davis drew the strip almost a year in advance with no connection to Veterans Day and had no idea when it would actually run, as he explained in his written apology.
6. CAPTAIN BARRACUDA GETS BLIND-SIDED
When an artist on deadline quickly draws a villain looking through a periscope, it’s easy to forget that villain only has one good eye. Sal Buscema was the victim of this flub when he sketched the eye-patched Captain Barracuda in Incredible Hulk #219 (1978).
7. THE BEAST INSULTS WOMEN EVERYWHERE
In X-men #28 (1967), writer Roy Thomas falsely wrote “pliers” instead of "screwdriver." The result: Hank “Beast” McCoy’s backhanded compliment to Jean Grey turned into a full-on insult to all women.
8. SWAMP THING VS. THE PINK TENTACLE
Colorists have one of the most important jobs in comics. Sometimes their shady choices can lead to an entire print run getting destroyed, or "pulped." In the case of Swamp Thing #15, the colorists didn’t botch the "flesh"-toned tentacles of the character named Arcane, but the pink hue became problematic when used on a tentacle that resembled male genitals. Writer Scott Snyder takes the blame in this hilarious series of tweets explaining how his demand for more tentacles on the page led to some really unfortunate imagery.
The image below is not even close to being the worst offender. You can click through to this collection of Snyder’s tweets to see the big reveal.