DC writer address backlash over ‘pregnant Joker’ storyline: ‘DM’s have never been more exciting’

An image of a panel from a DC comic book which depicts the Joker with a distended belly with one of his henchmen asking if the villain is pregnant

DC writer Matthew Rosenberg addressed the recent controversy about his ‘pregnant Joker’ comic book storyline, joking his “DM’s have never been more exciting”. 

In a post to his Substack titled “Chapter 90: I guess we have to talk about it”, Rosenberg wrote that “certain corners of the world are quite mad” at the new issue of DC Comics’ The Joker: The Man Who Stopped Laughing

One of the short stories inside the comic saw the titular supervillain fall under a magical curse, which gave him a swollen belly. Eventually, the Joker ‘gave birth’ by vomiting up a pile of mud that reshapes into a little clown clone. 

Many fans saw it for the campy, goofy storylines indicative of a DC Joker tale. However, the story infuriated right-wingers who complained it was ‘woke’ and said the idea of a man falling pregnant was “ridiculous” despite it happening all around the world. 

Rosenberg joked that readers who don’t get their news from the “‘here’s what to be angry about’ people” may have missed the backlash. He described how such outlets claimed the story “makes the Joker trans and then they become pregnant and give birth” – even though that never happened.

“Only, slight problem, none of that actually happens in the comic,” Rosenberg wrote. “That didn’t stop Fox News, The NY Post, Channel 1 Russia, various internet outrage peddlers, and so many of the other sources of journalistic excellence from going all in on it this past week.”

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He continued: “This of course made social media somewhat unusable for me because things like this are Christmas for folks who like to get mad at stuff and yell at strangers.

“My DM’s have never been more exciting! The good news is that I finally made it onto TMZ and I didn’t even have to f**k Pete Davidson like I thought I would.”

A panel from a DC comic book in which a person tells the joker he wasn't pregnant and the villain said he's not paying for the visit
Matthew Rosenberg said the Joker story wasn’t an “allegory, metaphor or social commentary”. He added that he fully supports the trans community. (DC Comics)

Rosenberg explained the creators behind the comic “wanted to pay tribute to the fun old stuff of DC’s history”. As such, he emphatically stated the story is a joke – not an “allegory, metaphor or social commentary” – and he shared that he fully supports the trans community. 

“I will say, so this doesn’t come off as some sort of backpedalling, I believe trans rights are human rights,” he wrote. 

He continued: “I have fundraised and donated multiple times to orgs like Trans Lifeline, the National Center for Trans Equality and the Trevor Project that do incredible work to promote trans rights and protect trans lives. 

“I believe how a person identifies themselves, defines themselves, or presents themselves to the world is their business alone. 

“When someone tells you who they are you can either agree with them or tell them who you think they are, and I’ve never understood why you’d want to be the latter or why anyone should care what you think of who they. 

“With that said, it has nothing to do with this story. This is a story about magical food poisoning.”

Rosenberg questioned if the media outlets angry about the ‘pregnant Joker’ story “work on a cycle of feeding outrage and alienation to their audience in order to keep them engaged and angry” so they don’t care if they “take things out of context, misrepresent things or even lie”. 

The writer jokingly thanked the outlets for “promoting our book”, and he’s “heard from a lot of retailers that it’s selling out”. 

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