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Why DC Comics need to learn how to Google

Superman and Wonder Woman Figures with Blog Title

DC Comics have recently been called out on Social Media for their sheer inability to perform a basic Google search. The US comic book publisher has (rightfully) come under a barrage of tweets due to an Editor’s note describing speech as ‘translated from Pakistanian’.

Throughout history there has always been something of a feud between two of the best comic book creators, Marvel and DC Comics. Now, up from the depths of the post-apocalyptic murk a victor has arisen. It’s Marvel. And it’s not just because they are way more awesome – it’s because their counterpart don’t quite seem to get the point of editing…

A bit of background…

Just in case you haven’t quite heard what happened yet, here’s a little bit of background. Unsaid is the title of the second story inside Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2, released December 30th 2015. In it an evil demigod named Dichara has stolen some mentally powerful Amazonian weaponry and is terrorising the poor people of Shimshal, Pakistan. As you would probably imagine, these people aren’t speaking English. So, as is customary in comic books, their speech is written in English and placed between chevrons and an Editor’s note added, like so…

Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2 Pakistanian mishap

As you can see an Editor’s note has indeed been added to the bottom left of the image to stop any confusion, clearly stating that the speech is “all translated from PakistanianED”. But hang on, something about that doesn’t sound quite right does it? No matter how little you have had to do with the country, you too probably share the same concern that Pakistanian may very well not be a language at all. And you’d be correct in thinking that..

The most common languages in the country include English, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu, Balochi and the national language Urdu. In fact, Pakistan has over 300 different dialects spoken within its borders. Pakistanian is not one of them.

Let’s be fair to DC Comics… Wouldn’t that rate of factual accuracy require a considerable amount of research?

The same thought crossed our mind for a fleeting moment. However, it turns out that a single Google search would have sufficed – see below…

Google search results to official language of Pakistan

What’s so difficult to believe is that this note managed to make it to print without a single alarm bell ringing inside anybody’s head. Not even that of the Editor who, amongst other things, is usually expected to edit… But maybe we are being too harsh on them. After all, perhaps they did do their research but had an issue while trying to translate the word ‘Urdu’ into American.

Social Media didn’t like it very much…

The editorial faux-pas has been openly mocked across social networks by both genuinely offended people and the inevitable trolls, some of which make fantastic reading if you have a few moments to spare – check out the Guardian’s more in depth article here. The issue shot to Social significance after Pakistani writer Khaver Siddiqi tweeted a picture of it accompanied by these words…

“Here’s why @Marvel is winning over @DCComics – the latter thinks we speak Pakistanian. h/t

Siddiqi later commented on the issue saying “it makes it all the more funny that they decided to set the scene in a place even I, as a Pakistani, had to look up on Google. But they couldn’t perform a simple Google search for the language.

A final editorial note…

On their website the relationship between the two superheroes in the annual is described as an ‘…epic tale that recounts the most dangerous love story of all.’ One can only imagine that the danger they speak of is ignorance erring on the side of casual racism.

Editor - 

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