Dave Dorman Offended by Vaughan & Staples’ Breastfeeding SAGA Cover

Perhaps you’ve seen the cover to Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ new Image book, Saga, which features a breastfeeding alien lady. I’d seen the image, noted its progressive stance on galactic, alien child-rearing, and thought, “Oh, that’s Vaughan’s thing,” and moved on.


This was not what noted Star Wars artist Dave Dorman said. Dorman was offended that this Image was on the cover of a comic book purported to be an all-ages book. He says:

I was drinking my orange juice this morning when I came across a USA Today article on the new Image Comic called “Saga.” I ‘ve been reading about this new comic in the fan press for a while, and I was eager to give my 7-year-old son a new series to follow. I have always loved Brian K. Vaughan’s writing, both in the comics field, and for one of my favorite TV series of all times, LOST.


Here’s what caught my eye this morning: Juxtapozed against this image was Brian’s specific quote, highlighted beneath the headline: “I just miss the days when I was a kid where you could pick up a No. 1 comic and it’s not a reboot or a relaunch or something.” Further along in the article, Vaughan shares how he was a “big-time Star Wars nerd” and how as a kid, he wanted to write this galactic family heroic saga, ala Star Wars. And that’s exactly what I was hoping he would do. Then my eye drifted over to the promotional illustration by Fiona Staples, a gifted artist. My brow furled as I tried to process what I was actually seeing.


I find this image offensive, not only for promotion of a comic book, but specifically for a comic that Brian clearly states that he would like to see today’s younger generation pick up and read as he did when he was kid. Rather than a family-friendly heroic saga, this promo art is telegraphing to the world that it’s a series I cannot share with my 7-year-old son.

While Dorman, an industry vet, is clearly entitled to his own opinion, I think he missed something. No one has marketed this series as an all-ages series. Brian Vaughan has never done an all ages series. The first issue of Y: The Last Man featured the deaths of all men, save one. The first issue of Ex Machina featured the destruction of the World Trade Center. Both series went on to explore sex, gender, the N-word, and a whole lot of graphic violence, and lots and lots of rape. Vaughan has, time and again, grabbed on to some taboo subject, and made it the centerpiece of a story he’s telling.

This time he did it on the cover, and while I thought we’d settled the “breastfeeding is icky” issue, Vaughan and Staples have chosen wisely again, finding something to make readers feel something.

As to whether an image of breastfeeding is appropriate for all ages, well, it’s legal in public for one thing, and I see it at the mall and the park and anywhere else women choose to take advantage of that right. It’s certainly not the most controversial thing I’ve seen on a comic book cover recently.

But the other thing is, this isn’t an all-ages series. No one said it was. What Vaughan said was that he missed the “the days when he was a kid” and, if I may paraphrase, the feeling of a whole new universe. That’s not the same thing as what Dorman is saying he’s saying. Vaughan does adult fiction. Nothing he’s ever written is even close to appropriate for kids. Saga isn’t for kids. It’s for parents, according to that same USA Today article.

It’s also a universe that he has been imagining since he was a kid. But it wasn’t until he had his own children that the story of Saga came to life.

“There are a lot of stories about having children, but they’re always comedies,” says Vaughan, 35, father to 1-year-old Alec and 8-month-old Wilhelmina. “It’s like the birth of a child is the end of drama. But I don’t think that’s true.”

And as a new parent, and a giant fan of the comic book work of Brian K. Vaughan, I’m all for it. It’s out in March, and I’m incredibly there.


  1. Cool.

  2. Has Saga been released yet? Is it a new #1? I’m interested in reading this.

  3. This isn’t a particularly offensive image, there’s no exposure. It just indicates, by pose and content, that this is a family of aliens. I did read Dorman’s blog.

  4. I’m more offended by his opinion than the image.

    Anyways… this will be the first time I buy a Vaughan book in issues. The reason for that is three words: FIONA FUCKING STAPLES!

  5. I think we should talk about Dave Dorman’s mindset when his first look at this image is ‘BOOBIES’ and not a woman with fairy wings or a guy with fucking goat antlers on his head.

  6. God forbid you should the human body doing what’s supposed to do. I can’t wait to see one of these covers with some looking off into the distance and taking a shit.

  7. Dorman clearly posted a knee-jerk response without thinking it through. This looks worth checking out.

  8. ist hardly shocking or offensive…at best awkward, but i suppose thats part of the concept.

  9. We need to protect the children.

  10. Sheer stupidity offends me, Dave. Guess what? You offend me.

  11. When did breastfeeding become offensive?

  12. Unless this is some backdoor publicity for Saga, I don’t understand why this story is blowing up today.

    I mean, what’s the story here? Is it “Comic book artist offended by breastfeeding”?

    Because if you read the comments in Dorman’s original post, he tries to make it clear he has no problem with women breastfeeding their children. He’s only offended because he erroneously believed Saga was an all ages book.

    But since (also in the comments of his original post) it’s been brought to his attention that Saga is not an all-ages book, this whole thing should be over right?

    Ah, the Internet!

    • Actually the story is “comic book artist offended by comic book breastfeeding.” When you think about it, the story is so bad its awesome.

    • My question is “why does he think that breastfeeding is unacceptable in an all ages book?”

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      His replies in the comment section of the original post are a little odd. He concedes that he was misguided in thinking the book was for young audiences and he states that he isn’t personally offended by breast feeding. But he’s ignoring any comment directly questioning why this would be inappropriate for kids to see if SAGA were in fact an all-ages book.

    • The latter parts of his post indicates that he does indeed have some problem with the content of this cover. He asks when the next issue will be that shows the conception. It’s linking unlinked ideas; if this then that, when it doesn’t make any sense.

    • I’m asking the same question. There isn’t really a story here. Someone had the wrong idea about the book and posted his comments and now the internet is picking apart his opinion and back tracking while he’s trying to save face. Must be a slow news day. Move along folks.

    • @Paul: Yeah, that’s what gets me about the whole story — it seems like once his argument was proven invalid Dorman ought to say “oops, my bad!” and everyone would move on.

      I still suspect he’s working for Vaughn — some kind of viral marketing tactics to get more people talking about Saga (which FWIW, I think looks great!).

      BKV was involved in making many of us speculate wildly about an island for a few years, so I could see something like this being true (not really).

    • @Baltika: I said the weirdness of the issue is less that he didn’t say ‘my bad’ instead he said ‘my bad. also breastfeeding is icky.’ Which it was pointed out, one would assume we’d all got to grips with.

  13. Hahaha. Just another example of people being offended because they WANT to be offended. At least Mr. Dorman stated he was offended in a calm manner, albeit on the internet. I think it is funny/ironic/both? that an act like breastfeeding, that most children participate in, is deemed inappropriate for them to see( Who knows, maybe kid Dorman was a formula baby). Only in America. I think we should change “the land of the free” to ” the land of the offended”, it seems to be a more fitting description. When something as natural as breastfeeding is offending people, we should all be palming our foreheads.

  14. What a fucking prick. Of all the things to be offended by, something natural like breastfeeding should not be one of them. There is nothing shameful about it whatsoever, and children should certainly be able to be exposed to it without any kind of taboo attached. Boobies /= bad.

    What an idiot.

  15. I always find it fascinating that portraying people beating each other to bloody pulp is okay but something as natural as a mother breastfeeding her child is felt to be offensive.

  16. If only the male had been beheading the female. Then everyone could have enjoyed it.

  17. In what way is breastfeeding in a comic* not suitable for all ages?

    *The phrase “in a comic” is very important

    • someone’s definition of what a “comic” is, is key, isn’t it? If your definition is “something made for children” or “storytelling art form”. but then it all comes down to what someone finds appropriate for his child.

  18. I’ve seen this image quite a few times on comic new sites and it took this article for me to notice the breastfeeding aspect of it at all. Huh. There’s noting sexual or exploitative about the image at all, it’s just a baby getting fed.

    Either way, I am so excited to begin reading my very first Brian K. Vaughan monthly.

  19. This Dorman fellow…does he realize the can of whopass he’s just opened from all kinds of mommy bloggers and feminists? Thats not a group you want to piss off….oh and the fact he can be associated with Star Wars. It might be brutal.

  20. I’m not a fan of this opinion, I’m also not a fan of people piling on Dave because of his opinion.

  21. Hope Dorman has as much fun writing his apology letter as he did writing that ignorant screed.

  22. To me, the whole controversy is just kind of “meh”. I’m not offended by the cover, or by someone being offended by the cover. Think what you want to think. Buy what you want to buy.

  23. If anything, we should be teaching our children about breastfeeding. Let them know early on, before they are old enough to drown in our over-sexualized society (where they’ll see breastfeeding as gross, shameful, or sexual).

  24. Not sure why it’s inappropriate to see a baby breastfeeding. Then again, I’m pretty much against women’s breasts being a taboo thing to show, so I may be the wrong person to give an opinion here.

  25. @Josh, you seem to indicate that there has been at least one controversial cover recently. I’m curious, which comic? I don’t recall any cover in recent memory being controversial, but I could have just skipped those articles.

  26. One drop of breast milk contains one million white blood cells that fight germs. Therefore, the cover is not offensive.

  27. When did this ever get marketed as all ages?

    My stance, in bullet points;

    *Being offended is an utterly useless emotion that ones own person is entirely in control of.
    *I am bloody sick of anti-breastfeeding in public people.
    *I am also bloody sick of pro-breastfeeding in public activists like the ones that wanted to stage a ‘Breastfeed In” at a Target location the other day. Both of you groups get over yourselves.
    *I am going to buy this comic with an unholy fury because fuck yes that’s why. I miss some awesome Brian K. Vaughn action.

    Dave Dorman should open up an issue of anything from Avatar Press and get over himself.

  28. I think the logical response to all of this is:

    If I were a female comic book character breatfeeding my child right now, I would want to be a part of a breastfeeding rally inside of a Star Wars comic.

  29. Well said, Josh. I think Dorman wasn’t breastfeed as a child. Jealousy.

  30. Dorman is clearly a brain-dead illiterate nimrod who, based on his quotes, has never actually read a Brian K. Vaughan book. jog on you twit.

  31. Hey, it’s another round of comic book professional embarrasses self publicly and then impotently backtracks to try and save face. Hurrah!

  32. There are plenty of things to be offended about in this image.

    1) Does this image promote interspecies breeding? Note she has insect wings and he has goat horns. Unless they’re Inhumans or marvel mutants, these might be two different species of humanoid.

    2) Also, as an insecto-sapien, is her breast milk safe for that baby? Other images show it with little horns (I hope the baby was c-section. More offensive imagery!), so it clearly takes after daddy. That breast milk may have insect-only enzymes. Maybe it has a silk component that is a choking hazard for babies who don’t have the capacity to regurgitate it into a pupa.

  33. Avatar photo filippod (@filippodee) says:

    Dorman wrote on his blog (http://networkedblogs.com/svHg4): “I have ZERO hang-ups on the matter of breast feeding. I do NOT find it shameful or embarrassing. Perhaps I am wrong in interpreting the marketing of this series as being for kids”. While I still find it silly that anybody should think that depiction of breast feeding is inappropriate for kids, it’s less sad than it originally sounded.

    • How is “I completely lacked any knowledge or context about this series and made a snap judgement, publicly” anything but sad? I’d almost prefer if we was a prude and stuck to his guns.

    • No, screw that dude. His original post stands, & it was full of sarcasm & slander. He said flat-out, “Here’s a superhero with her tits out while she’s adventuring, just to sell a few extra books.” He’s so far out in left field & offensive, he shouldn’t get a pass on backpedaling after the fact.

  34. I think the offensive part of his post isn’t that he was shocked by the art or was expecting an all-ages book – it’s the “is nothing sacred?” line. There’s nothing gratuitous about the image (though cropped as it was in the article from the original image, it did draw the eye more to the breast-feeding), and if he’s attacking it for it’s “money-grab” intention, I think Dave missed the intention completely.

    Before slandering a book for a single image (modified probably by a third party, no less), why didn’t he do the slightest bit of “research”. There’s a multi-page preview of issue 1 that’s very readily available. To claim that it’s a tits’n’ass play for sales is pretty brash, & anyone who’s read that preview could very plainly see that it’s the opposite case (and also that it is most definitely NOT a kid’s book).

    Sure, it’s not really a big issue, this comment of Dave’s, in the grand scheme of things. But that doesn’t make it any less of an ignorant thing to say, & I’m glad he’s getting called on it.

  35. Is this image somehow sexual to Mr. Dorman? Is that what he’s afraid of? There’s nothing more natural than a mother feeding her child in the way nature intended. Shouldn’t be hidden from children as if it’s something “indecent.”

  36. i usually feel awkward when women are actually breastfeeding in public. strangely, this cover is much less awkward for me.

  37. Two things: 1) Do 7 year olds not now how breast feeding works? I can’t say for sure when I personally knew about it, but it seems like it was right around that age. And it seems like even if a kid didn’t know, that’s a fairly simple explanation without having to go into any details about sex whatsoever (if you didn’t want to.) “That’s how babies eat.” Done. 2) So… what exactly is appropriate for a 7 year old then? People getting punched in the face? An absurd amount of property damage? People getting choked to death by magic when they displease a giant robot man dressed entirely in black? I’m not raising any impressionable young minds at the moment, but if I were, I think I’d rather have them see a baby eating than an excessive amount of violence.

    • Third thing – She has a baby in one hand, and a freaking gun/space laser pistol in the other. Personally, I’m totally on board with that and want to know everything about what happens before and after that scene. But if you’re going to focus on “questionable parenting/content for your kids to see,” I think I’d point that out first.

  38. I believe I may be able to parse some of his outrage on this. In his post, he speaks of the breast-feeding mafia and that they might have paid for this cover. It is likely an off-handed joke, but it is in the exact rhythm and structure of punditry’s accusations of the “left-wing media brainwashing our kids with X” argument. It rather reminds me of the outrage that the new Muppet movie was programming kids to hate big oil companies. It may be, therefore that he’s offended not by the idea of breastfeeding, but that some shadow-y agenda mongering conspiracy is pushing their doctrine on children in things disguised as entertainment media. It’s fine to sell toys and sugary cereal to kids that way, but not to teach them politically charged things like this.

    However, is comments about Ma Kent were right out of line. I slap you with my glove, Mr. Dorman and challenge you to pistols at dawn!

  39. Anyway, here’s a random Dave Dorman cover.


  40. So far I havn’t seen anything in that picture I wouldn’t show my 3 year old. It’s a pretty picture, I saw it before and nothing popped out for me (pun intended) to take note of, sort of glad my head space takes the breatfeeding as normal, but actually thinking on it, it’s very progressive.

  41. Look, I breastfed until I was 15. It is perfectly natural and normal.

  42. So the big story is…dude was confused about the “rating”/market of the book…Seems like the only reason this is a story is to create controversy where there was just a misunderstanding. Interesting world we live in.

    • The story is that a dude got something very wrong, and could be impacting the success of a book in a way it shouldn’t. It was on the internet, being passed around, and discussed, and I’m concerned with making sure the actual story is known.

    • Amen, brother. Accountability… even on the internet. Hopefully this doesn’t impact the title in a negative way. Maybe it’ll even give it a boost? Bad press is good press kinda thing?

    • I hear that, I don’t want Saga to be negatively impacted either. Just think it’s odd what makes “news” sometimes. Plus, I’m sure that a little controversy, however silly, will get a few people to check it out who would not have otherwise. And we all know that all Vaughn really needs to grad you is one issue…

  43. my wife and i are pro-breastfeeding our children wherever the fuck we want to and are perfectly fine with our children knowing that breasts do exist and are nothing to be ashamed of and do in fact serve a purpose like all human body parts(except male nipples, have no idea what those are for). you just have to look out for pervs in public. luckily we have not had too much of a problem. just another case of breasts being over-sexualized thus making people uncomfortable.
    a sad state of affairs

  44. The reasoning here is hurting my head. So, it’s okay to see the Death Star blow up a planet, tons of X-Wings getting shot down, the Hoth base battle with Snowspeeders being shot down and crushed and Luke’s hand getting lopped off but breastfeeding is taboo. Wow. And I thought the general violence is more acceptable than sexuality was disturbing.

  45. Alex Ferrer is totally cool with the SAGA cover.

  46. See what that USA Today article needed was a handy headline stating the facts. Something along the lines of, “Bif! Bam! Pow! BKV’s New Series Isn’t For Kids!”

  47. Comic books.

  48. John Byrne. Frank Miller. j. michael straczynski.

    Dave Dorman has joined a pretty elite group called O.M.I.T. “Open Mouth, Insert Foot”

    • That’s hardly an elite group, since it consists of damn near everyone who has ever posted anything on the internet (including you and i) the only elite group dorman is a part of is the small percentage of people who do that, and then are able to admit they are wrong and say so publicly.

  49. Did anyone else read this and thing “Wait. BKV has a 1 yr old….and an 8 month old????” (Does math in head)…..that’s odd.

    Anyway, this has never, EVER been marketed as an all ages book. The free preview has a bunch of nudity, cursing and the actual birth of the child in it.

    Also, it was ridiculously awesome and I haven’t been this excited for a new comic in a very long time.

    • Thought the same thing. Did BKV even give his wife time to get home from the hospital before he knocked her back up?

      Someone should show Dorman the birth issue of Miracleman.

    • The older child could be anywhere from 17-23 months and still be referred to as a “1 yr old”. Also, either child could also be adopted.

  50. Breastfeeding is the single most beneficial thing a mother can do for he baby, the fact that a “creative” is offended by the fictional representation of it blows my mind. I’m always stunned when people get their hackles raised by the site of a nude body or something sexual. It’s how we all got here folks, nothing to be ashamed of!

  51. Thanks Josh; I’m also SUPER STOKED for this series ;D

  52. This is overall, a very silly thing. I will say it before, and here I am, saying it again. Taking offense to something gives no-one a right. It is a statement. Oh, Dorman is offended by this? Ok then, Dorman, put the book down and walk away. There are plenty of other books to show to your kid.

  53. It’s a great picture. It should be printed on some country’s monetary unit. Some country that wants to make a statement about the strength of diversity and a hope for the future.

    Other more perplexing breast feeding scenes can be found in:

    The Last Emperor and Game of Thrones.

    The former example accounts for a real historic tradition that, if nothing else, sheds light on how different cultures deal with milk exchange.

    In 1980 Michigan: my sixth grade teacher came back from her maternity leave for a visit one day and all the girls went into the activity room to watch her breast feed her new babe. I wasn’t invited, but at that point in my life, going outside to play dodge ball was a lot more enticing.

    Fiona Staple’s image is provocative, but it doesn’t seem exploitive, and more importantly, in that single image, that triad of figures, a potential reader gets a good indication of what he or she might be in store for.

    • I think you hit it on the head with that last sentence, @twiceborn. It comes down to your own interpretation of what is provocative vs. exploitative – and Dave is certainly entitled to his own. It was just a really shitty way that he did it. Came off pretty confrontational & condescending.

      And if his problem was how it was used as marketing – like you said, that cover gives a reader a pretty accurate & nuanced idea of what to expect inside said cover. Seems pretty ignorant to view that image as just crass T&A.

  54. I’m just impressed that lady is breast feeding standing up. When my wife feeds our newborn, she needs at least half the couch, three pillows, two blankets, and the Kardashians on the TV. It’s a production to say the least.

  55. The original blog entry by Dorman has been removed. According to his tweets, he’ll be posting a clarification of his opinions sometime today.

  56. boobs.

    thank you, goodnight!

  57. The ifanbase seems determined to find things to be pissed about. This makes me sad. I used to love this site, now i can barely come here anymore. i even have a hard time even listening to the show sometimes. It seems the I in Ifanboy stands for “I have the only opinion that matters”. And to be fair i am as guilty about it as anyone else.

    worst part is this used to be one of the more sensible places to go. I have seen this sentiment posted a lot lately. I have dropped so many podcasts and stopped going to so many websites in the past 2 years, all because of this growing need for people to bicker. Fandom gives a lot of lip service to being inclusionary, but only so far as you can be black, white, straight, gay, male female, young old, whatever, as long as you agree with whatever unimind is the dominant one in any particular community. If not expect to get piled on.

    I have to wonder if part of the dwindling readership may be from people getting sick of being part of the culture we have built. i know i am getting there. Too much of the discussion fandom seems determined to have is not one that i want to be part of anymore. Small step from giving up on fandom to giving up on comics.

    breastfeeding in public or on the cover of a comic (even a kids one) doesnt bother me.

    someone not sharing my opinion about it doesnt bother me either

  58. Good thing he didn’t see the preview if he was already offendend by the cover.

  59. This is just slow news. That guys opinion means nothing to me. This just makes me think of how bad the comic industry is as a whole when this is the big news. As was said it’s pretty pathetic how people see something wrong with the natural order of life but violence is fantastic.

  60. It comes down to two things,
    1) he did not clearly read what the writer wrote and he thought this was a childrens book when it is not
    2) Americans are too damn prudish when it comes to anything having to do with nudity.

  61. I’m actually offended by the use of the phrase “N-word” in this article. Like Louie CK puts it, it makes me think of a word you don’t want to say without you having to say it. I’m sure the phrase “the word *REMOVED BY ADMIN* ” cannot be interpreted as hate speech. Right?

    G-d damn, that was a great issue of Ex Machina though.

  62. People who say n-word instead of just coming out and saying *REMOVED BY ADMIN* annoy me, words themselves are not good or bad, it is the meaning that people give words and how we use them that give them meaning.

  63. Wow I thought this was an adult site, I did not realize that you guys edit people’s posts, as a student working on his masters in library and information sciences that makes me very sad that you would promote censorship of any kind.

    • I’m pretty sure the only time an admin edits a post is when the post violates the ifanboy terms of service agreement. Which, as adults, we’re all expected to understand and adhere to in order to participate in this privately owned and operated Internet community.

      Don’t get upset that they follow their own rules.

    • Words can be hurtful. You can get your point across without being Lenny Bruce. Not everything is appropriate for everywhere. You might have a degree in something related to words, but this is the way we choose to run our website. It’s not governed by the constitution, it’s governed by our rules. Take them or leave them, but we’re trying to talk about comic books, not fight the good fight for freedom.

      You need to understand something else about writing. Had I used that word, the entire article, and all the comments beneath would have been about the use of that word, in what was essentially a minor point.

    • I support Josh’s response. My post just above Walter’s was similarly edited in a very defensible instance of CYA. We (Walter and I) don’t really have cause to be affronted by the website policy. Too bad using a word to talk about a word is offensive because of the strong association with using the word to talk about people. Better to deal with it though. Or argue about it somewhere else.

  64. Getting back on topic: Her breast is hanging out and this Dorman guy is offended.

    Also, did anyone else notice the turkey baster in her hand?