New cover for 'Divided States of Hysteria' 4
Image Comics and creator Howard Chaykin have apologized for the planned cover to The Divided States of Hysteria #4, pulled it from the issue, and substituted the planned cover for issue #6 for #4.  The original cover depicted a lynching scene with a man hanging by the neck, with mutilated genitals, and a slur for people from Pakistan on his shirt. The image of the planned cover, released in conjunction with the September soliciations last week, created a firestorm on social media.  

“Image Comics and Howard Chaykin would like to apologize over the distress caused by the cover to The Divided States of Hysteria #4,” the statement posted on the Image website said. “It’s neither Howard’s nor Image’s intention to inflict pain on anyone already dealing with intolerance or hostility on a personal level.” 

The statement provided some context for the planned cover.  “Far from an endorsement of the horrible violence depicted or the ugly language used by many of the characters, Howard's goal is to give us a glimpse into a society crumbling under the weight of ignorance, hatred, and intolerance,” it said. “It’s unsettling to be sure, but it’s difficult to convey the horrors of a world gone wrong without also showing what it looks like.”

“We understand, however, that with no foreknowledge of the series’ content, the cover to this issue is painful and offensive,” the statement continued.

The series, a dystopic allegorical examination of modern politics set in a near-future America that is barely recovering from national trauma when a destabilizing terrorist attack happens, launched in June (see “’The Divided States of Hysteria’”).  Chaykin noted his history of creating controversial material when the series was announced. “Black Kiss was banned in the UK and Canada -- The Divided States of Hysteria may very well get me arrested here in the good ol’ USA.”

Divided States of Hysteria #4 will be released in September.