Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that for the first time since 1953, the Doomsday Clock—its representation of how close the world is to a catastrophic, civilization-ending disaster—would be moved to two minutes to midnight. DC Comics decided that was a grand way to promote its current event series, named Doomsday Clock, until it went a bit awry.
For those of you who aren’t following along, DC is currently running a 12-issue series from Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Brad Anderson, which promises to merge the iconic Watchmen universe into the wider DC Comics continuity. Dr. Manhattan meeting Superman, Batman meeting Rorschach, things like that. The third issue of the series just came out this week.
But everyone’s talking about the Doomsday Clock for another reason today, now that the Bulletin’s announced the new position of its Doomsday Clock. It’s the closest it has ever been to midnight (the metaphorical moment of a global cataclysm of our own doing), and the first time the clock has been moved this close since 1953, when the Cold War saw the US and other nations begin to develop hydrogen bombs far more powerful than previous atomic payloads.
With that in mind, DC Comics thought it had the perfect opportunity to promote its own Doomsday Clock... and then immediately got lambasted on social media for capitalizing on #DoomsdayClock being one of the the top trends on Twitter.
It wouldn’t actually be the first time the publisher has tied the event into our rapidly-encroaching end times. The company previously announced the first issue of the series would be made available at 11:57pm at special midnight launches. It was a pointed reference to the real Doomsday Clock’s then-current position of three minutes to midnight (the clock moved to two-and-a-half minutes in 2017, sparked by President Trump’s nuclear saber-rattling with North Korea). But it would seem that this time, being the closest the world’s been to total destruction in over 60 years, was a bit too much—and the tweet was surreptitiously deleted.
We reached out to DC Comics to see if the company had a statement about removing the tweet, and we’ll update this post if we hear back. Enjoy your distractions from impending disaster responsibly, folks.
UPDATE 6.00PM EST: DC has now issued a new tweet apologizing for its earlier Doomsday Clock promotion.