"My point yesterday wasn't talking about the comic book creators. I was talking about Hollywood, the people who market the movie, who determine when it's gonna be released," he said Wednesday. "I never said that the villain was created by the comic book character creator to be part of the 2012 campaign. I never said that at all. Everybody's out there running around saying I got this giant conspiracy theory that the Batman people, the creators, the comic book creators, created this thing to campaign against Romney. I never said that. I didn't say there was a conspiracy. I said the Democrats were going to use it, which they are."
Limbaugh is not the first commentator to refer to the similarities between the names Bain and Bane, or even the most prominent. Jon Stewart and David Letterman have both noted the similarity and timing. But Limbaugh's comments on Tuesday generated headlines suggesting a conspiracy rather than a coincidence.
Fans of the Batman characters were up in arms over comic book history, which pre-dates Romney's career in presidential politics. The villain Bane appeared in comic books as early as 1993. And Chuck Dixon, a DC Comics writer who helped create Bane in the '90s, went out of his way to declare himself a conservative.
"The idea that there's some kind of liberal agenda behind the use of Bane in the new movie is silly," Dixon told ComicBook.com on Tuesday. "I refuted this within hours of the article in the Washington Examiner suggesting that Bane would be tied to Bain Capital and Mitt Romney appearing. Bane was created by me and Graham Nolan and we are lifelong conservatives and as far from left-wing mouthpieces as you are likely to find in comics."
Christopher Nolan, the director of the upcoming movie, recently addressed the possibility of political overtones in his Batman trilogy, which reportedly shot some scenes in the Financial District in New York City during the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests. In the latest issue of the magazine, Nolan told Entertainment Weekly, "I don't feel there's a left or right perspective in the film."
For his part, Limbaugh — no stranger to controversy — laughed off the firestorm generated over his comments, saying: "A discussion about a comic book villain gets people more irritated and agitated than Obama's assault on the private sector, than Obama's assault on jobs."