Over the weekend, DC Entertainment previewed its upcoming Joker-themed variant covers for June [which you can see here], with artist Rafael Albuquerque’s cover for Batgirl #41 coming in for heavy criticism, both for going against the current tone of the Batgirl comic book, and for glamorising violence against women.
The controversial covers pays homage to Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, a seminal Batman tale whereby the Joker attacked (and likely sexually assaulted) Barbara, shooting her in the spine and leaving the character paralysed.
Well, following a request from Albuquerque himself, DC has now made the decision to pull the variant cover, announcing that Batgirl will no longer be part of the Joker Month.
Here’s Albuquerque’s statement to Comic Book Resources:
My Batgirl variant cover artwork was designed to pay homage to a comic that I really admire, and I know is a favorite of many readers. ‘The Killing Joke’ is part of Batgirl’s canon and artistically, I couldn’t avoid portraying the traumatic relationship between Barbara Gordon and the Joker.
For me, it was just a creepy cover that brought up something from the character’s past that I was able to interpret artistically. But it has become clear, that for others, it touched a very important nerve. I respect these opinions and, despite whether the discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited.
My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art. For that reason, I have recommended to DC that the variant cover be pulled. I’m incredibly pleased that DC Comics is listening to my concerns and will not be publishing the cover art in June as previously announced.
With all due respect,
And here’s DC’s statement about pulling the cover:
We publish comic books about the greatest heroes in the world, and the most evil villains imaginable. The Joker variant covers for June are in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Joker.
Regardless if fans like Rafael Albuquerque’s homage to Alan Moore’s THE KILLING JOKE graphic novel from 25 years ago, or find it inconsistent with the current tonality of the Batgirl books – threats of violence and harassment are wrong and have no place in comics or society.
We stand by our creative talent, and per Rafael’s request, DC Comics will not publish the Batgirl variant.
This isn’t the first time that a comic book publisher has pulled a controversial cover, with Marvel opting against releasing Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman variant cover, and Cartoon Network scrapping a variant cover for IDW’s Powerpuff Girls which was criticised for sexualising minors.
Has DC made the right decision scrapping the Batgirl cover? Let us know your thoughts…