From the Rookie Corner – SO, How About That Batgirl Variant…

At this point, I assume most – maybe even all – of you have heard about all the hoopla over Rafael Albuquerque’s Batgirl/Joker variant cover. If you are living under a rock, this June DC Comics is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Joker with 25 Joker-centric variant covers across flagship titles like Aquaman, Batman/Superman, Green Lantern, Action Comics, Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Teen Titans. It was the variant for Batgirl #41  that seems to have caused a bit of controversy. This is the cover in question:


I am pretty well know for my… intense dislike for things. I am also, I admit, a feminist. So, how about that batgirl variant?

Personally, when I saw it, I thought Batman: The Killing Joke. And that’s all. Creepy? HELL yeah. But it IS the Joker…. isn’t that his MO? I skipped reading most of the blog comments. I started to get involved in a social media discussion – and opted not to engage. then, DC released the following statement regarding the issue:

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. – DC Entertainment

Threats of violence and harassment? Ah – it’s a comic book cover…. what the ACTUAL hell!?!

Rafael Albuquerque also issued a statement on the issue:

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,


That was exactly how I saw things. the relationship between Batgirl and The Joker will, in my mind, always be one of trauma. As strong and powerful as she has become, in a ‘real world scenario’ (I know – it’s a comic and not real world…) there would be a killer case of PTSD going on. I don’t see it as a commentary on all women. I didn’t see it as ‘glorifying’ violence. I didn’t hyper-analyze even bit the posturing of the characters. DC’s mention of “threats of violence and harassment” were more disturbing than the actual cover. Damn. Were people THAT mad at Albuquerque? Turns out not to be the case…

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Ill talk more about it tomorrow but I was never threatened. just to make it clear.

— Rafael Abuquerque (@rafaalbuquerque) March 17, 2015

That Tweet was followed up by this one:

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Something to clarify, because DCs statement was a little unclear. @rafaalbuquerque did not get threats. People OBJECTING to the cover did.

— Cameron Stewart (@cameronMstewart) March 17, 2015

So, we are back to this bullshit. This baffles me. Sadly, this is not a ‘comic’ issue. It’s across the board. Ashley Judd comment just 2 days ago via Twitter:

Nice. Real nice. This is why we can’t have nice things…. In an interview with “MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts”, Judd said she plans to press charges against those behind the more disturbing threats of sexual violence she’s received on social media. Why can we not just agree to disagree? If you hated the cover – don’t buy it. Let your money talk. You want to debate the issue? Go for it! But if you ‘go to’ is name calling and threats, maybe you don’t have a valid point? The downside of the internet is any asshole with a connection can write an article. It’s not cast in stone and held up as the absolute true – it’s an opinion. Which is all I am doing here. An opinion. Lighten up, ‘Murica. That is all.

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