This June DC Comics will continue their popular monthly variant covers with a series based on The Joker. A total of 25 books will feature special Joker variants, although the Batgirl one caused the internet to have a conniption fit and the resulting threats against DC and the artist has caused the variant to be cancelled.
The cover was done by Rafael Albuquerque (who has requested it be pulled after the reaction) and as you can see above it’s a homage to Alan Moore’s definitive Joker story, The Killing Joke. People complained that due to what The Joker does to Batgirl in that story that the cover was in bad taste, but isn’t that kind of missing the entire point of who The Joker is?
DC Comics released this statement about the cover cancellation, and explains that they received threats of violence and harassment over 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 Albuquerqueâ€™s homage to Alan Mooreâ€™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 Rafaelâ€™s request, DC Comics will not publish the Batgirl variant. â€“ DC Entertainment”
Rafael Albuquerque’s statement is as follows:
“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 Batgirlâ€™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 characterâ€™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,
I would suggest these people read a copy of The Killing Joke, but if a variant cover offended them this much the actual story might give them a heart attack.
The crazy thing about this is the current Batgirl run references The Killing Joke. Secret Origins #10 (done by the current Batgirl creative team) featured these panels. It was released in February of 2015, and this just proves the people who threw a fit over this don’t actually READ the comics: