It has been widely reported that criticism over the variant cover of Batgirl #41, which is one of 25 variant covers that were expected to be released in June is being pulled. DC Comics is pulling the variant cover at the request of the artist, Rafael Albuquerque.
“My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art,” Albuquerque, the acclaimed artist of “American Vampire,” said in a statement. “For that reason, I have recommended to DC that the variant cover be pulled.”
CBR reported that the artist did not recommend the cover be taken down due to threats of violence, as DC’s statement about the takedown eluded to that fact. The variant cover was an homage to Batman: The Killing Joke, which featured Barbara Gordon being shot and sexually assaulted by the Joker.
Now some people have been ultra-critical of the cover, which I find confusing, especially since it reeks of the homage. Not to mention that it is a variant cover, not the main cover of the comic. Note that variant covers have very little to do with the actual story inside.
This was DC Entertainment’s statement in regards to the comic:
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
This was Rafael Albuquerque’s response:
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,
Let us know what you think about the cover and if the criticism is warranted or just plain over-sensitivity?