Normally on a Tuesday night, I spend my time reading some comics, relaxing and eventually writing reviews about them (which doesn’t happen as often as my editor would like it to!). But tonight was different. Tonight I was to wound up and angry. Let me tell you why:
Rafael Albuquerque drew this amazing Variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41 , part of D.C.’s ongoing monthly Variant gimmick, the month in question being Joker month:
And due to certain “fans” calling it controversial, misogynistic, an inappropriate portrayal of the character, and some very creative reporting by sites hoping to make news where there isn’t any, D.C. has pulled the cover from its solicitations. This being done at the request of the artist himself.
So for all those comic “fans”, men and woman alike, who felt oppressed, offended, hurt or slighted by this cover have succeeded in bullying an innocent artist, who painted a variant cover reflective of a past storyline of the title character, starring the villain of said variant month, into a shame where he feels uncomfortable and vulnerable enough to pull his artistic expression from publication and then apologize for his own actions. Can anyone else taste the thick sour yuck of irony all over that??? How dare you!
First of all, if you haven’t noticed by my over use of quotations above, those of you who derided Rafael Albuquerque for this cover truly aren’t FANS, not of Batgirl and certainly not of comics as far as I’m concerned. If you truly were comic fans, you would have recognized this as the homage masterpiece to the Killing Joke it truly is.
So maybe you’re new to comics. Or maybe just ignorant of its glorious history. But c’mon. You know the Killing Joke. Everyone knows the Killing Joke. It is not only a defining story for the comic medium, pushing both the Joker and Batman’s antagonistic relationship to the next level, it was the defining moment for Barbara Gordon: being shot by the Joker, tortured and possibly raped, and left paralyzed from the waist down, her Batgirl career over.
And it was hundreds of times more graphic than this cover. Wanna see?:
Now if you think I’m only furthering the proof of misogyny here, well you’re wrong. Yes it exists in comics. It exists in T.V. Music. Sports. Civil Jobs. So does racism. Guess where they both exist too. IN THE REAL WORLD!
The difference is intent. Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, and Rafael Abuquerque did not wake up one morning and say hey I feeling like hating women today, what can I do via the comic book medium? I don’t think most artists or writers do. Most just want to tell a damn good story, or draw a damn good book.
I’m sure some are misogynists. Just like some are closet racists, homophobes and religious zealots. You see what I’m saying right. This cover was clearly not drawn with misogyny in mind. It was drawn with talent.
I even heard rumblings about the gun being Phallic. Wow. Way to reach for it folks. I’d say you’d have a case…. if guns were actually made, in ANY. OTHER. SHAPE.
When you start the Vagina-Shaped gun company that really takes off, and no one is drawing them in comics, then you can complain. As far as this cover goes: That is a very well drawn revolver, Mister Albuquerque.
And even better: “it doesn’t reflect the “tone” of whats going on in the comic now”. TONE! You know who says the word Tone alot? Elitist Jackasses, that’s who.
First of all it’s a VARIANT. It doesn’t have to reflect anything! D.C. had Monster Variants, Selfie Variants, Bombshell Variants, ad nauseam. Those didn’t reflect at all, ANYTHING going on in those books at that time. This month happens to be Joker variant month.
Do you reallllly think there are Joker-Sharks in this issue of Aquaman?
or this lovely scene is going to happen:
Also, The Killling Joke, and any reference to it, will always be relevant to Batgirl, regardless of whats going on in the book. The Killing Joke was in continuity before and after The New 52. It wasn’t her paralyzing attack that made Barbara Gordon who she was. It was recovery, both physical and emotional. It was her rising to the challenge and still being a crime fighter by becoming Oracle, founding and leading the Birds of Prey, resolving her romance with Nightwing, and being the cybernetic eyes and ears for not only the Bat-family, but the Justice League as well!
Sometimes it’s not mysogyny, sometimes it’s a story!
Mr. Albuquerque, you have my utmost sympathies, not only as a fan but as a fellow creative. I can completely understand why you asked to have it pulled. I don’t think you’re a coward. You seem like an artist who wants to draw good comics, and draw them well you do. Don’t let these fools get to you man, keep doing what you’re doing and be proud.
Thank you for paying homage to a classic story that changed the face of Batman and the comic book industry in general with a well thought out variant cover reflecting the horrible event that still instills fear in Batgirl. Any true Batman fan was impressed. These whiners and finger waggers truly weren’t fans as far as I and many others are concerned, and none of us are impressed by the shock journalism used to push this non-issue.
Please folks, if you’re not really into comics and just looking to sling crap around to stir up controversy in order to feel better about yourselves, do it somewhere else. You’re screwing up the real world enough, stay away from our comics!
I’m not big on social media, but I’m now supporting #dontchangethecover. Found these gems on the good old instagram that kind of make my point.
Comics are supposed to be fun, stop trying to suck all of it out! You you don’t like what you’re reading or seeing in comics, than maybe you shouldn’t be reading them, but for Odin’s sake please stop blogging, writing, tweeting and commenting about them. You’re buzzkilling it for the rest of us!!