With DC celebrating 75 years of the Joker, it seems DC has damn near stopped the champagne popping.
DC got hit with a little controversy with their upcoming line of Joker-variant covers to be splashed across many DC titles in June. One cover in particular has a few people riled up. Batgirl #41‘s Joker Variant cover. The artist Rafael Albuquerque has since requested to have the cover cancelled after recieving blowback from the public, and since has been pulled by DC Comics.
So what’s the issue with the issue? Joker holds Batgirl hostage with a gun, menacing as he does. And he draws a red smiling face on an otherwise terrified Batgirl. It could be blood. Then it could just be paint. In any case it was enough for it to get pulled:
Not exactly the most sinister Joker moment, but it didn’t stop Albuquerque from making this statement:
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.
That Killing Joke certainly has left its mark on all of us. Honestly, I really don’t see the issue. As a variant it is striking, and could easily be remedied while adding a bit of cult significance, like selling it sealed in all black, or a dual cover or something. I don’t know. But we think it is a beautiful render and should at least be made into a poster or something.
But it was DC’s PC dribble that had our faces twisted in a “waaa—” position:
…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.
Ok DC, whatever you say, bruh. Not sure how you’ve been keeping your doors open by providing narratives without conflict and the threat of violence all these years.
So what do you guys think? Was pulling the celebratory Joker cover called for? Or just reactionary PC DC dribble?