Yesterday saw the news that DC Comics had cancelled the Joker 75th Anniversary variant cover set for June's Batgirl #41.
After getting heat on various social networks and websites, the artist behind The Killing Joke homage piece, Rafael Albuquerque, requested that the cover be pulled.
"My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art," Albuquerque said in a statement released yesterday. "For that reason, I have recommended to DC that the variant cover be pulled."
DC Comics followed up with their own statement, which only added to the controversy as it read in part: "...threats of violence and harassment are wrong and have no place in comics or society."
The statement by DC made it sound like the artist was threatened, which never took place.
Both Batgirl's regular artist, Cameron Stewart, and Albuquerque cleared up the confusion on Twitter.
"Something to clarify, because DCs statement was a little unclear. [Rafael Albuquerque] did not get threats. People OBJECTING to the cover did," tweeted Stewart.
"Ill talk more about it tomorrow but I was never threatened. just to make it clear," Albuquerque tweeted as well.
The reason cited for the controversy is that Batgirl is currently considered a more light-hearted series than Alan Moore's serious take on The Killing Joke.
Apparently, the creative team nor the main editor on Batgirl are to blame for deciding to go with the variant, as Comics Alliance points out variant covers at DC are "often commissioned and approved by art directors who have little to do with the actual books the covers will be placed on."
Comic Book creator Erik Larsen also offers his thoughts - in what's being described as a Twitter rant - as Larsen argues (in part), "...creators should not be taking orders from the audience..."
Other comic creators and fans have also reacted on Twitter:
Dudes saying they can’t see Batgirl ever not being terrified of Joker are obvs #FakeGeekBoys. Babs has stomped Joker repeatedly since KJ— Donna Dickens (@MildlyAmused) March 17, 2015
I avoid talking about the Batgirl cover for two days. I think I'm safe, then my students ask me what I think about it... #damnyoumrinternet— Jim Zub (@JimZub) March 17, 2015
Someone tinkered with the Batgirl cover a little. Amazing how much it changes with just the eyes. pic.twitter.com/NRS3SVSqOK— Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) March 17, 2015
I, for one, LOVED this canceled Batgirl "Killing Joke" homage. pic.twitter.com/dSJgoovh6o— Alejandro A. Arbona (@Alejandrobot) March 17, 2015
for every male led ghostbusters movie that gets greenlit, we get to tank a batgirl cover. sorry folks, I don't make the rules.— DafnaDOOM! (@DafnaDOOM) March 17, 2015
So Cameron Stewart the writer for Batgirl blocks anyone who disagrees with one of his tweets. Even respectfully. WOW. Mature.— I Am The Night (@TheRisenKnight) March 17, 2015
Warning, this is very personal and triggering, but I spell out my reasons as to why I identify with Batgirl so much. pic.twitter.com/wS7wkefOWa— Meredith Placko (@mplacko) March 17, 2015
We glorify one of the most abusive relationships in comics (Harley x Joker) but pull a Joker x Batgirl cover because it's too real? SMH— Meredith Placko (@mplacko) March 17, 2015
I said DC was right to pull the Batgirl cover & really pissed some people off. Nice. I'd hate to think I was losing my touch.— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) March 17, 2015
I guess that after the latest controversy, this is the only appropriate depiction of Batgirl. pic.twitter.com/1vNt8dYBeR— Daniel Vávra (@DanielVavra) March 17, 2015
Ironically, none of the blokes complaining about the Batgirl cover we're going to buy Batgirl anyway— Steve Morris (@stevewmorris) March 17, 2015
I have nothing to do with Batgirl, I am not in that loop even remotely. Have no idea why people think I still have influence on her book.— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) March 17, 2015
They may have changed that Batgirl cover but the entire concept of the Joker is an unacceptable slur on mental illness and must be stopped.— Popehat (@Popehat) March 17, 2015
Then bigots all over the United States went crazy and it ended with kids forced to burn comic books in schools. pic.twitter.com/3zAHWuTpEV— Daniel Vávra (@DanielVavra) March 16, 2015