A variant cover for Batgirl #41 has some Twitter-people up in arms over the depiction of the Joker with Batgirl. The Joker has his arm around her with a rather large gun in his hand and he’s painting a joker smile on her face. Barbara Gordon, the woman behind the Batgirl mask, looks understandably scared.
It’s a powerful image. It’s an homage to Batman: The Killing Joke, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by enemy of free speech, Brian Bolland.
This cover was commissioned from Brazilian artist Rafael Albuquerque.
To say this cover triggered some Twitter and Tumblr outrage is perhaps an understatement. People outraged by the art even created their own hashtag, #changethecover.
DC Comics has canceled the cover, supposedly at the artist’s request in response to the outrage.
I can’t imagine demanding that something I don’t like be canceled or changed. If I don’t like the cover to a book or what’s inside the book, I simply don’t buy the book. It wouldn’t even occur to me to demand that it not be published so that other people can’t have it.
That seems like censorship.
Now that DC Comics has bowed to the whim of an angry hashtag, you can expect this type of crap to happen more often. People who want to censor art, thanks to DC Comics, now have the false-perception of power.
If I were in charge at DC Comics, I would have made the Joker artwork the regular, non-variant cover. I would have made the regular cover the variant cover.
That’s how you respond to people who want to censor art: you politely listen to their demands, then do the complete opposite.