‘Batgirl’ Joker variant cover cancelled by DC


“Show me those pretty whites. Heheheheheeeee…”

Looks like DC Comics has just backed down after pressure for their Joker variant cover. The highly criticized picture of Batgirl in the clutches of Joker was to be released for Batgirl #41. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case anymore since Rafael Abuquerque, the artist, decided to take it down.

“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.”

In addition to this, he also stated in his defense:

“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,


A lot of hardcore fans have reacted negatively since these changes were made public. Apparently this was due to the fact that Batgirl is now drawn in a more brighter light, and seen as an icon for the younger generation. Led by the the creative team of artist Babs Tarr and co-writers Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, Batgirl is supposed to be a shining example of youth as opposed to the darker past she has experienced.

Since there were threats of violence and a huge public outcry for the picture to be taken down, DC had to make a public statement:

“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”

There you have it. It looks like the more people bitch and whine and moan about something, the big dogs will finally cave. Personally, I think this is a terrible idea and it only gives whiners more power to stifle creative freedom. This was the artist’s OWN personal hat tip towards the 1988 classic Batman: The Killing Joke. Whatever was implied in that comic about what Barbara Gordon experienced is up to interpretation from each reader. And even if it was a dark and traumatic time in her past, what of it? Comics and art go hand-in-hand; both imitate each other to a constant degree. This really had me scratching my head, because all I can ask is what’s next for them to change? Will they now have Joker (who is an essentially an insane psychopathic murderer) redrawn making balloon animals for toddlers in Gotham City park? I guess it’s time to throw the “dark and gritty” DC Comics ideology out the window. One can only wonder what else people will complain about next.


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