Batgirl #41 Cover Controversy Worth it?

In the comic world, there are some issues (ok a lot) that are naturally drawn and written for a predominantly male audience of readers. As a girl that has grown up loving comics, I can say honestly that there aren’t that many controversies that bothered me, and that says a lot considering the amount of Alan Moore I like to read. When I learned that the Batgirl cover featuring a menacing Joker was pulled, I was very curious as to why. I can say, if this was Marvel cover art, I would probably agree, but as DC is a bit darker and has more continuously heavy material, I would have preferred this cover art stay.




According to the article published online by IGN, DC Comics pulled the cover because it wasn’t the “story direction” that Batgirl was going, whereas the artist stated that he was simply trying to pay homage to Moore’s Killing Joke novel. In the novel, the Joker is seen crippling Barbara Gordon by shooting her, then stripping her and taking photos to later torment her father. From a female perspective, I really didn’t think that it was necessary to pull this cover. It wasn’t offensive and regardless of the creative direction of the current story, it highlights something that (in my opinion) is a part of the character. It would be no different than a cover featuring The Comedian and Silk Spectre.




As seen on the DC Comics Wikia, there are countless plot points and story lines that are plagued with a scene of sexual assault, and not only featuring a female victim. Characters such as Silk Spectre, Arella, Lady Flash, Starfire, Windfall, and The Huntress are all featured enduring horrific crimes that lead them to evolve into something else. Displaying these dark events play a vital role and are not used lightly and without intent, so keep that in mind.

Unfortunate events in comics, like a sexual assault or a murder, often create characters that we never would have seen rise to stand for good, evil, or plain vengeance. It shows the readers that pushed into these tragic events, these characters have a choice to make and it’s never an easy one. It is sometimes the defining moment in a superhero’s story when they are given the chance to do something wrong, but they choose the path of the selfless. Take Spider-Man for example (even though Marvel has a different tone), after the death of Gwen Stacy, he has an opportunity to kill the Green Goblin, but makes a choice not to. Moments like these make our heroes and villains into what they are.

Pulling this cover wasn’t necessary, and a loss for new comic Wednesdays. In a statement released by artist, Rafael Albuquerque, as seen on, he requests that his cover be removed:

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.

I haven’t heard of anyone requesting that the cover be redone, so it’s unclear at this point if there will be a Joker variant cover at all. I hope they reconsider and at least recommission another, as this moment is pivotal for Barbara Gordon and the Joker, and it part of who she is.





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About Jennifer

Happily married and living in Wisconsin. It may be as cold as Hoth, but it's beautiful in the Summer.

One thought on “Batgirl #41 Cover Controversy Worth it?

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