Well this was one controversial week for DC comics. It all started with the cover art for an upcoming issue of the Batgirl comic book series stirred up one of the darkest memories of the superhero’s past as well as controversy among her fans. Here’s the cover:
“Batgirl is not a hero on that cover. She’s a victim. She’s terrified. She’s being physically restrained. It looks like a snuff film.”Fans and members of the comics community started the hashtag #ChangeTheCover on Twitter to voice their outrage to DC Comics. Some fans said on twitter:
“#changethecover DC Comics, glamorizing sexual assault is disgusting shame on you”
On Monday, Albuquerque issued a statement requesting his cover art be pulled. “For me, it was just a creepy cover that brought up something from the character’s past… for others, it touched a very important nerve. I respect these opinions… My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art,” Albuquerque wrote. On Twitter he posted: “Ill talk more about it tomorrow but I was never threatened. just to make it clear.”
DC Comics has officially pulled the cover in favor of the original artwork below. The comic book publisher addressed the backlash in a statement.
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.
This was where it all kicked off and the controversy soared to another level. The decision to pull the cover sparked a second outcry of fans, using the hashtag #SaveTheCover, who decried DC’s censorship of Albuequerque’s work. Many fans have also misinterpreted DC’s statement, assuming Albuquerque was the target of the online threats. Here’s some of the fans’ tweets:
“So, what did DC Comics say yesterday? “Hey SJW, if you’re offended, claim or fake death threats and we’ll censor anything!””
As a comic artist i feel ashamed that an artist has to auto-censor his own work for fear, this is why we need #GamerGate #SaveTheCover
However, as many on Twitter pointed out, the decision to pull the cover has less to do with censorship and more to do with choosing art with the right tone for the current storyline and the primarily female audience.
Oh COME ON guys. The Batgirl cover was a misfire for the people who read that book. Wrong tone. Pulling it was a very reasonable decision.It ain’t censorship, it’s not an outrage, it’s the right choice – every aspect of a book should be working for the story and the audience.
What do you think? Should DC have pulled the cover?