DC Cancels Comic Cover After Complaints That Joker’s Threatening Batgirl Is Sexist

Batgirl (DC Comics)
Wait -- villains are supposed to be good people?

At the artist’s request, DC Comics has decided to cancel a cover design after complaints that the Joker attacking Batgirl is misogynistic and sexist and promotes violence against women.

The cover, which features the villain holding a gun to Batgirl and drawing his blood-grin across her face, was supposed to be released as a “variant” cover in June as part of DC’s “Joker Month.”

That story that inspired the artwork, as a piece in the Guardian explained it, was one called “The Killing Joke . . . in which the Joker attacked — and probably sexually assaulted or raped — Batgirl.”

The artwork prompted a “#ChangeTheCover” campaign and other forms of Internet Protest demanding that the cover be scrapped.

“It’s disturbing,” Teresa Jusino wrote in a post on a so-called “inclusive” “geek culture” website called “The Mary Sue.” “And while it’s certainly drawn well, and it references a classic story from The Joker’s history, the fact is, it’s not what many of Batgirl Readers of any gender want to see for one of DC’s few female heroes currently with her own title.”

(Side note: Jusino’s last sentence is not only debatable but actually false considering the “#SaveTheCover” hashtag campaign started by those who very much did want to see it.)

It’s good to note that the key word “probably” in the “probably sexually assaulted” clause that the Guardian used to describe the story designates that it’s just that author’s opinion and not a definite event in the story’s plot. But more important: Does it really even matter either way?

It goes without saying that it’s not okay to promote assaulting women, but this cover wasn’t doing that. After all — spoiler alert! — the Joker is a villain. Villains do things that are “not okay,” including some that may be (gasp!) misogynistic. They do things that are horrible and despicable because that’s what makes them villains. Without evil behavior, they’re no longer villains; without villains, there’s no conflict; and without conflict, there’s no story. This is so clearly logical that most children understand it, and it’s mind-blowing that we’ve reached a point in  political-correctness indoctrination that adults cannot.

I mean really, what do they want? Only covers attacking male protagonists? Wouldn’t that be sexist against Batgirl? I thought feminists wanted more female characters featured in comics! Or maybe they want covers of the Joker attacking male protagonists combined with a split screen of him participating in a protest for affirmative-consent legislation? I’m obviously kidding, but things have gotten so insane that I’m half-worried these people might think it’s a great suggestion.

By the way, in requesting that DC remove the cover, artist Rafael Albuquerque did not say that those who had objected were necessarily right — but that regardless of whether the “discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited” and that he ultimately didn’t want to “hurt or upset anyone.”

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online



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