DC Comics Cancels ‘Batgirl’ Joker Variant Cover After Death Threats Start Coming In

DC Comics decided to cancel publication of the Joker variant cover of Batgirl issue number 41. The cover shows Joker with his arm around Batgirl and tracing a bloody smile across her face. Many have criticized the cover, and now at the request of artist Rafael Albuquerque, the cover was canceled.

People were actually receiving “threats of violence and harassment” due to the Batgirl #41 variant cover, and DC Comics just wasn’t having that.

batgirl cover joker

Albuquerque is the artist that created the Batgirl cover, and he released a statement due to all the controversy.

“My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art,” Albuquerque said in a statement. “For that reason, I have recommended to DC that the variant cover be pulled.”

According to CBR News, the cover was released on Friday and was just one of 25 Joker-themed variant covers set to be released in June. True comic book fans know that the cover isn’t one that came out of nowhere.

Rafael Albuquerque created the variant cover by taking inspiration from the famously known Batman: The Killing Joke story from Brian Bolland and Alan Moore in 1988. In that story, Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl is shot by the Joker and ends up paralyzed.

Now, it was never actually revealed in the story itself, but there were insinuations and rumors that Gordon’s character was also sexually assaulted in The Killing Joke.

Upon the Batgirl Joker variant cover being released, many started criticizing it for going back to a time that was awfully dark for the villain. HitFix reported that some realize that a lot of people believe DC Comics never should have released this particular cover.

Albuquerque’s full statement revealed that he was “pleased that DC Comics is listening to my concerns and will not be publishing the cover.”

DC Entertainment then took it upon themselves to release a statement regarding the cancellation of the statement. They revealed that the Joker variant covers are “in recognition of the 75th anniversary” of the character, but threats will not be tolerated.

“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.”

DC’s statement doesn’t exactly tell the whole story and could come across as a bit vague. Batgirl writer Cameron Stewart jumped on Twitter to clarify things a bit.

Something to clarify, because DCs statement was a little unclear. @rafaalbuquerque did not get threats. People OBJECTING to the cover did.

— Cameron Stewart (@cameronMstewart) March 17, 2015

No matter who was actually receiving the threats of violence, there is no reason for them to happen. DC Comics has officially canceled the Joker variant cover of Batgirl #41, and it will indeed get a new one. There has been no word yet as to what it may be.

[Image via DC Comics – Rafael Albuquerque]