Home Gaming DC Comics pulls the controversial cover for Batgirl

DC Comics pulls the controversial cover for Batgirl

3 min read

Batgirl (3)

There’s an old trick in comic books, that has proven to be a successful way to shift copies: Variant covers. Nothing moves a comic book quicker than an issue with a limited print run and a cover by a superstar artist or twelve. It’s an idea that is firmly in place these days, with just about any comic on the newsstands having perhaps a guest artist work some magic. Sometimes it works out great. Other times however, the idea can backfire. Which is what happened with Batgirl, as one alternative cover from that popular series got pulled thanks to objections being raised.

If you’re not familiar with Batgirl comics lately, then here’s a quick look at the character, who has experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to a new direction from co-writers Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr:

Batgirl (2)

She’s hip, she’s fresh and she’s got a certain appeal that the regular Batman doesn’t have. Hell, she even smiles. Something few superheroes are even capable of these days. So what’s all the hubbub then? Well here’s the variant cover that American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque produced:

I think it’s a great piece of art that was inspired by artists Brian Bollands work in the classic Batman: The Killing Joke, but it’s a cover that many fans got particularly vocal over. In a statement over on CBR, Alburquerque said that the recent furore convinced him to ask DC to pull the cover. “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.”

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,


DC also got in on the official statement, saying that:

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

Maybe it’s for the best. As I said, the art itself is fantastic, but it references a period of Batgirl history that is incredibly dark. If you never read The Killing Joke, then the brief synopsis is that in that story, the Joker attempts to prove that anybody can go crazy if they happen to be on the receiving end of one truly horrific day. A point he proves to police commissioner James Gordon, by attacking him and his daughter Barbara Gordon, wounding her with a bullet to the spine that left her paralysed for several decades in the comics before the New 52 continuity had her back in action.

Last Updated: March 17, 2015


  1. I have to agree that cover is very dark. Scary even. Call me a ninny but the fear in Batgirl’s eyes is a bit too real, hence it freaks me out way more than it should.


    • MAcethy

      March 17, 2015 at 21:27

      Then simply don’t buy it, you have that choice. But forcing DC to cancel the cover because these “activists” were upset/triggered is one step too far.


      • Ranting Raptor

        March 18, 2015 at 08:13

        He agreed the cover is scary. He didn’t categorically state that it should be pulled.

        I also agree the cover is extremely creepy. Should it be pulled? Meh. To each their own. I’m sure there are people who don’t like it and people who would love to own a cover like that.


        • Dutch Matrix

          March 18, 2015 at 08:23

          There are and I have to wonder what the hell is wrong with them! LoL. Just kidding. A lot of comic fans I know is sad about the cover being pulled. I for one hate it that people cannot let people enjoy stuff they want to enjoy.
          Same for this.
          My choice is just a simple: Nope. Thanks.


  2. PrinceAshitaka

    March 17, 2015 at 21:47

    I like the cover. In the Killing joke, The Joker shoots batgirl. It’s part of the story, hell, it’s DC history. why are we mad at a cover that depicts an event that happened like 26 years ago? Keep the darn cover.


  3. Sk3tz0

    March 17, 2015 at 22:44

    Dammit!! See nothing wrong with that Cover and will make it my Wallpaper for my phone and laptop. Bunch of Crybabies the lot of them. By people opposing this cover they indirectly oppose The Oracle. Killing Joke is one of my Fav Story Lines. As a fan I say we should leave the artist n writers to do with their Stories and Artwork as they please and we as fans shouldnt fuck with it. It’s like telling the Renaissance Artist to paint “star” the nipples of the nude paintings they did.. If Muscians like whats her fat butt can go around showing fat ass in music videos then artist Rafael Albuquerque should be allowed to create “Dark and Grim” artwork.


    • Metal Rabbit

      March 17, 2015 at 23:33

      You bring up a good point; what if we were to start causing a ruckus about all the semi-naked “musicians”, with their terrible life-lessons and moral ambiguity .

      I know us rational folk don’t behave that way but still, would be a nice change of scenery. I mean FFS, Kardashian can blind me with a nude shoot but Batgirl can’t be portrayed in a “dark” light? Fuck off.


      • Anthony Smith

        July 14, 2015 at 05:28

        Well said, if DC comics could create their own sex symbol heroines like Wonder Woman, Starfire or Black Canary etc, I wondered why can’t they do the same for Batgirl series ^_^ ? They could even do an special sexy anecdote edition for her comic issue with example of narrative like this:

        The daily life of batgirl

        It was an normal morning as Barbara woke up when the alarm clock ring, she went to the bathroom to brush her teeth and take a warm shower (comic strip began to show her entering shower cubicle, open the shower tap from the mounted wall, closing her eye, letting the hot water from mounted shower valves splashing from her top and she washing her hair and skin with shower gel and the hot steam cover her naked her body).

        After her end of her comfortable shower, Barbara began to wear only a pair of purple sport bralette and zip her jean in her room. Then she joined Jim Gordon for breakfast. As Jim watch her daughter while eating, he begin to lost in thought: “Barbara has really grown up, I am lucky to have such an voluptuous daughter like her.” later as usual, Jim went to police station to work while Barbara went for her class.

        As night fell, Barbara returned home after school when she finished her last physical education lesson in gymnastics and head back to her room. Later as she was buried in her books studying, she saw the bat signal appeared from her window, her spirit began to lighten up: “It’s showtime for Batgirl.”

        Without wasting any-time,Barbara proceed to change to her corset-like bat cape, (hopefully DC Comics will design and implement this kind of costume for Batgirl ?) after she done wearing her scanty batsuit, she step out of her window and begin to fire her grapnel gun with zip-line attach to surrounding high building to launch herself high into the air with her bosom bouncing around in the air as she propel herself around Gotham City. Batgirl is ready for her action for her unforeseen mission…

        The End?


        • Walter Gray

          July 15, 2015 at 05:07

          That’s cool story, Bro! Anyway if you like to learn more about sexy female characters from DC comics other than the common known type, you should search who is Nura Nal, Night Girl & Shadow Lass in their signature monokini’s heroine costume


        • Katty

          July 16, 2015 at 11:12

          Wow, that’s an bold initiative for batgirl! Anyway let me contribute some fashion ideas for your batgirl’s new sexy suit http://www-centralnews.blogspot.com.br/2015/07/usar-para-que-ne.html


  4. Lars Anderson

    March 18, 2015 at 01:42

    It’s in keeping in tone with the original comic, where the Joker proceeds to shoot Barbara through the spine and torment Gordon. No way would something like that get published now, if people can’t even take this cover.


  5. Lardus-Resident Perve

    March 18, 2015 at 06:27

    Great cover art. Pity the nanny-brigade got their way


    • Rock789

      March 18, 2015 at 06:45

      Have to agree with ya. Seems the world is governed by a bunch of softies lately… Everything offends them (from comic book covers to simple stand-up comedic jokes – would hate to be a stand-up in this day and age…) and that means everyone else must pay the price as the world is made a much duller place… People just seem to have lost the ability to not take things so seriously… EVERYTHING is now an issue.

      In my humble opinion…


      • Deceased

        March 18, 2015 at 11:11

        Queue “your humble opinion offends me”

        When people start bitching and moaning about everything, just tell them to go and eat some cement – they’ll look at you in confusion, then you simply explain “… so you can harden the fuck up”

        Also, that cover-art is AMAAAZING!!!
        Got goosebumps when I saw the portrail of fear in her eyes ( I don’t know the batgirl story so didn’t know the history behind it )


    • Sageville

      March 18, 2015 at 12:29

      I agree, superhero comics are always filled with implied violence, I’m confused as to why this is bad.


  6. Viking Of Science

    March 18, 2015 at 07:28

    Christ. people need to wake up… There is nothing to be offended by on that VARIANT cover. If you don’t like it… just don’t f****** buy it! problem solved.


  7. Blood Emperor Trevor

    March 18, 2015 at 07:43

    That’s a fair response from the artist & DC.


  8. Sk3tz0

    March 18, 2015 at 07:45

    And another thing, I never heard people getting all up in arms when Joker’s Face was Ripped off and he wore as a mask with Straps and Hooks during the “Death in the Family” arc or when his daughter was wearing his own face.. to me thats alot more darker and grim than Albuquerque’s cover.


  9. Hammersteyn

    March 18, 2015 at 07:59

    Love the artwork, but if comics are subject to public outcry that honestly boggles my mind I think I’ve had enough of this planet. Yes we should be sensitive to violence against women but fuck me. It’s a COMIC! It’s the Joker and I cringed when he beat Robin nearly to death with a crowbar but that’s who he is. Put most superheroes in that salutation with The Joker and they’d soil themselves because The Joker is literally capable of doing anything. It’s so simple. If you don’t like it. Don’t buy it. Leave the comics for the adults. Archie comics are on the bottom row.


  10. Francois Knoetze

    March 18, 2015 at 08:33

    eesh society really has become way too over sensitive about everything. Its enough that everybody bitches about everything but come on! it is art for heavens sake!! if any other famous artist was alive in our time we would probably bitch about Picasso’s work on twitter and fb and force him to change it bec we don’t like his brush strokes in the right corner. If you don’t like it don’t buy it and if you want to change it become a comic artist yourself and do a better job than the guy that did the original. if not shut up and keep walking. ok I am done ranting. back to coffee and work.


  11. fleshtwister

    March 18, 2015 at 08:56

    The one with the Joker is awesome!


    • Matthew Holliday

      March 18, 2015 at 09:34

      pity it was pulled.


      • Sageville

        March 18, 2015 at 12:30

        Possibly one of the new most valuable collectors comic….


  12. Sgt. M

    March 18, 2015 at 08:58

    In contrast to the first picture the second one looks a bit………. rapey??
    It is an awesome piece of art but it does look wrong when compared to the first


  13. Chaos Lord Norm

    March 18, 2015 at 09:12

    I applaud the artist on his attitude about this. He could of been a real dick and kicked up a fuss. Irrelevant of what ever the complaint was.


  14. Matthew Holliday

    March 18, 2015 at 09:37

    ugh, people need a thicker skin, cry me a river.


  15. Tbone187

    March 18, 2015 at 09:38

    Sic cover…at least it’s highlighted to the world now. Would’ve never seen it otherwise.


  16. 40 Insane Frogs

    March 18, 2015 at 09:57

    That would have been a damn good cover. Wow!


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