American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque has elected to shelf his variant cover for Batgirl #41, one of 25 covers that feature the Joker. The June promotion is set to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Batman’s greatest foe.
The cover in question drums up bad memories for the Barbara Gordon character, a.k.a. Batgirl—specifically from the storyline of Alan Moore’s essential Killing Joke story, where the Joker shot Gordon and paralyzed her. The scenario was used to drive a tied-down police commissioner Jim Gordon insane when the Joker showed off images of a nude, tortured Barbara. And as Batgirl writer Cameron Stewart states, that’s not the current direction for Barbara’s character.
Read DC’s statement below. You can see Stewart’s own comments via Twitter in the gallery above:
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
Batgirl #41 is set to hit stands this June.