CENSORSHIP – NO JOKING MATTER: a special editorial on the recent “Batgirl” cover controversy

Once more the nannies and parent state of the internet have decided that a comic book cover is “too controversial and graphic” for our eyes. This time it’s a genius rendition by Rafael Albuquerque throwing a reference back to Alan Moore’s Masterpiece “The Killing Joke” as one of the Variant covers for Batgirl #41.


Hold on. What exactly is the problem here? The assertion by a vocal minority is that it portrays Barbara Gordon as a victim and is “a sexually graphic rape cover.” With the most effort I’ve ever had to restrict myself from using profanity in a PG publication, here is why I respectfully disagree.

So let’s get started…

– First of all, it’s a variant cover, not the main issue. Meaning YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY IT TO GET THE STORY! In comic books, a variant cover (sometimes variant edition) refers to an issue of a comic book printed with multiple covers, each with unique cover art. The first comic book marketed with a variant cover was the 1986 first issue of The Man of Steel, which featured two different covers by writer/artist John Byrne. No one is forcing you to spend a dime of your money on this. It’s a free choice, and one you don’t have the right to deprive someone else of for your wounded sensibilities.

– It’s referencing the award-winning special “The Killing Joke” by legendary writer Alan Moore. Batman titles have always gravitated towards more mature subject matter and this particular piece of history is no exception. It’s a blockbuster piece of the character’s past and fair game for interpretation.

– It’s incredible art and reading a sexual abuse/rape overtone in this is really stretching reader’s interpretation way beyond anything reasonable. One complaint was Joker’s “touching of her face sexually”. I’m not sure what your bedroom practices are, but nowhere in mine is drawing an exaggerated clown smile in blood over my partner’s mouth considered sexual, leading me to…


The Joker is SUPPOSED to be terrifying!! He’s a psychopath of the highest order. He beat a child to death with a crowbar. He poisoned ice cream at a circus. He shot a mother in the face point blank after tossing her infant child in the air towards her. He even cut his own face off in the start if the “New 52” arc. Getting the point that he’s not a nice guy? Pants-wetting-terror is the appropriate behavior from anyone that’s been rendered helpless by this psycho, because you know you’re about to join his well-documented gallery of victims.


– Art is SUPPOSED to provoke an emotional response. Art isn’t always safe puppies, rainbows and kittens. In this case it’s to cement that the Joker character is the king bad guy in the DC Universe and no one is more feared. I think Rafael nailed it. (Why haven’t I dropped at least one F-bomb in frustration over this, other than the impending editorial hammer of death?)

Because the artist was going to originally stick to his guns and publish it anyway until the chorus of imbeciles of the great vast internet started sending death threats to people who criticized the cover. Your right to dissent and free speech stops at the infringement of other’s rights, so to stop the backlash of stupidity he willingly pulled the cover.

I wouldn’t have. I would have decried the mentally-challenged morons who responded without intelligence by threatening the complainers and giving their manufactured outrage designed as click-bait slacktivism any shred of a justification to their ridiculous claim. The response to these challenges is to stand your ground and never give an inch, or we’re backpedaling to the Corruption of the Innocent days and the puritanical morality of our thought police nannies again. No one wants that.

-“Torch” Baldwin
Writer/Sponsor: Nerd Nation Magazine

Please Note: The views and opinions expressed by Mr. Baldwin are his and his alone, and do not necessarily represent those of Nerd Nation Magazine, or anyone else for that matter. So don’t be a d-bag and try to sue anyone over the stuff he writes. It’s called an opinion. Don’t like it? The internet is a big place, just go read something else, preferably right here at Nerd Nation! 


1 Comment

  1. Welcome to the new world of marketing. It wouldn’t be a story if they had just said “meh. We changed our minds.”

    Someone told me that this cover contradicts the new tone of the Batgirl comic, aimed at a younger audience.

    I was six when Killing Joke came out. Probably read it at about nine or ten. I liked it precisely because it shook me up. That’s the high we chase when we choose darker subject matter for our entertainment. We want to be challenged.

    Now you wanna talk about story structure and all that, Batgirl is nothing to talk about these days. Most of DC isn’t. They know it too, so bring on the haters I guess. They’ll sell books for ya.



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