Comics

DC's Cancelled Batgirl Cover Is About More than Just the Comic Book Culture Wars

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DC Comics

DC Comics' decision this week to pull a variant comic cover depicting the Joker with a gun next to Batgirl's bloodied head is mostly a symbolic gesture.

The cover by artist Rafael Albuquerque remains available online for anyone to see, and because it was a rare variant, scheduled for a small part of the series' print run, relatively few people would have ended up with a copy even if it had been released. The immediate practical consequences, in other words, are fairly minimal.

But the episode is interesting anyway for what it reveals about fan and consumer culture, about activist communications, and the ways that big companies are becoming more responsive to public conversations about their products, largely thanks to the Internet.

First, some backstory: The cover, which would have shipped on some issues of Batgirl 41, was part of a collection of Joker-themed variants set to be released across DC's lineup in June. Instead of a direct teaser for the content of the issue itself, Albuquerque's image was designed as an explicit callback to The Killing Joke, a famous 1988 Batman story by superstar comics author Alan Moore that features as its centerpiece a brutal assault on Barbara Gordon (Batgirl's alter ego) by the Joker: Not only does Joker shoot her in the spine and cripple her, he takes photos and forces her captive father, Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, to look at them.

DC has taken the character in a less grisly direction since then, but the events of The Killing Joke still linger in the background, in part because the story is one of the most famous Bat-stories of all time, and considered a classic by more than a few comic fans. Yet it's also stuck around because it has been held up as a prime example of the cavalier way that superhero comics have treated female characters—and, in particular, the way that they have often relied on sadistic, grisly violence toward women as cheap mechanisms for teaching their male characters life lessons. Editor Len Wein's infamous response when Moore asked permission to write the story—"yeah, okay, cripple the bitch"—hasn't exactly helped its reputation on this front.

DC Comics

So while it's easy enough to understand why Albuquerque chose the Joker-variant event to draw an alternative cover that looked back on a widely known event from Batgirl's comic book history, it's also, I think, not too hard to understand why Moore's older story still makes some people uncomfortable, and why they might not be thrilled with anything that suggests a return to that approach.

It's that discomfort which led to a minor online uproar, mostly on Twitter, that eventually led to Albuquerque asking DC to cancel the cover, and DC agreeing not to run it.

This is, unsurprisingly, not to everyone's liking. Critics of DC's move have complained that the company is bowing to pressure from a minority of activists, most of whom would never have bought or read the comic anyway.

The controversy over the cover is mostly being discussed as the latest clash in the recent spate of comic book culture wars, the most recent previous episode being a similar uproar about an alternative Marvel comics cover featuring a depiction of Spider-Woman by an erotic fantasy artist. Marvel, like DC, cancelled its cover variant after an online furor.

Clearly, there's a power struggle going on between comic book traditionalists and progressive cultural activists, as comic book companies seek to expand beyond their traditional readership. But these are the sorts of debates that have long roiled fan communities, especially those driven by geek passions; one big difference is that now, thanks to the Internet, these debates are happening in forums that are much more accessible to the public. Discussions and debates that used to happen at convention panels with attendance in the low dozens and in the pages of obscure fanzines with few subscribers now happen on Twitter and on blogs that anyone with a Wi-Fi connection can read.

And because it is all so much more public, that means that more people can participate, and that a wider variety of views, from perspectives that might previously have been relatively unheard, can be aired.

It also means that the companies themselves can—and perhaps have to—become more engaged and more responsive. The companies and those who work for them are direct participants in these sorts of freewheeling public conversations now, and they make business choices accordingly. You can see that in the Twitter feed of Batgirl co-writer Cameron Stewart, who explained to his followers how he felt about the cover and also what DC was thinking. You can see it in the rapid decisions by both Marvel and DC to cancel their controversial variants. And you can also see it in non-culture war episodes like Marvel's decision last fall to release an Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer a week early following a leak. There's now a direct back and forth between the public and between these big corporations that simply didn't exist two decades ago.

Nor is this confined to geek culture or even to the market; there's a similar dynamic at work in politics, where debates about political ideas that might not have broken through to the mainstream a few decades ago have gained traction and have helped push the two major parties—the DC and Marvel of politics—in new directions. Both parties now have to respond to, and account for, ideas and arguments that they previously would have been content to ignore, and that party traditionalists might not approve of.

This is, for the most part, a good thing, and the overall dynamic has, it seems to me, fairly clearly benefited libertarians. And in general, it's a dynamic that I think libertarians ought to embrace—if only because it's all part of the back and forth between market participants. Not all market signals are price signals. This is how companies and their potential consumers communicate and negotiate in 2015. And while the actions it results in are often symbolic, that symbolism is often still important, because it's a sign the party in question is listening.

NEXT: Video: Camille Paglia's Epic Anti-Hillary Rant

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    1. TLDNR. And besides, it’s about stupid comic books.

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    1. Yes, that is very true. It’s amazing how the “progressive” movement is actually taking steps backward because it is utterly, explicitly tribal. What matters is your skin color, and your sexual identity, and your income level, and your gender…not you yourself.

      1. what were you saying about the left almost always being/believing the exact opposite of its claims?

        1. Well, what I had said was that anything the progs accuse their enemies of being, they themselves are, guaranteed. Because projection is all they are. They don’t know how to empathize or understand how others think, so we all must think like them. And they are invariably nasty, hateful, and selfish, which is exactly what they accuse their enemies of.

          1. The first group they defined was themselves. After that it was pretty easy to start grouping everyone else. You go on pretty much any other Internet forum and you will be loudly abused for claiming to not treat people differently based on their preferred group.

            1. I just wish the progswere all dead. They serve no useful purpose and are only an antagonist to humanity.

          2. I especially love multi-mansioned millionaires flying to conferences on private jets to talk about how we really, really need to do something about climate change.

    2. First women are under represented in comics, and now it’s apparently sexist to show them in a perilous situation. You truly can’t win with these people! It’s time to stop responding to their victimization bullshit (true advice in general, but especially the comic book industry).

      1. But that’s exactly it: you can’t win with them, because they don’t actually want what they’re asking for. They actually want to train you to capitulate to them and that’s what they get off on. The bullying and the browbeating and the power that comes with it. They will always have a new problem because they don’t care about the problem itself, they care about what they gain from complaining en mass.

        1. +1 white horse and shining suit of armor

        2. Precisely.

          If DC Comics had announced in advance that they were going to pull the cover because they thought it was sexist, these people would have immediately jumped up and shuted that was DC Comics sweeping it’s shaemful history under the rug, and how dare they try to hide their mysogynistic past. B;ah blah. And then they would have complained until DC Comics issued a special “Misogyny Apology” issue with the cover on the front page.

          It’s about forcing people to capitulate to their demands. The demands themselves don’t have to make any sense.

          1. A bunch of the idiot progs that run bleeding cool.com (a fan site) were getting their hammers and sickles in a twist over it. Talking about boycotts and what not.

        3. Bingo!

          It’s not about social progress, it’s about cultivating their own sense of exclusivity, elitism, moral superiority and getting a fix of that sweet, sweet self-righteous indignation by scolding others.

        4. People like them are an argument for physical bullying in school. Since everyone of them is such a ducking little pussy.

      2. This is what bugs me, it seems that if you want increased representation of women, then they have to be held to the same narrative standards as men. If you’re endlessly critiquing because they’re too strong/weak or need/don’t need help or look vulnerable/invincible then you’re severely limited where artists can go.

        This cover is effectively scary, and creepy, and contains a woman character. What on earth is the problem with that?

        1. Members of victim groups can only ever be portrayed in positions of power. Otherwise check your privilege you bigot.

          1. Except when they must be portrayed in historically accurate positions of victimhood, so we can make their abusers feel ashamed of their privilege.

        2. Exactly. When I saw the cover I thought ‘welcome to the jungle’ honey. You’re one of us now.

      3. The only winning move is not to play.

        1. +1 nice game of chess.

    3. It’s really about the progressive cultural activists making a point about their sociopolitical POWER.

      I note below that getting DC Comics to pull the cover seems to be at odds with progressives stances towards preserving, or not, other historical artifacts of racism or sexism.

      It’s really about showing that they have this cultural power that they can force people to do whatever – pull the cover, not pull the cover, issue a special issue with the cover which is devoted to their shameful legacy of misogyny.

      It’s about them demonstrating that they can force their will on people.

    4. This is a great quote, but the Samizdata comments from the link made my puzzler go doolally.

  1. This is, unsurprisingly, not to everyone’s liking. Critics of DC’s move have complained that the company is bowing to pressure from a minority of activists, most of whom would never have bought or read the comic anyway.

    The irony is that the book this cover would have run on is one that those activists generally love, and it’s the ones with a hard-on for The Killing Joke who would never have actually bought the thing.

    1. Critics of DC’s move have complained that the company is bowing to pressure from a minority of activists, most of whom would never have bought or read the comic anyway.

      Of course, none of the activists would have bought or read the comic anyway, either, so I fail to see how this is more of a knock on one side than the other.

      1. Do you mean “Critics of the DC’s move”?

        Because they’re the ones saying the “activists” wouldn’t buy the comic.

        1. In fairness no one buys or reads comics anymore….mostly because DC and Marvel use these kinds of stunts to drum up interest instead of lowering the prices of their comics which exceed 1987 inflation adjusted prices by like 200000%.

          1. Plenty of people read comics.

          2. You mean $4 for 32 stapled together pages of drawings isn’t a good deal? That’s like ten, maybe fifteen minutes of solid entertainment!

            1. Compare that to current blowjob prices from backpage whores. It’s a relative bargain. Plus, not STD’s, and the potential of becoming a collectible and increasing in value.

  2. And because it is all so much more public, that means that more people can participate, and that a wider variety of views, from perspectives that might previously have been relatively unheard, can be aired.

    Basically it means the larger the company, the more craven and risk averse to negative perception they become, even when the negative perception is not shared by a majority of its consumer base.

    It’s one thing if they are listening to feedback from actual buyers but they are placating a different audience, one that was never interested in their comics to begin with. The very limited run means this cover was meant for collectors, which means it would’ve cost a nice premium, especially after a while. None of the SJWs screaming about it would’ve bought it.

  3. Critics of DC’s move have complained that the company is bowing to pressure from a minority of activists, most of whom would never have bought or read the comic anyway.

    B-I-N-G-O. This isn’t about propriety or mores, but a bunch of shrieking harpies seeking control. Anything that violates their orthodoxy must be eliminated, *especially* if it’s outside their sub-culture.

    And any organization that’s craven enough to succumb to their antics doesn’t deserve your support. In fact, they deserve all that’s coming to them, because the next outrage group is just aroundf the corner, waiting for their next violation of their irrelevant and narcissistic moral code.

    KULTUR WUR. BONK BONK ON THE HEAD!

    1. I really don’t get succumbing to noncustomers.

      1. They’re concerned about overall PR.

        1. I get that, but that only matters if it affects business (or investment). This seems unlikely to do so.

          1. Whatever happened to “there’s no such thing as bad PR”?

            I’d let them shriek all day and all night and if they let up, I’d rile them up again with something worse.

            Nothing will shut them up, other than total capitulation and subjugation. Nothing.

            1. Well, there can be bad and damaging PR, but I doubt seriously that’s at play here.

            2. Not even capitulation and subjugation will shut them up. One could most abjectly grovel at their feet, and they wouldn’t even notice – they’d be too busy looking for something else to fake outrage over.

          2. because the next step would be to picket any store that dared sell the offending comic.

      2. Exactly backwards. The current “Batgirl” series is basically built from the ground up to appeal to the exact people who would hate this cover – seriously, google “Batgirl of Burnside” and see what kind of praise shows up. Commissioning this cover at all represented a total failure by DC’s editorial staff to know their audience.

        1. Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly states in a review of the first issue: “The artwork is okay though conventional, while Simone’s script tries to tie up of the end of the previous Barbara Gordon/Oracle storyline and setup up the new Batgirl. Her formula: murderous villains, blood splattering violence and high flying superheroics mixed with single-white-female bonding … plus a cliffhanger ending to the first issue that offers a nifty [segue] into the new world of Barbara Gordon and Batgirl.”

          Yeah, sounds like a totally light and airy romcom.

          Oh, and variant covers are for collectors, that’s why they do limited prints of them.

          1. That’s a review from 2011; the current creative team started maybe five months ago and has Batgirl enrolling in college in the DC Comics equivalent of hipster Brooklyn, fighting the creator of an evil version of Tinder, and a heavy focus on girl-power interactions with her roommates.

            1. “…girl-power interactions…”

              There it is again.

              1. Watching college girls have ‘girl power interactions’ is awesome.

            2. the current creative team started maybe five months ago

              So, the comics book business can’t find good employees either?

              -jcr

          2. “…One of her prosecutors did tell the public defender that the iPad had been found, she said, but the device’s recovery was not evidence that it had never been stolen.”

            Am I the only one who reads ‘bonding’ as ‘oyster diving’?

            1. Whoa. WTF?

              The quote was supposed to be “single-white-female bonding ”

              Geesh. I am drunk already.

        2. If true, that would matter, but I’m not sure we’re talking about actual circulation. Who is buying this comic?

    2. The thing with this one is I truly don’t see their perspective on it. The Spider-Woman cover from a few months ago was incredibly sexualized NTTIAWWT, but I at least got why some pearl clutcher might not like it.

      This though, I don’t get. Comic book covers have always had cliff-hanging and dramatic covers. Whether it’s Darkseid holding up the limp body of Superman by the front of his shirt or Iron-man’s mask ripped off with blood all over his face while Dr. Doom stands over him.

      I also find it hard to believe that there hasn’t been an issue with She-hulk, Wonder Woman, or Ms. Marvel in an equally difficult scenario. This will end up being like Gamergate in the level of push back.

      1. Feminist have married to the idea that male fictional characters are always shown in a position of power. Their entire critique of fiction revolves around the idea that we never show male characters being weak. Feminist therefore believe that if a female character is shown in even a moment of weakness she must be being treated unequally. In the feminist mind men are always shown as right and in power so all female characters should be shown as both right and in power at all times.
        It’s completely delusional to believe such a thing, but it is logically consistent if you take their first premise as truth.

        1. I wonder how those progs would react to a storyline where Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel) goes off the wagon, gets blackout drunk, and ends up getting spitroasted by amd gamg banged by the Wrecking Crew.

    3. Yep, unless the intended comic book audience does more than just bitch about the SJWs shitting things up, companies will continue to do cave into them.

      You have to hit them in the pocket book. I don’t think people like like to hear that because it involves indulging in the same sort of shrill, boycott tactics that SJWs are so fond of, but unless companies learn that it will cost them money to capitulate, SJWs will keep calling the shots.

    4. But these “non-customers” are “round-about customers”. The majority of complainer’s are mothers, who in turn will, or will not, take their children to the theater to see the next big “Avengers”, “Spider-Man”, “Batman” theatrical release. These women may not actually read the comics, but will ultimately decide the fate of the movie franchises, and that is where now DC/Marvel are raking in the dough. This is just another example of a company sacrificing their artistic freedom for a few dollars more. In the end, we all lose.

      1. The ‘ghazi’ thing I’ve never really understood. Isn’t that a direct reference to Islamic warriors? Isn’t that both admitting that your belief is primarily religious fanaticism, but also offensive cultural appropriation under the logic of the people using it? I mean, I don’t think the -ghazi folks would appreciate someone naming a sports team or something after Crusaders.

        1. I just saw it as a new term for a controversy, and an opportunity to FINALLY put an end to naming every scandal a “(blank)gate”. The “-gate” name game is probably the World’s Oldest Meme.

          1. When Hillary Clinton was being investigated all those years ago I thought we would see an actual use of the ‘-gate’ thing that made sense. Then the stupid papers referred to it as simply the ‘Whitewater investigation’. I also want to see the ‘-gate’ meme die, but am not too fond of ‘-ghazi’. I liked AbScam, but it never caught on as a multiuse suffix.

  4. Good to see the online chapter of the Bowdler Society doing good work.

  5. And because it is all so much more public, that means that more people can participate, and that a wider variety of views, from perspectives that might previously have been relatively unheard, can be aired.

    It also means that people who have little to no knowledge on something can decide to chime in on a thing they know nothing about, and will usually chime in in idiotic and political ways that have nothing to do with the actual thing itself. In other words, SJWs.

    1. It also means that people who have little to no knowledge on something

      But you do not have to have knowledge of something to feel it is wrong. It takes years of experience to gain that knowledge, and by then the crowd would have moved on to something else, and no one wants to be left behind.

    2. “It also means that people who have little to no knowledge on something can decide to chime in on a thing they know nothing about, and will usually chime in in idiotic and political ways that have nothing to do with the actual thing itself.”

      Sort of like all the people who declared Charlie Hebdo covers to be racist because they didn’t know enough about the context to realize Charlie Hebdo was attacking racism rather than advocating it?

      Sort of like those people?

      1. Yes. It’s all hop-ons, George Michael. You’re going to get hop-ons.

        The utter faddishness of so much of this shit is just astounding. It’s all pretense and social signaling and literally nothing else.

    3. Did you know that they joke about white girl slavery in The Blues Brothers? I demand a boycott of Chicago, the blues, Saturday Night Live, Canada, the Catholic church, and car chases until the scene is recut, and all DVDs recalled and replaced.

    4. But it doesn’t match the tone of the book!

    5. And the sad part is that most companies like DC/Marvel that wants to be part of mainstream consciousness will cave in. The more mainstream, the stronger the risk aversion, even when it’s not a rational business decision or part of their internal values (editor/artist conversations, and why it was approved in the first place).

      1. Dbag progs are not mainstream. They better figure that shit out.

  6. It’s funny considering that a lot of artists are lefties who think that “progressive” politics = artistic freedom. As Gomer Pyle would say, “…surprise, surprise, surprise!”

    Not that they should be surprised. Artists in the countries that ended up behind the Iron Curtain initially thought it was good to be in a socialist country, until reality hit them in the face.

    1. Barney Rosset, the brilliance behind the iconic Grove Press for decades (he has since passed- RIP Barney), was a communist until he discovered that he couldn’t be as alternative as he liked due to the sexual restraint of the communist. He went on to produce edgy notable literature from some of America’s most prolific and unrestrained writers and poets.

      He also had run-ins with our friends the feminists who are often just slivers chipped from the block of communism.

  7. So because of this people who would have never heard of this comic have now seen the cover?

    How is this a win for the whiners?

    1. They are far, far too stupid to understand that. And really, they don’t care about that anyway. What they care about it the feeling of power they get from using their whining to control someone/some company, and the signals it sends to their peers.

      1. It’s also about sterilizing society. We’ve gone from the Christians hollering from the steepled valleys to the atheistic socialist screaming from the college campus.

        1. Funny, I was actually going to mention how this all reminds me of the “Moral Majority” types who used to howl about sex and nudity in movies, glam metal, D&D, all that shit. 2 Live Crew, etc. It’s the same tone, the same pearl-clutching, and the same motivation. I wonder how happy these fuckers would be to know they’re following in the proud traditions of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

          1. The two are actually one. Modern Progressives incorporate the history of their movement, a movement that was started by the SoCons. It’s not at all surprising that the Progs have similar tactics and styles… they’re just “holy warriors” without a God.

            1. Early 20th century Progressives could also be a bit prudish. Much of the current hysteria about sexism etc. is just Victorian pearl-clutching with the names and subjects changed.

          2. PMRC, bitches!

  8. And in general, it’s a dynamic that I think libertarians ought to embrace?if only because it’s all part of the back and forth between market participants.

    The problem with this “debate” and response is that it was the majority of the voices calling for the removal of the cover (#changethecover) were not market participants, but activists with an agenda that had little to do with actually buying the product. It was more about scoring points in the online “activist” community against a “sexist” company and industry.

    1. Clearly the people that wanted to keep the cover are the same kinds of juvenile GAMERGATERS on this site.

      /sarc

    2. Some people seem to think that as libertarians we should be OK with anything that isn’t backed up by government force.

      And maybe, strictly defined, this shouldn’t upset the libertarian side of me. But I can still think it is dumb on other levels.

      1. Some people seem to think that as libertarians we should be OK with anything that isn’t backed up by government force.

        Sure. And we’re free to mock them for what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

        But, the next thing you know, you have a Federal agency sending letters to colleges, telling them how much trouble they’ll get in if they don’t start seeing things their way and seeing it real soon.

        “Are you now or have you ever sold Batgirl comics on your campus?”

    3. ^This. -1 for capitalism. Make the evul corporashun decide based on populism not profit.

  9. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t The Killing Joke climax with Commissioner Gordon being kidnapped, stripped naked, and chained up in a freakshow so that that the Joker can psychologically torture him and try to drive him insane?

    Why is Batgirl getting crippled sexist when that character’s father spends part of the book naked in a cage being emotionally abused by a crazy clown?

    1. Quiet you!

    2. Actually the Joker kidnaps Barbara Gordon, paralyzes her, strips her naked, and, it’s implied, sexually assaults her. He then forces Gordon to watch blown-up pictures of his brutalized daugther. All to prove that the most normal, law-abiding citizen can be driven insane by a “really bad day”.

      1. But I believe Gordon is also naked in the cage.

        Here’s a naked Gordon being tortured by midgets.

        I have a feeling that if a nude woman were tortured in a cage by midgets, feminists would tell me it was horribly sexist.

        1. Plus, it portrays Little People as monsters!

          I find it fascinating that these kinds of protesters are invariably unable to see individuals as individuals.

          1. They are monsters. With their little dwarfs eyes. Just like the blind gypsy woman said!

        2. They are objecting to Barbara being prmanantly injured to torture her father.

          Of course, they also dIsliked her recent recovery from her spinal injury because they liked her being a disabled character.

          A somewhat simplistic breakdown is that the SJWs like female charaters being shown fighting as well.as a male character but don’t lkke them shown being made hurt or vulnerable by the psychopathic vilians because it reminds them of domestic abuse. It seems females must be Mary Sues to satisfy them.

          1. The greatest SJW freakout I’ve ever seen was when there were a bunch of articles denouncing that shitty Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith because there’s a scene where they beat the hell out of each other. The feminists declared this to be offensive because of violence against women.

            The problem is, in the movie they’re both super spies and their fight scene involves both of them getting their asses kicked. The fact that they could look at that and decide it had to be denounced due to the domestic violence angle is absurd.

            1. From what I have seen, SJW games are like Global Thermonuclear War, the only winning move is to refuse to play.

            2. Not really, I’ve heard otherwise sane women declare that a woman punching a man is in no way comparable to a man punching a woman period, end of story, no need for any further evidence. Female on male domestic abuse is a non-issue because female on male violence is a non-issue (non-issue as in it doesn’t matter when it happens, not that it doesn’t exist).

              1. Which is of similar intellectual pedigree of the “black people cannot be racist” canard.

              2. Well of course, because there are no meaningful biological differences between male humans and female humans. Oh, except that women are neurological wired to be better at cooperation, predisposed to nonviolent conflict resolution, generally more intelligent, and inclined to sharing and stuff. And if men are physiologically predisposed towards greater physical mass it’s only because of centuries of male privilege or something.

                Because saying that women are capable of anything men can do has to mean that women are capable of doing anything men can do in exactly the same way, and with better results or else you’re sexist.

                1. Oh, except that women are neurological wired to be better at cooperation, predisposed to nonviolent conflict resolution, generally more intelligent, and inclined to sharing and stuff.

                  You’ve never worked with a large group of woman, have you?

                  1. a large group of women, even.

            3. Sort of like college hookups: a man and a woman both get drunk and have sex, which means… he raped her. WTF?

              1. Well DUH!

                Men can’t be raped because PATRIARCHY!

                Don’t you know anything?

                /sarc

          2. That mary sue tendency I why I nearly always hate female characters. Even greek tragedies let bad things happen to their heros. If you have an all male cast anything can happen. If you have female characters just go ahead and write them off in the beginning, the writers will never be allowed to et them both make mistakes and pay the consequences for said mistakes.

        3. “I have a feeling that if a nude woman were tortured in a cage by midgets, feminists would tell me it was horribly sexist.”

          Do a google search for that shit. On any of the hits for it, I bet the chicks doing that get paid an empowering amount of money.

      2. “All to prove that the most normal, law-abiding citizen can be driven insane by a “really bad day”. ”

        Isn’t that basically the plot for Nolan’s Dark Knight?

        There’s no rape involved, but the Joker does brutally murder a Batman wannabe.

      3. it’s implied, sexually assaults her.

        Alan Moore has explicitly stated that the Joker didn’t rape her and any implications of sexual assault were not in his script for the comic.

    3. Because women need to be both shielded and protected in media while being held up as strong, independent people, while men are aggressors and are culturally deserving of whatever torture or abuse they receive. Come on, it’s like you don’t even understand sexism.

    4. the Commish is a man. Therefore, anything that happens to him is just rewards for his privilege.

      Or something stupid like that.

    5. just, just, just because…woman in refrigerators, rape of Sue Dibny and all the violence and character development that male characters gain at the hands of female characters being brutalized…

      …of course that argument ignores things like…batman having character development after the killing of Jason Todd, Captain America losing Bucky, even Tim Drake losing his father to a violent death in the same storyline involving Dibny referenced above, or any of the other numerous examples of secondary male characters being killed, injured, etc over the years of comic book history.

      1. Or the Daredevil storyline in the 80’s where Karen Page sells Daredevil’s secret identity for a drug fix. The the Kingpin gets the info and destroys Murdock’s entire life.

    6. Hush you! I bet you have a penis of some kind. You can’t talk about this subject.

  10. Okay, so now fictional depictions of violence against fictional women by fictional assailants is unacceptable?

    1. Katherine Timpf also pointed out that the person doing the abusing is the villain who you aren’t supposed to sympathize with.

      If a villain is committing violence against women, doesn’t that pretty much prove that the editorial position of the comic book is that violence against women is wrong?

      1. Right, but the giant greedy corporation is profiting by glamorizing it, you see, so any other considerations are null and void.

      2. I’ve had that argument so many times in the past, it’s mind-numbing. Bad guys do bad things! That’s how you know they’re bad! The media is not encouraging it or glorifying it; it’s using it because it knows you know it’s wrong.

    2. Even talking about it is unacceptable! Unless you’re part of the victimized community or their supporters of course.

  11. This is about the demise of shock. The mainstream has breached the internet deep. Nothing cool can come from the fucking mainstream. The mainstream has always been an organic mass activist- the internet is just one more place they can infect with their drivel.

    1. Agile, swear to God, you are one of my favorite commenters. Your unique prose style often delivers real insight.

      Props, dude. Seriously.

      1. Way too fucking kind, my good fellow.

        1. Your comments have gotten better. Have you eased off of the mind-altering substances?

  12. Critics of DC’s move have complained that the company is bowing to pressure from a minority of activists,

    maybe I’m just a cynical bastard but sometimes I think this moves to cancel something over a few butthurt people little more than publicity stunts. “We’ll give the impression of being oh-so-sensitive about something most of you could give a shit about.”

  13. Innocence abused as a motive for revenge is at least as old as the proverbial rape of Lucretia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia

    The feminists are probably criticizing an archetype, here–which is silly. Might as well criticize the birds flying south for the winter.

    The other thing that’s silly about this is that the feminists always seem to be looking for something that isn’t there–and ignoring what they’re looking for if it’ in plain sight.

    I’ve read/seen The Watchmen, and I thought Alan Moore effectively condemned misogyny there.

    I’ve read/seen Frank Miller’s Sin City, too, and whatever else you want to say about it, it’s a story about a world of power struggles between women–in which men never cease being hopeless victims of the women that are manipulating them. I don’t think I’ve never seen anything so openly misogynist.

    And yet…maybe it’s out there, but I’ve never heard a feminist peep about Sin City.

    1. Frank Miller…has issues. Man basically went (even more) nuts after 9/11 as well.

      1. I can’t believe Sin City wasn’t denounced by feminists everywhere!

        It had all the makings of a feminist touchstone.

        It’s like a misogyny primer.

        1. It’s like a misogyny primer.

          God, the movie made my brain orgasm.

          1. That storyline with Micky Rourke’s character rampaging to get the guy that was responsible for killing that prostitute is a bit like Batman: The Killing Joke. Awesomeness!

            Ultimately, though, she screws him because she knows she’s about to be assassinated, and so making the baddest motherfucker in the Valley of Death fall in love with her–is her way of getting revenge on her killer.

            You know that special kind of stupid that happens to guys when they get dumped by a woman they really love? The kind of stupid that makes them go so bat-shit insane that their friends should lock them in a room for a week with no telephone?

            I imagine Miller must have been in that state of mind when he conceived of Sin City.

            1. I’d argue that Miller is just permanently on crazy pills. His work has never shown any subtlety and pretty consistently touches on his personal problems.

              Cases in point:

              NEO-NAZI TITS.

              I’M THE GODDAMN BATMAN.

            2. There used to be this really hot chick that lived down the hall from me when I was on the Hollywood Riviera.

              I tried to say hello in the hall, offered to show her around town, etc. but couldn’t get a bite.

              A few weeks later, all of a sudden, she’s knocking on my door.

              It wasn’t until the third date that she told me her biker gang husband was getting out of prison in a couple of weeks, and would it be alright if she came and stayed over at my place for a while?

              When she said it, she looked like everything you ever wanted for Christmas, too.

              1. What I gather from this is that the film Drive was an adaptation of Ken’s life story.

            3. I think her was talking about the movie “Primer”

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primer_(film)

              1. That was real life, dudes.

                When I saw Sin City, that Micky Rourke storyline made me think of her all over again.

                Whenever women tell me that, “Motorcycles are dangerous”, I sometimes quip back, “But so are you”.

                Women are more dangerous than motorcycles.

                That girl was more dangerous than heroin.

        2. His movie ‘The Spirit’ is just hilariously creepy. The main character constantly fetishizes the city he lives in with feminine terms. There’s even a scene where he’s on the open of a train while it goes through a tunnel and blatantly compares it to sex.

          Miller also once tried to have a comic book made where Batman kills Al-Qaeda.

      2. The progs fucking hate Frank Miller. Which makes me like him even more.

    2. “as old as the proverbial rape of Lucretia.”

      I would say Helen of Troy is older. What is cool about her is that her story is in itself a subversion of the damsel in distress/avenge innocence trope. I mean after a few lines of reading the Iliad it becomes abundantly clear no one in the story is motivated by getting her back or saving her…it is all a pretext to war.

      1. Also funny in the Iliad is that what finally motivates Achilles is not a women but vengeance for his slain nephew.

  14. If they think Moore’s bad now, just wait until the SJWs check out From Hell. Somehow I doubt the violence against women in his books should be understood as advocacy.

    Though I believe he does advocate for the development of giant, sentient plants who mistakenly believe themselves to be people.

  15. not too hard to understand why Moore’s older story still makes some people uncomfortable

    Which was of course the point. But I guess uncomfortable art is only good when challenging progressive boogeymen.

    1. Playa Manhattan found a video the other day of the acceptable kind of uncomfortable art.

    2. And how do you go after Moore for his anti-progressive values after watching V For Vendetta?

      Did he do it all for the lesbian in the torture cell next door?

      Even the talk show host/most likeable victim was gay.

      The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money to spend, but the problem with progressives is that they eventually run out of other people’s values to denounce.

      1. I don’t think Moore’s book was as heavy on the modern American progressive values. He pretty much hated the movie. But anyone who reads anything about his life would have a hard time describing him as conservative.

        1. He’s openly stated that he’s an anarchist of the 19th century socialist variety. You most definitely cannot call him a conservative, but he certainly does not have the love affair with the state that is central to progressivism.

          1. Alan Moore is definitely not a statist.

      2. It’s important to note that Alan Moore generally hates the movies of his work and that V For Vendetta film has substantial changes to it. Stephen Fry’s character is not present in the book and the book itself is more a commentary on 80s British culture and Thatcherism rather than the ‘war on terror’ angle the movie goes for.

        1. Right, it’s a Wachowski film. Says way more about them than Moore.

          Also, have they fallen far since the Matrix or what?

          1. Yeah, they have.

            Really sad. The Matrix is one of those handful of movies that, if you saw it on theater release, changed movies for you from that point on.

        2. Oh he hates everything.

  16. Investment tip – If you can get your grimey little fingers on a copy of this book with the ‘bad’ cover, wrap it in lucite and store it away for a few years.

    It’ll be worth a mint. Unless DC rechanges their mind.

  17. Why the fuck do women drawn in pen and ink require protection? I’m all for art that pushes every single fucking boundary of violence and beauty and I’m all for art that treats men just as equally.

    Society is becoming sterile and puerile and I don’t even see a goddamn preacher leading the charge.

    1. “Why the fuck do women drawn in pen and ink require protection? I’m all for art that pushes every single fucking boundary of violence and beauty and I’m all for art that treats men just as equally.

      Society is becoming sterile and puerile and I don’t even see a goddamn preacher leading the charge.”

      Agile Cyborg – a philosopher for our times.

      He’s like Aristotle with a greater emphasis on LSD.

  18. DC’s response after the retraction was especially pathetic. DC said in a statement that “threats of violence and harassment are wrong and have no place in comics.”

    Welp, better close up shop then, because that’s basically all comics are: good guys responding to threats of violence by bad guys.

    1. In their defense, they were addressing the retards that were threatening violence against the people who didn’t like the cover. Or was it against the ones that DID like the cover…

      1. Thanks for the context. I read about this the other day elsewhere and the way the article was written, I thought they were referring to the variant cover itself.

    2. We all know, of course, that what DC really means is “threats of violence and harassment [against women] are wrong and have no place in comics” but they don’t want to come out and say that exactly, because they know that will cause equally as much furor from these shrieking hens who want it both ways.

      Just once, I want one of these companies to give an epic response telling them to basically “chil the fuck out.”

      1. Eh, you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

        You don’t think anyone should buy it, well, convince everyone you can not to buy it.

        Since we think all the publicity around this has increased demand, we’re putting in an order for more copies.

        To sell.

        To people who want to buy it.

  19. there’s a power struggle going on between comic book traditionalists and progressive cultural activists

    Cool idea for a graphic novel!

  20. When I coined the phrase ‘offended white guy brigade’ I see the emphasis could have been on guy as much as white.

    The op explains the backstory and others here note that this Batgirl is pitched as a lighter comic aimed largely at teen girls but all the guys here obtusely go into the usual routine. Sheesh

    1. I mean really, let’s not only ignore the decades long history of comics nearly exclusively depicting women as objects in peril and forget the specific ugly backstory of this particular storyline! It’s just ‘progz!!!SJWs!!!!’

      1. I agree, let’s NOT ignore the decades long history. Perhaps we could do this by NOT pulling the cover….. The artifacts of such historical sexism should be out in public for people to see, shouldn’t they?

      2. Bo, my little Asperger’s patient, here’s what your missing.

        Anyone who rattles on about “the decades long history of comics nearly exclusively depicting women as objects in peril” on their way to calling for (self-)censorship is an SJW . Its definitional.

        As noted above, this particular storyline is about how the Bad Guy abuses women (among others), and how that’s a Bad Thing. But, to an SJW, context means nothing, as it happens, so the fact that a woman is abused is all they need to know, not what that abuse means in the context of the story.

      3. mean really, let’s not only ignore the decades long history of comics nearly exclusively depicting women as objects in peril and forget the specific ugly backstory of this particular storyline! It’s just ‘progz!!!SJWs!!!!’

        Shorter Bo

        It is not the comic writer’s responsibility to accede to a societal temper tantrum. Either read the comic, or don’t. Don’t pull this bullshit about every fucking person in the public sphere needing to have a “consciousness to the harms of the past.” The characters are his, and his alone.

      4. You must not read comics. They aren’t, and haven’t been depicted that way in a very long time. Like since vp before you were born.

    2. Fuck you, you sexist cunt. Don’t you dare pretend my vagina somehow magically decides how I think. Removing this cover was one more example of how dumb as shit feminist can’t stand the idea of female characters being treated like male characters. Grow the fuck up, get laid, and stop prostrating yourself in front of every sexist with an xx chromosome and a megaphone.

      1. Don’t you dare pretend my vagina somehow magically decides how I think.

        No, your hormones do. Obviously.

      2. Well said. Except that there’s no chance of him getting laid, ever.

        1. Well, no by the feminist progs. But then, like the hideous thing that was shouting down that campus preacher least week, who would want to fuck that?

      3. This comment warmed my heart. Nicely done.

    3. Teen girls can handle zombies dripping melted flesh, cheerleaders being chased by a fucking serial killer, their type chopped up with chainsaws, their necks chewed on by vampires and you have the gall to think these people can’t handle this fucking art? Jesus Christ, Bo.

    4. Offended White Guy Brigade, reporting for duty!

      Saddle up, gentlemen! Time to defend our privilege!

      1. I am happy to answer the call. However, due to gout I shall have to be pulled into battle on my rickshaw by my cooley, Mr. Chau. May I still ride with the OWGB?

        What is our unit motto?

    5. “this Batgirl is pitched as a lighter comic aimed largely at teen girls”

      Unlike the first Batman story where batman’s parents get killed or Spiderman’s first story where Uncle Ben gets killed…those stories where written for hard core adult readers.

      All Comics are written for teens bright guy.

    6. Oh blow it out your ass, Bo. Your contrarian routine has worn so damn thin it’s not even funny. At this point it doesn’t even seem like you’re trying.

    7. “aimed largely at teen girls”

      Sooo…like twilight vampires and werewolves popping each others heads off in heated battle or like hunger games children hunting and killing each other are ‘aimed largely at teen girls’.

    8. Except that “this Batgirl” has only been “lighter” for about 5 months, which is only five issues and variant artists usually start their rough sketches at least that far out.

      Never mind that variant covers usually comport to a theme that doesn’t always have any tie to the story inside.

      But please, tell us how the OWGB is carrying on with no regard to the backstory.

  21. That’s what happens when you don’t get Rob Liefeld to do your cover.

    1. +1 106″ Chest
      -2 Feet :-/

      1. +100 pouches

    2. Feet are what happens when Liefeld doesn’t do your cover.

      1. But I REALLY need some preposterous body proportions

        1. I SF’d it. Here: http://unrealitymag.com/images…..minations/

          1. His drawing of a clit could host a tent city.

    3. All I’m saying is, if you want to class it up, you go to Liefeld. If you want smut, pick a name out of a hat.

      If Rob Liefeld could be anyone for a day, it would be Don Henley, and I swear to God this is a true story.

  22. I thought progressives were all about owning history instead of sweeping it under the rug.
    If you think the cover is mysogynistic, wouldn’t you want it to be out there and remembered, in public, so that you can shame DC Comics and stuff?

    1. So the pen starts to unravel a feminist situation and the flowing ink depicts a violent arrangement where we get some angry biatches to capture some unsteady motherfucking suit. Some boss over the harassed female or whatever. … the girls cut this man’s dick off with a spoon and boil his shriveled rod in tomato soup. They eat this while he’s still alive and whimpering like a fiend. Finally, they let nine hungry chihuahua’s eat the brain out of his skull. After watching this sad fucker die rather wretchedly and slowly they skewer his balls and roast them over his burning corpse in the backyard while their lethal gang of girlfriends imagine other insidious ways to conquer the Misogyny.

      I might not buy this- but I refuse to stop this art from happening.

  23. Does this mean Brent Bozell’s group is representative of market forces and there won’t be any angst about him demanding family hour standards for network programming?

  24. This is just cover art. The new “Ghost in the Shell” movie has been whitewashed by casting ScarJo as Motoko Kusanagi.

    That’s racism, which above rape in the totem pole. It’ also racist how THAT controversy received less MSM attention than this Batgirl controversy.

    Batgirl is white. There, the problem now goes away.

    1. Uh, “Totem Pole” is phallocentric cultural-appropriation and triggering and I don’t even

      check your ciscolonialprivilege

  25. “Yet it’s also stuck around because it has been held up as a prime example of the cavalier way that superhero comics have treated female characters?and, in particular, the way that they have often relied on sadistic, grisly violence toward women as cheap mechanisms for teaching their male characters life lessons.”

    Yeah like how Uncle Ben is shot dead by a robber or how Wayne Sr is shot dead by a robber, or how Superman’s dad is blown up along with his home world or superman’s other dad has a heart attack and dies or like how the Joker got his face all scared up or how two face got two faces or how batman gets his back broken when fighting Bane or how Wolverine is captured and has molten adominium injected into his bones or how Dr Doom is maimed or how Professor X is crippled and healed and re-crippled every 5 years or so or how the Hulk was bombarded with gamma radiation or how iron man gets a chunk of steal embedded into his chest or how Angel gets his wings clipped by Apocalypse and replaced with scythes Or how the silver surfer gives up his humanity and is changed into a monstrous Herald of world destruction to save his homeworld…

    Oh wait.

    By the way Peter you are slime for writing that context-less sentence when you know better.

  26. artists shouldn’t ever agree with the censors.

  27. By the way how many times has Robin been injured captured maimed or killed in order to motivate Batman?

    Like 8 billion?

    Give me a fucking break.

    1. But Robin is a male – the Official Anti-Male Bigotry Playbook says that males deserve every bit of harm that comes their way, because they’re inherently evil by dint of their maleness (females, of course, are inherently angelic, and only turn to evil because of a man). The more male characteristics a person has, the more evil they are – ergo, they’re more deserving of harm.

  28. Ah yes, the Twatter/Twatbook NKVD once again has someone in their dock for ideological incorrectness.

    I am curious if at some point this will just lead to a complete breakdown in the entire “internet police” system. Like people will just start assuming that the sensitivity Jacobins will scream bloody murder at everything and thus ignore them. Or even be MORE offensive?

    My personal hope would be more and more people just eschew the worldwide Thanksgiving dinner table of interacting with these social platforms entirely.

  29. I disagree that the complaints come from non-comic readers. SJWs won in the comics field a long, long time ago. That’s why, after winning there and in science fiction/fantasy novels, they’ve moved on to video games.

    1. That’s also why Baen books is thriving.

  30. “Not all market signals are price signals. ”

    Fuck off.
    Consider that a market signal, Pete.

  31. So, now we should expect the leftards to throw a fit over Mr. Incredible sobbing when Syndrome had him caught in that electro-magnetic shackle arrangement, right? Watch out, Pixar!

    -jcr

  32. The professional, perpetual victim trash win again.

    How sad that their moronic babbling wasn’t simply ridiculed and then ignored, as it should have been.

    RIP, Integrity – we hardly knew ye.

  33. Politics, activism and political-correctness are ruining everything – except the power of manipulative, corrupt politicians and their activist sheepleherders.

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  36. This is pretty silly. What has happened here is typical feminist bullying whenever women are subject in fiction to a tiny fraction of the violence that men are subject to. Feminists get upset at the sight of one woman beaten but make not the slightest objection to the mound of male corpses. Then they talk bullshit about damselling when that is what they are doing.

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  38. I often wonder if people understand what a dangerous precedent it sets to allow peoples emotions to rule the decision making process. Imagine how empowering it is to “feel” something and watch that thing you feel come to pass. Progressivism, much like all other isms, is a religion and functions as such.

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