My Opinion on Batgirl #41 Joker Variant Cover, is it Sexist?

Batgirl #41 Joker Variant Cover

Batgirl #41 Joker Variant Cover

Hello interweb, Nate here.  So as many of you probably know by now, DC is releasing Joker variant covers for all their titles for the 75th anniversary of the character for the month of June.  For those of you who don’t know what a variant cover is, a variant cover is an alternate cover for a comic that is often bought by collectors.  These variant covers don’t have to have anything to do with the actual issue, their just an alternate cover you can buy.  However there has been one cover that has stirred up quite the controversy lately: the Batgirl #41 Joker Variant cover.

The Controversy

As stated above, during the month f June DC is releasing Joker variant covers for the character’s 75th anniversary.  The cover features Joker with an obviously distraught Batgirl with his left arm slung over her shoulder with a gun in his hand and his left hand smearing Joker Make-up onto her face.  The reason this cover is so controversial is because everyone is saying how this is showing Joker “sexually assaulting Batgirl” and it’s “promoting violence towards women”.  So Rafael Albuquerque, the artist of the cover, asked DC to pull it as he did not mean to offend anyone.


My Opinions

Okay, first off I’m aware that the cover references the cover of Alan Moore’s Killing Joke in which Joker shoots her through the spine (causing her to be in a wheelchair until the News 52 came around) and it is implied that she was sexually assaulted (it’s Alan Moore, what did you expect?  This was the same guy who wrote Watchmen).  So with that said, what’s my opinion on the cover? Well let’s talk about the sexual assault that this cover is implying… … …wait… … …how does this imply sexual assault?  No seriously, how does any of this imply sexual assault?  It doesn’t!  I honestly have nothing to say about this, it just has nothing sexual about it.

How about the violence?  Well, isn’t Batgirl a superhero?  I mean, isn’t this kinda part of the job description?  Batman has been in similar situations and no one had an outcry over that!  And yeah I get it, Batgirl’s a girl and all but come on!  Why is it that people want more woman in comics and the second women are tied up are beaten by a male villain suddenly this is “sexist” and is “promoting violence towards women”?

So yeah that’s pretty much it.  The cover isn’t sexist, Joker’s a villain, and people just made DC pull a really good variant cover for nothing.  Oh yeah, and this is a variant cover, meaning you don’t have to buy it id you don’t want to.  My sister owns Batgirl #36-39 and I have read all four of them and while I can say that the cover is a little different than the tone of the comic, it’s a variant cover.  Besides, Joker isn’t even in the issue.  Here’s the synopsis for #41:

“There’s a new Batman in town…and that spells bad news for Barbara Gordon! She’s already got enough upheaval in her life, with her roommate Frankie in on her biggest secret…and now she’s looking to get even more involved in Batgirl’s business!”


Nothing to do with Joker!  So what do you guys think?  Is this variant cover offending you or do you think people are overreacting?  Vote on out poll below.  Peace XD


  1. I do agree with what you’ve said here, but that really isn’t the problem. The problem is that it’s really horrible marketing. The new Batgirl series isn’t dark and gritty, it’s fun and it’s aimed toward new readers- including a lot of younger girls. This cover is super creepy and really doesn’t fit the new series at all. If I’d seen it when I was ten or eleven, it probably would’ve given me nightmares. And none of the other Joker variants are this disturbing. It just doesn’t make sense.

    1. While it’s true that the tone of the cover doesn’t match the tone of the comic, it is a variant cover so that doesn’t really bother me. And I think your not giving 10-year olds enough credit, it probably wouldn’t have scared most of them (although it’s true that some are more sensitive than others). If they would’ve made a cover that matched the tone of the comic maybe it would be better, but at least the main comic cover matched the tone.

  2. I do believe the violence to at least be suggested in that cover. Joker is insane and if this was from the classic days like the 90’s or earlier things may be different, but the writers have made him into a very evil villain who wouldn’t hesitate to rape someone to get to Batman. It’s why I can’t stand Joker and he went from being my favorite Batman villain back in the day to one of the worst. I still like him in the DCAU and in the old comics, but not in the new ones. I feel that the cover is simply inappropriate to be on display in comic stores. Imagine taking your kid in to go look for some Batman comics and you happen to see this one? I think it was a good move on DC’s part to bring it back in. Of course, I also couldn’t stand the Killing Joke (Really bad comic imo) so my view is more than a little slanted.

    1. yeah I see what you mean. When I first heard the news and I wrote this post my opinions where, well you already know sense you read it. But the more people are commenting on here and the more I think about it, maybe it is kinda inappropriate. Maybe if the comic itself was more mature than it would be fine but the tone of the comic is targeting younger kids so maybe they should’ve pulled it. I’m not going to delete this post (I don’t delete posts as if I change my mind later you can see what my opinion was previously) but for the most part my opinion has changed.

      I personally really like Joker, but I didn’t enjoy Killing Joke much (I admit, it was pretty hard for me to read).

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