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Batman Killing Joker, Batgirl Cover # 41 Cancel !!!!

This comic book cover is ripping DC Comics apart:

 

The variant cover to Batgirl No. 41. DC Comics

This post includes and references some graphic imagery from the 1988 comic book The Killing Joke.

On Rafael Albuquerque's variant cover for Batgirl No. 41, Batgirl's eyes are the size of two fishbowls, and there's a tear ready to drip down toward the messy red smile smeared on her cheeks.

The Joker has his arm around her, finger digging into her cheek. In his other hand he holds a shimmering gun with one finger on the trigger. He flashes his sinister pearly whites. Albuquerque has created an image that conjures up the visceral terror of the iconic comic book The Killing Joke.

His cover will never be seen in stores.

On Tuesday, after four days that included complaints, followed by the now seemingly inevitable death threats made against those who complained, DC Comics announced that the variant cover of Batgirl No. 41 had been canceled at Albuquerque's request.

But the ghoulish cover is not the only thing at play here. It's just the latest flare-up to reflect the incongruous, factional nature of the comic book community and the forces that threaten to rip it apart.

Thanks to The Killing Joke, Batgirl is always seen as the Joker's ultimate victim

When asked about his motivation for the cover, Albuquerque said he was directly referencing Alan Moore's seminal 1988 comic The Killing Joke, considered one of the best stories about the Joker ever told.

"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," he said in a statement. "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."

Moore's book is significant to comic book readers for many reasons. For one, it may, depending on how you read it, depict Batman killing Joker. Batman, of course, has made a pledge to not kill anyone, and the comic is wrapped around that ideology. So what would drive him to that point? Moore's book aims to answer that question, and said answer has to do with Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and the Joker.

In The Killing Joke, Joker captures Barbara, the daughter of police commissioner Jim Gordon, and shoots her, which severs her spine, paralyzing her. After committing that act, the Joker and his goons strip her naked, take pictures of her, and later on, forced her father to look at the photos:

 

The Killing Joke. (DC)

It's gruesome sexual assault. And as critics and Moore himself have said, the move felt vacant and inconsiderate — Barbara Gordon's life-changing ordeal was just a plot device to further Batman's story. What happened to Gordon is part of the "women in refrigerators" trope, when female heroes and love interests are maimed, depowered, or crippled in order to teach men lessons.

Gordon's paralysis was accepted as DC canon, making her ordeal something that couldn't be forgotten. And though writers like Gail Simone have given Batgirl a rich story in which her PTSD is explored, fleshed out, and worked through, many writers and artists (including Albuquerque) continue to define Batgirl as the Joker's victim rather than a hero with nearly 30 years of stories after the incident.

Knowing the context of The Killing Joke and what Gordon went through tints the perception of Albuquerque's cover. It reflects a personal history rife with assault and violation. The Joker isn't just any other villain to Batgirl, and Batgirl isn't just any other victim to the Joker.

Complaints about the cover were met with death threats

From an editorial standpoint, Albuquerque's cover makes little sense. During Simone's tenure and the current run from co-writer and layout artist Cameron Stewart and co-writer Brenden Fletcher, Batgirl has been portrayed as a kick-ass young woman, and the comic book, especially recently, has been brighter and more youthful.

Albuquerque's macabre, sinister cover is incongruent with Gordon's current story. It doesn't match the tone of the book. And it doesn't even match up with DC's wider corporate initiatives to pursue more diverse points of view in its storytelling.

Much like Marvel, DC has been promoting and positioning itself as a more inclusive company. On February 6, the company made a huge splash when it announced 24 new comics that would focus on diversity. In particular, more female writers and artists were added to the company's roster.

The comic book industry, unfortunately, has for far too long been stuck in a holding pattern in which female characters are continually marginalized and overtly sexualized. It is only now slowly finding a way out of that holding pattern. Because DC said the things it said and touted the strides it was making, Albuquerque's cover felt like a step back to readers.

"This is the antithesis of girl power. This is the antithesis of 'superhero fun,'" read a post on the popular feminist comic book site DC Women Kicking Ass. The post continued:

Frankly for me the damage is done. While the foot soldiers and rank and file of DC may talk about girl power and diversity, it is clear that at the top where these things get conceived and approved there is questionable support for and focus on walking the walk and talking the talk. This cover is proof of this.

Stewart, one of the writers of the Batgirl comic, voiced his displeasure with the variant art. Variant covers are a strange beast — they're essentially an alternative, rarer cover, and executive decisions, like which artist is commissioned or even overall approval of the cover, aren't something writers of a series control.

"The cover was not seen or approved by anyone on Team Batgirl and was completely at odds with what we are doing with the comic," Stewart wrote on Twitter.

Albuquerque himself acknowledged the questions about the cover were fair. In his statement, he also explains that he told DC to pull the cover:

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.

Albuquerque's decision was a bit different from that of artist Milo Manara last summer. Marvel commissioned Manara, whose specialty is erotic comics, to do a variant cover for its Spider-Woman solo series, and Manara created a cover that featured the character in a hypersexualized pose. Unlike Albuquerque, Manara stood by his art, but Marvel apologized for the decision.

Here's where the ugly part begins.

Even though both the cover artist and a co-writer of the comic support pulling the image, a sect of comic book readers see DC's cancellation of the cover as an affront to their sensibilities and evidence that a feminist cabal is taking over the comics industry.

There's an online petition to save the cover. Though it has a paltry 92 signatures (at the time this piece was written), the author's description of events resonates with common arguments made by those who believe comics are being taken over by political activists:

Due to a small majority of easily offended people who have taken the role of a collective Watchdog group, DC have agreed to pull a Batgirl Joker Variant cover at the artist request … This is not about the cover but about the importance of not allowing a minority to control the choices of the majority. It's about irrational censorship

On the forums of Comic Book Resources, a popular comics site, there's a 54-page thread with 797 posts discussing DC's decision to pull the cover. As with any internet forum thread, some posts are more polite and coherent than others, but those angry the cover was pulled explained in more detail why they were upset.

"I'd love to see how calm and collected all of the anti-cover crusaders would be in the same situation," one commenter wrote, adding: "How many of you would stand there stone faced, fighting back at anything an aggressor even moves in your general direction to do while holding you at gunpoint?"

Another wrote: "Plus, the Joker has threatened various other female characters with no controversy. I'm not sure that I get what the fuss is about. I know that it's creepy and dark, but we've seen far more gory Joker moments than this with no controversy."

What both posts seem to miss is that Batgirl's story no longer needs to be defined by The Killing Joke. It's moved well beyond that, and continually pulling the character back to her weakest moment strikes many as disingenuous at best and exploitative at worst.

But things got much uglier than online petitions and forum arguments. Eventually, people complaining about the cover received death threats, Stewart stated on Twitter. In its statement, DC Comics mentioned that threats of violence were made:

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.

 

This conversation is not going away

Let's be clear about one thing: despite naysayers who believe companies like DC and Marvel shouldn't bend to the will of a "minority," there's a howling desire for diverse comics. In October, Marvel announced that Ms. Marvel No. 1, whose hero is a teenage Pakistani Muslim girl, was going into its seventh reprinting (something virtually unheard of in comic books). And Marvel's comic featuring female Thor, despite calls for a boycott, sold 150,000 copies in its debut, bettering titles like Batman and Amazing Spider-Man.

As Marvel's editor-in-chief Axel Alonso pointed out during New York City Comic-Con last year, the Ms. Marvel sales are not all from "16-year-old Pakistani Muslim girls buying the book." Those sales are happening because "everyone is buying that book."

Perhaps the clearest lesson for companies like DC and Marvel — which had its own brush with a tasteless variant cover in August — is to be more aware of the product they sell, and to be sure it matches the image they want to portray.

That will require becoming more involved in the variant cover process (and maybe revamping it altogether), but also making sure there are people making decisions behind the scenes who are women, who are nonwhite, who are LGBT — people who live the stories the companies want to tell.

 

Original Printed March-15 BY Vox Culture......

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Batman :* The Killing Joker History : !!!!!!

Batman: The Killing Joke

 
"Batman: The Killing Joke"
Batman thekillingjoke 3
General Information
Issue Number: 1
First Published: March 1988


Batman: The Killing Joke is an influential one-shot superhero comic book written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland, published by DC Comics in 1988. It has in its original form continuously been held in print since then. It has also been reprinted as part of the DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore-trade paperback.

In 2008 it was reprinted in a deluxe hardcover edition. This Deluxe Edition features new coloring by Brian Bolland, meant to illustrate his original intentions for the book, with more somber, realistic, and subdued colors than the intensely-colored original.

Synopsis

"The Killing Joke"

The plot revolves around a largely psychological battle between Batman and his longtime foe the Joker, who has escaped from Arkham Asylum. The Joker intends to drive Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon insane to prove that the most upstanding citizen is capable of going mad after having "one bad day". As part of his plans, the Joker managed to scam the owner of a run-down amusement park into giving him control, also poisoning him in the process when shaking hands on the deal, revealing that the park was actually Joker's since an hour beforehand thanks to his minions forcing his business partner to grant Joker ownership. Along the way, the Joker has flashbacks to his early life, gradually explaining his possible origin.

Jokerorig

The pre Joker, with his pregnant wife.

The man who will become the Joker is an unnamed engineer who quits his job at a chemical company to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperate to support his pregnant wife, Jeannie, he agrees to guide two criminals into the plant for a robbery. During the planning, the police inform him that his wife has died in a household accident involving an electric baby bottle heater. Grief-stricken, the engineer tries to withdraw from the plan, but the criminals strong-arm him into keeping his commitment to them.

At the plant, the criminals make him don a special mask to become the infamous Red Hood. Unknown to the engineer, this disguise is simply the criminals' scheme to implicate any accomplice as the mastermind to divert attention from themselves. Once inside, they almost immediately blunder into security personnel, and a violent shootout and chase ensues. The criminals are gunned down and the engineer finds himself confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance.

Jokerkillingjoke

Bolland's iconic image of the Joker.

Panicked, the engineer deliberately jumps into the chemical plant's chemical waste catch-basin vat to escape Batman and is swept through a pipe leading to the outside. Once outside, he discovers, to his horror, that the chemicals have permanently bleached his skin chalk white, stained his lips ruby red and dyed his hair bright green. This turn of events, compounding the man's misfortunes of that one day, drives him completely insane and results in the birth of the Joker.

In the present day, the Joker kidnaps Gordon, shoots and paralyzes his daughter Barbara, and imprisons him in a run-down amusement park. His henchmen then strip Gordon naked and cage him in the park's freak show. He chains Gordon to one of the park's rides and cruelly forces him to view giant pictures of his wounded daughter in various states of undress. Once Gordon completes the maddening gauntlet, the Joker ridicules him as an example of "the average man", a naïve weakling doomed to insanity.

Tumblr ldasa7P3Av1qzaas0o1 500

Barbara in the hospital

Batman arrives to save Gordon, and the Joker retreats into the funhouse. Gordon's sanity is intact despite the ordeal and he insists that Batman capture the Joker "by the book" in order to "show him that our way works." Batman enters the funhouse and faces the Joker's traps while the Joker tries to persuade his old foe that the world is inherently insane and thus not worth fighting for. Eventually, Batman tracks down the Joker and subdues him. Batman then attempts to reach out to him to give up crime and put a stop to their years-long war; otherwise, the two will be eternally locked on a course that will one day result in a fight to the death between them. The Joker declines, however, ruefully saying "It's too late for that...far too late." He then tells Batman a joke that was started earlier in the comic. The joke is funny enough to make the normally stone-faced Batman laugh. They continue to laugh as the police approach. Batman then grabs the Joker and the story ends, leaving it up to the reader to determine the Joker's fate.

Appearances

"The Killing Joke"

Individuals

Locations

Items

Vehicles

Influence in other media

Tim Burton claimed that The Killing Joke was a major influence on his film adaptation of Batman: "I was never a giant comic book fan, but I've always loved the image of Batman and The Joker. The reason I've never been a comic book fan - and I think it started when I was a child - is because I could never tell which box I was supposed to read. I don't know if it was dyslexia or whatever, but that's why I loved The Killing Joke, because for the first time I could tell which one to read. It's my favorite. It's the first comic I've ever loved. And the success of those graphic novels made our ideas more acceptable."

Director Christopher Nolan has mentioned that The Killing Joke served as an influence for the version of the Joker that appeared in The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, stated in an interview that he was given a copy of The Killing Joke as reference for the role. The most apparent influence of the graphic novel on the narrative itself would be the Joker's concept of his past as being "multiple choice" – in the film, he describes two conflicting scenarios to explain the origins of his scars to two different people - as well as his claim that a bad day could drive anyone mad, which he tries to prove through tormenting Gordon in the comic book, and Harvey Dent in the film. Both Jokers also explain their behavior and attitude as seeing what a twisted joke the world is, with the film stating in society "their morals, their code: it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be."

The design of the Joker in the video game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is based on The Killing Joke. In addition, one of his Fatalities, where he uses a bang flag gun before using a real gun on his opponent (censored in some versions) is named after the comic. The ending also has him sitting on a throne made of mannequins, alluding to a similar instance in the comic.

In the climax for Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker is seen sitting on a throne made of dismembered mannequins, alluding to The Killing Joke. In addition, Barbara Gordon's status as Oracle and being crippled by the Joker also references the comic. Joker also is about to recite a joke before interrupting himself and remembering he already told Batman that joke, alluding to the ending of The Killing Joke. His alias of "Jack White" was also referenced in the game.

During the interview tapes in Batman: Arkham City, Joker tells Hugo Strange his "Origin Story", which was based on The Killing Joke. Hugo, however, claims it to be fake, as he read up on 12 other "origin" stories that Joker had told. Joker also directly references Alan Moore's writing by stating that someone once told him to respond to his past with "multiple choices."

A DLC of The Killing Joke was launched for Injustice: Gods Among Us which includes the tourist costume, the costume he uses in the final confrontation with Batman, and the Red Hood costume.

In the DC Animated Original film series movie Batman: Under the Red Hood, aside from references to the Joker's status as the original red hood, a flashback to Batman's first encounter with the Joker (or rather, the man who would become the Joker) at the ACE Chemical Plant has the man claiming that he was set up and that he wasn't a crook before tripping and falling into one of the chemical vats, alluding to the backstory given in The Killing Joke where he was strongarmed into participating in the heist. In addition, the second Red Hood, Jason Todd, indirectly alludes to Joker's crippling of Barbara Gordon from the comic nearing the end, with the Joker also briefly asking for a camera, alluding to his photographing Barbara Gordon to break her father.

In Batman: Arkham Origins, during Dr. Harleen Quinzel's patient interview with the Joker midway through the game, the flashbacks accompanying the Joker's story to Quinzel are based on his past from The Killing Joke (specifically, his status as a failed stand-up comedian and his brief heist as the Red Hood that led to his first encounter with Batman and his disfiguration). In addition, his killing an amusement park owner to gain control of it via a handshake in the comic was also referenced in the same game, when he explains how he managed to get the equipment and set it up inside the Gotham Royal Hotel. The poem on the roof of the Gotham Royal Hotel also referenced The Killing Joke. Joker's voice actor for this game, Troy Baker, also recited a monologue made by the Joker, in his Joker voice, from The Killing Joke at Comic-Con when he was announced to be the voice of the Joker for Arkham Origins.

In Batman: Arkham Knight, there was a fear toxin-induced hallucination/flashback referring to the events of Barbara Gordon's paralysis at the hands of The Joker from the comic.

The issue of Darkwing Duck "Toy With Me"'s cover, depicting Quackerjack using a camera with a worried Darkwing Duck on the camera lens, was taken directly from the cover for The Killing Joke.

Trivia

  • In The Killing Joke, the ending was ambiguous, leaving the fates of Batman and Joker to the reader. However, on August 2013, comic book writer Grant Morrison was a guest on Kevin Smith's podcast Fat Man on Batman this week, where he explained how he interpreted the book's ending:
    "No one gets the end, because Batman kills The Joker. That’s why it’s called The Killing Joke. The Joker tells the ‘Killing Joke’ at the end, Batman reaches out and breaks his neck, and that’s why the laughter stops and the light goes out, ’cause that was the last chance at crossing that bridge. And Alan Moore wrote the ultimate Batman/Joker story… he finished it."[1]
    However, there are contradictions to Morrison's idea, some of which coming from the script.[2][3][4]
  • Neither Batman nor Joker are ever referred to by name in the comic.
  • The ending joke appears to be inspired by an older joke performed by Red Skelton on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 29, 1968.[5]
  • In the 2011 Comic-Con, Mark Hamill said that if there would ever be an animated version of The Killing Joke, he would gladly voice the Joker again, encouraging fans to campaign for said adaptation,[6][7] most notably in a tweet made on October 24, 2011.[8] Since then, a Facebook page titled "Petition to get Mark Hamill to play the Joker in animated Killing Joke" has been set up by his fans.[9] At the premiere of The Dark Knight Returns Part 2, producer Bruce Timm dropped a couple hints about DC animated projects, one of which is the possibly of doing a Killing Joke adaption.[10] At ComicCon 2015, Bruce Timm confirmed that one of the film lineups for 2016 includes an animated adaptation of The Killing Joke, with Mark Hamill crossing his fingers of being allowed to voice Joker when the casting call comes.
  • Originally, it was intended that, in addition to Joker shooting Barbara Gordon through the spine and taking nude photos of her to drive her father insane, that Joker was to be explicitly depicted as raping Barbara Gordon. Artwork for the scene was even created, and the scene ended up cut, although rape was still implied in the final version. Gosh! Comics' Billy Hynes eventually tweeted the original page on December 1, 2013.[11][12]
  • It's official Mark Hamill to Voice The Joker for BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE Animated Film...

 

 

Notes !!!!!

 

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