Recently variant covers have been coming under fire for their treatment of the women on them. This really exploded last year when Marvel released the solicitations for Spider-Woman #1 which featured the now infamous "Spider-Butt" cover by Italian artist Milo Manara. That was followed recently by Bleeding Cool calling out IDW for the Dheeraj Verma variant to G.I. Joe #6 that featured the Baroness' booty. Which brings us to this article, where Bleeding Cool once again calls out a publisher for featuring a variant cover with "a very disturbing sexual overtone."
"It reflects the Killing Joke story in which Barbara Gordon was shot in the spine by the Joker, but in a far more lurid fashion. It does seem diametrically opposed to the current Batgirl comic book in terms of style, and also seems rather in contrast with the female empowerment theme that the book has embraced as well. Indeed, the comic has been totemic for this approach in the industry right now, alongside Ms. Marvel, so giving this new mini-relaunched Batgirl a cover in which she is visibly upset and abused by the man who once crippled her, does seem to be a little counter-intuitive. And the direction of the gun does give the whole thing a very disturbing sexual overtone."
- Rich Johnston
Since when does a cover have to reflect the mood, or story in a book? How many times have we seen covers that had zero to do with the actual content? Scottie Young "cutsie" covers for Marvel spring to mind. Not to remind you that this is the VARIANT cover. No one complained about how Harley or The Flash variant covers didn't reflect the tones of the books, but this is controversial? Tell me how? Harley had her legs wrapped around Superman's neck (Action Comics #39), and straddling the handle of her over-sized hammer like a pole dance (Supergirl #39), but this is sexual? For that matter why call this cover out to begin with? Why not the variant for The Flash #41 that has the Joker straddling the Flash? Could it because Batgirl has been under the spotlight and watchful eye ever since Batgirl #37's Transphobic Controversy? I personally think that is why this cover is being called out. It is the nature of the beast media jumping on a hot topic and exploiting every angle that they can no matter how far of a stretch it is.
As for the sexual overtones to the cover all I have to ask is: How? How is that cover in any way shape or form sexual? What I see when I see this cover is a clear homage to The Killing Joke by playing up the psychological scars that event and by extension the Joker left on Babs' psyche. I do not see how you see anything "sexual" let alone "disturbing sexual" with this cover. Maddox did a great video on the subject of sexual during the Spider-Butt Gate.
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