The big controversy this week (well, one of them as one is brewing up right now) revolves around the Joker variant to an upcoming Batgirl comic. The crux is a part of the fanbase criticized the cover and wanted it pulled. This made another part of the comic book audience angry. That anger magnified when DC pulled the cover at the request of the artist. Then there was talks about integrity and censorship. About placating a vocal minority. Here are my thoughts.
COMIC FANS ARE ALREADY A MINORITY. Seriously, comic audience is not that impressive in size. If it was, there wouldn’t be comic shops closing every few months and there is already not that many across the US. The industry being aware of a portion of the audiences anger can only be a good thing. Marvel, DC, all the companies need as much sales as possible. Besides, weren’t the people criticizing the loudest actually the ones buying the book? I’m sure there are Batgirl fans who liked the cover but on a whole, if the audience for said book doesn’t like it, they are the majority buyer.
ITS A VARIANT THAT DOESN’T MATCH THE TONE. You can make an argument that a cover does not need to detail the work inside but shouldn’t they at least know the tone of the book? That Joker variant is a whole right turn away from the comic. The variant isn’t for the majority of people who buy the book and are the people who do like the cover actually gonna waste money on a book they don’t want? Maybe it could have made some new fans out of the non-readers but how many would that be? How many variants would have sold against the main cover?
INTEGRITY OF THE THE ARTWORK RATHER THAN THE BOOKS CREATORS. A good majority of the pro-cover fans have not even brought up the fact the cover was done without consulting THE ACTUAL CREATORS OF THE BOOK! They didn’t like it by the way. You want to talk integrity but not mention the fact the creators did not like, or want, the cover then you’re argument falls on its face. Your saying that you are angry that DC has chosen to listen to these people who include the comic creators rather than you.
WAS NOT RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUES ORIGINAL CONCEPT. According to an interview he was asked to make the cover more extreme. He felt that the cover he produced should not be used for a book that aims at a female audience and this fine quote: I do not think a comic that aims to raise women´s self-esteem should have an image that may suggest otherwise. So using him and his work to talk about censorship and integrity in art is missing the point. This was a company decision to have a cover like that, and it was the company making the right choice in listening to the creators and the audience in pulling it.
EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO THE COMIC THEY ARE READING. The audience for any form of entertainment change and grow. This is a constant. Being angry that other readers want something different, demand changes, is stupid. Especially when it comes to mainstream entertainment. These companies are about maximizing dollars and have to be on top of change and the fanbase. They support who is paying. They will support, who is paying in the future. It sucks to see characters or creators you like not work the books you want or not being able to do the work they’d like. But thats mainstream entertainment. The new generation of readers will pay for what they want, the new generation of creators have their own take on thing, and the companies have to change with it. Batgirl and other titles are are important because they signify that-and also because they are the alternatives in the usual offerings. Let Batgirls book be what it is, what the creators want it to be, what the fans pay for, and what the company is supporting. If the fans and creators want it that way, it should be that way.