VbZ1OyfOver the past several days there’s been a manufactured scandal brewing at DC over the variant cover of an upcoming Batgirl book. I use the phrase ‘manufactured scandal’ because there isn’t any real merit to the problem that a lot of these people are having. At the moment the only DC superhero I follow is Batgirl. The new creative team and their book is kind of near and dear to my heart. I’ve read all of the New 52 Batgirl stuff, but it wasn’t until book thirty-five that it felt like they were trying to make Batgirl a character not trapped in the shadow of her mentor.

The book’s cover can be found anywhere online, but I won’t post it here. It’s been posted to death all over the web. Despite people are claiming fans are upset about it, I haven’t seen anyone who reads the comic complaining about it.

The creative team behind Batgirl (Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr) pointed out that the cover wasn’t in line with what they’re doing with the book. So, why is it that the artists behind the meat and potatoes of the story have input that doesn’t matter?

tumblr_nin3b5xM1P1rxvh4oo1_1280And the three of them are right; Batgirl lives in a much more lighthearted and colorful side of Gotham. The plots have dropped a lot of the melodrama and woe-is-me bullshit to have more fun with. Fun was something missing from the first part of the New 52 Batgirl run.

Then what’s the problem exactly?

There’s this push around the web from the old guard of niche groups to claim they fight for artistic freedom of speech, but only as long as what the artist is creating falls in line with the status quo. When an artist is willing to fight audiences for their right to put their creation out there, that’s alright. But if someone puts a cover on your book that you don’t like you shouldn’t have the right to have it taken away?

The whole thing doesn’t seem fair to the artists or the people they’re creating the work for.

Meanwhile, across the road at Marvel artists have taken their precious page space and used it to take shots at sexism in books like Thor. Of course people have a problem with it even though it’s what the artists want to do.

All of this fuss over the cover isn’t really an issue at all. The comic book team didn’t want it. A lot of fans didn’t want it. I’m actually in agreement with the ‘didn’t want it’ school of thought, yet people who probably aren’t even reading the book are telling everyone else what they should have to look at or what should be stuck to the front of their book.

If you really respected artists – aka the people behind the story and drawing inside of the book – you’d see this is a non-issue and that they’re the ones benefiting from it.

Artwork at the above taken from Babs Tarr, check out her stuff at Babs Draws.

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2 thoughts on “Holy Cover Controversy, Batgirl!

  1. You were wondering why the creators don’t get input on covers? Well in this case, the cover that broke the Internet is actually a variant cover not meant to reflect the book inside nor does the creative team have any input. It was commissioned by DC’s publicity and promotions department as part of their “celebration” of The Joker’s 75th anniversary. I think every book in DC comics (except now Batgirl) will have a Joker variant. This is mainly done for the collectors market and shops, if I under it correctly, can’t order the variant unless they have ordered a pre-determined set of the regular book cover (that the artists/writers did have input on). People who do want that book with tht cover usually have to ask for it to be special ordered or ask if it is in stock. Again variant covers aren’t meant to reflect the book inside but are for the niche collectors market meant to celebrate something. It seems that there is a different theme every month of variants (movie poster themes, selfies, etc). And most hard core collectors that do buy variants and would like that cover do buy and read those books (including Batgirl) do it seems a little disingenuous to characterize and lump all readers together like that.

    As for the content of the Batgirl book, I think it suffers from a couple of things. Babs doesn’t really behave like Babs, in my opinion. It is, to me a reader of the book and a long time reader of comics and a fan of Batgirl, a toneal character shift. It’s not even in the same way that Babs was presented in Gail Dimone’s run (and i disagree about her being in Batman’s shadow. I think that she was actually escaping from and dealing with what The Joker did to her). I wouldn’t change anything about the book except Babs. I think what Stewart, Tarr, etc are doing would have worked better with Stephanie Brown or Bette Kane in that role (both previous Batgirls pre New 52). Partly

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    1. I actually know a fair bit about variant covers and they do ship to the store, at least here in San Antonio. I picked up the Purple Rain variant cover the other day from a comic book store. I get that variant covers don’t have to do with the inside of the book all of the time, but I also think that if a cover upsets enough people it’s up to the artists involved and the company to have the choice to pull it. That’s what happened.

      The reason why I said that part about the people who actually read the book is because everyone I’ve seen complaining about the cover being changed has been people who refuse to read the book. The art’s too girlie, the plots are too girlie, or they don’t like that she’s using a cell phone and these are all real complaints I see over and over again.

      I don’t really know much about Barbara Gordon from the comics before the New 52 stuff, but I remember the Batman cartoon having her on it. I think that it’s pretty hard to ask comics to be very consistent, characters just change sometimes. I know that I enjoy this new Batgirl much more than I did for the first thirty-four issues. Maybe it should have been an alternate universe or a relaunch, but I still think it turned out much more enjoyable.

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