When DC Pulled This Batgirl #41 Variant Cover, It Wasn't Censorship, It Was Integrity

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Batgirl has come a along way since being paralyzed in 1988. In the controversial, but beloved book by Alane Moore and Brian Bolland, The Killing Joke, The Joker paralyzes and sexually assaults Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) hoping to break her father, Comissioner Jim Gordon, and turn him bad (a la Harvey Dent). It's a seminal book for The Joker, and has become beloved by fans, and it might deserve the praise, if it didn't make such a dumb move.

Paralyzing Batgirl is one of the founding examples of Gail Simone's 'Women in Refrigerators' trope, in which a female character is killed, maimed or dis-empowered in order to drive a male heroes story. When Barbara Gordon is shot, the character was literally thrown away to prove the extent to which Comissioner Gordon is a bad-ass. If it weren't for the work of John Ostrander and Kim Yale, Batgirl might have stayed there, instead of becoming the fan favorite Oracle.

On top of all that, the cover barely resembles The Killing Joke at all, rather it heightens and embellishes:

The tone shift in putting Barbara in her Batgirl uniform and crying in The Joker's clutches only heightens her dis-empowerment. Ultimately, the Batgirl on this cover, is not the same character, Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr create every month.

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