Tons of comic book news to unpack in the week’s Comics Relief, like the return of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson as a happily married couple, and J. Scott Campbell’s answer to DC’s latest costume change for Wonder Woman. But the truly big news this week has to do with the ongoing drama surrounding a Batgirl cover that won’t ever see print, but is causing tons of debate nevertheless:
Batgirl/Joker Variant Cover Causes Major Online Controversy
Probably the biggest comic book story this week revolves around just a cover, and it’s now a cover that won’t ever even see print. I’m talking about the variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41, which features Barbara Gordon, frozen and terrorized in the grip of the Joker. On its surface, something like this probably shouldn’t be that controversial, since the Joker is Capital E-Evil, and there have been plenty of images of him terrorizing many characters over the past 75 years, none of which caused such a furor online as much as this image. So much furor in fact that Rafael Albuquerque, the artist of the piece, decided to ask DC to not publish it when the issue hits in June.
So why the furor? [Editor’s Note: Has anyone used the word “furor” this much?] Well, context is everything. As most fans know, in Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel The Killing Joke, the Joker shoots Barbara and cripples her, and it is also heavily implied that he raped her as well. So to have a cover image where Batgirl is helpless and crying in the hands of the man who sexually assaulted her, especially when the story inside the comics bears no relation to the image, it does just reek a bit of exploitation. It’s a bit like “Hey Kids! Remember that time our heroine was sexually assaulted?” I also think of Batgirl had a more defiant face, and not one of cowering fear, this probably wouldn’t even be a controversy. So DC has chosen not run the cover in June, although now because of the controversy, more people have seen it than would have ever seen it had it gone to print. Oh, the irony.
J. Scott Campbell Does His Own Wonder Woman Costume Redesign, Just Because
Batgirl isn’t the only DC heroine who is facing controversy this week, although this controversy is certainly on a lower scale of controversial. Last week we reported on Wonder Woman’s new costume designed by David Finch, which, pardon our French, is pretty darn fugly. Now artist J. Scott Campbell his debuted his version of what he thinks Wonder Woman should be wearing, and despite his fame as something of a cheesecake artist, Campbell pretty much nailed what a good re-design for the Amazing Amazon should look like, stating “I’ve been informed by many on Twitter that we can’t handle this kind of Wonder Woman any more. Are they right..?” And showed off his sketch for an updated Wondy costume, and addressed point-by-point why it’s better.
* Different, updated, but still recognizable as the multi-decades-long icon that she is ✓
* Authentic visual connection to her Grecian/Roman Amazonian culture and background ✓
* Americana infused such as the use of Red White And Blue, Eagle and Stars ✓
* Minimal arm protection thus making her abilities to deflect bullets with only the skillfull use of two small bracelets all the more impressive, as it should be! ✓
* Tasteful level of exposed skin to show off womanly athletic form without resorting to cleavage or thong etc… ✓
* Unencumbered shoulder area for easy twirling of lasso ✓
* Color-scheme bright, uplifting, and positive without excessive dark blackened in areas (well, imagine that it would be!) ✓
* Mild resemblance to Cobie Smulders (ok, I added that one in for me!) ✓
Attention Hellboy Fans: Dark Horse Has A Mike Mignola Sale You May Want To Jump On
Last year Mike Mignola’s Hellboy turned 20, and as part of the continuing celebration of the big red ape’s b-day, Dark Horse Comics has launched a sale on digital Mike Mignola books, dropping them down to about a dollar an issue. You can find such classic Hellboy books like Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil, not to mention Hellboy spin-off titles like Abe Sapien and Witchfinder, as well as non-Hellboy related work from Mignola, like Baltimore. The sale only last through this upcoming weekend, so this is one you might want to jump on right away. [Comics Alliance]
Spider-Man and Mary Jane’s Marriage Back On (For Now)
If you grew up reading Spider-Man comics anywhere from the late 80s to the mid 2000’s, Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage was as much a staple of the Marvel Universe as Reed Richards and Susan Storm’s was. That is, until then-Marvel EIC Joe Quesada got his way and finally undid the marriage with the wave of a magic wand in the storyline called One More Day. Since then, Spidey has been living the single life again.
But just as many of us have finally gotten used to the idea of a single Peter Parker, Marvel is bringing back the married version of Spider-Man and Mary Jane, along with their little daughter (who grows up to be Spider-Girl if I’m not mistaken) in a version of Spider-Man that proceeds as if the marriage had never been undone, all of course thanks to the events of Secret Wars, in Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, written by Dan Slott and drawn by Adam Kubert.
According to writer Dan Slott, “There are legions of Spider-Man fans that are passionate about changes that have happened to Spider-Man continuity; They are upset that the baby went missing, that the marriage went away. Spider-Man has been around for fifty years, and the marriage was around for twenty-five. So now we’re seven or eight years into a world without a married Spider-Man. It’s a big itch that people want scratched.” You too can have your itch scratched When Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows hits on June 3rd. [Entertainment Weekly]
Changes On The Way For Marvel’s Ongoing Star Wars Title
When it comes to Marvel’s new Star Wars ongoing comic, this week we’ve got some good news and some bad news. As is customary, let’s get the bad news out of the way first-artist John Cassaday’s last issue of the book will be #6. This can’t come as a total surprise, as Cassaday is a very meticulous artist who isn’t known for his long runs on any title, his 25 issue run on Astonishing X-Men with Joss Whedon maybe being the longest.
Now to the good news-not only has writer Jason Aaron confirmed he’s in for the long haul, but the artist chosen as Cassaday’s replacement is none other than All New X-Men’s Stuart Immonen, who joins with issue #8 (issue #7 will be by an as-yet unannounced guest artist.) Immonen is not a bad choice at all, and as you can see from the preview images Marvel released with the announcement, Immonen draws a pretty awesome Luke Skywalker. [Newsarama]
Mark Hamill Plugs This Year’s Free Comic Book Day
Speaking of Luke Skywalker, the man behind the Jedi, Mark Hamill, is a lifelong comic book fan, and is urging fans to go to this year’s Free Comic Book Day, on May 2nd. He even made a YouTube video plugging the event (as well as his upcoming turn on the CW’s The Flash as the Trickster. Why not?) Check it out below:
Miracleman Is IDW’s Latest Artifact Edition
Miracleman (formerly Marvelman) has been having a resurgence of late, with Marvel reprinting many of his now classic adventures over the past couple of years. Now Miracleman is the latest comic to get the Artifact Edition from IDW. The new collection contains 144 pages of Alan Moore’s early tales. The hardcover is solicited as being $95, and features an orientation size of 15 x 20. This is a book for hardcore fans only (as are all the Artifact Editions really) but if you’re the kind of fan who enjoy the entire process of creating a comic, these artifact editions are a god send. Among the artists included in this edition are Garry Leach, Alan Davis and John Totleben. Although only credited as “the original writer” at his request, said writer is Alan Moore, who doesn’t want any credit for his work here. He may be a genius, but let’s not forget, he’s also a total weirdo. [Comics Alliance]
So what do you think of the Batgirl controversy, or any of the other comics news stories in today’s column? Let us know in the comments below!