A dustup in the comic book world reminds us — as if any of us needed reminding — that the world of comics fandom is filled with a lot of the same sort of garbage people who’ve been harassing (mostly) women in the name of #GamerGate.
The sightly confusing story: On Friday, a bunch of “variant” comic book covers featuring The Joker alongside an assortment of other DC comics characters were posted online, with DC planning on releasing two dozen more “variant” covers for June.
One of these covers, intended for Batgirl #41, featured The Joker and a terrified-looking Batgirl, an unsettling reference to an quarter-century-old graphic novel called The Killing Joke, in which the sadistic Joker crippled Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, with a shot to her spine. The Joker’s sadism was highly sexualized, with the graphic novel strongly suggesting that she had also been sexually assaulted.
Well, a lot of Batgirl’s present day fans were upset by a reminder of this dark storyline, in part because, as Jude Terror writes on The Outhousers, a cover referencing sadism and sexual assault is a bit “contradictory to the lighthearted tone” of Batgirl comics today.
After hearing this criticism, the artist behind the cover, Rafael Albuquerque, asked DC Comics to pull his artwork, noting that he never meant “to hurt or upset anyone through my art.”
DC Comics granted his request. But DC’s official statement also alluded to “threats of violence and harassment,” which many people took to mean that Albuquerque and DC Comics had been bullied into pulling the artwork by, you know, those evil “social justice warriors” we hear so much about.
Nope. It was the” antisocial injustice warriors” all along. Albuquerque made clear that he hadn’t actually gotten any threats. As Batgirl writer Cameron Stewart noted, it was the people who criticized the cover who were getting threats.
That’s right. Albuquerque and DC took down the artwork because some of the DEFENDERS of the artwork were harassing critics in their name.
Naturally, the people who previously brought so much ETHICS! to the world of gaming have some highly ETHICAL opinions on this controversy.
On Kotaku in Action, Reddit’s home for the #GamerGate crowd, commenters complained that Albuquerque and DC had given in to “a bunch of screeching hens on Twitter.”
“I say fuck ’em,” still another commenter defiantly added. “Be as fucking edgy as you want, and if anyone complaints, just tell them “don’t buy it moron”.”
But my favorite comment is probably this one, not just for the “let me explain to you how art works” stuff but also for that slightly ironic bit at the very end.
Dude, I hate to have to tell you this, but you’re part of a movement whose main goal is to shut down peope who disagree with you.
#GamerGate has spent the past, what, six months, harassing and threatening and trying to ruin the lives and the livelihoods of game developers and journalists and cultural critics for the terrible crime of … saying things you don’t like about gaming culture (sometimes even while being female).
Indeed, #GamerGaters have managed to convince themselves, if very few others, that it’s somehow “unethical” for journalists to publish anything #GamerGaters don’t like. And then they complain about “censorship?”
H/T — Big tip of the hat today to Skiriki, for alerting me to this and providing helpful links, and to lifestyled on GamerGhazi for a post highlighting some of the best — i.e., worst — comments from GamerGaters on Reddit.