I’m not much of a fan of comic books – I was more into Zelda and Robert Heinlein when I was a kid, but my daughter has expressed an interest in them so I’ve been exploring them with her – and I generally don’t write here on SAB about issue not specifically related to North Dakota, but I can’t help but comment on the absurdity of this.
A comic book cover intended to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Joker character in the Batman universe has been pulled because the cover depicted the infamous villain threatening a girl. Bat Girl, specifically.
Apparently the cover is a reference to a story line from 25 years ago which had the Joker shooting and paralyzing Bat Girl (some argue that the story suggested she was raped too, though that apparently wasn’t explicit in the story). But in this modern era of #waronwomen politics apparently fictional stories about fictional villains doing villainous and fictional things to fictional female characters is unconscionable. Or something.
“I respect these opinions and, despite whether the discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited,” cover artist Rafael Albuquerque, who ultimately requested that the cover be pulled, wrote of its critics. Which is idiotic.
Of course some opinions should be discredited. Like opinions about the moon landing being faked, or opinions about racial superiority. Just because a bunch of addled twits form a social media lynch mob every time they see something that upsets me doesn’t mean we have to give their opinions credit.
We need to stop giving in to these idiots.
But the release from DC Entertainment is where things really get rich:
Regardless if fans like Rafael Albuquerque’s homage to Alan Moore’s THE KILLING JOKE graphic novel from 25 years ago, or find it inconsistent with the current tonality of the Batgirl books – threats of violence and harassment are wrong and have no place in comics or society.
Violence and harassment have no place in comics? Comics generally, and the Batman stories specifically, are famous for the never-ending and fictional violence and harassment perpetrated by villains and responded to by heroes.
That’s the whole point. Violence between heroes and villains is the cornerstone of the comic book industry. To suggest otherwise is moronic.
And yes, I realize that the alleged connotations of sexual assault in this particular Joker/Bat Girl story line is probably unusual in comics, but so what? Is it worse than villains just plain old murdering people? We’re ok with villains shooting heroes in the face in adult-themed comics, but not rape?
What’s next? Are we going to take a hammer and chisel to sculptures and paintings, works by artistic masters, which also depict unsettling scenes of violence against women? Or should we accept that the purpose of art at times is to leave people feeling uncomfortable?
If you’re going to object to violence in comics, and entertainment media generally, then fine. But let’s be honest about what this is: A manifestation of this idea that women aren’t just equal to men, but better than men, to the point where fictional violence against men is just fine but not fictional violence against women.
That’s what these absurd people want. They want a Joker who is an evil tyrant but who draws the line at hitting girls. They want girls who are superheroes, but aren’t subjected to the same sort of violence as other superheroes.
Is that the message we want for young women? That you’re special and entitled to special treatment for no other reason than their gender?
I guess so, and what a disservice we’re doing to the young women receiving that message.
And the implications for censorship in the digital age here are troubling. Because that’s what this is. Controversial speech being silenced by social media hordes. And some are ok with it, because it’s “social justice” or something.