The Controversial Joker-Themed DC Covers Are Morbidly Beautiful

by . March 20th, 2015

Let’s put a smile on that face

It seems like DC Comics is making the variant covers a monthly affair.

This June, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the notoriously sadistic madman everyone loves, DC is releasing variant covers of their flagship titles featuring Clown Prince of Crime.

Awww yeah!

That’s right. The Joker is infiltrating Superman, Batman and other characters’ covers with that eerie Glasgow grin of his, guns and cards and bombs in hand.

For the uninitiated, variant editions of comic books are those printed with an alternate cover, oftentimes not related with the story within the comic book issue.

Comic book companies usually release variant covers when storylines are deemed popular (as with DC’s Infinite Crisis), a response to an event (such as the inauguration of Barack Obama in Spidey Meets The President!), or a comic book milestone (as with the case of the 75th anniversary of Joker’s first appearance).

Why so serious?

DC has had its fair share of controversial covers, especially on its alleged sexist depiction and objectification of its female characters. These set of covers are no different.

The variant cover for June’s Batgirl #41 had to be pulled out and wouldn’t be released after online protests dubbed it “disturbing”.

Batgirl #41 joker variant DC Comics withdrawn, art by Rafael Albuquerque

The cover drawn by artist Rafael Albuquerque depicts the Joker holding a gun and drawing a bloody smile over a distressed Batgirl. It was meant to be a homage to the iconic Joker story The Killing Joke.

The Killing Joke was written by Alan Moore and the plot involves the Joker shooting Barbara Gordon in the spine and possibly sexually assaulting her. The Joker took pictures of a naked Barbara which he used to try to drive her father Commissioner Gordon insane.

Angry fans took to social media to pressure DC to #ChangeTheCover. Albuquerque later requested DC personally to pull the variant cover, which the comic book company granted.

“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,” stated DC in a press release, referring to threats on fans who wanted DC to pull the cover out.

Because a sadistic menacing psychopath cannot be depicted as a sadistic menacing psychopath, apparently.

Check out the rest of the variant covers below:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.44.17 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.44.34 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.49.10 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.50.05 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.49.26 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.45.36 AM CTW_Cv41_Joker_variant_solicitation Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.46.57 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.43.43 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.44.57 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.43.04 AM jokerww JLA_Cv1_joker_variant_solicitation-2 BMSM_Cv21_joker_variant AC_Cv41_joker_variant


Kevin is a reader first, a writer second, and a gamer somewhere in between. When not rooting for Tyrion Lannister for the Iron Throne, he's probably writing some morbid short story. He enjoys some surreal art, clever advertising campaigns, and a warm cup of coffee while reading Murakami.