DC Comics, Batgirl Cover:
There are many situations where there are sexual tensions in our environment and on the news, along with other displeasing news. People usually try to escape the world with fiction using comic books. Little do we expect such tensions that happen in the real world to happen in the fictional one as well.
In the last year, the company DC Comics Universe released a new issue of Batgirl: New 52 Series. In (month), They released the cover as a teaser — but many people weren’t so pleased. The cover showed the main hero Batgirl with The Joker, the arch enemy of Batman. The Joker had his arms around Batgirl and his left hand has a pistol in it.. His right hand had its pointer finger covered in what appears to be blood and he had the finger across Batgirl’s face in the shape of a gun. There was also blood around Batgirl’s lips in the shape of a smile which was the complete opposite face her lips formed. Simply put, she was terrified while the Joker seemed to be enjoying it.
Many viewers saw this as picture of sexual assault, and found it inappropriate. The photo sent fans into a fury, and the variant was quick to receive criticism which ultimately led to DC pulling it all together.
Other readers said that the image does not point to sexual assault. They cited an alternate storyline from the comic, where the Joker beats Batgirl and sends her father bloody naked pictures of her after he paralyzed her.
The Batgirl cover brings up an important debate: when does violence go too far in comic books and movies? We already expect a character like the Joker to be violent–but is there a line that his creators can cross where it’s too much?
I decided to expand upon the issue and ask a fellow student, a sophomore Chloe Epstein. I interviewed Chloe and asked her her take on the cover.
“I understand why people were concerned about violence about women,” Epstein said. “However, he is a villain, that’s what he does. He is The Joker he is supposed to be an asshole. Just don’t make jokes about rape.”
“What he is doing is wrong, but it doesn’t specify that he was raping her. It’s just blood on someone’s face. He’s done it many times. If anything should be against him involving sexual tension it’s how he treats Harley Quinn. People should pick their battles because this isn’t the worst thing he done.”
I personally feel that the cover did not appear to be a sign of sexual assault. I felt that it showed the Joker’s natural state of putting fright into people’s eyes and I like for once, that the hero appears frightened and not have a usual stonhard courageous face.
Marvel Comics, Comments regarding the character Black Widow:
Many moviegoers and comic book fans were really excited for Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron and many reporters wanted thoughts from the actors about the movie and characters. One reporter was able to sit down with Chris Evans (Captain America) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye). One question that came up was about the new sudden relationship between Scarlett Johansson’s character Black Widow and Mark Ruffalo’s character Bruce Banner, a.k.a.The Hulk. In the interview, the two actors responded with comments against the character Black Widow, calling her a “slut” and saying that she been around with every character.
In the interview, their tone was joking, but many viewers were still not happy. They did not find it funny at all.There were hate mails, sell drops, and some fans even came to the conclusion to no longer represent Marvel until an apology is made.
I wanted to know other’s view point on the debate and issue. I asked a student who was well aware of the topic as well as someone who has a issue with the topic of sexual labels in general. Michaela Peterson, sophomore had this to say:
“What they said wasn’t ok, no matter who or what. It’s demeaning and offensive to women everywhere. It’s partially females fault for using the language for themselves making it seem okay but it’s not. Fictional characters inspire real people. They may be fiction but it doesn’t make them less real. Just because they are fictional it doesn’t make the language less awful. The fact that they are publicly apologizing and acknowledging it was a step.”
My initial response to the issue wasn’t as strong as the Joker and Batgirl cover . I felt that the two were in the wrong and it was a bad thing, however it’s just a fictional character.
After hearing from others and thinking it over, I do see that my view point is not so open minded. It is true that many people connect with characters and some may have felt offended from the words said.
The fans of comic books should consider that writers are trying their best to make the stories more realistic with real world problems but the fans do however have the right to draw the line of what’s too far since they are the audience set to be pleased.