The Joker-themed variant cover of Batgirl #41, which depicts the superheroine at the mercy of the iconic villain, has been pulled off by the request of artist Rafael Albuquerque.

As Comic Book Resources reports, the cover was revealed last Friday in a line of covers that featured The Joker, scheduled for release in June. The cover for this specific comic book was a callback to The Killing Joke, a controversial graphic novel by Alan Moore where the Joker tortures Barbara and ends up paralyzing her to terrorize Batman and her father. The use of violence against women in this novel has been criticized, including by Moore, who regrets writing the story.

Since the reveal, a social media movement was created to protest the release of the cover, with the hashtag #changethecover used in Twitter and Tumblr to express dissatisfaction over it. Albuquerque’s statement acknowledges that the cover “touched a very important nerve”, and that his intention “was never to hurt or upset anyone” through his art.

DC Comics also released a statement, supporting Alburquerque’s decision, and mentioned that “threats of violence and harassment are wrong and have no place in comics or society”. Batgirl writer Cameron Stewart later clarified on Twitter that this statement applied to those that opposed the cover, who were apparently attacked.

What do you think of this decision? Is it censorship or artist accountability?

Sound off by commenting below!