Well the battle lines are very clearly divided this time. On one side are the girls and the queers. On the other are the old time fanboys. The subject? The cover to the BATGIRL showcase edition. Yes, yes, yes, we KNOW she was not and never was a butt kicking superhero. We have never read a Batgirl comic in our lives, but apparently the whole joke was that while Batman and Robin did all the work, this silly chick was standing around putting on make-up and breaking nails and making a nuisance of herself. (Note to social historians: this interpretation does not make Batman and Robin any less gay.)
I stand by my original comment: if this was not a deliberate tweak for the entitled fangirls, it was an act of Jughead-like cluelessness. Kalinara actually had to sit down for a while and wait for her heart to stop pounding:
I was furious when I saw it. I’m not ashamed to admit. I’ve calmed down a bit since. Now it just makes me a bit tired. I think it’s a bit more obviously meant as a parody than say the Heroes for Hire cover, which I also think was meant tongue-in-cheek, but… Call me a humorless bitch if you want, for me, this joke fell flat.
Against the girls are arrayed the boys. Their weapons? Historical accuracy and the classic cry “Honey, you’re getting all worked up over nothing!”
Take Manly Beau Smith:
The internet seems to be making things a “shoot first and ask questions later” kind of landscape. When I saw the published cover I totally got what DC Comics was going for. They were representing the lay of the land in pop culture at that time. If you watched the Batman TV show or even read the comics during that time then you got it too. Does this mean we should now start reinventing history and doctor real photos of the past to represent the current slant of this all too politically correct world?
Beat commenter Robby Read has an even more succinct statement.
Do you people know ANY comic history? What’s the big deal? This is NOT an invented cover! It’s a modern redo of “BATGIRL’S COSTUME CUT-UPS!” a story in this volume. It’s not sexist — or if it is, it’s a sexism reflected in the stories inside.
Well, “you people” do know a little about comics history. And we’re often amazed by how often people don’t really think about this at all. Does anyone remember this?
From a historical perspective the images are from the period where McCay became a professional cartoonist. It was my decision to approve a cover which promoted the presence of that material within the book. In hindsight, Checker Book Publishing regrets the size and prominence on our cover of an image with potential to inflame racial sensitivity, and also the exclusion of other images from McCay’s work which may have served to dilute and lend context to his stereotypical depiction of Africans. Subsequent volumes of Winsor McCay: Early Works, of which twelve volumes are planned, will not contain such images on their covers, nor will a second printing of this volume in the event that one should become necessary.
That said, we never considered leaving the Jungle Imps material out of the book, nor will we hesitate to publish other McCay work containing stereotypical imagery (which it often does) in future volumes. We equate dilemma for those putting out a Gone with the Wind DVD…do you remove the Oscar winning performances from the film…due to their negative depictions, or do you assume that every reasonable person understands that this was pre-1960’s. It was the times. Fast forward to 2003- much more racially offensive material is easily found by just turning on MTV. The mistake was not made with the same malice and forethought of say; a Jack Chick comic. Future volumes will pay special attention to avoid being racially insensitive while maintaining the artistic integrity of the original work.
The Batgirl cover is a win-win for the entitled fanboy: they get to say “Yes, yes, we all know it was sexist! That was then and this is now!” while dismissing any objections with “What are you getting so worked up about, honey?” Personally, I don’t think it was any more than DC’s concern that the cover HAD TO BE a depiction of the splash page — it’s likely no one ever stepped back and said “You know we are trying to launch a line of comics to get more girls reading comics, maybe we should put a less offensive cover on this historically accurate reprint book.”
No one is asking for Batgirl to be retconned into the kind of grim and gritty avenger — with giant boobs and torn costumes — that she is in the No-Fun era. But people who don’t see the larger pattern here of how DC presents its female characters is engaging in a little retconning of their own.