Censorship is wrong. Full stop.
How many times do I have to say: the right response to objectionable speech is never censorship (or the threat of violence) but rather more speech.
On 16 March, DC Comics released a statement saying that the Albuquerque cover was now not going to run—at the artist’s request—and said that there had been “threats of violence [emphasis, here and below, mine, JH] and harassment” over the cover…
Wait, wait, here’s the real twist:
Albuquerque himself said: “My Batgirl variant cover artwork was designed to pay homage to a comic that I really admire, and I know is a favourite of many readers. The Killing Joke is part of Batgirl’s canon and artistically, I couldn’t avoid portraying the traumatic relationship between Barbara Gordon and the Joker.
“For me, it was just a creepy cover that brought up something from the character’s past that I was able to interpret artistically. But it has become clear, that for others, it touched a very important nerve. I respect these opinions and, despite whether the discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited.
“My intention was never to hurt or upset anyone through my art. For that reason, I have recommended to DC that the variant cover be pulled. I’m incredibly pleased that DC Comics is listening to my concerns and will not be publishing the cover art in June as previously announced.”
Batgirl’s regular artist, Cameron Stewart, took to Twitter to clarify DC’s statement and said harassment hadn’t been directed at Albuquerque personally, but to people objecting to the cover.
So, the threat of violence is coming, not from the people objecting to the cover, but from the people supporting the cover? Has Gamergate come to comics?
I understand why fans, on both sides, are upset, but this is a matter of art and free speech. Protest, in the form of copious response through more speech, is right and proper, but threatening violence simply makes you a bully, a coward and an ass.