In the latest gossip report from Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston claims that the original version of the Rafael Albuquerque Batgirl variant cover that caused an uproar and was then pulled wasn't as "extreme." From his report:
The first version was a lot less extreme. It still features Batgirl and The Joker. But there was no gun pointing towards the crotch. No finger in the face. No tears, lipstick smear or extreme distress. Not that it wasn’t creepy, it still was.
But apparently not creepy enough.
Albuquerque received notes from DC Comics, redrew the cover, and it was accepted.
Asked on Twitter about his sources, Johnston replied:
But we have other ideas:
Johnston also pointed out, as he has said repeatedly, that the decisions about the variant came from a marketing department and were at odds with both the creative team and DC Editorial.
If true, it certainly casts some doubt on the people claiming pulling the variant was infringing on Rafael Albuquerque's artistic expression (a claim which the artist denied), since his artistic expression would have already been expression had already been curtailed by management wanting a more extreme cover. And not even editorial management, but the marketing department. That's the lowest of the low when it comes to Dilbertesque corporate executives. Of course, the conflation of the use of art on a commercial product with the artistic expression in the work itself is flawed from the get go.