Jesse Hamm’s resurfaced fan art depicts an alternate take on the Killing Joke with Batgirl saving herself from the Joker’s controversial attack.
The late Jesse Hamm’s fan art depicting a welcome change to Batgirl‘s controversial Batman: The Killing Joke shooting has resurfaced on Twitter. Attacked by the Joker in her own home, many fans were disturbed by DC’s brutal treatment of the beloved character, Barbara Gordon. Hamm’s art continues to encapsulate readers’ frustrations with Batgirl’s unnecessary trauma.
Remembered as the most famous iteration of Batgirl, Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon. Barbara operated as a hero in Gotham for many years before hanging up her cowl. However, disaster struck when the Joker brutally attacked Barbara in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s Batman: The Killing Joke to get to her father. Although traumatized and irreversibly injured by the encounter, Barbara did not let it stop her from keeping Gotham safe. Taking up the identity of Oracle, Barbara has worked as an information broker for heroes around the world.
The disturbing treatment of such a beloved character prompted cartoonist Shaenon K. Garrity‘s response to a tweet asking for her thoughts on Batman: The Killing Joke. Garrity replied with an edited series of panels from the story. The top three panels are Brian Bolland’s original work, but the bottom panel is changed to Jesse Hamm’s drawing of Batgirl courageously defending herself from the Joker. Shaenon K. Garrity’s statement that “Jesse Hamm fixed it” echoes the thoughts of many fans who were upset with the storyline’s abuse of the character.
Although she may have been caught off guard, many fans argue that the events following Joker’s arrival should have transpired as Jesse Hamm depicted them. As a skilled fighter, The Killing Joke‘s portrayal of Barbara hesitance to protect herself is seen as out of character. Combined with the story’s use of Barbara’s pain to harm her father, many fans believe the character’s poor treatment was another example of the “Women in Refrigerators” or “Fridging” trope. “Fridging” is when a female character is injured, de-powered, or killed to further a male character’s development. Birds of Prey writer, Gail Simone, coined the phrase and even listed Barbara Gordon as a victim of the harmful plot device. Jesse Hamm’s art is incredible because it gives Barbara back her power and prevents her trauma from being used to develop male characters. This alternate version of The Killing Joke provides fans with a needed change to a dark moment in Batgirl’s history.
Jesse Hamm’s resurfaced fan art does an excellent job of depicting many’s frustrations with the killing joke. Although Barbara has undergone immense growth in the years following the controversial storyline, it’s no surprise that readers are still upset with DC’s treatment of Batgirl. Jesse Hamm’s art depicts what many believe should have happened in Batman: The Killing Joke.
More: DC is Completely Redefining Batgirl With a Trans Hero
Source: Shaenon K. GarrityJesse Hamm
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