On 14/1, issue #38 of the current Batgirl run will be released for retail. However, for anyone who pays even the slightest amount of attention to comic book news or is a fan of the character, the previous issue had a massive ton of controversy due to its transphobic material.

For their part, the creative team have given a very genuine apology for the disaster. It seems very clear that they care about their readership and listened (something another group could learn from). But for me, I hope they don't do what many writers have done in their situation & ignore the problem, but instead address the issue head on.

I have always been on the side of treating the audience/reader with respect and intelligence. It is one of the reasons it annoys me when writers use science like magic or disregard continuity. All you're doing is treating your fans as fools and sheep, who will just eat anything you do no matter the quality.

It is the same when you royally screw up. Too many times have I seen writers take the easy option (io9 has done a list on some of the most egregious for TV) and ignore the controversy. From Games of Thrones, to Spider-Man, from even Superman. It's lazy and does a disservice to the injured party.


I've always found that the best way to deal with the issue is to fully address it. Not to ignore it but to build story and character development from your mistakes. We've seen this done to great effect in comics such as Barbara Gordon becoming Oracle after becoming paralyzed from the waist down in the Killing Joke or the birth of the 1996 Teen Titans after the sadly terrible end of the New Teen Titans book.

But in my opinion, the best example of this is from the fallout of Avengers #200. If you don't know what I'm talking about, Avengers #200 is considered one of the most controversial Marvel comics ever made, up there with One More Day and Ultimatum. The story is about Ms Marvel mysteriously becoming pregnant and going through an entire pregnancy in mere days. All the while the rest of the Avengers mocking her. When the child is born, he quickly grows and reveals that he had raped Ms Marvel to give birth to himself. In the end Ms Marvel falls in love with her rapist/son and leaves with him (and yes that was going to be her ending story if the backlash didn't happen).


As you could probably guess, the issue was hated by readers and writers alike. Even the writers and the editor hate this comic. It could have been very easy to just ignore it, have Ms Marvel return with only a passing reference to her reappearance. However, Chris Claremont, best known for his X-Men work didn't just ignore it, but built story on it and made one of the best comic moments ever in the pages of Avengers Annual #10 (you'll have expand to read them or follow the source):


[comic pages from comicbookresources]

If it was up to me on how to handle issue of Batgirl. I would have in a latter issue Alysia Yeoh (a close trans friend of Barbara and who has sadly been sidelined since the new writers have taken over) to find out what she did, deck Barbara in the face and berate her on her disgusting behavior. I want to see Barbara to apologies for what she did and realize that she had been a total hypocrite and a transphobe. I want her to develop as a character and learn from her mistakes and grow as a character and a human being.

So please writers, don't simply ignore the issue when you screw up, never to mention again and be a blotch in your portfolio. Address it, grow from it, and be caring and respectful to your readers. Not only will you come being better writer for it, you’ll be a better person for it.