I Love Harley Quinn

June 20th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

All I need in this life of sin,
Is me and my girlfriend
Down to ride to the bloody end,
Just me and my girlfriend

Honestly, I don’t generally like the Joker. He’s a one note villain– his gimmick is that he’s crazy and kills people. That isn’t really what I want out of my villains. It’s a flat motivation and part of why I’m not really digging on Batman’s rogues gallery. How many of them have the gimmick of “I’m just plain crazy” or “I hate Batman?” That’s boring.

So, yeah, generally, I don’t like the Joker. When I do like him, though, is when Harley Quinn is around.

They have an interesting dynamic. Harleen Quinzel was a psychologist who pulled some strings to get assigned to Arkham Asylum specifically to meet the Joker. After they meet, she falls for him hard and tries to seduce him. Joker, unsurprisingly, finds this hilarious and decides to go along with it. What follows is a whirlwind romance of old-fashioned violence, laughs, and whatever you call spousal abuse when you aren’t married.

Harley is kind of spectacularly damaged goods. She’s in love with a mass murderer and takes the abuse he dishes out with nary a complaint, nine times out of ten. She dresses up like a jester and kills people for fun. Her best friend mind controls and kills dudes for fun. She breezes through life doing exactly what she wants, how she wants, to who she wants… actually, that list bit ain’t so bad.

I’ve dug Harley ever since she first appeared on the Batman cartoon. She was a fun twist on the Joker’s style– more concerned with the comedy than the killing. She’s simultaneously playful and menacing. She’s just as likely to give you the joy buzzer as the bang gun. The joke is that both will kill you.

Harley is one of my favorite characters to read about, in part because of the stellar job Karl Kesel and the Dodsons did on her solo series. They spun a tale that combined both her latent guilt, her issues with the Joker, her desire to become her own woman, her desire to have fun, and her belief in love to create something both compelling and entertaining. There are times when I even like the Dodsons’ rendition of Harley better than Bruce Timm’s. They draw her with a smile that’s infectious.

I enjoy the fact that she makes the Joker interesting again. Suddenly, he’s got a foil. Sure, she’s crazy, but she forces him into new areas beyond just “Hee hee hoo hoo look how ZANY and CRAZY and EVILLLL I am!” The opening arc of Harley Quinn involved him faking an injury while living with Harley. Harley was planning this big get-back for Batman while the Joker grew increasingly threatened by how efficient and trustworthy she seemed.

It’s really fun, despite all the murder, and an interesting relationship. Joker, as befitting his supersanity, flipflops between hating her and loving her. One of my favorite scenes between the two is in Emperor Joker. This is after Joker has gained almost infinite power.

I dunno, I dug it.

I really like Harley is what all this boils down to. I actually have four pieces of Harley related art. The first sketch I ever bought was of Harley Quinn, in fact, by Mike Huddleston.

Harley Quinn by Mike Huddleston Harley Quinn by Rob Reilly
Gotham Girls print by Dustin Nguyen Harley Quinn Sketch

From left to right, top to bottom– Mike Huddleston, Rob Reilly, Dustin Nguyen, and Art Baltazar. Pardon the poor scan on the Gotham Girls print, it was too big for my scanner and I couldn’t find an image of it online. It’s also the only one that isn’t an original.

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Harley Quinn

August 22nd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Sometimes DC gets it right:

Written by Karl Kesel
Art and cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson
The Joker’s lovable partner in crime takes the spotlight in this new hardcover volume collecting HARLEY QUINN #1-7, written by Karl Kesel (SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL) with art by the fan-favorite team of Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson (WONDER WOMAN)! Don’t miss these beautifully illustrated tales of lunacy!
Advance-solicited; on sale January 16 • 192 pg, FC, $24.99 US

I wanted to toss in a “sometimes DC gets it wrong,” but I’m up against the wall of like three heinous deadlines.

More from Rock of Ages– Batman slipping a roofie to a (new) god.

jla_14_pg10.jpg jla_14_pg12.jpg jla_14_pg13.jpg

I’m listed on Amazon.ca, which I’m kind of inordinately proud of
My unofficial namesake died June 25, 2007
-I’m never going to find time to play Bioshock and Madden NFL 08 at this rate
-I’m spending way too much money lately and need to cut way back
-I’m rereading Y the Last Man (better a second time through, though some of Vaughan’s quirks are mad obvious) and starting Narcoleptic Sunday, a pretty cool OGN out of Oni. More on that later.
-I need to do reviews for Calavera Comics and another comics company that sent me PDFs. Cripes.
-There are not enough hours in the day.
-I went out and got a Twitter, because I just don’t write enough during the day.

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Ann & Weezy

April 16th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. Gail Simone on Wonder Woman got the same reaction from me that J. Torres doing a fill-in on WW did. None.

I haven’t liked her last year and a half of work or so. Villains United was okay, but I didn’t even finish Secret Six. BoP started off great (that first year or two was stellar), too, but even that feels like it fell off. Gen13 and All-New Atom? No thanks. I don’t know, I think that my tastes are changing or something, but her work just doesn’t click with me like it used to. No slight to her, or at least I hope not, it just ain’t my thing.

It got me thinking, though. Who could get me to read Wonder Woman? I came up with two names who I think would be pretty dope on the book, and both of them are even female-type people!

Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti.

C’mon, don’t even say you wouldn’t read that.

Weezie deserves it. X-Factor, New Mutants, Man of Steel… Steel. She’s paid her dues ten times over. I shouldn’t even need to explain this one. She’s apparently written a WW novel, but I haven’t read it. I think she’d be pretty awesome on the book.

Ann Nocenti wrote some of my favorite Daredevil stories, did a Batman/Poison Ivy book a few years back with John Paul Leon (I think, it may have been John van Fleet?) that was pretty solid. I will love her forever for creating Typhoid Mary, the best she-villain that isn’t named Harley Quinn. (I really, really like Typhoid Mary and Harley.) I think that Nocenti could do a pretty bomb off-kilter WW book and deliver a book that would defy more than a few expectations. Dante’s Inferno ala Diana Prince. Or even something real world and political, she’s good at both kinds.

I may not be excited for Gail on WW, but either of these two would make me jump for joy. Shoot, Weezie is the reason why I’m going to be reading Marvel’s Mystic Arcana when I don’t even really like two of the four characters involved (Scarlet Witch and Black Knight. Magik is generally better as a kid, and Sister Grimm has a dumb codename but is pretty cool.).

Anyway, yeah. Give me Weezie and Ann. I think that they’d be worth it.

Also, c’mon Marvel, reprint this thing already.

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No Solicitors

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Have you guys read the new Marvel and DC solicits? I love comics, but those things are a bore and a half. It’s like they don’t even want you to read their books.

It’s cool, though. Here are the ones that are new and good and interesting. Jumping-on points only here, with one exception, perhaps. My pithy and vitally important commentary is in italics.

DC Comics is first since Marvel is better!

Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by J.H. Williams III
The Batmen of All Nations reunite for a weekend of fine food and nostalgia, but an unexpected visitor has other plans for the gathering. Batman, Robin, and the rest of the Club of Heroes find themselves trapped and at the mercy of a dangerous madman on the Island of Mister Mayhew!
This is why I read Grant Morrison. Mad ideas that sound completely goofy. He’s Silver Age with a Modern Age sensibility. Plus, I hope the sweet Knight and Squire from JLA Classified 1-3 shows up.

ROBIN #163
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Freddie E. Williams II
Cover by Patrick Gleason & Wayne Faucher
It’s Tim Drake’s first Father’s Day as Bruce Wayne’s adopted son, and he wants everything to be just right. Unfortunately, the justice-crazed supervillains known as The Jury pick that very day to go on a murder spree in Gotham City!
This is a great idea for a story. The “family” part of Bat-family doesn’t get looked at often enough. “The Jury,” though, conjures up images of a certain ’90s anti-Venom team.

Written by Paul Dini and Judd Winick
Art by Bruce Timm, Joe Chiodo and others
Cover by Timm
Paul Dini and Bruce Timm -two of the masterminds behind Batman: The Animated Series – join forces in this volume collecting the miniseries BATMAN: HARLEY AND IVY! Also included is the special: HARLEY AND IVY: LOVE ON THE LAM by Judd Winick and Joe Chiodo, plus a newly-colored story rom BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE VOL. 2!
It’s Harley Quinn, so shut up and buy it.
Read the rest of this entry �

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Lobo’s back’s back.

August 30th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Just a few quick bullets on what I’m thinking about in the world of comics right about now.

– This week’s 52 was good. Lobo’s reintroduction was great, and his origin, completely with pompadour, was a good look, too.

– I have a new issue of Kabuki to read. I’m positively giddy. I may wait until tomorrow to read the latest issue of the best non-monthly series ever.

– All-Star Superman, by The King of All-Comics and Frank Quitely, delivered. Lex Luthor’s eyebrow and sheer arrogance come through perfectly and hilariously.

– Mike Carey’s first issue of Ultimate Fantastic Four? Way better than Millar’s entire year, of which I read approximately the first three months. It’s that good.

– Black Panther’s World Tour has started up, and it’s going to be a doozy. Doom gets what’s coming two different ways. Next month is the Inhumans, I cannot wait for that.

– The Boys 02 is the second issue in a row to feature, er, doggy-style. Pun possibly intended. This is one of the most mean-spirited books I’ve read, but we get some good character insights in Billy Butcher and friends. I’m definitely interested, and Robertson’s art? It’s great.

x-men 190 Have you guys seen Chris Bachalo’s cover to X-Men 190? It’s incredible. The scene it depicts happens a little different in the comics, but that’s water under the bridge. There’s precious little Rogue in this book, but her old costume is lovely and her new assertiveness fits a character who’s been a mainline X-Man for years now. She isn’t just “Sugah sugah mope mope mope.” She’s a fighter. Carey is doing a bang-up job on this series. This guy is remarkably good in the Marvel U. His Hellblazer was good, but Lucifer never grabbed me. His Marvel stuff, though… too good. Loving it.

Mythos HulkMythos: Hulk by Paul Jenkins and Paolo Rivera is a four dollar bundle of joy. The Mythos series (right now just Hulk and X-Men) is a retelling of Marvel origins. They are updated for the modern era and boiled down to their essences. Rick Jones isn’t dared by friends to go onto the testing site, he’s an intern who isn’t paying attention. That sort of thing. They’re good stuff, and Rivera’s art is a treat. Highly recommended, and I hope they collect all of them into a handsome hardcover down the line.

– I read Wonder Woman 02. I’m done with the series. I realized that the moment I saw Wonder Woman start to do that stupid spinning thing from the TV show. No sir I do not like it. The Dodson’s art is great, as always, but Heinberg leaves me flat. Not quite Young Avengers flat, but flat. It wasn’t just the spinning what done it, either. It’s a book that seems to be trying very hard to get me to care, but does a poor job of closing the deal. Giganta is smart and tall… okay? Donna Troy is Wonder Woman and sucks at her job… okay? Wonder Woman is sneaking around and hiding… why bother? It’s weird. My favorite portrayals of Wonder Woman have been in the Morrison/Waid/Kelly JLA era. Doug Mahnke drew the absolute best WW ever. The wet hair look was way better than the usual comic book poofy hair. He drew her lean, but powerful, and his Angry Wonder Woman was something to behold. So, uh, now that I own the first 90 or so issues of JLA in trade form, I guess I’ll go read those when I want to read about Wondy.

Titans – Someone explain this image to me. Is this from the new issue of Teen Titans? I found it linked off SomethingAwful’s BSS forum and it… bleh. Johns, what are you doing, man? That first row, save for Aquagirl and Speedy is worthless, and I like Speedy despite Judd Winick’s handling of her. The second row has Beast Boy and Offspring and they’re cool, but the rest of that row is worthless, too. I realize I’m prejudging here, but Little Barda is too much. DC just needs to leave the Fourth World alone. Give it to Morrison and a good artist and just keep it out of anyone else’s hands. It’s cool to see Mas y Menos and Captain Marvel Jr, but again, the rest of the characters? Bleh. On the bottom row, I think that the two Daughters are interesting ideas, if pushing the gimmick a bit, and I like Ravager, and that leaves Osiris. If Osiris turns out to be Isis’s brother, he’s got the most poorly thought-out code name ever. It takes a lot for me to read Titans. Introducing a bunch of no-names and go-nowheres isn’t really drawing me in. The series hasn’t really grabbed me since Titans Tomorrow, to be quite honest. Maybe it’ll pick up, but I basically have read Teen Titans for two years of my life. I can do without it. It’s turned into the JSA, in that it’s a book about a team full of characters who should be guest-stars at best.

– To be quite fair, Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is boring me, too. Ha ha, Wolverine, yes, but the rest of the book is cute references up the wazoo and SHOCK REVEALS. It’s very pretty, but I’m not even remotely interested in the story. It feels like it’s treading water, with Neat Callback Scene (Kitty Pryde in the sewer last issue made me roll my eyes hard) to Neat Action scene with no meat inbetween.

– Just to complete the custom combo, I found Serenity boring and Firefly decent to middling at best.

– Cameron Stewart is awesome. You all know this, yes? His upcoming book about Vietnam looks like the bee’s knees. However! He and his Royal Academy of Illustration and Design cronies are having a draw-off, and Harley Quinn was the pick for today. Harl is probably my favorite bat-villain, so go check it out. I kind of like Cam’s, since it’s classic Bruce Timm style, but all of them are good. Go look!

– Oh man, I’m totally going to pitch DC Joker Loves Harley Quinn and do it in the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane style, but with more mayhem. Yes.

– Here’s an interview with Georges Jeanty, artist of The American Way. He’s a great talent, and TAW is totally a sleeper hit. It gets better and better. It’s telling a great tale of superheroics in the 1960s and actually deals realistically with race. I’m loving it, and 4l member Thomas Wilde likes it, too. He doesn’t like anything but Barb Wire, Vampirella, and other bad comics, so him liking a good book is astonishing. I’m kidding! He doesn’t actually like any of those books. However, if he doesn’t write for the blog, I’ll tell everyone that he does and then kill him while he sits in shame.

– I’ve gotten a buttload of trades over the past couple weeks. X-Men: The Coming of Bishop, Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student, Starman: Sins of the Father, X-Men: Golgotha, some JLA v3 trades, Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness, Spider-Man: The Assasin Nation Plot, The Punisher/Wolverine: African Saga (Carl Potts and Jim Lee! Whatever happened to Carl Potts?), and Monster volumes 3 and 4. Also Absolute Kingdom Come, though I don’t like Alex Ross’s art very much at all, but I love extra content in hardcover comics. I sometimes fear that I have bad taste in comics, but I love them too much to quit.

– So, summing up: Comics are great right now, Wonder Woman’s series is blah, Teen Titans is blah, but comics are still great, the internet is awesome, and I’ve got bad taste in comics. This ended up a lot longer than expected. It was supposed to be a short post!

– Peace!

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Comics vs. Cartoons: A Look at Diniverse Designs

February 14th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Next Monday seemingly marks the end of one of the greatest eras in animation. For fourteen years, we’ve been given what people call the “Diniverse” (named after a guy who barely writes actual episodes anymore). It started back in 1992 with a primetime showing of Batman: the Animated Series and after all these years, it’s going to die out with the finale for the fifty-eighth spin-off, Justice League Unlimited.

Lord knows the Diniverse made its stamp on both the world of animation and the world of comics. Characters like Harley Quinn were introduced… as well as more forgettable folk like Livewire and Lockdown. The comic version of Supergirl started wearing the white t-shirt and tight skirt made popular by Superman: the Animated Series. John Stewart took Kyle Rayner’s place as the token Green Lantern on the Justice League roster. Batman Beyond showed up in the pages of Superman/Batman for no reason whatsoever.

There are obviously changes here and there over how certain characters are portrayed. Many consider the Kevin Conroy-voiced Batman to be the defining version of the character, compared to the close-minded, paranoid caricature he’s become in the comics. Sure, the Joker kills people here and there on the cartoons, but at no point would they ever have him cripple Batgirl and strip her naked in order to drive her father insane on Cartoon Network. In the comics, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl have never been an item, nor has a big chunk of the JLU roster been members of any Justice League roster. Hawk and Dove sucked in both mediums, so there is that. Read the rest of this entry �

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