Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harley Quinn Makeover Mayhem

Let me sum up:
Sad tears for the new DC reboot Harley Quinn design...

Let me splain:

I know, I know. Things change. My bone is not with change, it’s with silly change. I was actually kinda excited when I heard about the DC Universe reboot. I fell in love with Harley on BTAS. I’ve grabbed some Batman comics over the years, usually for Harley or Joker content, and borrowed other books from my husband. But I’ve never gotten super into comic book geekery because it felt like there was just too much history to ingest. The reboot seemed like a neat potential antidote to this dilemma. That said....I fully appreciate the ire of fans who HAVE dedicated themselves to the comics already in existence.

Whatever my initial feelings about the reboot, like many Harleyites, I am really disappointed with how Harley Quinn looks in the new Suicide Squad comic. A fellow HQ fan requested that I post about the new design because it elicited some rare tears from her. Harley fans ain’t prudes. My favouite San Diego Comic Con experience (and costuming experience) to date involved some rather risqué Harley. Several fabulous pillars of the Harley costuming community have been known to shake their groove-things in burlesque shows. We like sexy! But we like character-consistent sexy. Sexy with a purpose. Harley's nightie getup in "Mad Love" gave us a perfect peek into her relationship with the Joker. Arkham Asylum Harley seemed a little more gratuitous, but I could wrap my head around it because sexy nurse is really just a hilarious bad joke. Harley can make that work. Shorty shorts, a precarious bustier, and a pointless cape...less workable. (Come on…a cape?!)

I have a really sweet memory of my Mom explaining how different takes on the same character come to be. I was trying to reconcile two different King Arthur stories as a kid…probably the musical “Camelot” and Disney’s “Sword in the Stone.” She explained that people pass on stories, and as they do they add on their own ideas. “So if someone really likes Merlin…maybe they add new details about him, or make him funnier, or more powerful.” And that’s art. That’s gorgeous. Over 800 years. But don’t introduce me to a wonderful character and then make her nearly unrecognizable all in my wee little lifetime.

Harley has a special place in the cockles of me old heart. She’s a character that resonated with me in those tricky, identity molding, early adolescent years. My psychology-geekery is tangled up with her. As is my love of villainry and hunting for humanity in big bads like the Joker. I won’t be at SDCC this year, but I hear tell there will be a Harleypalooza addition to other reboot protests. My good wishes and rubber chickens go with them! If previous comic con protests are any indication, it should be a sweet and hilarious good time. And hey, if anyone might listen to a pack of ladies in spandex, it’s DC.

~Geek out

P.S. Remember--we stand for sexy with a porpoise!

Wait, scratch that, I mean sexy with a purpose!


  1. Me, my wife, and my long-time Harley loving friend were all disappointed with the new look. Like you said; it just isn't consistent with the character. Since your Youtube Harley was how I found you here, I was wondering what you'd make of the new look.

    Our other main question was what is Harley doing with the suicide squad? They're all death-row inmates, spared for suicide missions. Harley would not do something to get on death-row, and even if she took the fall for Mister J, no court would ever believe her testimony and convict her.

    There are good and bad aspects of the DC Reboot. This is one of the bad ones. Still, I am looking forward to the protest pictures!

  2. What really annoys me is how the people who did this to her obviously have no clue who she is. WHY would they give an Olympic level gymnist a cape?! Yes, Harls is all about safety harzards and the like, but that's just stupid. Harleyh would do a hand-spring and end up getting stranged by her pointless cape. If she had any say in it, she'd get annoyed and tear it to shreds for confetti. But Harley DOESN'T have a say in this because this is not Harley Quinn. This is a stupid imposter created by people who only think of sex. People who don't know a darn thing about the Clown Princess of Crime!

  3. It's interesting that you didn't get into comic books because you would (reads like) feel obligated to learn its characters and its extensive history. This reboot feels like a platform provided for immature wannabe artists to hijack well established characters from the DC Universe, throw away any relevant background developments, and to make up whatever imposter stories that sell. Did the above artist ever watch an episode of Batman: the animated series? or did he just played Arkham Asylum and think he got it? I'm deeply saddened by this move from DC, and my heart bleeds for our beloved Harley.

  4. Yeah...the reboot doesn't really address my neuroticism, which is essentially that I feel phoney saying I'm a fan of something until I've absorbed it fairly completely. I'm kinda having the same dilemma with Doctor who right now. We've watched some Baker, all of Eccleston and Tennant, and we're just starting Smith. But there's so much out there still to do...

  5. Hey, I know a LOT of former social workers who dress like the new HQ.

    At least I think there are... maybe it was just that one week they had me on the wrong meds. But STILL - come on, DC. Really? REALLY? GUH.

  6. I could stand for a Harley that's alot like the Mia Sara "Birds of Prey" portrayal: who is way more evil. A character that ditches the Brooklyn accent (it worked in an animated series barely) and becomes way, way more evil, saying stuff like, "Never send a businessman to do a psychopath's job." Watch Glenn Close as Cruella Deville or the mirror universe episodes of Deep Space Nine for the mirror Kira. That's who Harley ought to be in a reboot. But yeah ... that ridiculous crap belongs on DeviantArt, not DC Comics

  7. I too, am a HUGE harley fan and I would just like to say, all this gripe against her new look, I can understand, but if you actually read the comics, and the editor's notes: They are delving into Harley's intelligent side. Playing up her intelligence, and not silliness since she was a psychiatrist after all. I look forward to the character development they will do for her. Don't get me wrong, I own practically anything Harley, and I love her just as she is, but I was always curious why she played dumb so much for the Joker, where was her intelligence? Suicide Squad is exploring that. :)

  8. Eh, that's fine on paper. And I haven't seen too much of Suicide Squad. But even if the scene below is celebrating manipulating dudes to get what you want, it doesn't seem like Harley's intellect is what they're featuring:

  9. Maybe it's just me since I'd rather opt for the original design which was the inspiration for the Harley Quinn costumes at BuyCostumes rather than this new one.

  10. Dude. Did you just buzz market BuyCostumes up in here? Well played.