For the record. I thought I was beyond caring about DC Comics. They have proven one too many times that they really don’t want readers like me anymore (care about characters, growth, and plot development) and instead are really REALLY hoping that the 90’s come back and they can sell books based solely on the cover art.
But I have to take a lesson for Sean Connery and never say never again. For DC has done not one, but two things this week and warranted a face palm from me worthy of Captain Picard.
The first was the news that W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III, the creative team on Batwoman quit the title citing editorial conflict. This conflict included…. wait for it….
[we were] prohibited from ever showing Kate and Maggie actually getting married. – Haden Blackman
YES! DC didn’t want to show a lesbian couple getting married. Apparently the enticement of two hot chicks in wedding-night lingerie wasn’t enough for the bigots at the top to get over themselves.
So… let me get this strait, it was ok to show the Green Lantern get married because the homophobes got to kill his spouse two seconds after the ceremony with a train. But since they can’t kill Maggie they aren’t going to let the marriage happen, because they can’t punish Kate for being gay with terrible angst and guilt for the rest of her story arch. Do I have this right? Because this is precisely the message that DC is sending.
The lastest facepalm worthy stunt comes from DC’s art contest to recruit new artists. DC tasked new artist applicants to draw Harley Quin in various attempts at suicide… including the scene depicted for pannel number 4.
Harley is on top of a building, holding a large DETACHED cellphone tower in her hands as lightning is striking just about everywhere except her tower. She is looking at us like she cannot believe what she is doing. Beside herself. Not happy.
Harley is sitting in an alligator pond, on a little island with a suit of raw chicken on, rolling her eyes like once again, she cannot believe where she has found herself. We see the alligators ignoring her.
Harley is sitting in an open whale mouth, tickling the inside of the whale’s mouth with a feather. She is ecstatic and happy, like this is the most fun ever.
Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.
Yes, lesbian marriage is a huge no-no, but naked suicide is A-OK. Some people are calling this “sexualizing suicide.” I call it extreme bad taste. To be honest, if this set of scenes was given by a company like Heavy Metal Magazine or 90’s era Image Comics I wouldn’t care. It would be completely fitting with the characters and the kind of audience they want to attract.
But this is DC Comics. A name that used to mean quality… and NONE of these scenes (not even the clothed ones) strike me as befitting of the Harley I grew up with… not to mention the lack of taste. Honestly, all of these panels strike me as their way of weeding out those artists who might have their own ideas (like a lesbian marriage) instead of doing exactly what they were told.
Because of the backlash that resounded throughout the internet, writer Jimmi Palmiotti wrote the following on his Facebook…
What is happening here is Harley is breaking the 4th wall…and talking to the audience about the writers of the book…and how nutty they are. We used the words “naked” because we did not want the artist to draw harley in her costume and we all know you can’t show nudity in the comic…and we also know you have to cover her “parts” with objects and what not…but the idea was she is taking a bath with all this hardware around not believing how far the writers went. The whole story is one big long imaginary scene done by different artists of extremely absurd over the top circumstances.
If Harley is supposed to be DC’s answer to She Hulk they REALLY need to try harder in the “absurd over the top” department. Tickling a whale’s mouth with a feather? Please.
And I don’t buy the “we had to use the word “naked”” line. You wanted her naked. Admit it Palmiotti. You wanted to see how creatively your new artists cover up nipples and pubic hair “with objects and what not…” . That’s the only reason why you assigned this particular set up “naked”. That and free cheesecake.