Friday, February 13, 2015

The Harley Has No Clothes

This is "Harley Quin" Month.  Why I do not know.  Except for the possible reason that sexy-time cupie-doll, cutesy Quirky Girls get straight guys hot and sell books.

Well, someone needs to cry foul on this disturbing violent sexist crap, so I'll do it.  

Hey, kids! Comics!

Harley Quinn is a dangerous, murderous psycho.  There is nothing cute or funny or sexy about that.

Plus, the double standard on this is terrifying.  If DC started treating the Joker, Deathstroke, Lobo -- ANY male villain -- as a fun playful sexy symbol, the public would--

well, honestly, I can't imagine how the public would react.  Because the idea that DC would do such a thing is so ludicrous.

Okay, I get it; I remember the '90s, too, and I watched BTAS.  The FIRST time it was on.  And I read all the comics, too.  I don't dislike the character at all.  She's a great character.  And I get how amusing she could be in the context of the show and those books.  

But she's not in that context any more.  And you know what allowed that context?  In BTAS (and associated comics) Harley never killed anybody.  A crazy crook? Yes.  But she wasn't a psychokiller, and the principal manifestation of her madness was her infatuation with the Joker.

Once she becomes female sexy-time Joker (as she has in the comics)....
well, I don't think it's funny. Or sexy.  It's disturbing, like, "modern Japanese-culture" level disturbing.

Is no one else speaking out about this?

Are you? 


Bryan L said...

"If DC started treating the Joker, Deathstroke, Lobo -- ANY male villain -- as a fun playful sexy symbol, the public would--"

Umm, have you looked at new 52 Lobo lately? And he now has a cast of "helpers," I understand, so I think we can tick off all those boxes. Maybe there was an outcry, and I missed it?

But I digress. To your point, yes, I object to any deviation from BTAS for any reason whatsoever as a matter of principle, though I'm willing to be proven wrong (see Batman: Brave and the Bold). So I don't spend money on Harley. I think there's been some attempt to "rehabilitate" her from a crazed killer, but honestly, that's stupid. They wouldn't have to walk her back if they didn't make spectacularly bad decisions in the first place.

But it's the new 52. I generally sigh and wonder how much longer it will drag on.

John said...

I never understood the Harley Quinn phenomenon and gave up speaking out because it was clear that nobody else seemed to notice that a serial killer in an abusive relationship is anything but charming fun. Is it the Anything Goes voice that gets people wired up? The on-the-nose costume design? The fact that she uses a legitimate woman's name as her secret identity and her real name sounds made up?

I also never understood the perpetual Black Canary and Zatanna drooling, though, or the obsession with Catwoman as an ex-prostitute, so maybe don't go by me.

Scipio said...

"Maybe there was an outcry, and I missed it? "

There was PLENTY of outcry about the new Lobo.

Anonymous said...

I can get the Harley Quinn appeal, but I don't share it.

The way I can make Harley Quinn work is, she lives in a world that's halfway Looney Tunes cartoon, and we're seeing things from her perspective and there's only so much reality to her reality. So at least some of the violence is exaggerated.

Most of the permanent violence she does is to actual killers so that's okay-ish if taken literally, but then sometimes writers sometimes go too far, like that time someone or other had her blow up a bus full of kids. If I were in charge I would retcon it so that she remembers it as blowing up the bus, but in reality all she did was slip a note under the windshield wiper saying "Kaboom!" while bouncing away and laughing like Daffy Duck.

SallyP said...

Harley doesn't really appeal to me anyway, but you make a very good point.

Bryan L said...

"There was PLENTY of outcry about the new Lobo."

I gotta get out more.

Nathan Hall said...

Harley was fun as a character who started as a psychiatrist (had a purpose but no sense of self worth), became a sidekick (no purpose or self-worth) and had moments where she sought to reclaim her sense of purpose and self-worth.

We liked her when she was redeemable. Killing kids? Not reedeemable. Sure, they were the kind of kids who'd play a free game all at the same moment (good luck with that - I have free comic books I've never read), but all the same it's normal to find kid-killing an unforgivable sin.

Anonymous said...

It is lovely to have you back... and this has nothing whatsoever to with Harley Quin. Yes, I also much prefer the original.

Regarding "Gotham."

Leslie is the far better love interest than Barbara Kean. Wondering how *that* is going to play out.

Dang. They just gave the Joker an origin story. He needed one just much as the Phantom Stranger did.

Finally, maybe some sort of contest is needed, because I am thinking that Fish is the next Harley/Jimmy Olsen: How long do you think it'll be before this character shows up in the comics?

Anonymous said...

"Fifty Shades of Gray" is at the top of the box office right now. A movie based on badly written fan-fiction inspired by Twilight. "Twilight" was badly written fan fiction based on "Harry Potter."

Hulk Hogan said...

Scip - Usually I'm 100% with you, but I think you should try reading an issue of Harley's book.

When you talk about killing kids - I'm sure you're talking about her appearance in the Villain's Month one-shot. Or possibly Suicide Squad, I haven't read the full run of that.

But Harley in Harley Quinn is much closer to a Looney Tunes kind of vibe. There's still kind of a ghoulishness to her - but it's more of a Beetlejuice or Addams Family vibe than Silence of the Lambs.