Written not as an origin story but as a giant in-joke to the scandal, hoopla and over all bad PR that DC comics got from asking artists to “break into comics by drawing Harley Quinn naked in a bathtub committing suicide.” (If you missed it, you can read more about it here)
While I can’t be sure of the tone and intention that was originally considered, the tone of issue zero turned out to be snarky, awesome and shameless.
I’ve had a kind of “art crush” on Amanda Conner since I read that she used to do Barbie comics (and disliked it because Barbie has exactly one facial expression) and then I saw this:
And I’ve been in love ever since. She’s also been doing covers for the Movement and Red Sonja lately which are huge faves of mine.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti main wranglers and writers on this project present an all star line up of artists, and as promised, one newb.
Harleen is talking to the voices in her head in a dumpster day dreaming about what it would be like to have her very own book! 4th wall obliteration ensues as she starts thinking of “that cowboy guy and the chick who draws the big boobs.”
The first artist up to show what they would do with Harley is Becky Cloonan, who (in 2012) was the first woman to draw the main title for Batman comics, which is great, but I’ve loved her art since the underappreciated “Pirates of Coney Island.” She draw Harley in a band, “the Quinn Reapers”. cute.
Among other faves: Bruce Timm (of Batman the animated series) having BFF Poison Ivy helping Harley with her lines, Adam Hughes- who is amazing but mostly does covers- draws Harley winning a beauty pageant- Miss Gotham Citee- over Ms. Ivy (the subsequent rendering of Harley looked a ton like my friend Katrina), Art Baltazar draws her joining the Lil’Teen Titans. And then: Contest winner Jeremy Roberts shows his stuff… by drawing Harley committing suicide by wrapping herself in chicken and hanging out with gators. However the 4th wall is broke and the character is self aware, “Wait what the hell is this?” she says, then strapped to a rocket she quips, “How about no? Hey, I dig the art, but get me off this thing now or else I’m gonna feed you a giant sledgehammer.”
The book ends in Connor’s art, a bomb goes off in Harley’s dumpster and she’s thrown onto the street. A car pulls up and she is handed a document that someone has left her a building in Brooklyn (which is pretty much my life’s dream).
So we’ll see what happens next. Better ideas than sexualized and glamorized suicide was shown. The artists utilized are pretty much a who’s who in comic book art. 17 artists, 2 writers. One rad chick. There’s lots to love about issue #0.
If you’re not reading this: you are missing out. I’m telling you.
If you have read it… what was your fave page?