Recently DC has been going through some unexpected turmoil within its building. The co-authors of ‘Batwoman’ (J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman) quit after DC Comics banned same-sex marriage in the storyline.
They now need two writers and an artist. Their requirements in the search for an artist, however, proved far worse than the actions they took leading to the writer’s resignation.
Since the release of the Dark Knight trilogy, DC has been trying for the past few years to make its work darker, edgier and grittier, so in the search for a new artist they did just that.
All interested artists that wanted a chance at becoming a full time artist for the comic Harley Quinn would have to submit an edgy four panel series with Harley Quinn attempting suicide in each one.
In the first scenario, she is on top of a building holding a detached cellphone tower as she unhappily waits to be struck by lightning.
The second panel has her wearing a bikini of raw chicken meat and wading out to alligators who are ignoring her.
In the third, she is in the mouth of a whale, tickling him with a feather in the hopes of being crushed and eaten.
The last request is by far the most disturbing and has been taken verbatim from DC’s contest submission page:
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.
What puts the cherry on top of this blatant disregard for women is that this was issued one week before National Suicide Prevention Week. This is the eroticization of a female attempting to hurt herself to the point of death when the prevention of such an act is something, especially at the start of awareness week, that should be discouraged to the fullest extent.
Harley is already the most over-sexualized female character is the history of DC which is sad if you remember what she originally looked like. Harleen Quinzel was originally a respectable criminal psychologist working at Arkham Asylum. The joker spun a story that convinced her to free him and the love struck psychologist donned the traditional head to toe unitard of a harlequin.
DC has since then ‘revamped’ her character making her more sexualized until we arrive at her current state. The latest strip has her in a pair of daisy dukes and a crop top in a heated situation with a male at what point she compares herself to a clown car. Congratulations DC. You have stripped her of all her class and left her as barely something we would want to identify with as human.
A writer from Jezebel, Callie Beusman, wrote a thought-provoking article on the matter and commented, “What’s perhaps most disturbing about this contest — other than the way in which it showcases DC’s blatant disregard for women — is that it essentially prohibits comic artists who are opposed to the eroticization of violence against women from applying for the honor of drawing a strong female character”. Has DC ruined Harley Quinn with over- sexualization?
DC representative, Jimmy Palmiotti who is also the contest’s creator, made the statement:
“That the tryout Harley Quinn page went out without an overall description of tone and dialogue is all my fault. I should have put it clearly in the description that it was supposed to be a dream sequence with Amanda [Conner] and I talking to Harley and giving her a hard time. I should have also mentioned we were thinking a Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach was what we were looking for. We thought it was obvious with the whale and chicken suit, and so on, but learned it was not. I am sorry for those who took offense, our intentions were always to make this a fun and silly book that broke the 4th wall, and head into issue 1 with a ongoing story/adventure that is a lot like the past Powergirl series we did. I hope all the people thinking the worst of us can now understand that insulting or making fun of any kind was never our intention….”
Because as long as it’s in a Loony Tunes manner it’s okay. Check yourself, DC.
Author’s Bio: Laura Bensen is a writer for the People Magazine sect of Magazines.com, where she keeps up to date with stories such as this. In her downtime, she stays out of the rain reading fantasy, sci-fi and comic books.