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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergard View Post
    I personally don't follow Harley's journey but generally I have to say:


    1) Everything is fair as long as continuities are different. Any character can be a hero in one world and a villain in an other. Within a universe characters should preferably stay consistent - which doesn't mean that characters aren't allowed to change their way of thinking along their journey. Elseworlds stories and other media appearances like cartoons or games normally work fine because they have one writer, a clear direction for a character and aren't on-goings that are meant to be "forever". The only problem I really see is main-continuity. The problem with main-continuity is the amount of different writers who want to use a character - but sometimes writers have a different understanding of a character or don't even really care for a character and only want to push a certain story or other characters. And this is not a Harley Quinn problem. That's a general DC problem (probably Marvel too, but I don't read Marvel, so I don't know).

    2) I'm in favor of redemption. And I'm in favor of rehabilitation and reintegration. But sadly that's very rare in superhero comics. Most "heroes" punch the bad guy in the face, throw him into prison and call it a day until said guy breaks out again and then they can punch him in the face again and throw him back. Sometimes heroes even know the backstory of a villain and know why/how they became what they are now. And heroes still don't give a shit. It's nonsensical that a hero wouldn't try (hard) to help a criminal to change for the better. So many people could be saved: the criminal, potential future victims and people who could be saved by the redeemed person in the future.

    So if DC wants to turn Harley in a hero or anti-hero, I'm all for it, even if I'm not interested in her as a character. There are enough other villains - and with Punchline being introduced soon, a villainous Harley will be redundant in main-continuity. I'd prefer it if DC would present her in a consistent way but as already mentioned, inconsistency is a general DC problem, not a specific Harley Quinn problem.

    3) Harley Quinn gets a lot of hate - a lot of vocal hate. I'm not in a position to judge if people are justified in their hate since I don't know much about Harley. Personally, I try not to hate any fictional character because it's stupid. But sometimes it's even hard for me. On the other hand I don't think it's that difficult to ignore Harley. Yes, she has a lot of appearances but often it's clear beforehand that she's the main character or an important character of a story, so: Don't like, don't read/watch. Guest appearances don't look that troublesome to me either because Harley will be gone in a few issues. If I can ignore/tolerate characters like Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne (who are together far, far more popular and more present in comics than Harley) then other people should be able to ignore/tolerate Harley.
    Redemption is a two-way street. The villain has to want to be redeemed and the vast majority of DC and Marvel villains have not shown this desire at all. If the villain does not want to change their ways, the hero is not to blame. Short of brainwashing them into becoming good guys - which never works and if anything makes the situation worse - there is nothing the hero can do.

  2. #47
    Elektra Natchios vitaminbee's Avatar
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    Good people can do bad things so why can’t bad people do good things at times? Harley in BOP does bad things but manages to do some good too. I think things get iffy when characters can only be purely good or purely bad.

  3. #48
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vitaminbee View Post
    Good people can do bad things so why can’t bad people do good things at times? Harley in BOP does bad things but manages to do some good too. I think things get iffy when characters can only be purely good or purely bad.
    Agreed.

    I think the simplistic enforced morality of a lot of superhero stories is holding the genre back, and also brings with it a lot of ways of thinking that are damaging. Superhero stories are modern myths, and if we look at myths they are seldom about people who are "good" or "bad". They are about realising what the right thing to do is, about weighing two different kinds of good (or two kinds of bad) against each other, about making mistakes and recovering from them, and so on.

    I think it's no surprise that a lot of the really memorable superhero stories are exploring the greys and how various morals can come into conflict with each other.

    When it comes to Harley Quinn, she started out as a battered sidekick, but she has developed into a trickster figure: unreliable and mercurial. Someone who does bad things when she is intending good, but manages to recover. Someone who makes a lot of mistakes, to teach the reader what not to do. And someone who can say the emperor is naked.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Agreed.

    I think the simplistic enforced morality of a lot of superhero stories is holding the genre back, and also brings with it a lot of ways of thinking that are damaging. Superhero stories are modern myths, and if we look at myths they are seldom about people who are "good" or "bad". They are about realising what the right thing to do is, about weighing two different kinds of good (or two kinds of bad) against each other, about making mistakes and recovering from them, and so on.

    I think it's no surprise that a lot of the really memorable superhero stories are exploring the greys and how various morals can come into conflict with each other.

    When it comes to Harley Quinn, she started out as a battered sidekick, but she has developed into a trickster figure: unreliable and mercurial. Someone who does bad things when she is intending good, but manages to recover. Someone who makes a lot of mistakes, to teach the reader what not to do. And someone who can say the emperor is naked.
    I'd say that now superhero comics have the opposite issue where genuinely horrific actions are too easily ignored, dismissed or presented as acceptable. See for instance, how often Batman's use of torture is rarely if ever critiqued or how villains with atrocities that could make real life war criminals vomit can be made allies with no real consequences. By contrast, Wonder Woman and Superman in MoS faced more push back, both in universe and out, for justifiably killing Max Lord and Zod.
    Last edited by Agent Z; 02-16-2020 at 04:46 AM.

  5. #50
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    I'd say that now superhero comics have the opposite issue where genuinely horrific actions are too easily ignored, dismissed or presented as acceptable. See for instance, how often Batman's use of torture is rarely if ever critiqued or how villains with atrocities that could make real life war criminals vomit can be made allies with no real consequences. By contrast, Wonder Woman and Superman in MoS faced more push back, both in universe and out, for justifiably killing Max Lord and Zod.
    I think that's the result of the simplistic morality, where especially Batman's morality is not allowed to be explored. He is the hero-protagonist, therefore good, and therefore nothing he does is bad.

    I think that's why characters like Catwoman, Poison Ivy, or sometimes Killer Croc are both memorable but also reverted: they can challenge the moral assumptions behind Batman, and to the black and white mindset that is not allowed.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  6. #51
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Agreed.

    I think the simplistic enforced morality of a lot of superhero stories is holding the genre back, and also brings with it a lot of ways of thinking that are damaging. Superhero stories are modern myths, and if we look at myths they are seldom about people who are "good" or "bad". They are about realising what the right thing to do is, about weighing two different kinds of good (or two kinds of bad) against each other, about making mistakes and recovering from them, and so on.

    I think it's no surprise that a lot of the really memorable superhero stories are exploring the greys and how various morals can come into conflict with each other.

    When it comes to Harley Quinn, she started out as a battered sidekick, but she has developed into a trickster figure: unreliable and mercurial. Someone who does bad things when she is intending good, but manages to recover. Someone who makes a lot of mistakes, to teach the reader what not to do. And someone who can say the emperor is naked.
    I think Superhero stories are the kind of myths that revolve around the concept of "good" and "bad" and how different individuals try to realize those concepts and clash with each other. Sometimes they involve an individual making a mistake, learning from it, and growing into a hero (like Spider-Man) but other times they focus on an individual who tries to teach others what the right thing to do is.

    There are definitely stories of Harley doing bad things intending good (Harley's Holiday) and she is (or at least was) kind of an exemplar of what women should not be or aspire to (although I don't think that has stopped people from liking her in-spite of that).

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