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  1. #76
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwazer07 View Post
    Thank you. This was enlightening. I still don't think Harley is a healthy role model but I understand her situation a little better. And also why she has a passionate dedicated fanbase willing to defend her.
    My pleasure. I regretfully have a lot of experience with the topic.

    But no, Harls isn't a role model. Oh my gods no, she's a psychotic killer. But I don't think her popularity stems from being a role model, at least not the in the same way you could say of Superman or Captain America. Harley isn't a role model in that she's a quality person, but she does represent freedom for a lot of people who have none.

    I think it's more about over coming adversity than anything. I've met a few people (not a lot, but a few) who adore Roy Harper. They don't really care for Spider-Man or Flash, but Roy and his struggle with addiction is something they can relate to. Roy reflects their own lives in a way other characters don't and that's the appeal for them.
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  2. #77
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Plot-wise, there isn't that much difference between Mad Love and Harleen in how Harley's and Joker's relationship develops, but there is a huge shift in emphasis, in Harley's personality, and in how her emotional journey is portrayed.
    Which is totally fair, I just took issue with the idea that the core story premise wasn't the same in the original story.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    My pleasure. I regretfully have a lot of experience with the topic.

    But no, Harls isn't a role model. Oh my gods no, she's a psychotic killer. But I don't think her popularity stems from being a role model, at least not the in the same way you could say of Superman or Captain America. Harley isn't a role model in that she's a quality person, but she does represent freedom for a lot of people who have none.

    I think it's more about over coming adversity than anything. I've met a few people (not a lot, but a few) who adore Roy Harper. They don't really care for Spider-Man or Flash, but Roy and his struggle with addiction is something they can relate to. Roy reflects their own lives in a way other characters don't and that's the appeal for them.
    There's also an element of freedom to her base origin, where she starts as this straight-laced and normal doctor who becomes this wild, crazy, and fun-loving super-criminal with a bombastic and memorable personality.

  3. #78
    Astonishing Member Nite-Wing's Avatar
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    Great character its a shame some people hold onto this weak double standard for her and complain about her evolution into an anti hero. There's a laundry list of DC rogues who have killed or hurt just as many people as her if not more but summarily celebrated as awesome and desire to see them more(ideally making them anti heroes as well). IDK

    Harley is not a role model she is not someone you are supposed to emulate or revere in the classic sense like WW or Superman
    She is about failure someone who was manipulated and abused by a man and had to break away from that abuse. She backslides and goes back to the Joker many times that's the cycle of abuse inherent to her character
    Her character in general away from the Joker is about freedom she operates in her own bubble of freedom to do whatever she wants. If she wants to hurt someone she will do that, If she wants to save someone she will do that

    The people who have a problem with that are also the same people who have no problem with Lobo, Deathstroke, or even Lex Luthor straddling the line between hero, anti hero, or villain with no consequences

    Essentially until Harley is not held to this imaginary standard then it stops being a problem.
    Last edited by Nite-Wing; 06-01-2020 at 11:49 AM.

  4. #79
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    I'll keep it short and read the rest of the thread after I kind of address the topic title.

    I don't think there's a problem with Harley Quinn. I mean, no more than any other DC character. Or probably better put, no more than any popular franchise character.

    Harley's got a great story both metatextually and background. The moll that becomes a headliner is one aspect of it, as is the ... well, semi-realistic portrayal of a woman in an abusive relationship. I think even in their cuter more kid friendly moments in the early days you saw plenty of that hinted at. And as it ought to have been, since by the early 90s Joker was certainly already a homicidal maniac in most depictions. And just like there's a million boys growing up being all nihilistic and balls of little stunted emotional baggage who gravitate toward the Joker or whatever else pop culture thing seems anarchic and "like super deep, man" there's a million girls who want to break out of a perceived lockdown, shed the baggage, be spunky and unapologetically themselves and express themselves and whatever else. So all that part's fine. But it does lead to a mainstreaming or a pop culturing, a neutering of a character's interesting points. You can't do too much to a character once they become Big Time because the demand is high that they be static, stable, and ready for merchandise sales at all times. And when someone can surround themselves with a character's merchandise, the general masses really do start to feel ownership of a character because they really do OWN a bunch of stuff with that character's face painted on it.

    But that ain't a Harley Quinn problem. That's a Batman problem. A Wolverine problem. A Super Mario problem. That's an everything that transcends into the mainstream problem. If they sell a t-shirt of it at Hot Topic, it's going to be a problem.

    I can break down a lot of Harley Quinn storytelling choices that I think aren't strong but they're more results of her taking part in pretty weak writing. For instance, her initial appearances in The New 52 are all pretty bad because The New 52 is a foolish idea. Her costume design in The New 52 was all the worst design aspects of the 90s because The New 52 was a big old Jim Lee design-fest and Jim Lee's designs are 30 years out of touch and weren't stylish when they were cultivated in the late 80s, either. Harley Quinn's initial Bruce Timm design is still timeless because it's simple, gorgeous, effectively rendered, more classic than even most classic designs, but also because it's ultra-kink-coded, really funny, and the three-color pallet of red, black and white is always the most elegant choice any artist can make in color and design.

    But that design if you choose (smartly) to have Harley ditch the Joker and be her own woman does feel like it's part of the time of her life that she as a character wouldn't want to go back to, part of the Pop Costume lifestyle of Gotham crooks and crooking, and part of the kink of being a Joker girl. And it probably wasn't all that comfortable. You give up that lifestyle for a lot of reasons, and not having to put on a spandex jester costume is probably a big part of it. (Which is frankly why The New 52 corset didn't seem that likely.) Design-wise, a lot of my issues with latter day Harley costumes are two things, two very simple things that alone would make most of the more recent designs totally better. First, they keep subbing out blue instead of black. That I get on a few fronts. A lot of pencillers are terrified of solid blacks or won't take the time to shade in an area intended to be "black" because black takes on different lighting than the rest and that's one more thing in a busy schedule when you're drawing something that takes serious time. You can shave down that time ten-fold if you go to some figure drawing classes and just draw from experience, but I know growing up when I drew a lot of free-hand characters, I'd never go down the rabbit-hole of blacks, or even a lot of naturalistic shadows, for that reason. And then when I did ink my own work I'd still avoid it. So you have a lot of what look like character studies, and not like characters in real environments. A good inker could absolutely make it work, and a good penciller in comics ought to have a good inker they trust, but should also, totally take some figure drawing, some real life drawing, and just get good at short-hand rendering realistic shadows and blacks so that it becomes fast, effortless and looks better. Ivan Reis is phenomenal at this. You look at his pencils of like Hal Jordan or something and you'll see him render the un-lit side of an arm or leg and just throw a little "X" into the space where he's like, black it right out. Ethan Van Sciver was particularly trusting in this regard because he was all about rendering solid blacks so that the colors show up more insane. Darwyn Cooke might be my favorite example. Look at his Catwoman costume and why it endures. Any of the artists you see master telling stories with silhouettes. How excited am I for the new Catwoman run? Oh very.

    The other problem I have with Harley is also design. It's her face. I think you can mix and match and change hundreds of aspects of Harley's costume but I think her face is pretty iconic and the face paint she's been rocking with since her classic design went away doesn't work. Even if it's painterly she needs to have a very white painted face, black lipstick and a domino mask pattern. Not just a lot of individual eye shadow, the figure-8 Robin-style domino mask that crosses in the middle. There's mild anatomical variations you get because different artists use different real world inspirations and ideas to get a grasp on a character for a run, but I also think Harley, like Joker, ought to be one of those girls who just seems like their mouth is like, a little "too" big. So her pouts and expressions feel a little exaggerated. Huge beaming almost anime grins, epic pouts and frowns and sad faces. That was probably the aspect of Margo Robbie's casting I liked best. She's got that big sh**-eating grin and twinkly eyes.

    But other than that, I dunno, not that many strong opinions. I do feel like a good design unifies a character to the point where even if the story is a direction you didn't expect or desire to see a character go, it doesn't feel like a totally different character. And comics storytelling is never as cohesive as like, a novel by a singular writer. Some writers hook in to the zeitgeist pretty effortlessly but there's so many writers and different artists that it's impossible to call a comic book character "uniform" or consistent even if they're trying to. We all have too many different influences in life. Somebody might want to itch their "Man I really liked Tank Girl" scratch in a Harley story and then she picks up punky Tank Girl vibes. I go more for the classic stuff, so the exploration of 1940s and 50s fashion, but also subject matter, like repression, crime and kink in a pretty buttoned-down society appeals, along with Noir and Gothic elements, so I tend to like older depictions better and thinking about cleverness, waste and metatext, come on, modern day DC riffs on Tank Girl should be attempts to make LIVEWIRE into the next cool character. Oh man the metatextual crossover could frankly get even more ridiculous and good. I'm always on about a Gotham Central-style Daily Planet showcase comic ... what about an Orange Is The New Black-style "Arkham Women's Asylum" book. Why the hell is Arkham Asylum not gendered? Does Batman never catch and imprison super-villain costumed sex offenders or rapists or abusers? They're bad GUYS. We know 100% that he does because that's literally The Joker's role in the Harley Quinn story.

    That'd be an interesting 12-part maxi story arc for a Gotham City Sirens book. Harley and Ivy and Selena and Livewire and others in the Arkham Women's facility. Selena with visitation from her billionaire boyfriend. So on, so forth. Throw Roxy Rocket in there.

    That went weird places.
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  5. #80
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nite-Wing View Post
    Great character its a shame some people hold onto this weak double standard for her and complain about her evolution into an anti hero. There's a laundry list of DC rogues who have killed or hurt just as many people as her if not more but summarily celebrated as awesome and desire to see them more(ideally making them anti heroes as well). IDK

    Harley is not a role model she is not someone you are supposed to emulate or revere in the classic sense like WW or Superman
    She is about failure someone who was manipulated and abused by a man and had to break away from that abuse. She backslides and goes back to the Joker many times that's the cycle of abuse inherent to her character
    Her character in general away from the Joker is about freedom she operates in her own bubble of freedom to do whatever she wants. If she wants to hurt someone she will do that, If she wants to save someone she will do that

    The people who have a problem with that are also the same people who have no problem with Lobo, Deathstroke, or even Lex Luthor straddling the line between hero, anti hero, or villain with no consequences

    Essentially until Harley is not held to this imaginary standard then it stops being a problem.
    Honestly...aside from maybe Ivy I don't really see a lot of people clamoring for popular villains to be made more heroic. Most Deathstroke fans loved the run where the writer was adamant that he was not depicting him as a hero by any stretch of the imagination.

    Luthor has his anti-heroic phases but I think as a whole people generally recognize him as a villain that Superman will ultimately defeat.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius View Post
    The majority of these sound like poor comedy writing but the Tim Drake entry just serves to remind why I don't even think DCAU Harley Quinn works as a sympathetic character.
    You know, I've heard people say that Harley's action here was character assassination. However the thing is even the original incarnation wasn't too sympathetic, this same character seemed to have no problems bombing Metropolis so the Tim Drake situation isn't too out of line for her. Heck in Mad Love she's implied to only take an interest in Joker due to wanting to exploit him, she simply got outplayed by him...using the oldest "abusive childhood" backstory in the book.

  7. #82
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistah K88 View Post
    You know, I've heard people say that Harley's action here was character assassination. However the thing is even the original incarnation wasn't too sympathetic, this same character seemed to have no problems bombing Metropolis so the Tim Drake situation isn't too out of line for her. Heck in Mad Love she's implied to only take an interest in Joker due to wanting to exploit him, she simply got outplayed by him...using the oldest "abusive childhood" backstory in the book.
    I remember one episode where her only objection to Joker gassing Gotham was that it would hurt their friends in Arkham.

  8. #83
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    She never had any objection to ANYTHING he did. She gleefully, actively participated in all of it.

    When people think of her as a victim, are they confusing that with this idea that he forced her to commit crimes and murder? Because he was abusive to her, but she never had any problems with the things he was doing as a psychopath.

    THAT's why she can never be redeemed, imo. She doesn't care about any of that.

  9. #84
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilyrose View Post
    She never had any objection to ANYTHING he did. She gleefully, actively participated in all of it.

    When people think of her as a victim, are they confusing that with this idea that he forced her to commit crimes and murder? Because he was abusive to her, but she never had any problems with the things he was doing as a psychopath.

    THAT's why she can never be redeemed, imo. She doesn't care about any of that.
    Maybe some people? But generally I doubt it, I feel like most people know being a victim in one regard doesn't make you a victim in everything. Harley was quite happy to go along with just about anything and everything Joker could cook up, and has done plenty of awful things on her own since then. And the only time there's ever any remorse is if animals or friends are involved.
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  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nite-Wing View Post
    Great character its a shame some people hold onto this weak double standard for her and complain about her evolution into an anti hero. There's a laundry list of DC rogues who have killed or hurt just as many people as her if not more but summarily celebrated as awesome and desire to see them more(ideally making them anti heroes as well). IDK

    Harley is not a role model she is not someone you are supposed to emulate or revere in the classic sense like WW or Superman
    She is about failure someone who was manipulated and abused by a man and had to break away from that abuse. She backslides and goes back to the Joker many times that's the cycle of abuse inherent to her character
    Her character in general away from the Joker is about freedom she operates in her own bubble of freedom to do whatever she wants. If she wants to hurt someone she will do that, If she wants to save someone she will do that

    The people who have a problem with that are also the same people who have no problem with Lobo, Deathstroke, or even Lex Luthor straddling the line between hero, anti hero, or villain with no consequences

    Essentially until Harley is not held to this imaginary standard then it stops being a problem.
    The thing is that no one is looking to whitewash or excuse Luthor's, Deathstroke's or Lobo's crimes. No one is making excuses for them and claiming their victims. We know who and what they are and don't claim that they are heroic in the slightest. Some seem to want to excuse all of Harley's actions and crimes and say it was all because of Joker, that she was coerced or manipulated by him; that she was not an active and willing participant. Thereby eliminating all responsibility for her actions. Then top it off with women empowerment and sexism arguments.

    There are countless heroic female characters out there, but why is it that comics are afraid to portray some women as evil, vicious, homicidal and just plain awful like they do men? Women are human and are subject to all the negative aspects of humanity but for whatever reason they all seem to fall back into being the victim of a man role. Can't some female characters just be bad because that's who they are, no man corrupted them? But in this day and age when a "former" bad/evil female character gets popular the default setting is to retcon their past and lay their sins at the feet of a man, ironically robbing them of their agency. In Harley's case its Joker on Emma's case its Sebastian Shaw.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by The tall man View Post
    The thing is that no one is looking to whitewash or excuse Luthor's, Deathstroke's or Lobo's crimes. No one is making excuses for them and claiming their victims. We know who and what they are and don't claim that they are heroic in the slightest. Some seem to want to excuse all of Harley's actions and crimes and say it was all because of Joker, that she was coerced or manipulated by him; that she was not an active and willing participant. Thereby eliminating all responsibility for her actions. Then top it off with women empowerment and sexism arguments.

    There are countless heroic female characters out there, but why is it that comics are afraid to portray some women as evil, vicious, homicidal and just plain awful like they do men? Women are human and are subject to all the negative aspects of humanity but for whatever reason they all seem to fall back into being the victim of a man role. Can't some female characters just be bad because that's who they are, no man corrupted them? But in this day and age when a "former" bad/evil female character gets popular the default setting is to retcon their past and lay their sins at the feet of a man, ironically robbing them of their agency. In Harley's case its Joker on Emma's case its Sebastian Shaw.
    Also, you can be both. A bad person/villain AND a victim. That's what Harley really is and it seems like no one knows quite how to depict that. If she's a victim then you have to blame all the bad stuff she did on her abuser. Or if she's a villain, then she couldn't have been a true victim because she was evil all along. Well, it's neither one, because she actually was BOTH. She was abused and used by the Joker in their relationship, BUT she encouraged and freely participated in all the horrible, evil shit he did and continued to do evil on her own as well. She did not care about the victims of his villainy or hers.

  12. #87
    Incredible Member Gaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistah K88 View Post
    You know, I've heard people say that Harley's action here was character assassination. However the thing is even the original incarnation wasn't too sympathetic, this same character seemed to have no problems bombing Metropolis so the Tim Drake situation isn't too out of line for her. Heck in Mad Love she's implied to only take an interest in Joker due to wanting to exploit him, she simply got outplayed by him...using the oldest "abusive childhood" backstory in the book.
    Yeah, don't really see how it could be considered character assassination when the movie was written by one of her creators, Dini. With Timm and Burnett also involved at the production level.
    Last edited by Gaius; 06-01-2020 at 07:29 PM.

  13. #88
    Astonishing Member Nite-Wing's Avatar
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    Lobo, Luthor, Deathstroke, Harley all have been members of the Justice League or associated with heroes and become mentors to young heroes. No need to act like fans don't accept whatever whitewash DC has put out. This has been cemented since the 80s

    A victim of domestic violence is still a victim of domestic violence even if she is a criminal. Whether people choose to feel sympathy for her because of that fact is frankly irrelevant and ultimately anyone griping about that must have some severe lack of empathy.
    I mean most Batman rogues have sad backstories that compound a lot of their issues with mental illness that's why Batman sends his rogues to arkham asylum and not a regular prison like other heroes. He wants them rehabilitated not in jail forever
    Why are you even a fan of Batman and his mythos at this point


    Joker mentally manipulated Harley into allowing him to escape at that point she is basically a criminal lost all her accomplishments in life and almost wholly dependent on him. That's sad to some people then Joker drove her insane on top of that and made her just like him. Well now she is completely devoted to him.

    Then you take that story and you throw domestic violence and rampant abuse on top of that. Its not a bad thing that people feel sorry for her but of course people are free to feel sorry for any fictional character. Writers include these elements for a reason after all. Joker's abuse towards Harley and eventual emancipation from him is the sole reason she is empowering.
    That's a good story breaking the cycle of abuse
    No she is not a role model though because she caused her predicament
    Her life is the way it is because of her own choices with the Joker but she is empowering on some level because of the circumstances she lives with as a character.
    Last edited by Nite-Wing; 06-01-2020 at 06:12 PM.

  14. #89
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    In BTAS, Harley actively participated in Joker's plan to nuke the city and kill ten million people, only having second thoughts when Batman pointed out Bud and Lou would die too.

    In TNBA, when Harley and Ivy kidnap Bruce Wayne and use his credit card for a Christmas shopping spree, they claim they were going to kill him afterwards.

    So yeah, I'm really sick of this idea that Harley is a misunderstood tragic hero, and that all the superheroes just think it's cool and normal that she's running around free. Oh yeah and don't forget that Villain Month one-shot where she kills hundreds of kids. Or is that magically non-canon just because nu-Harley fans say it is? lol.

  15. #90
    I am BLACK GUY dreyga2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PurpleGlovez View Post
    In BTAS, Harley actively participated in Joker's plan to nuke the city and kill ten million people, only having second thoughts when Batman pointed out Bud and Lou would die too.

    In TNBA, when Harley and Ivy kidnap Bruce Wayne and use his credit card for a Christmas shopping spree, they claim they were going to kill him afterwards.

    So yeah, I'm really sick of this idea that Harley is a misunderstood tragic hero, and that all the superheroes just think it's cool and normal that she's running around free. Oh yeah and don't forget that Villain Month one-shot where she kills hundreds of kids. Or is that magically non-canon just because nu-Harley fans say it is? lol.
    Once a character villain gets too popular they slowly get re-conned into being a saint. I hate it.

    Someday there is going to be a story explaining how Harley never killed anyone while dating the Joker just you wait

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