THE ART of HAR­LEY Quinn

Sui­cide Girl

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 180 pages | Hard­back Au­thor an­drew Farago Pub­lisher In­sight Comics

Gotham vil­lain. Quirky girl. Lovesick puppy. Crazed killer. Har­ley Quinn has worn many masks since her first ap­pear­ance in Bat­man: The An­i­mated Series in 1992. In cel­e­bra­tion, this large hard­back col­lec­tion is de­voted to her, fea­tur­ing comic book art from the last 25 years.

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to see how one char­ac­ter can be brought to life in so many ways. We find Har­ley as a masked me­nace in Mike Parobeck’s ’90s comic strips that ran along­side the Bat­man car­toon; a bo­da­cious, gun-wield­ing femme fa­tale in the art of Terry and Rachel Dod­son; and a long-lashed porcelain doll in the soft pen­cil strokes of Joe Chiodo. There are some sur­prises, too. In the DC Bombshells art by Ant Lu­cia, she be­comes a vin­tage dame, and John Timms turns her into a lon­g­legged cir­cus per­former.

As with a lot of fe­male comic book char­ac­ters, there’s no es­cap­ing the male gaze: pic­tures tend to linger over the swell of Har­ley’s but­tocks and her im­pos­si­bly small waist, though it’s also in­ter­est­ing to ex­plore the BDSM un­der­tones in the tightly corseted art of Chris Burn­ham. And it’s not all about sex: through Amanda Con­ner, Har­ley be­comes em­pow­ered, trans­form­ing into a punk-rock disco war­rior who hur­tles around on rollerblades with her own girl gang.

Pic­tures are placed along­side in-depth and metic­u­lously re­searched text about Har­ley’s evo­lu­tion and ap­pear­ances over the years. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing, though more fo­cus on other for­mats, such as videogames and toys, would have been wel­come. Kim­ber­ley Bal­lard

Court­ney Love was be­ing con­sid­ered to play Har­ley Quinn in Joel Schu­macher’s third Bat­man film, be­fore it was canned.

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