Ever since she broke out with her own self-titled comic a few year ago, Harley Quinn has been living life by her own rules. Whether it’s teaming up with a septuagenarian cyborg assassin, assembling a gang of self-modeled troublemakers, romancing the criminally handsome Mason Macabre or (in this week’s HARLEY QUINN #27) going toe-to-toe with the wisecracking merc known as Dea—er, Red Tool, Harley is as Harley does, and with three current titles on the stands she’s going to be doing a lot more of it. Especially when her main comic goes bi-monthly in August.
To discover the method behind all this mayhem, we recently spoke with HARLEY QUINN and HARLEY’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK co-writers Amanda Palmer and Jimmy Palmiotti. Which heroes will Harley be teaming up with next? Will we get to see Amanda drawing Harley as well as writing her again? And after so many years on the title, how do they keep coming up with ideas? Quit clownin’ around and read on!
Harley Quinn #29 (Art by Amanda Conner)
First, let's get to the question everyone always asks. Amanda, when will we see you draw another issue of Harley Quinn?
Amanda: You’re going to see me draw more issues of Harley! I just became exclusive with DC and part of my contract is that I have to draw stuff—interiors, not just covers! That makes me really happy because it really is my favorite thing to do interiors. I love the whole pacing and storytelling, the action and reaction. So yeah, I sort of forced myself into a corner and made it so I have to draw stuff no matter how much time I have. I’ve got to do it. Because it really is—it’s my favorite thing.
So excited about the exclusivity! Congrats! So what can we look forward to in Harley’s Little Black Book?
Jimmy Palmiotti: In issue #4, we have Harley and the Bombshells, drawn by Bill Tucci. He’s drawing this beautiful World War II story because Harley goes back in time.
Does she? I was wondering how you were going to make this crossover happen.
Jimmy: It has something to do with Superman’s balls. He has these Kryptonian balls, and it has everything to do with them. And then issue #5, we have Neal Adams drawing and we do our version of the classic Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, but it’s Superman vs. Harley. Neal’s drawing and it’s written as a tribute to that book.
You’ve promised that there are more guest stars in store for the Harley Quinn ongoing title. But you also have guest stars in Harley’s Little Black Book…
Jimmy: We’ll be featuring Ivy more in the ongoing Harley book. We’re also going to have some fun with oddball characters. With Little Black Book, we kind of have to go for the big stars, but with the Harley series we can look towards the underbelly of the DCU and have some fun with stuff nobody wants to touch. We can bring it into Harley’s world. Plus, we have a genie who has no powers that’s going to be a regular. He lost his powers, so he’s just a guy that’s trying to figure out his way in the world. He’s been a genie his whole life.
Amanda Conner: He makes fantastic shish-kebabs.
Jimmy: It’s the usual madness in the book. It’s one of the few books that we don’t have to really tell the editors what we’re doing in advance. They ask, and we give them something, and then when we write it we give them something else. It’s one of those books that we kind of make up as we go along, which is what all writers do anyway, but if something influences us, we definitely go in and have some fun with it.
Art from Harley Quinn #27 by John Timms
You started on Harley Quinn back in 2013, and since then her line of books has expanded with comics like Harley’s Little Black Book, HARLEY QUINN AND POWER GIRL and HARLEY QUINN AND HER GANG OF HARLEYS. Do you feel like you have a limitless well of ideas when it comes to Harley Quinn?
Amanda: As far as Harley goes, yeah. Harley’s one of those great characters that—knock on wood—you don’t seem to run out of any ideas for because she’s just a well of creativity. Anything goes with her. You could pretty much put her into any situation.
Jimmy: We could take something that you went through in your life and put it in a Harley book, and then it becomes about how she would react to what you went through. It would be a much different story. She’s one of those few characters that you can kind of just drop into anything.
We had some fun dropping her into Wonder Woman’s world and Green Lantern’s. Superman is hysterical dealing with her. She really likes his Fortress of Solitude, by the way.
Amanda: If anybody could break into his Fortress of Solitude, it’s Harley.
Jimmy: Superman has that giant key and it’s under an even bigger mat. We have this nice scene where Superman says he needs to find the key, and Harley says that it’s under the giant mat.
She’s a character that you can go a little crazy with, and it’s fun to have a straight character with her. A guy that’s rolling his eyes and going, “Oh no.”
As long as people want it, we’ll keep doing it. There will be a time where we’ll get the call. DC will call us and say, “Guys, what do you think about doing something else?” But we had the long run with Jonah. I’m hoping we get to keep this one going as long as that.
Art from Harley Quinn #27 by John Timms
You’re working with a couple of artists now. You’ve been collaborating with Chad Hardin for a while, and now he’s been sharing the duties with John Timms.
Jimmy: They’re switching off.
As artists yourselves, what’s it like working with one versus the other. Are there differences you see or strengths that you play up?
Jimmy: They’re both brilliant.
Amanda: Absolutely solid.
Jimmy: We did a convention in Costa Rica and John Timms brought his samples up to us and I said I’d help get him work.
They’re both brilliant. They both have their strengths. I think John’s style is a little more animated, but he’s also been reeling it in a little bit lately. It’s just beautiful. And Chad just keeps impressing us each issue. If you look at issue #1 and then you look at #26, the guy’s grown leaps and bounds. His work just gets better and better all the time.
They’re both still growing. They were brilliant to start, but they’re actually growing. That’s a very rare thing to have in comics.
You can read about Harley’s misadventures in HARLEY QUINN, HARLEY’S LITTLE BLACK BOOK and HARLEY QUINN AND HER GANG OF HARLEYS. In August, Harley goes bi-monthly, starting with HARLEY QUINN #1 on August 3, 2016!
This is the latest in a series of interviews looking at the many DC comic books that will be spinning out of this summer’s Rebirth. Keep an eye on DCComics.com for more!