Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s time co-writing Harley Quinn together from 2013 to 2018 helped launch the beloved antihero to new levels of popularity and entrenched her as one of DC’s most iconic characters.
In February, the duo returns to Harley Quinn…and now she’s got the Birds of Prey in tow. Conner is illustrating interiors as well as co-writing the four-issue, mature readers series, which lands in stores on February 12th. In Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey, Harley returns to Gotham City for the first time since breaking up with the Joker—and he’s got every super-villain in town gunning for her, with only the Birds of Prey stepping up to her defense.
DC Nation talked with Conner and Palmiotti to detail just how far off the rails things will get in Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey, which co-stars several characters who will be familiar to DC movie fans—Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain and Renee Montoya.
How much is this series a continuation from what you did on your previous Harley Quinn run? How does it feel to be returning to the character?
Jimmy Palmiotti: This book is a direct continuation of our last issue on the monthly Harley Quinn series. We pick up with Ivy and Harley having a bit of vacation time on a tropical island and things go sideways from there.
Amanda and I are having a blast not only revisiting the supporting characters we established in the series, but also raising the stakes for Harley with the addition of the Birds of Prey and the Gotham rogues gallery. We also have a lot of surprise guests we are putting in the books that fans of our work will totally be thrilled to see again.
On the flipside of that, being that this is a mature readers series, what are you able to do in this book that you weren’t able to before?
JP: Well, we are just writing the book the way we see it and taking some things a bit too far, just to test how far we really can go. We did that in the monthly series, and we had a boatload of red flags thrown at us all the time. With Black Label, we are hoping to see less red flags for sure. We will be pushing every envelope we can and see where things land with editorial. Our main goal is just to tell the best story possible and get the readers involved.
Amanda Conner: That, and a few swear words. The challenge in the regular series was making up words and phrases that were not actually swear words. Sometimes, when we were on a roll, we made up words and phrases that sounded even worse than their original swear-y counterparts.
Amanda, it’s super exciting that you’re illustrating this as well as co-writing. What lured you back to drawing interiors, and how much fun has it been?
AC: I’ve always loved drawing interiors. I love the storytelling aspect, the pacing, the character actions and reactions. I didn’t get much of a chance to do it on the Harley Quinn series because I’m definitely not the fastest artist out there and with co-writing and cover art duties, there was no way I would be able to keep up with a monthly book. Admittedly, I was extremely envious of Chad (Hardin) and John (Timms), but at the same time, I was so pleased to have such fantastic artists on a book that we were writing.
On this miniseries, we’ve built in extra time so that I can get to do the interiors. I’m so happy to be able to do that on this book.
Of course, it’s not just a Harley Quinn series, it’s Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey. What can you share about the dynamics of that ensemble, and how the rest of the team reacts to Harley?
AC: Harley pretty much vexes all those around her. Even if you’re a character that just loves her, she will exhaust you. It will be fun to see what kind of trouble she causes for the Birds, but we will also get to see which Bird vexes Harley.
We’ve also got the Joker and Poison Ivy involved, the two characters most closely associated with Harley. What are you looking forward to exploring in those relationships with this new series?
AC: With Harley and the Joker, it’s always fun to watch what kind of friction two exes have with each other...it makes for really fascinating storytelling.
As far as Harley and Ivy go, well, it’s like I said before...if you’re a character that absolutely loves and adores Harley, she will still exhaust you.