Robot 6

Controversial ‘suicide’ scene doesn’t appear in ‘Harley Quinn’ #0

harleyquinnHarley Quinn #0, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner and drawn by more than a dozen artists, arrives today in stores and contains the winning entry from the DC Entertainment Open Talent Search. The page, by Jeremy Roberts, is notable in that it is significantly toned down from the controversial script released in September.

DC came under fire from readers and advocacy groups alike for the original tryout page, which directed artists to depict the fan-favorite character naked in a bathtub, seemingly about to commit suicide, a scene Palmiotti explained was merely a surreal dream sequence.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness called the contest “extremely insensitive” and “potentially dangerous,” leading the publisher to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the script while reiterating its intended “cartoony and over-the-top in tone.”

The original script described the fourth panel as, “Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of ‘oh well, guess that’s it for me’ and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.”

But in the published Harley Quinn #0, the first three panels remain the same — Harley holding onto a cell tower during a thunderstorm, feeding alligators and tickling the roof of a whale’s mouth — but the final one has been drastically changed: Instead of contemplating suicide in her bathtub, the character is shown riding a missile, Dr. Strangelove-style, high above the Earth.

Although the tryout script didn’t include dialogue, the overall tone of the page seems to lack the “Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach” Palmiotti said that he and Conner intended.

Harley Quinn #0 is in stores now.

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36 Comments

We might offend someone, lets censor ourselves!

Uhm… WHAT? They’re against the bath thing, but the other forms of suicide are fine?

They’re against /naked/ bath suicide!

I assume the issue with the bathtub is that that is something the average person actually might use to commit suicide. Most don’t have alligators or whales around.

Nevermind that–they put an Art Baltazar Tiny Titans page in the comic. I’ll buy it just for that.

All that fuss and crap for nothing.

Why does New 52 Harley have white skin all over her body? Did I miss something? Please tell me she doesn’t have the time to paint her entire body before each mission.

@Stephen, she was pushed into a pit of acid by the Joker.

See, there’s some value in raising your voice. The scene was so widely criticized because it, unlike the others on this page, showed a common and easily available form of suicide, and lacked the over-the-topness needed to make the distinction.

And this guy has very attractive pencils! Although Harley’s expression in the last two panels looks much more gleeful than her dialogue suggests. Is the whole book told this way? I’m glad I skipped this — this character doesn’t really seem to share the qualities that made me like her so much in the DCAU and the pre-52.

Congrats to Jeremy Roberts. That’s a really nice page.

I think the page could have been included in the book as is, but releasing that particular page for an open contest was just dumb decision making.

Your last couple of paragraphs in this article are way off…

#1. Harley was never contemplating suicide. As depicted in all these panels Harley is being put in dangerous situations by the writer/artist. She is aware of this. She is like Deadpool almost here, sentient of the fact that somebody is controlling her actions, that the panels aren’t matching up, etc. The original final panel was intended to be a “Well, there’s no way you’re getting out of this one.” I think riding a giant missile into Earth still seems to be pretty “dire”, but not as insensitively dark comedy as the bath tub electrocution. It looked like suicide without context, but it was NEVER actually suicide by the character’s will, it was murder by the artist/writer.

#2. This is entirely Looney Toons, have you never heard of Duck A Muck? Bugs Bunny at the end going “Ain’t I a stinker?” as Daffy walks around dressed as a polka-dotted Goofball Flower monster in his own cartoon?

Censored, huh?

This is why we can’t have good comics.

The ghost of Fredric Wertham is happy today …

@Rob S. and @Trevor: agreed. @Jimmy Palmiotti: your writing sucks. I mean in general. @Harley Quinn: you deserve better than the New 52. Or should I say the ‘New Fifty-Boo’.

Those above questioning why the page is largely unchanged but the bath panel altered? Well, there were multiple groups complaining about multiple aspects of the page, and the bath panel was a flashpoint because there was the suicide element AND a perceived objectification of Harley going on. Probably they just decided that since altering the means of suicide didn’t alter anything else in the story, it was easy enough to fix, whereas the suicide concerns themselves would have required a teardown and rewrite of the whole page and subsequently the contest.

Link gets it. Well said.

Thank god! I’m sure a bunch of people would have committed suicide after seeing this “widely available” method that never would have dawned on anyone before!

Now if only we can get DC to ban all handguns in their comics, then our great and degenerating society might really be safe!

I would’ve pulled back on the last panel, silhouetting Harley on the missile heading TOWARD Earth; here, it looks like it’s just in orbit for some reason. That would’ve contrasting the enormity of that moment in contrast with the tight shot of the others. Still, the art is super sharp and definitely falls into the “house style” of DC. If I were Jeremy Roberts, I’d be super stoked and hosting a signing at my local shop today!

@Russ – IMPOSTOR!…Sorry, I had to.

And once again, the whiners win. Stupid. I want to send all the people at those organizations with nothing better to worry about copies of the “Bunny Suicides” books, which also contain fictional characters which have been put in suicide-scenarios by their creators, and tell them to read, laugh and unclench.

Jeremy Roberts has been a professional colorist for DC and Marvel for 15 years. I wished they would have chosen someone who has not worked for the big 2. Just sayin’…. The page looks great though.

Man, there sure are a lot of smug, entitled jackasses reading DC comics and complaining their woman-committing-suicide panel got changed. Maybe they should go reread the rape pages in Identity Crisis to make themselves feel better.

Well, there ya go, crybaby fans.

@Irwin Schwab

It’s satire.
Get over yourself.

So, this guy already worked
for Marvel and DC. Wow.
The guy can draw, but he seems
more like a Jim Lee clone to me.
They shouldn’t allow people already
in the industry to enter these contests’.
That sucks.

What, no fridge?

Meh, I think a lot of people were just milking this for attention in the first place. One of the artists who made a big stink about it and drew her own cartoon was on twitter was on there a week later mocking a suicidal neighbor. The imaginary suicide in a comic script was worse than a suicidal person in real life, I guess. At least it all gave me one less person to follow.

the overall tone of the page seems to lack the “Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach” Palmiotti said that he and Conner intended.

Totally lacking it. Unless you read the page, at which point it’s blatantly obvious…

Pretty sad that this is what fiction has come to. Grow some balls artists and writers.

It looks strange. Great artwork, but just totally not the style I think most Harley/Joker fans would want from a book. Are there no skilled art directors at DC?

The winning page seems quite lacking IMO, but makes sense that dc would want to hire an old buddy instead of giving a chance to a fresh new artist.

No balls indeed. Sad day for America…

Good. DC listens after all.

The contest was “Break into comics with DC”… the guy already was broken into comics lol.

Boy Komiks ng Pinas

November 22, 2013 at 5:14 am

Regardless of how the contest turned out to be, this is still one of the “must haves” for comic book enthusiasts. (Well aside from the fact that it’s a dollar cheaper) Harley Quinn is and will forever be the face of the New 52. They should be making a movie out of her twisted story line. can’t waqit for it. ’nuff said.

Dc Comics shitted on their fans with that contest by selecting an already established artist within the industry, and changing the last panel, Was that your call Mr. Lee? ><

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