Why you should care
Even if you’re not a fan, the artwork might bring you over to the dark side.
At one time Harley Quinn was a little-known villain in one of DC Comics’ numerous and ongoing Batman series. Debuting in 1993, the character quickly became a fan favorite and gained cult status among comic aficionados. After tagging along with the more infamous Joker as his erstwhile GF, she got her own comic series in 2000.
But since her appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster Suicide Squad last year, the character’s fame has reached a crescendo. Every young girl at Comic Cons nationwide want to be Harley Quinn, emulating her style, dressing the part and playing the role in a cosplay smorgasbord that has announced itself in dramatic fashion.
The artwork is bombalicious and dope AF.
A new deluxe, oversize (11-by-14 inches) art book, The Art of Harley Quinn looks at the character’s history and how she became such a revered figure in pop culture. Author Andrew Farago covers Quinn’s complete history in DC Comics — from her first appearance in Batman Adventures No. 12 to comics released just last summer.
The artwork is bombalicious and dope AF. Fans are treated to comic panels by Quinn co-creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, riveting Harley Quinn series versions by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, and stunning character drawings by artists Terry Dodson and Alex Ross. “Seeing my words next to these talented artists’ work is a real thrill for me,” Farago says. A fan since Batman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992 to 1994, he says that “Harley is an amazing character, and the more I caught up on her appearances in comics, video games, animation, movies and everything else, the more I got to like her.”
However, he admits that he was initially skeptical of the Suicide Squad version of the character, played by Margot Robbie. After catching up on those books and interviewing the writers and artists behind them for his book, Farago came away with a newfound respect for the latest version of Harley Quinn. “Conner and Palmiotti really redefined and reinvented the character,” he says. “There’s a lot of complexity to the character and I think people who read the book, who only know one version of Harley, will be really surprised.” It helps that the character oozes a kind of supervillian sexuality, mischievousness and charisma that has endeared her to a legion of fans. And this book, with its different variations of the character, will likely only increase that fan base.
Farago relates that he had the most fun talking to co-creators Dini and Timm. “Coming from a person who first read that comic book in high school, and then interviewing them almost 20 years later, was a really fun part of the process for me,” he says.
The book is sure to energize old fans and new ones alike. It’s a visual journey into Harley Quinn’s 25-year history — heavy on images and light on text — all brought into focus with Farago’s words. “She’s just a fun character and has such a dedicated fan base,” the author says. “My niece is a big fan. That’s my target audience and I want to make sure they enjoy the book just as much as I do.”
The Art of Harley Quinn, by Insight Editions, is available November 7.