While Harley Quinn is often framed as an antihero in the comics, she most certainly isn’t. She is as much a superhero as anyone in the DC Universe and, being a survivor of abuse, she is stronger than just about any hero DC has, too. Since falling in love with her character (thanks Harley Quinn on HBO Max!) I’ve read every Harley comic from 2013 to the present and she’s not done anything remotely antihero-ish in any of them. Yes, Harley’s wild, a little chaotic, and has an impulse control problem (all of which she admits) but being a free spirit isn’t the same as being morally ambivalent. Her actions in the comics, again and again, are remarkably heroic. And I will die on this hill ;D. Since seeing The Suicide Squad I’ve been wondering if the same holds true in the movies. In the comics, Harley Quinn is a true superhero and the type of character we should all aspire to be like – as compassionate, loving, and open as she is brave. But what about the DCEU (DC Extended Universe)? Is Harley an antihero in the films or, like the comics, is she a superhero lacking the recognition she deserves?
This was not the piece I expected to write about The Suicide Squad. I had a completely different idea in mind as the film began but as I watched the movie I realized this was what I needed to talk about. I’ve always loved stories. Who doesn’t? Reading, watching, telling, and listening to them – I’m here for all of it! I will reread and rewatch the stories I love again and again and again. The right story takes a place in our heart like nothing else can. Years ago this blog was born, in part, as an outlet to write about the stories I love (so maybe I’d talk about them a little less in real life (but the exact opposite occurred XD)). I love thinking about stories, talking about stories, analyzing and deconstructing stories, teaching with and through stories – I love it all. So I needed to write about Cleo Cazo/Ratcatcher 2, played by Daniela Melchior and written/directed by James Gunn in The Suicide Squad, because never in my whole life has any character in any story ever moved what this character in this story moved within me. And that is certainly something worthy of exploration! This piece has a few minor spoilers for the film but you’ll be warned beforehand.
Guess who’s back, back again?! #FFF is back, tell a friend! This time, I’m kicking off our annual series about your favorite fictional ladies of the fearless variety 😉 Joining Nancy and I are Michael of My Comic Relief, Jesse of the newly revived Green Onion, Kalie of Just Dread-full, and Jeff of The Imperial Talker. Please give them a follow to catch their posts (all have great content outside of #FFF), or look out for them here, throughout the month. Continue reading
On a whim, I decided to try watching Harley Quinn on HBO Max. My only real experience with Harley Quinn up to this point had been Batman: The Animated Series, obviously, and DC’s recent Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn. As I watched, I thought it’d be fun to write about the experience as I did last year, when I tried to binge-watch ninety-six episodes of Supergirl in the nineteen days I had left before the new season premiered. Instead of doing any sort of analysis or deconstruction or anything like that, I just wrote my stream-of-consciousness thoughts as I watched. Now I’ve discovered the DC Universe’s Harley Quinn show! And, while I watched at a more leisurely pace (relatively speaking), I decided to write the same sort of piece. Let’s see where this goes…
Kate Kane, the Batwoman, is a remarkable character. Even after a lifetime of being bored by Batman, I found her so compelling James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics – with Batwoman leading Batman’s team in Gotham – became a permanent part of my pull list. Her solo Rebirth Batwoman title, penned by Marguerite Bennette and Tynion IV, soon followed. Last Christmas I was excited to find trade collections of her earlier New 52 adventures had made their way under the tree. What draws me to Batwoman is, while she wears the bat symbol, she transcends the most serious faults we see in the Batman. In so doing, she’s not just a character I connect with and love reading about. She’s also one who instructs and inspires transformation in her readers, as only the most important characters do. Continue reading
I have a habit of committing (should we say overcommitting?) to ridiculous viewing marathons. I don’t really know why. But I tend to do it more so with movies than shows. However, when I heard the Arrowverse was going to be gaining a new show this fall in the form of Batwoman – a character whom I adore – I knew I’d be tuning in. When I realized Batwoman would be airing Sunday nights before Supergirl – a show I’ve always been interested in but never committed to watching (because the Arrowverse is huge and intimidating) – I figured I should check it out. Why not, right? The first four seasons were on Netflix. Maybe, maybe I should try and binge-watch (even though I don’t particularly care for binge-watching) all four seasons before the new one premiered. Then I could watch Batwoman live without fear of spoilers for Supergirl AND enjoy Supergirl at the same time! Was this the best idea I’ve ever had??
What follows is the stream-of-consciousness list of lessons I learned while trying to watch all ninety-six episodes of Supergirl (with crossovers) over the course of sixteen wild days. Continue reading
In October of 2012, Arrow launched on the CW. It was a new DC show centered around Oliver Queen, the wealthy playboy-turned-costumed-vigilante know as Green Arrow. It was an attempt to help fill the superhero void left on the CW when Smallville’s epic ten season run (2001-2011) came to an end. While Oliver Queen appeared on Smallville, the producers of Arrow decided to start fresh, casting Stephen Amell in the title role as opposed to Justin Hartley who played him on Smallville. But that was only the beginning. Arrow would beget The Flash (2014-present), the short-lived Constantine (2014-2015), Supergirl (2015-present), Legends of Tomorrow (2016-present), and three web series; Vixen (2015-2016), Freedom Fighters: The Ray (2017-2018), and Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons. This Arrowverse has become a huge hit with critics and fans alike…and I’ve watched none of it. Why would I? Do you have any idea how big a time commitment that is?!!? And I’ve always been a Marvel guy anyway.
But now the Arrowverse has Batwoman and, because of that, everything’s changed. Continue reading
My near-exclusive Marvel fandom has been indelibly stamped on my being for over thirty years however I’ve wanted to read Wonder Woman since I saw Patty Jenkins’ brilliant film. She redefined everything a comic book movie could be/do in the summer of 2017 and I was captivated. Diana Prince is a uniquely important character too, who’s been a part of our popular culture since 1941. She is the archetypal female superhero. She’s part of DC’s Trinity and, no matter how much I love them, Marvel has no one like her. In short, she’s a character I should know. So I tried the first issue of Greg Rucka’s “Rebirth” run but found it more confusing than welcoming. Yet I kept trying, wanting to experience this character I’d fallen in love with at the movies in the genre she was born into. I researched “classic” or “definitive” Wonder Woman stories but jumping into the middle of seventy-seven years of stories, almost completely at random, felt a bit intimidating. Then came G. Willow Wilson. Continue reading
I spent the last week in New Orleans for a conference…where I saw none of the city as I was stuck in 12+ hours of meetings/seminars/lectures every day. BUT I did direct some of my mental energy towards contemplating one of life’s biggest, most pressing issues. You see, Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne essentially have the same character framework. I’m not the first person to make this observation, but it’s true. Both are insanely wealthy. Both have brilliant minds. Both run huge companies. Both lost their parents when they were young (albeit in different circumstances). Both became superheroes. Both are founding/central members in one of their universe’s most important superhero teams – the Avengers and Justice League, respectively. Despite their similarities though, they are two VERY different characters with VERY different lives…which leads us to our BIG question – if you could choose, would you rather be Iron Man or Batman?? Continue reading
I have to tip my hat to James Tynion IV. He’s clearly one of our most talented modern comic writers. I’ve always been fairly ambivalent about DC. And I’ve never, ever liked Batman. I’ve said before I think he’s overrated. In fact, he kind of annoys me. He’s this grumpy malcontent whose emotional development stalled as the result of a childhood tragedy and now (somewhat ironically) recruits child soldiers to help him battle the most dangerous and disturbed minds on the planet. He’s too dark, dangerous, and dour to ever be my sort of superhero. BUT James Tynion IV has taken this character I’ve never liked and created a comic I love around him. His Detective Comics is the lone DC book I need to read in my world of Marvel and IDW titles. Continue reading