I’m really asking you guys to have an idea about what I discuss around here to get that title. Otherwise I’ll refer you to last week’s commentary on DC’s artist tryout contest. The latest came later that week, where DC corporate took blame–finally–for the poor decision. From ICv2 today:
DC later issued a statement to Huffington Post: “The purpose of the talent search was to allow new artists an opportunity to draw a single page of a 20-page story. True to the nature of the character, the entire story is cartoony and over-the-top in tone, as Harley Quinn breaks the 4th Wall and satirizes the very scenes she appears in. DC Entertainment sincerely apologizes to anyone who may have found the page synopsis offensive and for not clearly providing the entire context of the scene within the full scope of the story.”
DC does not appear to have altered the contest page, which still describes the scenario in question this way: “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.”
I won’t do a full commentary, but I will note that the lack of context combined with DC’s treatment of female characters as of late did DC no favors in this. As I said in Tuesday’s commentary, suicide humor is possible but you have to tread lightly and there’s extra pressure to make the joke work. While I understand not wanting to spoil the story (this is a dream sequence or something that will appear in an actual comic) at least a little context like “this is what Harley is thinking about and not an actual suicide attempt on her part” would have been a good idea. As far as the naked, she is in a bathtub filled with water, but this does demonstrate how badly DC Comics needs to look at how they draw/write female characters that we were quite willing to expect the worst from this scene. Apparently the context is still not up on the contest page which means somebody is bound to stumble anew upon this and be as offended as everyone else was, although there isn’t a suicide awareness day nearby now.
Also, having the writer issue an apology when he wasn’t responsible for the contest, only the scene used, was kind of low. Jimmy Palmiotti trying to explain the scene is one thing but he wasn’t the one should be apologizing and it’s nice to see DC finally take the blame for something they screwed up. Not that I’m about to get used to it.
The scene may actually work and I understand using a dream/fantasy/daydream sequence as a way to give some artist a chance to have something published in a DC comic, but the fact that they didn’t appear to see this fallout coming says something about how DC views female characters, and that’s still pretty sad.
- DC Comics asks artists to show their skill at killing off naked women (dailydot.com)
- Harley’s Hilarious Hanging
- DC apologizes to those offended by ‘Harley Quinn’ contest (robot6.comicbookresources.com) [I like how they found an artist who pulled off the scene without even mild nudity]