Interview With The Gorgeous Harley Quinn
In the wake of DC being rebooted, fans have been divided about how they felt about the relaunch. As we all know, fans who feels that the relaunch is a big middle finger to them has set up to protest about it during this year's comic con. I have been given the opportunity to speak to Laura Hornack the organizer of the protest and I have to say she made a remarkable point about her stand against the relaunch. Now I have been given a wonderful opportunity to interview to the beautiful Elise Archer who is a Harley Quinn cosplayer. After my interview with Miss Hornack, Miss Archer contacted me so that she could get a chance to voice her opinion about the relaunch and to talk about being a Harley Quinn cosplayer.
My Interview with Harley Quinn cosplayer Elise Archer voicing her opinion about the DC Relaunch and about being a Harley Quinn cosplayer
JM4: when you heard the news about the DCU Relaunch and saw the sneak peak of the relaunch, how did you feel?
EA: When I first heard about the reboot, I was actually pretty positive. I had been thinking for a while that a clean slate might be really beneficial to the titles. I was a bit anxious about having to go over everything all over again - as my conception of it were the titles would start from day dot - but I was ready to give it a chance. I pretty much only read Batman titles and I'd learned to endure the 'Batman Inc', RIP & all the rest of it, fairly sure it wasn't going to be a lasting thing - so the announcement of the reboot was even something of a relief. "At last!"
When I found out that a lot of the changes being made actually seemed really haphazard, selective and inconsistent, I was completely bewildered. There was a messing-of-the-formula aspect to them that seemed pretty much guaranteed to alienate fans rather than provoke keener interest in us. It seemed as though DC weren't giving everything a fresh start after all - they just pick and chose a bunch of things they'd deemed no longer relevant and decided just to mess with those - perhaps under the belief it's what fans would want. Perhaps, as the rumor went, because they just wanted newer, younger readers and to hell with the rest of us.
I am, first and foremost, a Harley Quinn fan and have been very dedicated to that character for about fourteen years through various expressions found at www.harleyquinnaid.com.
So when I saw the new look for Harley, well - again, my primary emotion was bewilderment. It just does not make any sense, to take a look that is so distinctive and so classic, and screw it up into something garishly generic - it really begs the question exactly which demographic do they think they're appealing to and WHY?
After bewilderment came rage and then disappointment. I'd actually been feeling so positive prior to that because of how a campaign I'd spearheaded had been successful in getting DC's attention. But after the release of that image I realized we were on totally different planets.
JM4: So i guess that you will not be wearing the new Harley Quinn outfit ever?
EA: HAHAHAHA. That would be a "no".
JM4:So do you support Miss Hornack's protest?
EA: I absolutely do. I think it's a great idea - protests are a really good way of making a statement, as a group of people, about particular feelings or convictions. Protests alone are not enough as a form of action - they're best combined with other means, such as lobbying, letter-writing, boycotting and so on - but they're definitely useful and can be very constructive.
JM4: I hope the protest goes well, so tell me when did you start being a Harley Quinn cosplayer?
EA: Thanks! In 2009, so fairly recently actually. I'd been a HQ fan for a lot longer - running her primary website, writing fanfiction and meta, collecting an so on - and had always thought about dressing up as her. Then it occured to me one day I could actually do so. And so I went for it and now a lot of energy is devoted to doing the best HQ I possibly can.
JM4: I have to say, I seen your pictures and you look amazing. Do you feel bad that Harley will not make an appearance in The Dark Knight Rises?
EA: Thanks so much!
No, I do not. I don't think she really fits into that universe and without the Joker her introduction could not properly be done as a major part of their story is her seduction by him. Likewise, the focus of these movies is largely Batman's journey & taking too much time out to tell her story would neglect his. I'd rather have a quality depiction of the character than one that has to be crammed into an already complex storyline.
JM4: True, do you sometimes feel I like you become the character?
EA: I've always felt an affinity and kinship with Harley. We have a lot in common in terms of personality, pathology, quirks and behaviours. There are differences, of course, but that sense of seeing myself in her has always been what draws me to her. So "become" the character - I don't know. I am my own person but I often feel like, within that, I am Harley, haha. There's no 'becoming' because she already exists within me. But there are times when I feel that more strongly than other times, or I let it show more brazenly than at other times.
JM4: Now earlier , you told me you hated the new design of Harley, can you tell me more of what you hate about the design?
EA: Mainly what I hate is how unimaginative and generic-looking it is. Harley's classic costume is absolutely unmistakable - she has one of the most recognisable silhouettes out there. That original design is really elegant, striking and beautiful - not to mention it translates to reality really easily.
This redesign has Harley looking like just another face in a crowd of try-hard wannabe-goth posers. It demonstrates none of her zany personality, her charming quirks or playful nature.
Another thing about Harley and her personal fashion aesthetic is that she's sexy and cute, but pretty conventional - peaches & cream skin, straw-blonde hair, big blue eyes - she likes to dress cute, comfortable and stylish. This redesign does not reflect that at all - she's not the sort of dame to mix her hair colour up like that. She's not ghost-white. She radiates all-American girl-next-door health and vitality. This redesign evokes none of that.
Finally, part of the charm and appeal of Harley's classic look is that, as a character, she's pretty deceiving. She looks all playful and fun, just a little mischief with no real harm intended - right until she crushes your skull in with her mallet. Personally, I find the cutesy bombshell who no one takes seriously - which is kinda her edge - until she snaps and starts blowing things up - to be a lot more intriguing and "dark" than someone who looks like they raided Hot Topic's clearance bin to rebel against Mommy and Daddy for not letting her go on that camping trip with her boyfriend.
Finally, it just doesn't stand out. It's like any other super-revealing, impractical, unimaginative female character costume that comics are saturated with. The best costumes are the ones you recognize instantly, that have iconic style. Harley's classic costume has that in spades.
Furthermore - it's just not practical. Come on. The first time she does a back-flip, you can kiss that PG-rating goodbye.
JM4: It's Like DC is giving their true fans a big middle finger
EA: Hahaha - it really is! I'm actually just perplexed. I understand that they want to shake things up, get some new readers, revitalise the canon - but the way they're going about it seems really out-of-touch and nonsensical.
JM4: Yeah I know, so Elise please tell more about your website
EA: Harley's Haven is the most comprehensive resource on Harley Quinn out there - and always has been. I started it in 1997 as a way of keeping track of information for myself. I live in Australia and back then, information and resources and such on Harley was really hard to come by - this was before DVD box set, youtube - before the same variety of merchandise could be accessed on ebay and forget about finding it in the shops. I'd missed heaps of backissues by the time I started reading comics as well and so the Haven was the result of me scouring the web for anything and everything I could find and compiling it. As my access to resources improved - partly through the website - my own knowledge increased and was able to make the Haven better. I always wanted it to be a 'one-stop shop' for people wanting to learn about Harley Quinn and I feel it has accomplished that - as many have told me!
JM4: This has been a real pleasure talking to you today
EA: Thanks very much - although just quickly, could you ask me about the Reunite JokerxHarley campaign? I want people to read about action that works!!!
JM4: Ok, tell me about the Reunite JokerxHarley campaign
EA: Basically, fans were pretty sick of having no JokerxHarley action in five years - except in elseworlds or other continuities. So in September 2010 I kicked off a letter writing campaign. The idea behind was really simple - that as many fans as possible write as many letters in as possible stating our desire to DC to see our favourite clowny couple back together once more!
It took a good few months but in recent issues of Gotham City Sirens we have seen their glorious reunion - and furthermore, had our letters acknowledged in the letters page of the comic, with the editor referencing the 'dozens' of letters DC offices had received about this matter and stating that they were giving us what we wanted!
So for people who think campaigning is a waste of time, that the only constructive action is boycott - I think this is a good example of how effective it can be! We kept things really positive and stressed again and again how much we loved the couple and that we wanted to keep buying comics, we didn't want to stop - so we didn't threaten to take money away from them, such as a boycott would be - we just emphasised what most motivates us to spend money! And DC listened.So, action CAN have results. Nertz to the doubters! ;)
JM4: What is the Harleypalooza protest about?
EA: Harleypalooza is a meetup of Harley Quinn cosplayers that began at SDCC last year. It was heaps of fun - Paul Dini even made an appearance - and we all had a jolly good time. So we decided to do it again this year.
Given the reboot, it also occured to us to make this a part-protest. At the close of the gathering, we'll wave a few silly banners, chant a few funny slogans an march on the convention centre.
Basically, we just want to call attention to the fact that we don't like the new design and don't want it to last. We're not taking it too seriously and we don't want it to be too heavy. We want to keep it playful and light-hearted - almost like street theater, a way of engaging other con attendees, entertaining them at the same time as voicing our opinions.
Fans feel so strongly about this that many fans who can not attend want photos of themselves carried by attendees so they can be there in spirit.
We'll be joining up with Laura Hornack's protest for a little bit of old-fashioned people power! Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. Pleasure talking to you!
JM4: Same to you Miss Archer.
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