DC asks artists to draw Harley Quinn … and controversy
A recent contest by DC has drawn the condemnation of no less than American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness. Man, that is, like, some high-level people getting irritated! My earlier post about an angry Rich Stevens? Absolutely pales in comparison.
Their comments capped off a week of growing criticism about the panel, which Harley Quinn co-writer Jimmy Palmiotti clarified on Tuesday is part of a surreal dream sequence intended to have “a Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach.”
“We believe that instead of making light of suicide, DC Comics could have used this opportunity to host a contest looking for artists to depict a hopeful message that there is help for those in crisis” the three groups said in a joint statement, published by USA Today and The Huffington Post. “This would have been a positive message to send, especially to young readers,” the statement continued. “On behalf of the tens of millions of people who have lost a loved one to suicide, this contest is extremely insensitive, and potentially dangerous. We know from research that graphic and sensational depictions of suicide can contribute to contagion.”
Which in turn caused DC Comics to release an apology.
EDIT: Ah, my reading comprehension is terrible today! The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness were not railing against Mr. Jackson’s panel (that was just an example of one of the entries, perhaps the tamest one) but against the contest itself, which is still ongoing.
Harley is on top of a building, holding a large DETACHED cellphone tower in her hands as lightning is striking just about everywhere except her tower. She is looking at us like she cannot believe what she is doing. Beside herself. Not happy.
Harley is sitting in an alligator pond, on a little island with a suit of raw chicken on, rolling her eyes like once again, she cannot believe where she has found herself. We see the alligators ignoring her.
Harley is sitting in an open whale mouth, tickling the inside of the whale’s mouth with a feather. She is ecstatic and happy, like this is the most fun ever.
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.
– See more at: http://www.dccomics.com/node/305151#sthash.13tn1bO4.dpuf
Jimmy Palmiotti addressed the controversy with the following statement:
I should have also mentioned we were thinking a Mad magazine/Looney Tunes approach was what we were looking for. We thought it was obvious with the whale and chicken suit, and so on, but learned it was not. I am sorry for those who took offense, our intentions were always to make this a fun and silly book that broke the 4th wall, and head into issue 1 with a ongoing story/adventure that is a lot like the past Powergirl series we did.
I’ve actually retooled this post pretty majorly due to my blunder (which originally implied that Philip M. Jackson had won the contest) (which I think he should, by the way).