Step right up, boys (and girls, if you insist), step right up and try your hand at depicting Harley Quinn naked in a bathtub with a variety of devices aimed to electrocute her. All those young people eager to break into comics and this is what DC Comics has to offer? They offer up a contest where the aspiring artist draws four panels that depict Harely Quinn in four suicide attempts, the last depicting her naked about to be electrocuted.
This is what DC Comics wants to align itself with? If it wants to come across as your typical corporation, insensitive to humans, it has succeeded. Of course, they can claim it is all in jest. But this tiresome “boys will be boys” mentality is pretty weird.
It’s not like Warner Bros. Entertainment doesn’t care what you think of it. They have an ongoing media blitz to bring attention to their donations to the Horn of Africa. It is called, “We Can Be Heroes.” Check it out here.
Is too much being made of the current contest at DC Comics where aspiring talent are asked to make a devil’s bargain? The concern is genuine and it’s growing. It has already caught the attention of the Huffington Post. You can read that here.
No doubt, there is a huge disconnect at DC Comics right now. Maybe, many years down the road, this contest will be seen as utterly ridiculous…by DC Comics. Maybe, many years down the road, the latest clash between DC Comics editors and talent will be seen as unfortunate…by DC Comics. The decision from DC Comics top brass to kill the story of Batwoman’s marriage to her girlfriend led to the co-writers on the Batwoman story, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, quitting. Read more about it in this excellent piece by Rob Bricken, at io9, here.
If you want the official DC Comics response to this contest, look no further than DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee who got all Twittery. Check that out here. He claims that the writers of the contest script, longtime DC Comics employees, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, were just poking fun at themselves. Sadly, that makes no sense.
But people, here and now, understand that something is wrong and are not afraid to voice their opinion. There are exceptional voices of dissent, like the always eloquent Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress. Read her piece here. Or check out this awesome piece by Aja Romano, at The Daily Dot, here.
So, here’s the thing, I’m smart enough to not go completely Wertham Comics Code bonkers about this. You have to imagine that the boys at DC Comics want to stir things up. But the “boys will be boys” method is just so creepy and should off itself.
So, DC Comics, can we be heroes?