Harely Quinn is an important series in part because it’s so different from the main DC books. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, has a huge cast of characters you’ll only see in this book, and captures the innocent yet reckless nature of Harley in a variety of ways. When given the opportunity to discuss the series with longtime writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner at San Diego Comic Con ’17 — we jumped at the chance. Check out our interview below where they talk future story arcs, why Harley isn’t in DC’s Dark Matter series, and more!
AiPT!: How is the convention going for you guys?
Amanda Conner: Oh fantastic. Really well. Last year was like…
Jimmy Palmiotti: Exhausting. Nah, I’m kidding.
Conner: I’m actually having a great time. Because this year is the first year in about 10 years that I’ve been able to walk the floor and just explore. So I’m having fun.
AiPT!: 10 years, it must have been a lot different back then.
Conner: It was. Way different.
Palmiotti: It’s been good.
Palmiotti and Conner at the same time: No complaints!
AiPT!: So the last time we spoke we talked about how excited you were to be working with Simon Bisley on Little Black Book
AiPT!: I reviewed it, I liked it a lot, I liked how you guys used the flags. [See below]
Conner: [laughing] We really had to man.
Palmiotti: He just drew it all out.
AiPT!: Did you write it that way?
Palmiotti: No! He just…
Conner: Simon does what Simon wants.
Palmiotti: Yeah, you kinda roll with it, you’re just happy to get the pages. You’ll see it and go, “Alrighty, Lobo’s shlong is out and Harley’s topless, okay we can put word balloons over that.” But then there was some we couldn’t see, so we had her [Amanda] draw little flags over that to save the day.
Note the flags Conner added.
AiPT!: It must make it more exciting to get the pages I’m sure.
Palmiotti: Oh yeah.
AiPT!: Are there any other artists you’re looking forward to working with or would like to work with?
Palmiotti: I’d like to work with Amanda Conner a little more.
Conner: I know.
Palmiotti: She’s really hard to get. There are so many people we love. I’m a comic art fan so I have a list that goes on forever. I’d love to get Manara. Milo Manara to do Harley Quinn.
Conner: Oh yeah.
Palmiotti: Jordi Bernet would be great. We got Michael Kaluta to do the dream sequence, I was so happy to get that. Honestly, it always comes down to scheduling. Sometimes we go after people and then they don’t have time and we’ll write them a two-page dream sequence, ‘Can you do that?’ And they’re like, “Sure! Why not.” Risso I’d love to get. Ryan Sook, I could just keep naming them man.
AiPT!: Do you know all these people well enough where you could just call them?
Palmiotti: Yeah I know them, but I don’t want to bother them. When we did the Zero book and we had all those different artists, that was me walking around the room going, “You wanna do a page?”
Conner: That was exactly four years ago, it was San Diego [Comic-Con]. Jimmy woke up, the Friday morning, and he’s like, “I had this dream that we put the first Harley book out and it was a whole bunch of different artists.” And I said, “Let’s ask Dan [DiDio] to do that. And he goes, “If you can get them to do it, then you can do it.” And Jimmy just…
Palmiotti: And I walked around with a checklist and I asked if they could join in. Darwyn Cooke, “Can you do a page?” “Yes.” I gave it to Dan and he said, “Alright you got the Zero book.”
AiPT!: It’s all about networking.
Palmiotti: Yeah it is. Well, life is about networking. You can go into a sandwich shop every day and get the same sandwich, but if you talk to the guys and they get to like you they’ll eventually throw a little extra meat on your sandwich. Or they’ll spit on it. Depends on if they like you or not.
AiPT!: It seems like everything at SDCC 2017 is about Metal and Dark Matter. Is Harley going to be involved in Dark Matter at all?
Palmiotti: Well we have a character called Metal in Harley and-no I’m kidding. I like to do that with Scott [Snyder] sitting there so he loses it.
Conner: You did that to him once. And he was like, “Ahhhh” and we were like, “Kidding, kidding!”
Palmiotti: You know man, Harley is hardcore metal. That’s all I’m going to say. She doesn’t have the problems Batman has about doing the right thing. Harley just does what she wants. Then later on she’ll revisit what she did and realize, “No, really that was the right thing.” Meanwhile there’s bodies everywhere.
AiPT!: Does your book have Metal going on in the background at all?
Palmiotti: No actually, I think we’re the only book that Metal doesn’t mess with. We have this flow going right now.
AiPT!: What can we expect in the next story arc?
Palmiotti: So, during the actual New York Mayoral race, which starts in September and ends in November — Harley is actually going to be running for Mayor of New York while that’s going on.
AiPT!: That’s fun.
Palmiotti: And when the election is over, that week or the week after, you’ll get the issue of Harley and find out if she won or not. We have her running with Ivy by her side, we have the Penguin and Scarecrow coming up and not a lot of DCU characters are crazy about her running for mayor. Some people are crazy about her and we get to see what would happen to somebody like Harley Quinn in politics. Which is not a big stretch these days.
AiPT!: Yeah there’s a lot of clowns in office these days.
Palmiotti: There you go. That’s your quote. I like that.
AiPT!: Do you guys see yourself writing Harley Quinn forever?
Conner: For the foreseeable future yeah.
Conner: It feels like it since we’re doing two books at once.
Palmiotti: It’s like anything. If you start sucking then they get rid of you. We hope we can last a while.
Conner: We’re just trying to do the two books a month and keep up with quality on it.
AiPT!: And you’re trying to keep the momentum going too right?
Palmiotti: Yeah, for us, we don’t want it to feel like another Harley issue. We want it to feel like …
Conner: It’s something different.
Palmiotti: Yes, we want you to get that. To do that until they kick us off.
AiPT!: I can’t imagine what it’s like to write a bi-weekly book.
Conner: It’s kicking our asses.
Palmiotti: It’s brutal. Our poor artists, that’s why we have PauL Dini doing the backups, it’s a way to give the artists a little room to breathe.
Check out our reviews of Jimmy and Amanda’s stellar work on Harley Quinn.