Joker

Favorite TV Finales

Favorite TV Finales
Screen Heroes

 
 
00:00 / 72:51
 
1X
 

There is so much news to cover this week before our main topic, Favorite TV Series Finales! We discuss the Alec Baldwin Joker casting, NickSplat, Disney Play, and so much more! Then it’s off to our Top 5 Favorite TV Finales off all-time!

What are your favorite TV Finales? Did we miss one of yours? Is your list like one of ours? We want to know!

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunesBlog Talk RadioSpreakerGoogle Play, and Feedburner are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Prefer to watch the episode? Catch the Twitch broadcast right here:

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Spreaker
https://www.spreaker.com/show/screen-heroes

Google Play
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

RSS Feed
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

Favorite TV Finales

What Should They Adapt Next?

We take a break from movie reviews to talk about the pieces of work, franchises, and fandoms we want to see adapted into films! Each of us bring 5 properties to the table. These could be novels, comic books, video games, or any other medium that isn’t already a movie. And of course, we have your latest movie and TV news including the logos for the next three DCEU films, Aquaman, Shazam, and Wonder Woman 2 which we now knows is going to take place in 1984. Then we discuss the latest from the new Addams Family animated feature! Plus, Jared Leto is set to play the Joker in a standalone film… even though the Martin Scorsese and Joaquin Phoenix is still apparently in development. Finally, Avengers 4 concept art details!

What did you think of our properties we want to see adapted to film? Anything you really want to see on the big screen? We want to know!

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunesBlog Talk RadioSpreakerGoogle Play, and Feedburner are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Prefer to watch the episode? Catch the Twitch broadcast right here:

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Spreaker
https://www.spreaker.com/show/screen-heroes

Google Play
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

RSS Feed
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

What Should They Adapt Next?

SH S4E18: Ranking the Batman at KCCC

Catch our live Kansas City Comic Con panel where we rank the live action Batman movies, all nine of them, with a live audience! Our first KCCC panel breaks down each Batman movie from Adam West’s 1966 classic through Michael Keaton’s revival and beyond the Nolan trilogy!

Listen in and then let us know what you think of our ranking!

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Don’t forget to check out our Patreon for a look at our first ever movie scene parody! We filmed a parody of a classic Pulp Fiction scene! Don’t miss it. It’s available to the public right now but become a Patron today so you can get behind the scenes content and early access to this month’s video when it comes out!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Prefer to watch the show? Catch our broadcast below and subscribe to our YouChannel!

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

SH S4E18: Ranking the Batman at KCCC

Costume Couture: Harley Quinn Spotlight

Harley Quinn has quickly become one of the most recognizable and iconic DC Comics characters even though she’s only been around since 1992. As a character who debuted in Batman: The Animated Series, she’s had to overcome her non-comic book origin but has done so with flying colors… at least, black, red, and white.

This week, we discuss many of her different looks over the years from her original debut, her Margot Robbie Suicide Squad version, Injustice video games, and more. Then we talk about some of our favorite Harley Quinn cosplayers like Jessica Nigri, Triple Diamond Entertainment, Thousand Faces Cosplay, just to name a few.

Hosted by
Rae of SirynRae Cosplay
Ian of Haus of Turner Cosplay

Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and give these videos a thumbs-up and turn on notifications so you never miss an episode!

Are you a cosplayer? Do you want a spotlight on Costume Couture? Don’t forget to submit a Cosplayer of the Week form found right here!

Costume Couture: Harley Quinn Spotlight

Costume Couture: DC Bombshells

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the fabulous DC Bombshells by Ant Lucia in the last 6 years.  What started as a couple pin up pictures has grown into an entire franchise of its own. Statues, calendars, playing cards, and more; this series can be found everywhere.  Even better, it’s been embraced by cosplayers, creating unique outlets for Ant Lucia’s work. Which ones are your favorites? Have you cosplayed a Bombshell before?

Wanna know our favorites? Check out this week’s Costume Couture!

Hosted by

Rae of SirynRae Cosplay
Ian of Haus of Turner Cosplay

Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and give these videos a thumbs-up!

Are you a cosplayer? Do you want a spotlight on Costume Couture? Don’t forget to submit a Cosplayer of the Week form found right here!

Costume Couture: DC Bombshells

Rebirth Harley Quinn: The Joker’s Call Review

Allow me to start by making a statement of opinion: I am not a fan of The New 52 Harley Quinn writing team or the work they have done on the series. The review you are reading is a reflection of that opinion, and I understand that there are readers who appreciate this series. I do not wish to put off that audience. While sales suggest this audience is turning away from the series, the readership was strong and committed to the point that. Unlike almost every other DC title, the creative leads on the series were not changed over or stories reset by the Rebirth event. This was a disappointment to me, but there have been suggestions of a shift in story that might occur.

Please be aware that from this point on there will be spoilers for some of the Harley Quinn series, specifically the more recent issues with the return of the Joker. You have been warned.

7nDzz5F

I have not read the complete series of The New 52, now Rebirth, the Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti Harley Quinn, but not for lack of trying. I find their stories inconsequential and shallow, and feel that the character they are working with now, that their continued storytelling has created, has little similarity to the 25-year-old character that shares it’s name. However, this is not to say that Harley Quinn cannot survive on her own without The Joker, a choice that much of these stories works with, or that she cannot hold her own in a title of her own. Her early 2000s series and Gotham City Sirens both demonstrate otherwise. Any reader, fan base included, who claims that stories involving this character needn’t or shouldn’t have depth are simply incorrect. Characters change and evolve, but this character isn’t only dissimilar to what she had been but has been stripped of what one would consider character. Removing her of larger, more worthwhile conflict has created mostly a vehicle for jokes and innuendo that is great for selling products and looking good on covers. Outside of character issues, I find the writing in itself difficult to follow. I won’t make sweeping statements; most of these critiques are reflected in the recent issues that I want to comment on. All of this said, let’s focus on the most recent issues of the series that offer a carrot to fans of the origins of the character and a possible relationship with Joker. I tune-in and read the series when there is a story being told that interests me. Recently, the series has courted fans who want to see Harley in a more consistent relationship that reflects her history, grounding her in her roots between Joker and Poison Ivy that were cemented in Batman: The Animated Series. A few panels went viral and created discussion and debate when Harley seemed to finally answer the will they/won’t they with Joker.

bite

He attacks her, forcing himself on her, and she bites his lip, leaving him bleeding on the floor and stating she will never follow his demands again. Many fans liked this, as it demonstrated her ability to overcome abuse and gave her growth beyond being a subsidiary character to Joker. Issues followed in which Harley and Ivy are shown solidifying their relationship, with Harley asking to become something consistent. This story was done over several issues, and the answer from Ivy delayed by a story of their vacation adventures. Finally, she states that she can’t commit, because of her responsibility to plants. Really.

Ivy

While I understand the concept that Ivy’s mission is more important than her relationship with Harley, there are no stakes that dictate the need for a choice. There is nothing pressing that keeps Ivy from spending her time with Harley and nothing that kept her from taking a vacation and participating in adventures with Harley any more than she would be creating adventures individually.

At that juncture, I tuned off again. However, it didn’t take the creative team long to create a new relationship option, one that interested me within the confines of this canon: Joker wants her back.

Issue #9 shows Harley returning to the roller derby and once more fighting someone who beat her in an early comic, Bertha. Someone in the audience kills Bertha when she is close to murdering Harley, saving her. The rest of the comic is essentially padding with multiple dream sequences that are cute but have little importance. Yes, we know Harley is weighed by her past with Joker. Yes, we know Harley likely remembers her affection for Ivy sweetly. Outside of reminding us of that, these sequences do little. There is also a small subplot in which Harley buys some pizza, stops a robber, and gets free pizza for life, giving some to a homeless man. These sorts of stories are common in this series, attempts to show Harley as compassionate and human in extremely hammy ways that otherwise aren’t important to the plot. The disjointed subplots and dream segments make for stories that are difficult to follow. These minor plots, attempted to actually convey some form of character, are often more limited in page count than fluff, making them difficult to take with weight. The comic ends with Joker being in Harley’s apartment when she gets home.

w8zfNFr

Issue #10 is a holiday comic. Issue #11 starts with a terse discussion between Harley and Joker where he asks her to meet him the next day in public to show he is a changed man. It then reacquaints readers with Red Tool, a parody character intended as a stand-in to answer the fan question, “what would a relationship between Harley and Deadpool be like?” The answer is “uninteresting.” Deadpool may be intentionally grating and verbose, but this character shares none of that wisecracking brevity or fun. Red Tool is essentially a guy in a suit similar to Deadpool who seeks to protect Harley because of an attraction to her. His dialogue is wordy, yes, but it isn’t written to be fun or clever. It’s lengthy because they haven’t resolved how to show story instead of tell story, an issue I have always had with these comics. That isn’t to say the dialogue reads like exposition drop. Between the accents they awkwardly write into each character and the choices made in speech layout.  It can be difficult to follow what is being said between forced catchphrases and supposed colloquial language. Red Tool makes Joker leave and Harley intends to meet him later. The pair return to an earlier unfinished plot of a door on the carnival lot that is locked. They break the door with grenades and find a monster inside. Similarly, this story is short, depicting it as insignificant, despite there being lots of questions about a huge goo monster. Escaping it, Harley returns home exhausted and sets her clock to meet Joker. Instead, Red Tool meets him.

Issue #12 has Harley sleeping through the meeting because Red Tool changed her alarm, and the two men exchange words. Joker tells him he will not fight. Red Tool then beats him. Harley is woken by the noon bells and realizes her alarm was changed. She hurries to find Red Tool beating Joker, telling him to stop and that, because of the altercation and change of her clock, she will not speak to him for a month. She takes Joker home and ties him to a chair, blindfolding him and taking him into the city. Joker demonstrates he does not intend to harm her. His dialogue is somewhat unusual, little of it seeming like it is coming from the character. He rarely smiles or makes a joke. This can be attributed to his hope to show himself as a “changed person,” but to me, personally, it simply feels out of place. Harley leaves him in the middle of the road with a sign that says “Brooklyn Sucks.” He is beaten and run over by several drivers. While the comic is billed as a conflict between Red Tool and Joker, it really isn’t. Joker takes the beating and Red Tool is shown as a bully. While Joker isn’t depicted as a victim, really, he is more of a mannequin; the reader doesn’t feel bad for him or validated for Harley’s choice to have him harmed. The actions he takes, or lack of, seem so lifeless that it comes across as totally inconsequential, something that has always been the main issue with the series.

In all, the attempt to draw in fans of Harley and Joker as well as fans of Harley who don’t want her to return to Joker is unsatisfying for either. Joker does little, Harley doesn’t make a choice, and the most significant encounter is Red Tool’s leaving the story for what will likely be the duration of this arc, something fans of Red Tool will be frustrated by. The choice to show Joker as less aggressive towards Harley is presumably a response to the reception of Joker as a more compassionate character in Suicide Squad. With the abuse removed from the final film, fans can subscribe to their relationship with limited backlash and DC can sell more merchandise that references their partnership. That said, one of the biggest criticisms of the merchandise is also one of the strangest parts of this story up to issue 11: Mad Love.

reference

“Mad Love” is the story that summarizes the pair’s union and depicts their backstory that every version since has worked around, up until The New 52. And this issue of Harley Quinn either redraws and re-contextualizes or flat-out blatantly reuses panels or concepts originally presented in Mad Love. These panels are some of the most interesting and engaging pages of these issues, and that’s the problem, because these stories didn’t exist in this canon until now. Harley in her nightie with bleached skin doesn’t seem unusual, but it depicts a version of this character, and her relationship, that carries more depth and subtlety than this series has offered. Not only do these panels serve only as a reminder of what both was and what this series struggles to be, many of them are improbable or impossible in the canon of this series. This is not only a problem in writing, but serves to demonstrate what fans want against what they choose to give us. These panels serve to do little more than to bait readers with a strong reaction to the original stories, with either affection or disdain. If references to other stories, stories that the series has mostly ignored or worked around in unsubtle ways, is the most appealing part of your current series, that series has, no pun intended, issues.

While this arc will likely see Joker warming in Harley’s opinion, the handling of this concept over the current series seems more like a choose your own adventure but not for the reader, rather for the staff. The series will be predicted by responses, each issue ending without resolution and being drawn out similar to the story of Harley and Ivy. At best, they will make a choice that will violate the trust of a group of readers. At worst, there will be little movement in the story, something this series has struggled with for years, and while no one will be entirely put off, no one will be served, either. In other words: please tell us a story.

Rebirth Harley Quinn: The Joker’s Call Review

SH S2E21: Ranking the Batman Villains

We return to the DC Comics world of Batman to rank his Top 20 villains including the big names like The Penguin and Catwoman plus some less-iconic characters including Phantasm and Killer Croc. In Episode 47 of the Heroes Podcast Network flagship series, we are joined by special guest and our #1 Patreon contributor, Jordan Seper! This was also his suggested topic, just another perk of being a Patreon contributor. Want to see what other cool stuff you can get? Head over to patreon.com\heroespodcasts to check out the perks.

Don’t forget that we have re-branded! The Grid Daily is now the Heroes Podcast Network and we have new homes across the Interwebs. So check out the updated links below and make sure you follow our brand new Twitch Channel at twitch.tv\heroespodcasts.

Facebook.com\HeroesPodcasts

Twitter.com\HeroesPodcasts

Instagram.com\HeroesPodcasts

Patreon.com\HeroesPodcasts

Twitch.tv\HeroesPodcasts

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv\heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com\HeroesPodcasts

Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Jordan Seper

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://griddaily.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts
Facebook Page

SH S2E21: Ranking the Batman Villains

Psycho Killers and the Women Who Love Them: Harley Quinn, Abuse, and Cosplay Pt 2

You can find Part 1 of this series here.

In last week’s installment, we discussed Harley Quinn’s history, and her deep connection with abuse. This week, we speak to cosplayers about their connections to the character. Trigger warning: this article discusses abuse specifically.

“I do have a history with an abusive boyfriend,” cosplayer Misses J Quinn told us. “I feel very connected to Harley because of this. It is not a healthy relationship. I think no one deserves to experience an abusive relationship.” She wasn’t alone.

Cosplayer Zoe Anderson said, “It goes all the way back to living at home and watching my parents do the same thing that I would see repeated. You might say I had become desensitized or, perhaps even blind to what was considered abuse. I’d let my boyfriend smack me around, blame things on me, cheat on me, and more.” Her understanding of the connection between her and the character wasn’t obvious to her. “As I saw glimpses of her past home life and then looking in at my personal relationships I could definitely see it. The more I looked at it, the more the two seemed to blend together, and I was desperate for a way to express this.” For Anderson, that expression was cosplay. “Cosplay has definitely given me a way to healthily express myself. It is something that helps my mental well-being and it does make me feel pretty damn good all around. All you get is compliments.”

This sentiment was echoed by several cosplayers, including Becca Payne, who told us, “Cosplaying makes me feel like who I am on the inside and to me, that is healthy.” Savannah Kelly said, “I think that cosplay should be judgment free and should include everyone who is willing to put the effort into cosplaying.”

Becka Taka Cosplay tells us cosplay was important to her ability to manage her depression, and Harley Quinn was a part of it. “I was months into the worst depressive period of my life. There was a cosplay function being held in the area on my birthday and I forced myself to attend. I ran around as a princess, then later (a few drinks later) changed into a cute Harley themed dress, complete with mismatched shoes, mask and poofy pigtailed wig. I think my extreme love for her was born then. I mean how can you NOT have a good time dressed as her?”

i9

Taka’s story echo’s many of the elements of the 1994 Mad Love story. “I immediately felt a connection, like the world stopped for a moment when I met him. He was more than a little shy but we could talk for hours. He was damaged. He had led a hard life and it was like I came into his for a reason. Like the idiot empath I am, I felt his pain. I wanted to heal him. I foolishly thought ‘He just needs someone to love him.’ I honestly thought I was that person. The rest was a whirlwind of passion, late nights talking, him needing me, me needing to be needed… It has been said that when you look at the world(or a lover) with rose tinted glasses, that all the red flags look like just… flags. Nothing, could be closer to the truth. I was warned by friends. I was begged to stop what I was doing. But I was under his spell and it was a powerful one at that.”

I6
“The day we signed the lease, was almost exactly the day he changed into a monster. You see, he had gotten exactly what he wanted. He lived in a shitty room, in a shitty part of town and wanted nothing more than to get out. I was also desperate for a place to live and either intentionally, or not, I was made into his victim.”

I7

What followed was also similar to Harleen’s story, one of first mental and emotional control that became abuse, and then abuse that became physical. “I absolutely feel a connection to Harley because of my past. Here you have a character who is at the pinnacle of her career, beautiful, athletic(she was a gymnast) and getting the opportunity to study one of Gotham’s most notorious criminals at the Arkham Asylum. Before I met the man that brought my life to a screeching halt, I was confident, at a healthy weight, and planning a career in either Vegas or Atlanta. After he got in my head, I was driven to near madness. I completely lost sight of the well adjusted person I once was before I met my abuser, yet much like Harley, kept coming back again and again for more abuse.”

While disturbing, Taka’s history is not unusual. Of the cosplayers we interviewed, 90% said that they had some history of abuse, be it physical, emotional, or mental. Our interviews were 80% female, 20% male. These numbers have little to do with cosplay, and instead mirror national statistics. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, approximately 7 million women in the U.S. are assaulted or raped by a current or former partner each year. Love is Respect reports 43% of dating college women and 28% of men reported experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors in a relationship.

“I was a stupid teenager that fell in love for dumb reasons and let myself get caught up in that relationship because it was there and I’ve always had self-confidence issues when it comes to feeling wanted and loved,” said Crazy Clover Cosplay. “I’ll admit that I have felt a closer connection to Harley after going through what I did, though my past relationships could never hold a candle to what many others have gone through in their lives. It isn’t even close to Harley and the Joker.” So, is fiction, and by extension playing out your favorite fictional character, a danger or catharsis?

i10

The idea that abuse survivors could find familiarity and strength in a character like Harley Quinn is not new, and it is often the opposing response to criticism of the popularity of the character and her portrayal. Harley Quinnsane, a cosplayer and roller derby girl, says, “She brought me into the cosplaying world. She helped me find an identifier.” Shauna Lynn, the youngest of our interviews, would probably be placed in the demographic that romanticized merchandise is geared to. She said, “The main thing that appealed to me is that Harley Quinn is such a sweet girl who is over her head over someone who abuses her. I feel like I can relate to her because all people ever want is to be loved and I feel that Harley learns she needs to be strong for herself.”

i11

The fall of Harleen Quinzel into Harley Quinn may seem familiar to some victims. “I adore both Harley and Joker purely for the fact I feel they are the way real love is portrayed. And no I don’t mean with the physical abuse or even the mental, I mean in the sense that you take this innocent woman, a woman who was going to accomplish good things until she fell in love,” said Becca Payne. “You have all these fairy-tales and stories that push the fact that true love conquers all, that it’s the most amazing and great feeling in the world and once you have it, you have it forever. Their love isn’t the type of love you grew up reading about, they didn’t push the fact that love is your happy ending.”

i21

The debate between fictional violence creating real violence has been going on forever, and we aren’t about to start digging into that. We also aren’t going to get into a discussion about whether or not the Joker genuinely loves Harley; it’s an entire conversation to itself and has been handled with plenty of panels and screenshots before. What can be said is that domestic violence in fiction has been said to provide understanding about domestic abuse in everyday life.

Crazy Clover Cosplay tells us, “it gives us a look into a world that we might not ever know, but I believe that by appreciating stories that involve these kinds of things and growing to love the characters in them, we can learn greater compassion and love and appreciation for those in the real world that have experienced these things.”

Becky Taka Cosplay believes it can provide a way for others to understand abuse in relationships. “While sometimes it seems that the Joker actually cares for Harley, a true sociopath is not able to express empathy, and that fact is unfortunately very frightening because it is very real. Even if someone hasn’t experienced an abusive relationship firsthand, maybe reading or watching the situations that arise between the two characters, could serve to help raise awareness of those issues.” These characters may be garish and do ridiculous, completely unreal things; they literally dress like clowns. However, that doesn’t mean that their relationship can’t feel real, and their actions don’t mirror real life violence on a human level.

i12

Next week, we continue our three part series on cosplay and fictional abuse. Stay tuned.

Psycho Killers and the Women Who Love Them: Harley Quinn, Abuse, and Cosplay Pt 2

Why Gotham’s Latest Twist Ending Was a Good Move

Fox’s relatively new Batman-themed show, Gotham, has certainly taken its viewers on some wild rides during its first season. Robin Lord Taylor’s performance as Penguin astonished viewers with his extremely dark but compelling take on the classic villain. Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) evolution from starting as a detective to beginning his quest to save the city of Gotham has been twisting and turning. Seeing the rise of the Dark Knight during his formative teenage years as young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), overseen by his ever faithful butler Alfred (Sean Pertwee), has provided viewers with insight into why Batman will eventually become a reality. One other aspect that Gotham has been fond of is teasing its viewers with cameos of Batman villains-in-the-making. From the reoccurring Cat/Selina Kyle/Not-Yet-Catwoman to the guest appearances of villains such as Scarecrow and a Bane-prototype, part of Gotham’s charm has been in showing how these iconic villains are coming into being. These villains don’t just decide to start a life of crime. They are a product of their reality and Gotham has done good in showing how all that will eventually come to be. However, there was one guest appearance that was less well received than others and if you have seen the first season, you probably know who I am talking about.

———————–Spoilers will follow——————————

I am, of course, referring to the Joker. While he is never explicitly referred to as the Joker, it is made quite clear that psychotic Jerome Valeska, portrayed rather well by Cameron Monaghan, is supposed to be the most iconic villain of all time and during his Season 1 appearance, it is safe to say that his reception was less than stellar. While Monaghan offered a new take on the Clown Prince of Crime, it simply didn’t work, I think, as well as the producers wished. Giving the Joker a lackluster backstory was their biggest problem. Instead of leaving the Joker’s backstory unknown as was done in the Dark Knight or giving him an enigmatic and cerebral reason for being as he is as was done in Alan Moore’s graphic novel, The Killing Joke, Gotham instead decided to make the Joker the abused son of circus performers. Not only is this backstory simply not that compelling, it seemed a bit insulting to make the Clown Prince an actual clown. The redeeming quality of this appearance truly did lie with Cameron Monaghan’s excellent performance in making the teenage Jerome/Joker come to life. He really did feel as pointlessly and deliciously insane as all Joker fans have come to know him. gotham_90137

However, this all changed in Season 2. Not only was Jerome’s role expanded, Monaghan was allowed to bring so much more to the role while not having to heavily reference the backstory established in Season 1. Episode 1 of Season 2 reintroduced Jerome as currently locked up in Arkham Asylum, serving his time for being behind the murder of his mother and her lover as was resolved in his Season 1 appearance. Jerome is eventually broken out by Theo Galavan, a villain whose true purpose hasn’t yet been revealed. Episode 2 of this season made good use of Monaghan’s acting talent in such scenes where he forces another villain into submission through a game of Russian Roulette and where Jerome so playfully and psychotically leads in the murder of many of Gotham’s police department. Episode 3, however, took a brilliant twist. Jerome’s sponsor, Theo Galavan, in his bid to gain a following among the citizens of Gotham, has Jerome terrorize a fundraiser at a children’s hospital and then kills Jerome to end the terror and name himself a hero. The audience had every reason to suspect that Jerome would be a reoccurring character for all of this season, if not the rest of the show, but this twist ended his Gotham tenure prematurely and brilliantly. Not only did it accelerate the arc of this season by moving forward with Theo’s as-yet-unknown plans, it gave Jerome’s character a proper ending. The Joker has always been about chaos and thus, Jerome’s death needed to be just as chaotic and out of the blue, which it succeeded. This also would avoid Jerome becoming an overused character whose quirks and insanity, done well by Monaghan, I will say, may work for some time, but it would be unavoidable that Jerome would have become annoying. By killing him off this early, Gotham’s writers have succeeded in two things, preserving the integrity of the character as well as moving the season’s story arc much further along, although we don’t know the ramifications of such yet.
knock-knock-jerome-gambles
Another interesting thing they did with Jerome’s death is how apparently the Joker has become an infectious entity. This episode ends with citizens seeing footage of Jerome’s actions and they begin using the infamous Joker laugh. One such group even kills a homeless man for no reason. This implies that the Joker is not just limited to one person. The Joker is the chaos inside of everyone, wanting to break free. As Gotham’s executive producer, Danny Cannon, said in regards to this episode: “I think the Joker isn’t so much a single person as he is an ideology. [He’s] an idea that we can all live without fear and we can all be free and we can all not live within the world’s restrictions and not live within the rules at all. This guy walks between the lines and I think that’s an ideology. It’s not a single person. It’s a way to live your life, and I think that’s what we explore.”

———————Spoilers End————————–

As for me, this episode, and specifically this twist, has me hooked onto Gotham all over again. I look forward to seeing how this season will unfold.

What did you think of the Joker twist? Are you caught up on Gotham? Comment below with your thoughts.

Why Gotham’s Latest Twist Ending Was a Good Move

The Evolution of Harley Quinn

Hello everyone and happy birthday to the clown princess of crime herself, Harley Quinn! Yes, in honor of Harley’s first debut in Batman: The Animated Series I am going to be doing a look back and review some of her most iconic looks through various animated TV appearances, comics, video games, and live action media. Now obviously I can’t hit on all of these looks so I will just be touching on those that are the major ones throughout the years. So sit back and rev up your Harley’s because here we go!

Harley Quinn Animated Incarnations

Well we first can’t talk about Harley Quinn without first seeing her before The Joker twisted her mind and made her into the lovable clown we all know. We first get to see Harley Quinn as Dr. Harleen Quinzel of Arkham Asylum. Here she has a simple white lab coat, her blonde hair in a bun, thick black rimmed glasses, and a red shirt and black tie. (Classic Harley colors) A simple doctors outfit but still keeping to the color scheme of what the classic Harley look would be with the red and black colors. Very simple and classy.

Dr. Harleen Quinzel - Harley Quinn

Now of course after The Joker twists her mind she ditches the doctors garb along with her real name and takes on the new name of Harley Quinn along with an appropriate matching outfit. This outfit harkens back to the renaissance days with a court jester feel with diamond patters all over the costume. This costume is the classic red and black jester outfit that artist Bruce Timm created in 1992 and that most if not all of the Harley fans have come to know and love. It has the red and black alternating colors along with the white collar and wrist cuffs, red and black gloves, a simple black domino mask, white clown makeup with black lipstick, and red and black diamonds placed on her legs and arms. Her red and black jester hood is accented with two white balls on the ends of them, and one red shoe and one black shoe to alternate. This is what many fans refer to as “the classic look.” This is also one of the most cosplayed and beloved versions of the character out there. This is how many fans were introduced to this now very popular DC character. To me this just screams Harley Quinn…not booty shorts, stockings, a corse,t and mini cape… (I’m looking at you New 52!) She kept that classic look for most of her animated appearances in the original Batman series, Justice League cartoons, and various cartoon spinoffs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Harley Quinn

Now jump ahead to the mid 2000’s and we have a new Batman animated series. With all new character designs and look to the series it was natural for Harley to get a new look to fit the tone and look of this new animated series. Season 4 introduced us to the new Harley Quinn. This marked the first time in an animated series that Harley looked and sounded different. Her outfit kept the red and black color scheme but drastically altered the head piece, mask, and body suit. Her jester hood was now much larger and seemed to swoop back and then come out to the sides. Also attached were one red ball and one black on corresponding ends. Her mask also concealed her eyes fully so we couldn’t see her blue eyes anymore, just big white circles and had a thin black rim around the mask. Her white collar was lengthened so it would droop down to her chest, and taken from three points to just two. Also noticeable were the lack of diamonds anywhere on her body and finger-less gloves. Her form was slimmed down a lot and the suit seemed to be one big piece, instead of several pieces like before. For a reboot of the character I actually enjoyed this look. It was the first time anyone had seen a different animated Harley and fans reacted strongly with positive praise for the design. Sadly the show only lasted one more season after they introduced her so we didn’t get to see all that much of Harley after that. But what we did get to see I liked.

Harley Quinn Jester

 

Jump ahead four more years and we have yet another Batman animated series titled Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Harley Quinn only appeared once in this series towards the end of its run with a drastic change to her appearance. She became black and white! Her design for this series harkened back to the silent film days with her not being in color and wearing a black flapper dress and pearls. Honestly my least favorite look of hers in any of the animated series. Not too sure what the creative team were doing for this look but it just didn’t hit any of the classic Harley looks or feels to me. But since it was such a drastic change I thought i’d at least give it a small mention.

Harley Quinn - Brave and the Bold

Her most recent animated appearance would be in the 2014 animated feature Batman: Assault on Arkham. A movie tie-in to the Arkham game franchise. Here Harley has her black and red jester outfit yet again but this time she bares a mid drift (like most of her outfits in the Arkham games). She has one black arm sleeve, combat boots, and instead of a white collar it’s in all black along with the two white balls on her jester cap changed to black as well. This outfit is a mix between her classic and the Arkhamverse outfits. I can see why they didn’t go with the full classic look as it wouldn’t have fit in the universe and would have looked off. This also proves that you can still retain a good portion of Harley’s original look and have her be in the Suicide Squad and not look like a slutted up clown. (Can ya tell which outfit I hate the most yet?)

Harley Quinn - Assault on Arkham

 

Harley Quinn Video Game Incarnations

Harley has appeared in many Batman and DC video games. Most of them consisted of her in her classic look or a look from a different animated series. That is until the 2009 game Batman: Arkham Asylum. This was the first time fans have seen a design of Harley Quinn that was this drastic and a complete 180 of what she normally looks like. I am of course talking about her nurses outfit! In this game Harley wears nurses attire while helping The Joker take over Arkham and make Batman’s night a living hell. In this any hint of her jesters outfit or original look are out the window. She has free flowing blonde pigtails, a purple domino mask, a nurses hat, a white nurses shirt with an exposed red and purple bra, a corset that is cinched down tight to show off her figure, a red and purple color scheme instead of red and black, a white mini skirt that is stained with blood, fishnets, and knee high red and purple boots. This was the first time we ever saw Harley in any thing like this, and for fans of the classic look this came to a complete shock to us. Even with the original voice actress Arleen Sorkin coming back to voice her, this didn’t seem like Harley at all. However this outfit grew on me and I came to realize that perhaps its one of her main themed outfits, as in, her and The Joker pull off many crimes and some have themes so she would dress of the part. So thats how I see this as she is dressing for the part of the asylum nurse.

Harley Quinn - Arkham Asylum

 

2011 marked the release to the sequel to Arkham Asylum titled Batman: Arkham City.

In this game Harley’s red and black look are back but fully reimagined and revamped in the form of a leather ensemble. Her blonde hair is now dipped with red and black tips, she looses the domino mask in favor of heavy dark smokey eyes, bright red lips, red and black arm sleeves, her bra shows again behind a red and black sleeveless shirt, silver and black wrist bands with studs, fingerless gloves with a diamond design, tattoos on her left arm and right hip, the same corset from the first game just red and black now, red and black leather pants with diamonds on them and the same boots as well from the first game but just changed to fir the red and black colors. In the DLC Harley’s Revenge her outfit changes yet again. After mourning the death of The Joker (whoops, spoilers) her outfit changes to primarily black with a black veil, black hair, darkened lips and makeup, and white ruffles on her wrist cuffs. Both of these outfits saw a drastic change in Harley with her taking on more responsibilities in the gang as Joker got sicker and eventually leading Jokers men after his death. Both of these outfits are considered the darkest out of the series because of those reasons. She still retains the classic Harley mannerisms and personality from before, but these outfits are considered more militant than her themed outfit from Arkham Asylum.

Harley Quinn - Arkham City

 

In 2013 the game Injustice: Gods among Us was released with critical praise. This game was developed by the team behind Mortal Kombat. So naturally certain characters would look totally different. As was the case for Harley Quinn. Her look was very in that “Mortal Kombat” style of thinking, with a red and purple color scheme and red and purple dyed hair with a green streak added assuming in honor of the Joker, she had one of those looks that made fans go huh? Luckily she had another costume called the Insurgency costume that fans took to liking more than her base outfit. Also released for DLC were costume packs that showcased some of Harley’s looks through other games or comics. Released were her classic look, the Arkham City outfit, and her look in the Ame-Comi comic series. 2013 also debuted Harley’s first time in a video game as Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the game Batman: Arkham Origins. Though in there briefly she does have her classic look from the Animated Series when she was a doctor. A nice nod to Harley fans to put in the game, just with a little Christmas twist.Harley Quinn - Injustice: Gods Among Us

 

2015 debuted the presumably final time we would see Harley in the Arkham games with the release of Arkham Knight. In this she keeps her red and black dyed hair and makeup from Arkham City but yet again the outfit changes. Her outfit is comprised of what look’s like a french maid skirt, a white blouse that is reminiscent from the first game, a black corset that covers her mid drift from the previous two games, her red and black bra shows with harness straps that go around her waist and chest and up to a connecting piece on a neck collar, red and black sleeves with white lace around the wrists, red and black leather pants with the diamonds on the thighs, and red and black boots with metal studs in the back of them. This outfit seems to take a little piece from the first two games and combine them into one thing. They also seemed to have added some unused concept art from previous games and incorporated it into her final design. I actually really do like this outfit. It is cute but not overly sexed up like the previous ones. She is covering up her waist and seems to be a little bit more conservative with this look seeing as how she is the full leader of Jokers gang. In a recent DLC released for the game she is finally shown in her classic jester look as her and Joker kidnap the commissioner and Batgirl and Robin must go and save him.

Arkham Knight - Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn Comic Book Incarnations

In the comics Harley has had many outfits, most keep to the traditional outfit from the 90’s or variations on them, but none more drastic and changing than in  2011’s debut with the New 52’s version of The Suicide Squad. This look has gotten the most controversy with Harley fans and DC fans alike. In this universe Harley has permanently dyed red and blue hair and chalk white skin. Curtesy of The Joker throwing her into the same vat of chemicals he was thrown into during his fight with Batman. She wears an extremely tight red and blue corset that shows off her waist and pushes up her breasts and makes them look fuller. The corset also has a set of throwing knives on each side, a mini cape that is attached to a white victorian era collar, red and blue arm gauntlets with diamond patterns on them, black eye makeup that makes her look like a member of the band KISS, red and blue booty shorts, and red and blue knee high stockings and boots to match. When I first saw this outfit I was flabbergasted and confused. I kept asking where the harlequin style came into play. After all thats what her name is, a play on word of harlequin. That’s who she was, Harley Quinn dressed as a harlequin. This outfit got rid of it all, the playfulness of it, the cute, the funny. This made her look ruthless, very slutty, and like a cold blooded killer. I was so angry for what they did to my favorite character out of the whole DC universe, not only with her outfit but her personality and backstory as well I stopped reading The Suicide Squad after her new origin story debut. I just couldn’t read anymore, or look at what they did to her.

Haryley Quinn - New 52 Suicide Squad

After her stint in The Suicide Squad Harley got her own series in 2013. In this she looses the red and blue colors and reverts to the red and black colors. Her skin is still bleached and hair dyed. But she no longer wears her getup from the Suicide Squad comics. On the debut cover she is wearing a roller derby outfit. Red and black color scheme with diamonds, cute roller skates, dark eye makeup (not nearly as drastic as the Suicide Squad style), and various knee and elbow pads. Now to be fair I haven’t really read a whole lot of her new series. I have heard mixed reviews. but what I have heard is that its a nice departure from the Suicide Squad stuff and it gets to showcase Harley on her own and doing what she does best. Be Harley Quinn. I have seen a few outfits from the series and what I’ve seen I’ve liked a hell of a lot better that the stuff before. Now is it perfect and what I truly wanna see? Of course not. But for now its better than nothing I guess.

 

Harley Quinn Solo Comic Series

Harley Quinn Live Action Incarnations

Now as for live action stuff. Harley Quinn as only ever appeared in two forms of live action media. One being the short lived show in 2002 called The Birds of Prey where she was played by Mia Sara, and in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad played by Margot Robbie. In the TV show Birds of Prey we don’t actually get to see Harley Quinn in all her glory until the final episode of the series. Here she is shown to have a long sleeved red sweater with black diamonds cut out on the chest, red gloves, a black skirt and red and black shoes. Absent are her mask, clown makeup, and jester hood. For her first live action debut I wish they would have done a little more to her, but it was an OK outfit for the first time on a campy TV show like that.

Birds of Prey - Harley Quinn

Now on to the new Suicide Squad movie. This is the first time we get to see Harley Quinn on the big screen so of course they choose to do the Suicide Squad version of her. In this she has the red and blue colors back yet again (although her hair is dyed pink and blue for the tips) booty shorts, a red and blue jacket, fishnets, high heel sneakers, tattoos everywhere, a t-shirt, and “puddin” choker. This version seems to borrow little bits and pieces from many of the previous looks that Harley has had in the past. Now rumors did surface online that she would be getting multiple costumes in the film and from the recent trailer that dropped that rumor seems to be confirmed. People have asked me if I am still going to see the film. Of course I am! It’s Harley’s first big screen debut!! I may not like the look as a whole, but I love the actress Margot Robbie and I think she will do a fantastic job as Harley Quinn. And I am sure as with a majority of her outfits this one will grown on me too. Just gotta give it time is all.

Suicide Squad - Harley Quinn

 

So which version of Harley Quinn do you like the most or least? Was there an outfit or look I missed that should have been mentioned? Sound off on the comments below and let us know which Harley you absolutely love.

Harley Quinn - Batman: The Animated Series

The Evolution of Harley Quinn

Batman: Arkham Knight – Review

I just finished my first play through of Batman: Arkham Knight. To fully explain how I feel about the game, I have to start by describing how I felt about the other installments of the series. There will be no spoilers for Arkham Knight, but previous games in the series, as they are all old at this point, are fair game.

I enjoyed Arkham Asylum quite a bit. Arkham City was fun, though at times it was difficult to figure out where I needed to go or what I needed to do next.  And honestly I was really annoyed that Talia died before the story was over. But after two games with the Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill in what I can only describe as an iconic performance) inserting himself as the main villain of the story, I was really quite ready to move on. Batman has other villains you know. How about allowing one of them to be the spotlight central villain for once?

 

Arkham Knight - Joker Which brings us to Batman: Arkham Origins, the one game in the series that I never purchased or played. Why not? Well, first off, because these days, I have a general dislike of prequels. I prefer to get to see what happens next, not how it all began, since I’ve already seen pieces of that, or enough to feel that there isn’t much of real interest there. Then I learned that the primary villain for Origins was Black Mask…except that it was really just Joker PRETENDING to be Black Mask. So that makes three games with Joker as the primary villain. Color me not interested.

Now we have Batman: Arkham Knight. The graphics are beautiful, the controls nice and clean. Driving the Batmobile around Gotham and generally causing mayhem with it is incredibly fun. But my first concern was that, despite the fact that the Joker died at the end of Arkham City, he would somehow come back and once again insert himself as the primary villain to the story. And while Joker does show up in the story, the way in which he participates is extremely different than previous installments of the series, and gave both Joker and Batman a new twist for us to enjoy the characters through.  And Mark Hamill once again delivers an amazing performance as Joker.  It’s going to be very difficult for me to accept someone else ever voicing that role again.

 

Arkham Knight - Female Characters

 

A conversation with some friends on Facebook brought up a post over at The Mary Sue (warning, the article contains spoilers for the game) bringing the game to task for its treatment of the female characters in the cast. But what it ultimately boils down to is that all three female characters in this game (Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Oracle/Barbara Gordon) seem to exist primarily so that Batman can save them. Poison Ivy and Oracle at least have a slight boost in that they also serve a very specific plot function, but Catwoman is literally restricted to a single building the entire game.

While I dislike how those characters are treated, the male supporting characters only seem to come across marginally better. The general sentiment I came away from the game with is, everyone is incompetent except for Batman. There was a moment during the game where I thought I would switch to playing Robin for a bit, while Batman recovered for a bit…but that didn’t happen. Instead, Batman runs off on his own again to prove how awesome he is… because he’s Batman!  With this being the last game in the series, and considering how the game ends (more on that in a minute), I was really hoping that some of the other characters, specifically Robin and Nightwing, would get more screen time or have more of an opportunity to shine.

Arkham Knight

Then there’s the Arkham Knight character himself, which I have a problem with. I’m going to try and not spoil who the character is, since the reveal itself was fairly well done… but by the point the reveal comes, it isn’t exactly a surprise anymore. It’s telegraphed fairly strongly about halfway through the game when Batman is seeing/hallucinating certain events that Joker was involved with regarding another character. As I’m watching that scene, I couldn’t help but think, “Oh that’s who the Arkham Knight is.”  The fact that it is telegraphed fairly early isn’t the problem. Who the Arkham Knight ended up being isn’t the problem. The problem is that, after finally being able to confront the Arkham Knight, the character essentially disappears. This is the character that this installment of the series is named after, and it was really disappointing that we didn’t get some kind of real resolution to the character.

Of course, given the way the game ends, that’s how I kind of feel about the conclusion to the game in general: disappointed with the lack of resolution. And since this is the last installment to the series (at least as far as developer Rocksteady is concerned), I have no hope of getting the resolution I’m looking for. We get nothing in the way of real parting words or last wishes from Batman to the people that he has trained to be the next generation of heroes. If you solve 100% of the puzzles and quests in the game prior to triggering the ending cinematic, you’re treated to an ever-so-slightly altered ending cinematic (that contains a few sentences of additional dialogue and one additional scene at the end) that leaves you with more questions than answers. For my money, that’s a rather distasteful way to close out a series.

All in all, the game is fun to play, but on days where I’m looking for a good story to experience, I’ll have to play something else. I guess this is what the Batman: Arkham series wants to be: a way for you to experience the thrill of being Batman and punching out the bad guys, without regard to how any kind of narrative connecting events together.  Perhaps Joker best sums up my feelings on the game, in one of the first lines he delivers in this game:

“Oh, Bats, how I’ve missed you. All the subtlety and nuance of a napalm enema…”

Batman: Arkham Knight – Review