Joker

Joker Movie Review

Joker Movie Review
Screen Heroes

 
 
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It turns out we had a lot to say about the latest DC Entertainment film, Joker! Before all that spoiler content, we talk news though including casting for the Animaniacs revival, Geena Davis and he new bias AI partnership with Disney, the official Infinity Saga boxset, our thoughts on Martin Scorsese’s attitude toward superhero flicks, and more!

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

We’re also trying out Facebook live! So hit up the Heroes Podcast Network Facebook page and chat with us there!

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Rae Stewart | Derreck Mayer | Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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Joker Movie Review

The Rewatchables

The Rewatchables, our Top 5 favorite films to watch again and again. These films span the decades, the genres…. and the levels of quality. Some movies stand with the greats while other are scrapped right out of the bottom of the $5 bin. What are your favorite movies to watch over and over? We’d love to know!

We, of course, cover the latest news including a new Spider-Man deal between Sony & Disney, Kevin Smith’s announcement of Clerks 3, a very interesting prop auction, Joker director Todd Phillips, and more!

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

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! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Rae Stewart | Derreck Mayer | Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

Links: http://linktr.ee/screenheroes

iTunes: Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

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The Rewatchables

Bad Movie Reviews: Masters of the Universe

What makes a movie good or bad? What if you enjoyed it? Does that make it good? Welcome to our new segment, Bad Movie Reviews. In this series, we’re going to discuss films that are notoriously bad, critically, but we still get a kick out of for one reason or another. Maybe we loved it as kids, or maybe it’s so bad it’s good. In our first outing, we travel to 1987 for the live action He-Man film, Masters of the Universe!

As always, we talk news! This week, it’s mostly DC stuff with a statement from Warner Bros. about Joker, the status of Lex Luthor in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and a new backdoor pilot coming to the final season of Arrow… plus maybe a bit more.

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

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! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Rae Stewart | Derreck Mayer | Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

Links: http://linktr.ee/screenheroes

iTunes: Screen-Heroes.com

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Bad Movie Reviews: Masters of the Universe

Favorite TV Finales

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

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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
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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

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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)

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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?”

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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.”

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“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.”

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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?

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.”

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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