Part of the celebration includes HARLEY QUINN VALENTINE”S DAY SPECIAL #1, a super-sized issue packed with an insane combination of dream sequences and dubiously heroic antics. When Harley discovers a date with Bruce Wayne is up for auction at a charity event – with all proceeds going to help homeless cats and dogs – she vows to win at any cost.
But cats and dogs aren”t the only creatures that could use a charity ball. Will Harley”s plans to bag Bruce Wayne be upset by the vigilante known as The Carp and his trusty sidekick Sea Robin?
HitFix Harpy spoke to HARLEY QUINN writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor about their Valentine”s Day special.
HitFix: First things first, I need to confirm this issue is canon, right? Harley is ACTUALLY going on a date with Batman.
Jimmy Palmiotti: Oh, it happened. It actually happened.
The reason I ask is – are you guys familiar at all with social media? Tumblr? Imgur?
Jimmy: Yes. Absolutely.
Amanda Conner: Yeah.
Excellent. Then you are probably aware that people have – you know what ‘shipping” is? When people ship characters together?
Jimmy: No. I don't know.
Oh, man. So, shipping is when you take two characters from any show, comic book, etc. and want them to get together romantically. From that comes fan art and finding moment when Character A looked at Character B for an extra second and reading into that.
Jimmy: Oh no. I see where this is going.
People have been shipping Batman and Harley together since the '90s cartoon. Did you guys mean to egg that on?
Jimmy: You know, I think on some level – that might be our next special. I like the idea. You know it's funny because in the book we had the dream sequences and they kind of explore a little bit of that don't they?
Amanda: We do.
I can just tell you right now that comic panels from this issue will be all over Tumblr with no context.
Jimmy: I hope the one where Harley shoots Bruce Wayne off the boat and he keeps talking to her as he gets eaten by a shark makes it. And maybe the scene with the whale, maybe they'll have like a whole relationship too!
Don't tempt the Internet. I'm sure that The Carp and Sea Robin will be shipped together and have their own fandom.
Jimmy: Well, you know, they do go to school together.
Is there a whole backstory there that we don't get to see in this issue?
Jimmy: There always is. The fun of writing stuff is hinting that this was going on way before the camera ever came on them in the book. I think the better characters are written that way. Especially with this book because The Carp is in the beginning. We see him on the Hudson River and then we see his sidekick Sea Robin, which is just some stupid thing we made when we were eating at a restaurant.
Amanda: There actually is a Sea Robin
Jimmy: [laughs] Look, how we write Harley is we go out to eat and whatever is on the menu we put it in the book.
The Carp and Sea Robin have a whole history of trying to save fish at the expense of dogs and cats?
Jimmy: Yes. They do have a gripe because they think there's way too many charities for cats and dogs. You really don't see a commercial with sick looking fish.
Amanda: Save the fish.
Jimmy: Yeah. Save the fish. Sarah MacLauchlan singing and a picture of a carp having tears in his eyes looking lovingly at you, “Please, only you can help.”
Other than The Carp and Sea Robin, the main focus of the issue is several dream sequences. In Harley”s nightmare, a theme that kept popping up was Harley and Batman having kids. Is that laying the groundwork for her feelings on settling down and having kids?
Jimmy: We just thought what's more funny than a really enthusiastic Bruce and someone like Harley?
Amanda: All of a sudden she thinks, “Oh wow he's really in love with me. He wants to have children with me. Wait a minute. Pump the brakes now.”
Jimmy: And the artwork is just beautiful. You see Harley”s face and she's processing that Bruce is saying almost everything she would normally want to hear from a man. But he saying it times ten and it's Harley, so she's processing it as a threat.
The difference between Harley”s nightmare and Batman”s were interesting. Bruce trying so hard to control everything and ending up a brow beaten husband where she's like get rid of all your bachelor stuff.
Jimmy: And he has to save his comic collection, “The Detective” comic collection.
But out in reality, this issue is where Batman starts to acknowledge Harley”s attempts to be “good”. Does this the beginning – not of a relationship – but of cautious respect where Batman realizes, “Oh Harley”s not as bad as Joker?”
Amanda: Right. Joker is just a crazy – he's a mass murderer. The other thing you have to take into account is Batman”s got Gotham to take care It”s a lot to handle. So New York City – as far as he knows she's not killing people, even though we know she is. But he's cautiously optimistic about her.
Jimmy: Yeah. We didn't want to write a scene where Batman was trying to arrest her because he sees that she's going through the effort. Bruce sees the good in her and wants that to win.
So his little speech to Harley was both a warning and a pat on the back. I mean let's be honest, Bruce Wayne made out in this book. He got his money's worth there and Harley got her money”s worth –
Amanda: She got somebody else's money worth.
Jimmy: But that guy deserved it. Let's be honest. In the end the money went to the cats and the dogs and the bad guys are going to get their little fish.
Amanda: Yeah. Maybe the fish are taken care of, too.
Jimmy: Everybody's happy.
The HARLEY QUINN VALENTINE'S DAY SPECIAL #1 is on sale now!