As I’ve noted before, I will never, ever shut up about the animated HARLEY QUINN show.
However, this is about the off-shoot comic series: HARLEY QUINN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, of which the first volume — “The Eat. BANG! Kill. Tour” — fills in the space between the second and third seasons, fleshing out the honeymoon period between Harley and Ivy. It’s penned by Tee Franklin (who willed the amazing Black elder queer comic BINGO LOVE into the world) with art by Max Sarin (John Allison’s GIANT DAYS — whose BOBBINS webcomic I dearly miss but also, goddamn, just let your eyes stare at how brilliantly that cover is designed), colors by Marissa Louise and lettered by Taylor Esposito, all working at the height of their powers.
I’ve spilled a lot of words about the TV show, but I came to this off-shoot with a bit of reluctance. I’ve been burned by so many opportunistic print cash-ins so many times, but figured I’d give it a go.
Reader: it’s amazing.
It’s even filthier and sexier and emotional than the show, but still sensitive and never exploitative. Franklin knows how to handle intimacy and physical wants and needs and exploration in a mannered way that feels both controlled but also raw.
While the show’s visuals are far more expressive than most animated shows, Sarin takes this to the next level. Everyone speaks through their eyes and mouths and arms, and Harley is constantly throwing herself around, and both Harles’ and Ive’s hair curls so beautifully and I sparkle through each and every page. Every panel is something I revel to.
I don’t want to ignore Marissa Lousie’s work, which is marvelously restrained while also being vibrant, or Esposito’s work, which is significantly nuanced until it shouldn’t be.
However, what’s most notable is that, while Harley’s name is on the cover, this is mostly about telling Ivy’s side of their romance and detailing how she feels about (spoiler alert) Kite Man and her breaking up at their own wedding, and reconciling her own personal trauma via her childhood, the latter of which is never quite touched on in the show (and Harley is too myopic to ask about). It’s a perfect exploration of an already brilliant journey.
If you are a fan of the show, or even if you aren’t — you can go in completely blind and they’ll explicitly catch you up — it’s an absolute delight of a read.