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Evidence Of A DC Change Already – Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy

Yesterday, a lot of DC Comics staffers were made redundant. We were not sure how long it would take for that change to be evident. Turns out it took less than a day. Bleeding Cool has reported extensively on the division within DC and Warners over how to treat Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

Previously portrayed for years in the comic book line as a couple, recent times has seen that relationship 'straightwashed' – at least as far as the comic books were concerned. The relationship was removed from the Harley Quinn series, the new writer was forbidden to use Poison Ivy and he put Harley in a relationship with Booster Gold. The Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy mini-series portrayed them more as a Thelma And Louise couple, and concluded with a page-splash peck-on-the-forehead that screams out that it was redrawn at the last moment.

And on Valentine's Day, DC posted Valentine's Day-themed posts that singled Harley Quinn out as being single. Then DC changed the solicitation copy for a Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy statue from showing a same-sex couple to just showing good friends.

All this was happening while the Harley Quinn TV show doubled down on Harley and Ivy as a couple, causing considerable frustration for some comic book readers, including Harley Quinn's writer when he was asked to comment on the couple. #SaveHarleyAndIvy was an attempt to campaign against what was seen as 'straightwashing' of the couple in the comics, but in a positive way.

The only response was from Hank Kanalz, now-former SVP of Publishing Strategy & Support Service at DC Comics, who specifically stated that he was only writing in a personal capacity, not as a DC employee, who wrote, with Pride flags,

It is believed that DC Comics, editorially speaking, wanted poison Ivy to return to a more traditional supervillain role, which also meant not being in a relationship with Harley Quinn, who had been transformed into an anti-hero. All the time, Warner Bros were showing the pair develop as a couple in the Harley Quinn TV show, even giving them an almost-marriage in the final episode.

Today however, that all changed as the DC Comics website featured an article, The Importance of Harley and Ivy's Queer Animated Romance by Kat Calamia. It began:

Since the early days of Batman: The Animated Series, we've seen a strong bond between "gal pals" Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. It's a friendship that expanded into other properties—including DC's prime universe and animated films. In Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's Harley Quinn #25, Harley and Ivy's relationship became much more than a friendship as the two shared their first on-panel kiss, confirming their once subtextual queer relationship decades in the making.

With this image:

Evidence Of A DC Change Already - Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy
Art by Chad Hardin.

The article is ostensibly about the TV series, but the reference to the comic book and the art used is something DC Comics has been allergic to, in recent years. And indicates that whoever would usually around to stop this, this time, did not… was this intentional, or just a lack of hands on the wheel right now?

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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