Archive for May 11, 2020
Fans of Harley Quinn didn't know what to expect from her latest trip out to the DC Universe's version of Hollywood. But as her adventure has taken her from professional wrestling to a twsiting and turning neo-noir murder case--and even a team-up with Booster Gold himself--one thing has become clear. Whether or not Harley knew she was running from her mother's death, she has brought her grief along for the ride. And according to writer Sam Humphries, that's entirely by design.
When Humphries took the helm of Harley's comic series, it would have been a leap to expect Joker's ex-girlfriend to graduate to a full-blown New God. But in one of the most unexpected surprises in DC's slate, it was Harley Quinn facing her mother's cancer that left her too winded to keep on fighting. As Harley Quinn #72 finally arrives in operating comic bookstores both physical and digital, Screen Rant got the chance to speak with Humphries about the lingering impact of Sharon Quinzel's losing battle with cancer, and the next twists in Harley's west coast case. If it wasn't clear already, fans of Quinn, Booster Gold, and tales of crushing grief (punctuated by adult-sized babies) shouldn't miss another issue. Readers can find the full interview, as well as an exclusive preview of the new issue, below.
SR: I have to start by asking about what might be the most significant "growth" for Harley, which you brought in your run, which was the death of her mother. It was a hard-hitting story, but it's having a more lasting impact than maybe some readers are used to. Can you speak to that decision to not only have Harley face that, but to use that as an ongoing element to her character?
Sam Humphries: From a fundamental level, I believe Harley Quinn is an iconic character. And iconic characters can bear this level of complexity in their story lines. I think there is nothing about Harley where she can't be both wild, and wacky, and crazy, and kicking people in the nuts, while at the same time be dealing with things like a death in the family, and the very real grief that follows afterwards. The other thing that this comes from is... in my family, I've suffered quite a few deaths. I don't know if it's more than anybody else, but they were all tragic to some degree. What shocked me after each one is how unprepared each of us are to deal with death in this society. That mainly comes from the fact that we don't talk about it very much. Death comes for us all, but it comes for our family and friends first, right? Literally everywhere, it happens to almost everybody. But we don't prepare each other for what happens after you lose somebody who is very dear to you.
I don't have any like, crazy life or death wisdom from my experiences, but I did want to take some of the things that I've seen from myself and my own family members and friends, and people I've talked to about this stuff, and kind of put it into a Harley Quinn story that shows death is the climax of a story. Right? Her mom dying is the climax of that story, quite literally. But it's not the end of that story. For everybody left behind there is an entire other process of grief that is very dark and confusing, and painful to go through. Again, we just don't prepare each other enough for this sort of thing. Not as much as we could, or as we should. And I had a lot of smart people saying this book can not bear having a dark story line. But I disagreed! I felt like it was really important to come back to the fact that, baked into Harley's DNA is somebody who can endure really dark turns in their life. This is part of her character, it's part of the emotional core of her character. Just like any other iconic character, if you focus on that emotional core, if you build on that emotional core, and if you honor that emotional core, you can take that character anywhere and they'll still be the character that everybody knows and loves.
Your run on Harley Quinn has gone to some pretty incredible places, but at what point did you have the idea for her to head to Hollywood, and end up in what feels like the closest a Harley Quinn comic can get to a James Ellroy novel?
[Laughs] I can't claim James Ellroy. I am sure he's a wonderful author, he's just a wonderful author I've never read, so we can relieve James of that burden of influencing this story. But one of my biggest influences on this story--and I wear this on the sleeve, or the page you might say, quite obviously in a couple places--is Inherent Vice. The novel by Thomas Pinchon, but also very much the movie adaptation by Paul Thomas Anderson. That's present in a lot of different ways. One of the things I like about Inherent Vice is it's about a character who is dealing with a very emotional situation in his life, which is a break-up and reemergence of that love interest, but he sort of works out those issues in pursuing the investigation of a crime that blooms into something well beyond the scope of what he thought he was doing. I feel like we all run into those situations in our lives, where we think we're dealing with some sort of emotion within ourselves, but the deeper we dig, the more we realize this is part of something bigger, and deeper, and more complex. That we're harboring all these emotions.
So in some ways, it's almost like 'the criminal conspiracy was inside us all along,' wocka-wocka-wocka [laughs]. But one thing that I've found in my experiences dealing with death in my family is that it does give you an ability that you can't get otherwise. Which is: you can instantly, in a very deep, and sincere, and meaningful way, empathize with other people who have been through the same thing that you have. And I wanted to put Harley into a situation where she could use this "superpower" that she has gained in the face of this tragedy.
I guess by that same token, at what point did you think that Booster Gold would make for the perfect partner in this detective story? Especially considering the last time they went head-to-head.
On some level I decided in the first five pages of Heroes in Crisis, because Tom did such a great job writing those two together. He did such a great job, I was convinced that he had changed course since the last Time I had heard the story from him, and he was going to end up with the two of them together in a romantic relationship. But he fooled me again. If you really take a close reading of Heroes in Crisis, Booster and Harley are investigative partners in that book. Yes, there is a lot of fighting and a lot of times they are at odds and suspect each other, but these are all hallmarks of crime fiction that Tom expertly played while writing these two characters. And also you got to see Blue and Gold back together again, and Batgirl, and a lot of great stuff along with it. But I talked with Tom about this and told him what I thought. He was like, 'Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.' I've not talked to him since he has read this yet, so I don't know if he is going to want to claim it. But I do think in some ways this is a spiritual successor to Heroes in Crisis. Or at least building on things that Tom established in Heroes in Crisis.
Your description of Harley as a mixture of aloof and compassion, empathy--that rings true in Heroes in Crisis with Booster Gold, and it does almost instantly in this story as well. Was getting that part of his character across a priority for you in the writing?
I'm a massive Booster Gold fan, the Justice League International run of book sis a foundational text for me [laughs]. I know it's the same for Tom as well, so both of us came at these stories as huge, massive fans of Booster Gold. And no knocks on any previous story of Booster Gold, but at least speaking for myself, I saw that there was a lot of potential for Booster that could be explored that had not been explored yet. In some ways, Booster and Harley are an odd couple. They have diametrically opposed vibes, but on a deeper level, I think they have a lot in common. They both have this undercurrent of pathos and tragedy in their lives, and their backstories. They both try to cover it up with different flavors of bravado. And they're both people who have been, at times, ridiculed and written off by tyheir peers as frivo9lous or inconsequential. They both know that stings. They both know that inside everyone you write off that way, they see the potential in themselves that a lot of their peers don't. So I think there is a lot that they bring to the table for each other, and I think there is a lot of deep ways for them to build a connection together. IF that is indeed what happens.
Well in Harley Quinn #72 readers get, while not the level of interaction some fans may hope for, definite hints between the two that confirm opposites attract. Honestly, we could record a separate half-hour interview about this--
About the steps you go through discussing the possibilities of a romantic connection between two DC characters who are in play elsewhere, at all times. So was that part of your initial pitch, with these small teases of a more substantial, maybe more lasting romantic connection?
I mean, a 'will they, won't they' story is not anything I've invented in these pages. It's a well-worn story format that I fall for every time. As far as like, the pitch, if you're going to bring somebody like Booster Gold into a book like Harley Quinn, you want to make it count, right? You don't want to use them in a disposable way. You don't want to use them in a way that doesn't bring anything to their character, or to the character in whose book they're guest starring. You want to do it in a way that creates a lasting mark on both those characters. You want to make it count. So Heroes in Crisis #1 was a long time ago, probably over a year ago, and I had considered a couple different ways of bringing him in. At one point I was going to do it much sooner, like right on the heels of Heroes in Crisis. But again, out of love and respect for Harley, and love and respect for Booster Gold, and all the creators who have worked on them before, I wanted to do it in way that mattered, and counted. This was a situation where the stars aligned.
I think my lingering question is that in this long, serialized run with the character, readers are able to see how each new chapter is being built on the ones that came before. And Harley is growing out of those as well. This is Harley Quinn easily at her most reckless, so how would you describe this stage of her story. For both the month-to-month readers, and maybe those who have not followed every single issue?
I would describe it as Harley Quinn--a character who does things we could never get away with in real life--dealing with a universal process of grief. In that process, you find yourself overwhelmed on this rising and falling tide of emotions. Sometimes you find yourself seized by compassion unlike anything you have ever felt or comprehending before, and other times you feel yourself seized by a feeling of 'f*** it' recklessness. Because in the face of death, or the face of the loss of a loved one... what does anything matter anymore? Sometimes you feel these things simultaneously in the same moment.
Harley is the kind of character who is built to explore those kind of emotions. She has been a contradiction since day one. Or, I shouldn't say contradiction. She is a character who can embrace complex contradictions, and synthesize them into one authentic character. That's who she has been since the very beginning, and in some ways she is built to tell this story better than any other character in the DC Universe.
Images from The Golden Girls, an all-time-favorite for many, can be downloaded and added as a virtual background for your next Zoom call. Adding a background to your chats can not only add some personality, but it could also provide a way to inject some fresh conversation into what have quickly become routine calls.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a revolution in the way people live and work, and in order to decrease the spread of COVID-19, nations have turned to lockdown orders. In turn, this has resulted in people adopting online apps and services, including Zoom, to hold meetings and stay in touch with friends and family. While there are several benefits of using Zoom for a video call, one of the most popular factors is likely to be the integration of support for adding third-party virtual backgrounds.
With the increasing demand for virtual backdrops, many companies, brands and sites have been making images available to the general public. Modsy an interior design website is one of them and has brought together a selection of interior design-themed images for download from many popular sitcoms and shows, including the The Golden Girls. As a result, users can now start their next Zoom call with a backdrop of the most rocking The Golden Girls' bachelorette pad, and the high-resolution background will make it feel like you are there inside the living room with Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia.
It is super simple to add The Golden Girls, or any other classical TV shows' virtual background to your next Zoom call. Once the image has been downloaded and saved to your desktop, access your Zoom account either through the desktop interface or via the smartphone app. Next, click on your profile picture, and choose the “Virtual Background” option in the Settings menu. This will take you to the part of the service where you can either choose an existing background or upload your own using the “+” icon. Adding a background through the phone app works in a similar way, although you do have to first join a call before you can change the background. After you've joined the call, simply choose the tiny arrow next to the "start video/stop video" option and then "choose a virtual background.” Once again, click on the "+" icon on the right and add your favorite The Golden Girls background.
People are finding different ways to bring light into an otherwise dark scenario by livening up the smallest of things. While holding a Zoom call is not the same as having a face-to-face interaction, elements like third-party backgrounds can add personalization, and in the case of The Golden Girls, a good dose of happiness to chats as well.
When Star Wars fans think of Jedi Masters Yoda and Mace Windu, words like “wise,” “powerful,” and “peaceful” come immediately to mind. But in at least one comic book story, fans got to see a dream come true for Samuel L. Jackson, as his Star Wars character shows he has more in common with Pulp Fiction's Jules Winnfield than most realize.
The scene also includes Yoda, cast in the role of John Travolta's 'Vincent Vega' (the Jedi Master has had a very long life, after all, meaning he must have done a number of unorthodox things over the centuries). Unbelievable as it may seem, both Yoda and Mace Windu found themselves in the Star Wars universe version of Tarantino's tense diner scene, with Windu taking the role of Winnfield, recreating dialogue as Yoda reveals an unexpectedly jaded side reminiscent of Travolta’s Vincent.
The story takes place in Star Wars Tales #7 in a short parody tale written by Kevin Rubio with art by Lucas Marangon and Michelle Madsen. Occurring shortly after the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, it finds Mace Windu and Yoda having lunch at a fast food restaurant on Coruscant. In a shockingly unethical move, Yoda uses a Jedi Mind Trick to get their meal comped – arguing that he is merely “defending my wallet… from the evil price hikes.” Just as Jules and Vincent argue over the reality of miracles in Pulp Fiction, Yoda and Mace mull over the idea that Anakin Skywalker could be the Chosen One to bring balance to the Force. until they're interrupted by an armed robbery.
The two Jedi Masters take the situation with bemused nonchalance, immediately disarming the thugs with the Force and their lightsabers. When it comes time to administer punishment by possibly chopping off some limbs, however, Mace notes that “you’ve caught my friend and I in a transitional period." The world may have changed around the scene and its dialogue, but the homage is impossible to miss (sadly, no confirmation of Mace Windu's wallet revealing he is or isn't a "Bad Mother******"). Letting the thugs go (after Mace mind tricks them into giving back the money and turning themselves in), Yoda and Mace continue with their discussion, using food-based analogies to determine Anakin’s future -- with Mace stirring cream into his coffee to symbolize the light and dark sides of the Force coming into balance, and Yoda blowing a pile of salt to show how two Sith can wipe out all but two of the Jedi. Ultimately, their discussion is ended when newly-elected Chancellor Palpatine stops by and agrees that training Anakin Skywalker to be a Jedi would be “a most excellent idea.”
Both a funny parody of Pulp Fiction and an examination of some of Yoda’s less-scrupulous characteristics (his tendency to brainwash others into comping his meals seems oddly in keeping with his mischievous personality), “Force Fiction” is a fun story for those interested in the more lighthearted of Star Wars stories.
Warning: SPOILERS for Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 7, "Promortyus ."
While the series is famous for its shocking dark comedy, Rick and Morty season 4, episode 7, "Promortyus" revealed that the title characters do hold at least one thing sacred; they refuse to make light of the destruction of the World Trade Center or tell any kind of joke involving the terrorist attacks on 9/11. It's hard to say what is more surprising; that Rick Sanchez would draw the line somewhere or that he would draw it on this specific point.
It would be fair to say that Rick Sanchez is fairly amoral and has committed countless atrocities in his life. He once took advantage of all the red-haired women of an alien species dominated by his former lover Unity, just to satisfy one particularly loathsome fantasy. He also overthrew a fascist intergalactic empire for no other reason than it allowed him, after a lengthy and contrived chain of events, to briefly rid himself of his annoying son-in-law, Jerry. Given that, it would be fair to say that there are few things Rick Sanchez would never do under any circumstance. Yet the events "Promortyus" showed that even Rick has his limits.
Rick and Morty season 4, episode 7, "Promortyus" opened with Rick and Morty escaping thralldom on a distant alien world taken over by a species of parasites known as Glorzo. After briefly trying to blend in by taping dead Glorzos to their faces, the two made a break for freedom. Rather than leave the planet right away, however, Rick and Morty decided to engage in a little guilt-free mayhem, justifying their Star Wars-inspired bombing run by saying that it didn't really count if the culture you were destroying had been dominated by face-huggers, ala Prometheus. Rick even went so far as to compare killing these aliens to "popping bubble wrap" though whatever enthusiasm he and Morty shared faded as they flew into view of two familiar looking towers.
With uncharacteristic silence and restraint, they flew past the twin towers without a comment or an explosion. Once they were past it, Rick noted that he was proud of both himself and Morty for not taking the shot. They agreed that they were better than that and that the visual of destroying two towers, even on an alien world, would have been low-hanging fruit and totally beneath them.
They also agreed, rather quickly, that enough time had passed that it was perfectly safe to recreate Pearl Harbor. The two bombed a sea port shortly before taunting the aliens, saying they "should have been a better species," and fleeing the planet. While Rick and Morty may respect some boundaries of good taste, they're still a pretty rotten duo, but let it never be said that they don't have standards. Low as they are, there are still some standards.
The premiere issues of two titles spinning out of Dawn of X, the New Mutants and X-Force top the new releases in this week’s update on Marvel Unlimited. Joining the Krakoan freedom-fighters in debuts this week are Spider-Man and Venom: Double Trouble, the prequel one-shot Absolute Carnage: Weapon Plus, and the Ravager Yondo in a new limited-series. Every week Screen Rant takes a look at the latest update to Marvel’s subscription-based digital archive, Marvel Unlimited - here are just a few of the standout titles in this week’s Pull List!
It’s the Dawn of X and the sentient island-nation of Krakoa is a beacon of hope, a sovereign homeland for all mutantkind. In the first issue of New Mutants, founding members Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Mirage, Karma, Magik, and Cypher are augmented by new initiates, Chamber and Mondo and set off on their first mission — an interstellar voyage into Shi’ar space in search of Sam Guthrie, Cannonball. With allies, the wily space-pirates known as the Starjammers, themselves wanted for crimes against the Shi’ar Empire, the New Mutants find themselves fighting a brigade of determined Imperial Forces on an alien transit station. Sunspot and the rest of team can only hope the duplicitous Starjammers won’t abandon them in the depths of space.
The mutant enclave of Krakoa’s secret intelligence and black-ops branch, X-Force make their thrilling debut this week with “Hunting Ground,” a tale part-exposition, part-execution. A new nation means new adversaries for X-Force to defend against and complacency causes vulnerability, as Wolverine foreshadows in the opening panels with the shrewd observation, “That’s what Krakoa does. Makes everyone feel safe. And when you’re safe, you’re soft.” With mutants from across the globe flocking to Krakoa for peace and security, can X-Force keep them all safe? In the debut issue, Wolverine and X-Force members, Beast, Jean Grey, Kid Omega, Sage, and Domino receive a welcome visit from Kitty Pryde and her Marauders — and undetected attack from a strike team of human extremists out for blood — on mutant fantasy-island, Krakoa!
Find all these new X-Men arcs perplexing? Catch up on your Hickman-history with the entire Dawn of X timeline, House of X and Powers of X, on Marvel Unlimited and see Xavier’s dream of mutant prosperity flourish, with all the resulting intrigue and adventure.
The premieres continue in this week’s Marvel Unlimited update with the #1 issue of writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Gurihuri’s charming Spider-Man and Venom: Double Trouble. Co-starring Ghost-Spider and Spidey’s arch-nemesis, the Green Goblin, Spider-Man and Venom: Double Trouble is a stylized and winsome tale including amusing variations on the “Spider-Man, Spider-Man” theme and a warped version of Milton Bradley’s Game of Life boardgame with venomous plants and killer cacti intermingled with the web-slinging madness. Spider -titles abound this week and alongside Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12 and Amazing Spider-Man #33, is Absolute Carnage: Weapon Plus #1, the horrifying prelude to Absolute Carnage series. When super-solider research and clandestine human-weapon experimentation drifted into extraterrestrial symbiote parasites, Weapon Plus was born and the vile Carnage is on the hunt, preying upon symbiote-bonded entities to create a conduit to the Symbiote God, Knull. Absolutely twisted.
And rounding out the trove of debut issues this week on Marvel Unlimited is Yondu #1, a new limited-series from writers Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, artist John McCrea and colorist Mike Spicer. Featuring the popular Guardians of the Galaxy scoundrel Yondu, the spacer’s tale is a gritty space-western with an unrestrained artistic approach reminiscent of the influential French illustrator Moebius. With backstabbing opportunists and seedy swindlers for associates, the exiled Centaurian is in for more than he bargained for when he chances upon upon a dangerous artifact and mysterious mercenary that has Yondu in his crosshairs. Space is the place and the story starts here!
New on Marvel Unlimited: Week of May 11, 2020/ In-store Date November 6, 2019
Absolute Carnage Weapon Plus #1
Amazing Spider-Man #33
Black Cat #6
Doctor Doom #2
Fantastic Four #16
Future Fight Firsts Crescent And Io #1
Ghost Rider #2
Immortal Hulk #26
Magnificent Ms. Marvel #9
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12
New Mutants #1
Old Man Quill #11 (of 12)
Spider-Man and Venom: Double Trouble #1 (of 4)
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #38
Sword Master #5
Web of Black Widow #3 (of 5)
Yondu #1 (of 5)