Comics Reviews

Harley Quinn Writer Says They’ve Written the ‘Dumbest Joke Ever’

Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Phillips claims a future issue of Detective Comics features one of the character’s worst, but best, jokes ever.

Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Phillips put her “dumbest joke ever” into an upcoming issue of Detective Comics.

Speaking at a New York Comic Con panel attended by CBR, Phillips detailed her approach to Harley Quinn’s sense of humor, a critical element of the character that has followed her since she first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series. While Harley may have a quick wit, Phillips claimed that an upcoming backup story in Detective Comics #1044 will feature a real stinker. “I have made — I’m very proud of this — the dumbest joke I’ve ever made in my whole life,” she said. She added, “If I’m fired after this that’s fine and if I am the only person laughing that is also fine.”

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“I think it’s in Part 2 of the Detective backups, so you guys can all cringe when it comes out,” Phillips said. “That part is fun, getting to try to write for humor and match that humor.”

Throughout her run on Harley Quinn, Phillips has used Harley’s humor against her enemies. Many of Harley’s foes, like Dr. Hugo Strange, are quick to underestimate her, thinking that she’s little more than an idiot. Phillips said, “Harley is clearly not, but she knows that people think that about her, so I was also really excited to try to weaponize that element of her so she can disarm the people around her.”

The characterization that Phillips utilized in her run sees Harley taking on villains that she may have once considered allies, elevating her status in the wake of DC’s Infinite Frontier. This approach also benefitted Phillips herself, with the author saying, “Harley is very smart and funny and I need to try and rise to her level.” Still, there’s always room for some fun and games. “sometimes I write the dumbest jokes in the world and I’m the only person laughing but I don’t care,” Phillips said.

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Currently, Harley Quinn is one of many titles caught in the midst of Batman’s Fear State event. The story features Scarecrow unleashing an attack on Gotham City, the likes of which threaten to break Batman. For Harley however, the conflict carries much more personal stakes, with Poison Ivy’s life on the line. This danger has put her on a collision course with Catwoman, as the two race to save their fellow Gotham City Siren.

Even though Harley was once considered to be little more than an afterthought, the character experienced substantial growth over the years. While many of these changes could be seen as a step backward, one thing that hasn’t changed is Harley’s intelligence, something that Phillips aims to highlight in her take on the character. “It’s definitely challenging, I think humor is one of the hardest things to write because there is that element of intelligence and find it tricky to write, but that makes it really rewarding to get to work that,” said Phillips.

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Source: New York Comic Con

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