SDCC 2011: Costumed Fans Gather to Protest the DCnU

Laura Hornack

Saturday afternoon at Comic-Con International: San Diego, a small group of costumed comic book fans and cosplayers staged a demonstration against DC Comics’ upcoming re-launch of their line of books this fall. Originally organized on Facebook prior to the convention, the “protest walk” was being billed as a “light-hearted walk,” with “no super-serious grumpy demonstration stuff. The Facebook group listed approximately 500 in attendance for the event but by the time of the protest but only fifteen to twenty jovial protestors actually showed; most of them were dressed as Harley Quinn and The Joker.

The lead protestor, Laura Hornack, a 17 year-old foreign exchange student from Germany, spoke with Newsarama about her rationale for organizing the protest and described the origins of the protest stemming from her unhappiness regarding the relationship of The Joker and Harley Quinn and the fact that DC had not allowed the couple to continue having a relationship. She also mentioned that she was clearly unhappy with a number of the character designs for the DCnU. She said, “I understand that reboots happen. I know that I’ll have to wait and see with most of the books. I just hope they reunite Harley Quinn and The Joker. They belong together.” When asked about the size of the protest on the steps of the San Diego Convention Center, she added, “I know five hundred said they would attend but I’d be just as happy if fifty showed up.”

Tara & Don Strand

Hornack was joined by Tara and Don Strand who co-own a cosplay website that follows characters from the DC Universe. Dressed as The Joker and Harley Quinn in wedding attire, the couple supported Hornack’s cause; Tara Strand stated, “Initially, I was outraged. I feel like the people who are now in charge of these characters do not understand how Harley Quinn works at all. I don’t feel like this re-launch can last; it just feels like corporate interests trying to make money. I’m not mad anymore. It just feels like DC Comics is giving up on the diehard fans who have been around for years. I’m taking it lightly now. This protest is just for fun.”

the demonstrators

During the small demonstration, Hornack was met by DC Comics’ Director of Public Relations, Brandy Phillips, with several free t-shirts. Phillips remarked, “We think it’s pretty fantastic that she’s so passionate about our comics.” They both agreed that the protest was all in good fun.

Before Hornack ventured off to join her friends at the convention, she said, “I am going to continue to love what I love and I’m just not going to pay attention to the new content. I’m just going to follow the canon of the DC Universe that I want to follow.”

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