With the success of the current Harley Quinn title, it's no surprise she's getting her own two-issue tie-in comic for DC's Convergence event. But what might be a surprise to most fans is who's teaming up with her – Captain Carrot.
The two are joined by Harley's Gotham Sirens cohorts, Catwoman and Poison Ivy, as they deal with the premise of Convergence — a domed Gotham City is trapped by an evil version of Brainiac, but when the dome comes down, heroes and villains from other domed cities begin to battle.
Of course, this is the Harley Quinn from before the launch of DC's New 52 universe, which means she might feel a little different from the character readers are getting to know in Harley Quinn. We talked to writer Steve Pugh, who's working with Phil Winslade on the book, about Convergence: Harley Quinn.
Newsarama: Steve, who came up with the idea of putting Harley Quinn with Captain Carrot?
Steve Pugh: Yeah, sorry, this is all my fault! Harley and Carrot seemed like a perfect match to me. I couldn’t believe I was the only one who pitched the idea.
The initial concept was actually much darker — I had Harley balanced on the edge of sanity, and when Carrot shows up she’s not sure which side of her eyes he’s actually on, but as we opened it out, and added in the whole Gotham Sirens team, it became a much lighter battle of wits.
The main problem was how to pitch Harley (main weapons, big hammer and annoying voice) against Captain Carrot (main weapon super everything), but it turns out that poor rabbit still needs backup!
Nrama: There have been a few versions of Harley over the years, and we're being told that this is the pre-Flashpoint character. So how would you describe her? What's she like, and how does that contribute to the story you're telling?
Pugh: Harley has always been looking for a star to follow. Though she’s very much an individual, the character has always seemed to need someone with a more purposeful personality to hang out with. Is that insecurity or is it the lack of responsibility that gives her? Either way, this story uses Gotham’s dome as a sort of proxy for that. The domes become her “protector” freeing her to find her own life, generate her own purpose.
Nrama: What about Captain Carrot? What's he like in your story?
Pugh: Carrot is a golden age hero. His agenda is to get everyone out of this alive and do it with good humor and the bare minimum of family friendly cursing. I actually kind of love him. He’s the kind of hero you can’t use as often in these more sophisticated times. He really doesn’t know what he’s up against!
Nrama: The current Harley Quinn book has become a hit with fans, with its over-the-top humor, but does this story for Convergence has to take itself a little more seriously, since there's such a threat to battle?
Pugh: Yeah, the vibe of the first half is Harley dealing with this new world she’s been thrown into. Everything is different, everyone has the opportunity for a fresh start.
Most people have been hit hard by events, but Harley has had this huge weight lifted off her shoulders. She’s no longer looking for the next big dog or gang she can be a part of; she can be an individual instead of a tag a long.
She’s getting things done, she’s taking on responsibilities. Visually we give her a ponytail instead of the two bunches to push that idea across.
While the whole city is wondering if the rest of the world is even there any more, Harley is on a holiday high.
Of course, that can’t last, and her old demons are circling.
Nrama: Will we see more of the Zoo Crew show up in the title?
Pugh: Of course! They wouldn’t leave their captain to face Gotham’s premier hero alone. Behind the scenes, the Zoo Crew is trying to figure out just who Harley is, and what kind of frighteningly awesome superpowers she must have to go up against their powerhouse teammate.
Nrama: What other characters are part of your story? You mentioned Gotham Sirens?
Pugh: Yeah, this is very much Harley’s book, but it’s also a continuation of her life from Gotham Sirens, so Catwoman and Ivy continue to have pretty big roles in her destiny and the overall structure of Convergence Gotham.
Catwoman’s out there being Catwoman, de-powered Ivy’s got new purpose with her huge gardens, and secret research labs. They’ve all got their lives going on, and a little bit of bad blood between them, but they don’t hesitate to drop it all to have Harley’s back when she’s in trouble.
Nrama: Have you always been a Harley fan? What were your first memories of the character?
Pugh: Oh, I’ve been right with Harley and buying the toys since Bruce Timm set her free into his beautiful batman animated universe. I think to create, from scratch, a character that could match popularity with heavy hitters like joker and penguin that had decades of history to refine them is just mind blowing. That look, that voice!
Nrama: How has it been writing for Phil Winslade? What does his art bring to the title?
Pugh: I can’t say enough about Phil. We’ve been friends for years and although we figured we’d be working on a project together at some point I don’t think either of us thought it would be as writer and artist! Phil’s reputation is very much about character and craftsmanship. Every page is a singular work of art in itself.
He’s brought a vulnerability to the life of the civilian Harley that hopefully will make you miss her a little when she’s forced to “suit up,” and his Captain Carrot is a terrific, furry, classic powerhouse!
We also have John Dell as inker, and Chris Chuckry as colorist, who’ve done outstanding work, and I think this is one of the most beautiful looking books in the whole event.
Nrama: What do you think of the overall concept of Convergence?
Pugh: I love it! Not only do we get a massive, explosive game of “who-would-win-in-a-fight” Brawling, but also we finally get to catch up with what’s been happening to all these other DCU characters while we weren’t looking. I think this is going to be a lot of fun!
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Convergence: Harley Quinn?
Pugh: We introduce a new super pet — he’s totally going to get his own book!