Harley Quinn is a busy woman. During the next few months, she's getting a mohawk, forming a punk rock band, reviving a classic Muhammad Ali story, bringing the classic Lobo back to the DCU, and rocking illustrations by veteran artists Neal Adams, Simon Bisley, and Jill Thompson.
The character's ongoing writers - the married team of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti - are making sure the excitement about Harley is justified in both the ongoing Harley Quinn and Harley Quinn's Little Black Book.
With Harley's new haircut debuting soon and Lobo coming back to join with the character - plus a flashback featuring one of Harley's earliest meetings with the Joker - Newsarama talked to Palmiotti and Conner to find out more about what's up with Harley Quinn.
Newsarama: Harley's got a new haircut. Where did that come from?
Jimmy Palmiotti: It's a three-part story running in Harley Quinn #5, #6 and #7, which art by John Timms and Alex Sinclair. It's sort of like Point Break meets punk rock.
Amanda Conner: Yeah, we were feeling nostalgic, so we did this story arc.
Palmiotti: Harley goes undercover and forms a punk rock band to find these bad guys who are stealing mail trucks - taking mail from mail trucks.
She goes undercover. Instead of, like, going undercover and following the bad guys, she goes completely undercover by forming her own punk rock band and shaving her head and getting a mohawk and playing gigs.
It's a little crazy. Eventually, she realizes that some of the goods that were stolen were actually hers. And there are little clues leading to the Joker.
Nrama: The Joker?
Palmiotti: I don't want to ruin too much, but the second part of the book, we have a flashback to one of the first meetings between Harley and the Joker, in Arkham.
Conner: We got very, very lucky. We asked Jill Thompson to do the art on it and she said yes.
We're so happy about being able to get Jill in the book.
Palmiotti: Jill did beautiful watercolors. And it's one of their first meetings. And it's a lot of fun. And it makes sense to the story.
But of course, like all Harley stories, it's a little out of control, a little over the top. We're dealing with a lot of internal censorship, as we should.
Nrama: You have to censor yourself a little bit on this book?
Palmiotti: Yeah, now that we look at it, we realize we've gone a little too far in a few places.
Conner: As usual.
Palmiotti: That is our job, though, with the book.
Nrama: Has Jill ever done an actual Harley Quinn story before?
Conner: I don't know.
Palmiotti: I don't want to say no, but nothing comes to mind.
We kind of pitched it, telling her what it was about. It's basically Harley as a psychiatrist sitting with Joker, and dealing with him in a closed room. They kind of play tennis verbally with each other.
And it sets up something in the bigger story.
And this three-parter also leads into the next big story arc.
This is important and stands alone, but it leads into the next thing.
Nrama: You've also got Harley's Little Black Book coming out. What's coming out in that series? You've got the Neal Adams issue, right?
Palmiotti: Yeah, that's issue #5, which comes out in a month or so. It's the Neal Adams one with Harley and Superman. And it's a reworking of Superman and Muhammad Ali, but with Harley in it. It's pretty amazing.
And when you read it, your head's going to explode, because it's insane. Because we took Muhammad Ali out and put Harley in it. It doesn't really read the same, which is kind of funny.
Conner: And then issue #6, we have Harley meets classic Lobo.
Nrama: I saw that! You're bringing classic Lobo back, which should thrill fans. What's he like with Harley?
Conner: Writing the two of them together is so fun. They're both so out of control.
Palmiotti: It's drawn by Simon Bisley, of course, because you have to get him for classic Lobo.
In the preview pages you've got, Harley gets blown out of a spaceship - she presses a button. It's her fault.
Conner: She can't resist a shiny, red, candy-like button.
Palmiotti: And it sucks all these prisoners out into space, and she gets sucked out, and she slams right into Lobo, who's on his bike. And she's loving it. It's like she's in an amusement park.
And Lobo doesn't mind. She lands right in his lap.
You ever see that show Naked and Afraid?
Nrama: I love that show!
Conner: Me too!
Palmiotti: OK, this issue is sort of Naked and Afraid, with Harley and Lobo stuck on a planet. It's a lot of fun.