Welcome to The Harley Report, a brand new, ongoing feature where we talk Harley Quinn with writer Sam “The Hammer” Humphries. Sam approached us here at Batman News about having an ongoing conversation about his work on the Harley Quinn title, and we jumped at the chance to discuss comics with him.
And other stuff, too. Like Swedish cinema. It gets real high-brow.
Think of this as a teaser for the feature before the main event, but I can guarantee you that it’s going to be a lot of fun. Maybe too much fun, if there is such a thing.
Read on and enjoy, True Believers.
[Google Voice “This call is now being recorded” alert]
Sam Humphries: I do not consent to this recording! This is illegal! Call the FBI!
Jay Yaws: …welcome to The… Harley Report, a brand new feature at Batman News with Sam Humphries. Uhh, Sam, how are you doing?
SH: I’m feeling violated because this phone call is being recorded without my consent! Call the Feds! Call Harley Quinn! I need help!
JY: But, uh, I mean… we do kind of need for me to transcribe this, so do… do I have your permission to record this conversation, Sam?
SH: Call the Feds! Call the Feds! You don’t have my permission!
JY: I’m gonna take that as a “yes.”
JY: So in the most recent issue of Harley Quinn, she gave up the title of “Angel of Retribution” for the Lords of Chaos and Order. That was pretty insane. Where’s she going to go from here, Sam?
SH: Well, that was really sort of the cap-off issue of “The Trials of Harley Quinn,” which we’ve been doing for twelve issues now. And also sets the stage for the future of the book and the future of the character because during this, we saw her mom die, which had a huge effect, because her mom had a very important relationship to her. But in comics and in real life, you can’t just get over a death like that right away. So it’s sort of setting the stage for Harley’s emotional growth over the next year, and we have two issues coming up that are holiday themed. One is a Thanksgiving issue, and the one after that is a Christmas issue, and they are both very different. And although they’re both about how it’s hard to be alive during the holidays when you’re grieving somebody, they’re also very crazy and very wild and very Harley.
JY: Yeah, definitely. And that’s one of the things, to get a little serious and sincere, that I like about your run on Harley: it gets a little bit goofy and crazy… it gets very goofy and crazy, but there’s still that emotional center and heart to it that definitely adds a lot of weight. And I don’t know if I’m speaking for you, but that’s what I liked about the idea you had for The Harley Report here, that you and I could have for these upcoming issues.
SH: Haha! Great transition.
JY: Thanks very much. And by the way, everything from the “phone call being recorded” and even this right now, I’m going to keep in the transcription, because that’s how we’re gonna roll.
SH: No, it’s because you want to flex on how good your transition was. That’s why.
JY: Yes, I do want to flex on how good my transition was, but also because it’s funny. Wouldn’t you say it was funny?
JY: No, but what can we expect from this idea for The Harley Report? What can our readers here at Batman News expect from this ongoing feature we’re going to have?
SH: Well, I’m really excited to be able to come to Batman News every month and be able to talk to everybody about all things Harley. “The Trials of Harley Quinn” got a huge response online, particularly the parts relating to Harley’s mom and the cancer struggle she went through and her eventual death and Harley’s reaction to it. I just got so many fantastic, heartfelt messages on Twitter and Instagram about this, and it made me realize there may be some real benefit to having a forum where we can talk Harley on a regular basis. And also, I thought it would be a lot more fun than a typical interview where we start from scratch, right? Like, this is an opportunity to get deeper in conversations about Harley, but also get broader as well, and talk about things beyond comics that relate to Harley.
JY: Yeah, like, what’s your favorite movie, Sam?
SH: My favorite movie? My favorite movie is Fanny and Alexander*, which is a five-and-a-half hour Swedish film.
JY: Isn’t that Ingmar Bergman?
SH: Ingmar Bergman. Exactly. But one of my favorite movies of the decade is a movie that I watched again recently, and that’s Inherent Vice, by Paul Thomas Anderson. And I watched it again recently because the influence it’s having on the next long Harley storyline.
JY: Very cool. And are you reading anything right now that’s also influencing that upcoming Harley storyline?
SH: Yes, I am. I don’t know if there’s anything I can say that won’t be a spoiler, but I’m just exiting sort of the research phases of this storyline and getting into the scripting. Something I’m reading, one thing that showed up today is volume one of the big Bill Sienkiewicz art book. That just came out, and just arrived today, and Bill Sienkiewicz is one of my favorite artists of all time. I’ve been a huge fan of his for years and years and years, and I’m just drooling over just flipping through this thing and I cannot wait to sit down with it.
JY: So if I’m reading between the lines properly here, Bill Sienkiewicz is going to draw Stephanie Brown, aka the Spoiler in an upcoming issue of Harley Quinn.
SH: That’s exactly what’s going to happen.
SH: That’s exactly what’s going to happen, and it’s going to be an oversized, limited edition hardcover, and we’re only going to print five of them, and they’re going to cost $50,000 each.
JY: Can I have one as a comp for helping you out with The Harley Report here?
SH: Yes. Absolutely.
SH: But I… will bill you for fifty grand.
JY: Uh, okay. We’ll… go over the definition of “comp” later because I don’t think I quite understand what it actually is. But no, I’m really excited about this feature, and I’m glad that you want to do it with us and have this ongoing, in-depth but also laid back and fun conversation. Is there anything else you want to leave us with before we sign off for the week?
SH: I’m just excited to hear what questions people have out there, so please, hit us up on Twitter. You know, this is a regular feature, so we may get to your question in the next installment of The Harley Report.
JY: Yeah, absolutely. On Twitter, or even leave it in the comments below on the Batman News post here. If you have a question for Sam or… me, for some reason, or both of us! Just propose it and we’ll get to it when we get to it. Again, I’m really loving this idea, Sam, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this is going.
Harley Quinn #67 is in stores now, so like we said, leave us your questions and comments below. While you’re doing that, enjoy the trailer for Fanny and Alexander*.