As a female who reads comic books (yes, we actually exist. In fact, estimates suggesting that 46.67 per cent of comic fans are women) I am always looking for female protagonist to look to for inspiration. That is not to say that I find male hero’s any less inspirational but lets be real, there are less female characters in comics. Especially leading characters, who have the upper hand and kick ass skills to match, let alone rival their male counterparts.
As a child of the 90s, I became infatuated with Batman: The Animated Series, which began my love for Harley Quinn and many other Gotham/Arkham residents, including Poison Ivy. Ivy was usually included in episodes along side Harley, she added something to the story and she did have some great episodes that really showcased her character. Even so, I always thought it was a shame she never got as much air time as Harley because she is an incredibly interesting character.
Poison Ivy made her first appearance in Batman ##181 in June 1966 and has been a hit with fans of the comic books and films ever since. How is it that she doesn’t have her own stand alone comic book series yet!? Seriously.
Even though Ivy is depicted as a villain in the comics, she is such an important character to many women across the world and has a pivotal role in the Batman universe. Ivy is one of Batman’s greatest enemies and uses biology and science as her greatest weapon against him. She’s one smart chick and she’s passionate about her job. Okay, so she may be a little more passionate than most..
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Ivy deserves her own stand alone comic book series, heck, she deserves her own movie, merch and more respect. It’s not enough to just include her in Gotham City Sirens & Birds of Prey. Female characters have a strong market, if only DC, Marvel & other publishers would give them a chance. Marvel comic’s new female Thor is outselling the old, male version by 30 per cent. You know why? Because people are hungry for change. They are hungry for strong female characters.
Even after the release of the blockbuster hit Avengers: Age of Ultron, fans were perplexed by the lack of Black Widow merchandise available, yet there was plenty on offer for fans of her male team mates. What are these publishing companies afraid of? There’s a demand for more stand alone female hero/villain comics & films. So, why not give the people what they want?
Reading comics and watching t.v shows about hero’s and villains inspired me to study Criminology in college. I have heard from a friend of mine, that Poison Ivy inspired her to study science. Reading comics like Rat Queens and Ms Marvel have given me hope that there is a future and a market for kick ass, girl power comics. Reading can be a very powerful experience, teamed with the visual artwork that comes along with comic books and graphic novels, it can move you. It can take you away from your everyday life and you can imagine what it is like to be unapologetically powerful, just like a women on the pages of the comics we read.
We are slowly moving forward in the right direction. I can only hope that the fans are heard and that DC finally give this character the stand alone series that she deserves.
I think Alice Walker said it best when she said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Let DC and other publishing companies know how you feel about the lack of female hero’s/villains because, sometimes hero’s need help too.
Feeling like a freak is never easy. You feel incredibly out of touch with other people, it makes you think that no matter what you do or say, people are judging you or laughing at you. You never quite feel like you blend in right in social situations, it’s awkward. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Being odd is like having spinach stuck in your teeth, you’re aware of it and so is everyone else.
I have always felt different from others but doesn’t everybody? We all feel disconnected from each other sometimes, so when we find a common interest or passion, it allows us to click with each other on another level. That is what cosplaying does for me, it allows me to be creative.
My first ever cosplay was dressing up as my favorite comic book character, Harley Quinn.
I remember walking down to the lobby of the hotel room I was staying in, to join a group of friends who I was cosplaying with at a convention that evening, we were dressed as Batman villains. My heart was racing and it took me all the courage in the world to leave my hotel room in full costume. It was terrifying, nauseating and ridiculously liberating all at once! There really is something incredibly strange about being in costume when it’s not Halloween. It’s odd!
Once I got over the feeling of being stared at by strangers and having a few old people laugh at me in the elevator, I was on a high! I got loads of compliments on my costume and a few people took pictures with me, it was such a confidence boost. Since then I have cosplayed as Harley Quinn many times, sometimes I dress up as her just for kicks, even when I am not at a convention.
I understand that may sound very strange to anyone who doesn’t understand cosplaying but it’s so much fun! I don’t think people do enough of what makes them happy sometimes, in fear that others might think it’s weird or unconventional. If something brings you joy, you have to indulge in that passion, not matter what others think. After all, life is for living & you only live once!
In a previous blog post I explained my thoughts on Harley Quinn as a character but her character means more to me than just being someone fun to dress up as. I relate to her personally and I find her to be very enchanting. Cosplaying as Harley has given me more confidence in myself, by allowing me to not take everything so seriously. You’re never too old to have fun cosplaying!
Cosplaying has been a major part of my life for about two years now. I don’t get to cosplay as often as I would like but there’s something to be said about planning a future cosplay. It gets my creative juices flowing and makes me excited to share my costume with other fans.
People may laugh at me for dressing up as a comic book characters in my spare time but the way I see it, who cares? I have a blast! I get to chat with other people who share a common interest and let loose for the day. I find cosplaying to be stress-reliving and a way to build my self esteem.
Any time I explain to someone that I like to dress up as comic book characters and go to conventions, I am met with raised eyebrows or suppressed laughter. It doesn’t even bother me because I know that those people probably care too much about what others think about them, to ever enjoy something so authentically. Cosplaying and Sci-Fi Conventions have allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I’ve made life long friends and memories that will stick with me forever. It’s been a blessing in my life & I’m so thankful for it.
For a long time I felt like I didn’t have a creative outlet that allowed me to express myself and once I found cosplaying, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. This was the perfect way for me to combine my love for fashion and geeky stuff together! It was perfect for me, I could piece together an outfit and feel creatively satisfied at the beginning, middle & end of the process.
Harley Quinn is a huge part of my life and truly has changed my life for the better.
To quote Bertrand Russel, ‘Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.’ Don’t be afraid to try something outside of the box, you might just enjoy it!
Let me start this off my saying that I have been a fan of Harley Quinn since the day I saw her on Batman: The Animated Series. Her lovable personality and goofy sense of humor enchanted me from an early age and I have loved her character ever since. Even though she is portrayed as a deranged woman who fell in love with a psychopath clown, she’s strangely relatable.
Many people have uttered the words, “Harley doesn’t set a good example for women”.
You know what, I don’t disagree in the slightest. I am well aware that Harley isn’t the perfect example of a stable woman, functioning well in society and within relationships. She is far from it.
She is insane.
Anyone who is a fan of Harley will know that her relationship with the Joker is far from perfect. The more emotionally and physically abusive he is to her, the more she craves his approval and love. I honestly think those who romanticize their relationship are missing the point entirely.
She represents something seriously dark and twisted. She represents a lot of fucked up things like domestic violence, toxic relationships and mental illness. Make no mistake, Harley Quinn is one of the most popular female characters in the DC universe, hell, she’s probably is the most popular.
The reason why so many people love Harley is because she’s relatable. She speaks to the deepest, darkest parts of a lot of people’s minds and she provides the comic relief that people dealing with these kinds of issues need. One of her costumes (which I love!) in the new Suicide Squad film, is in direct relation to all of this. Her outfit shows her obsession with the man she loves. Her choker says ‘Puddin’, which as a lot of fans will know is her pet name for The Joker & her t-shirt say’s ‘Daddy’s Lil Monster’ represents her obsessive and submissive behaviour towards The Joker.
Harley Quinn never tries to be a hero to women, she simply represents a lot of our fears and secrets. She is an extremely animated metaphor for a lot of physical and emotional struggles people live through on a daily basis. Art is created to evoke feelings, these feelings can either be negative or positive and all art is subjective.
In a lot of way’s she is art imitating life and that terrifies people.