In a rather appalling move, DC Comics is holding a talent search for artists that requires the entrants to draw DC character Harley Quinn in various suicidal tableaus, one of which is also naked.
Here are the panel submission requirements:
Harley is on top of a building, holding a large DETACHED cellphone tower in her hands as lightning is striking just about everywhere except her tower. She is looking at us like she cannot believe what she is doing. Beside herself. Not happy.
Harley is sitting in an alligator pond, on a little island with a suit of raw chicken on, rolling her eyes like once again, she cannot believe where she has found herself. We see the alligators ignoring her.
Harley is sitting in an open whale mouth, tickling the inside of the whale’s mouth with a feather. She is ecstatic and happy, like this is the most fun ever.
Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.
The outrage online was swift, with one tumblr user writing, “Congrats, DC, for fully driving me away. I kept defending you, because
you were the comics I grew up with. But you keep disappointing me, and
this is the last (disgusting) straw.”
Most users are not only disgusted with the continued use of suicide but also the blatant sexualization of said suicide in panel 4.
Commenter Seairra Willett writes, “The sexualization of suicide is something I will not be putting effort
into for a talent search. I’ll let the other fanartist draw naked Harley
in a bathtub. I’ll gladly draw anything but sexualized characters and
suicide scenes for a very well-developed character.”
Meanwhile, one of the contest creators, Jimmy Palmiotti, tried to defend the panels as being “Looney Toons”-esque, before deleting his Facebook comments. But not before Christina Stewart got a screengrab (below).
This comes on the heels of the “Batwoman” creators quitting DC Comics because their lesbian crimefighter was forbidden from getting married to her girlfriend in their comics.