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Interview: Jimmy Palmiotti talks HARLEY QUINN, Old Secret Agents, and Assassins

Find out what's going on in the series and when we'll find out who's trying to kill Harley.

HARLEY QUINN has been delivering the laughs month after month. Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and Chad Hardin are giving us a comic that stands out from the others. There may be a lot of crazy and over the top violence but you can't deny the charm Harley oozes out.

We caught up with Jimmy to ask about her current mission to help out an old retired secret agent as well as when will we find out who put the hit out on her.

COMIC VINE: In issue #4 we saw Sy Borgman, aka Syborg. What can you tell us about his origin? Any inspiration from that Frank Zappa song?

JIMMY PALMIOTTI: Someone brought this up recently, so I had to look it up. No inspiration from Zappa but a lot of inspiration from all the older men in the neighborhood when I grew up. We had a constant stream of Yiddish being thrown around with the Italian and broken English when we were kids. I would listen to the older men talk and shoot the shit every day and laugh at the stories. They were a fun bunch with plenty to say and part of bringing Harley to this part of New York is adding the local color. Sy was once a very powerful man and he still is, even in the state he is in. I had this character laying around for years and never thought we would be able to use him anywhere where he would make sense. Thank God I was wrong.

CV: Looks like Harley is going to help Syborg complete his mission to eliminate the threats against the country. Will this all happen in issue 5 or carry over into other issues?

JP: The adventure carries over to issue 6 because Sy has a lot of older enemies and we needed more than one issue to cover what was going to happen. This issue the madness starts right away in a hospital, makes it way to a rich home in Mil Basin and next issue they hit a zoo in prospect park that is one of the funniest things Chad has ever drawn. The pages are coming in and the group is just laughing out loud with Harley’s interaction with Sy and all of the animals. There is a joke in the second part that is a continuation of a scene in another book I was part of years ago that a few people will get right away. I don't want to give it away, but it does involve a bear.

CV: What makes Harley so willing to help out an old dude she just met? Am I wrong to be a little untrusting about his backstory?

JP: She is a people person and Sy came to her with a minor threat and an opportunity for her to have some dangerous fun. As they work together, you will see a kind of bonding that happens when a charming older man is around a younger woman. Its something that has worked for years for Amanda and I. Sy’s backstory is a pretty simple and clear one…but his mind has gotten a bit funky in the later years.

CV: How would Harley do in the secret agent business?

JP: Horrible. She can’t seem to keep her mouth shut, but isn’t that why we love her so? She is unpredictable at every turn and does not have a great grasp on what is right and what is wrong.

CV: There tends to be some pretty crazy and over-the-top scenes in HARLEY QUINN. How do you and Amanda come up with the crazy scenarios? Do you keep a list of potential acts of violence that could be used?

JP: We work together when we take a drive somewhere or spend time away from the drawing boards and computers. We get ideas from weird places, from shopping malls, from listening to people talk and from places you would never expect. We always have the conversation “ what if Harley…” and we keep notes so when we start outlining, we fill in the blanks. We have a ton of ideas, thank God. We just finished writing the last chapter of the Harley Quinn invades SDCC and we were laughing because we never thought we would have 38 pages of ideas about the con. The joke is we had to trim it a bit…so this seems like the right book for us right now.

CV: Are there plans to reveal who put out the assassination hit on Harley any time soon or will this be a subplot for us to enjoy for a while?

JP: Yes, issue 7 is the reveal and we deal with this in the usual colorful way. Poison Ivy is there to help Harley that issue and they get to the heart of the matter within the first 10 pages…but what a mess it turns out to be!

CV: HARLEY QUINN is a very fun comic to read. Are you and Amanda having as much fun writing it as we are reading it?

JP: We are having a blast and hope the audience sticks around to give us a chance to do the things we have planned after the first year, which we just had to lay out for DC this week. I think the book is getting better as it goes and we are really finding our beat with the character. We love Harley and hope it shows.

CV: What’s your favorite thing about Harley?

JP: For the both of us, it's the idea that we write the book from her point of view and really understand why she does the things she does. Honestly, I think the best part is getting Chad's pages in our e mail every other day and seeing what he has done with the insane script we gave him. It really is a treat for us on so many levels and then watching what Alex does with the color makes us understand why he is considered one of the best in the business. I also think our other favorite thing about the character is how much of a following she has and how much it is fun for us to meet all these wonderful cosplayers and fans at the shows around the countries.

HARLEY QUINN #5 is now on sale. Buy it!

14 Comments
Posted by Master_Thief

Guys the Batman Assualt on Arkham Traile is out

Edited by pspin

I love what the team is doing with Harley and the book. I hope they keep it up and the book lasts a long time.

Posted by AmazingWebHead

Guys the Batman Assualt on Arkham Traile is out

No way! Really? I gotta check it out!

Posted by mak13131313

@pspin said:

I love what the team is doing with Harley and the book. I hope they keep it up and the book lasts a long time.

This!

Edited by Crimsonlord53

Cool nice to know there is a plan for this book.

Posted by LyraFay

Can Green Arrow show up? Can we have a repeat of Injustice please, Jimmy?

Posted by Marionettegeist

@lyrafay said:

Can Green Arrow show up? Can we have a repeat of Injustice please, Jimmy?

I second this. Harley should redesign the Quiver.

Posted by LoganRogue24

i love the harley book i wish jimmy and amanda stuck with power girl till the end.

Posted by THEOCITYLEGEND

Really loving the new Harley book!