Jimmy & Amanda Talk ‘Starfire’, ‘Harley Quinn’… and Harley-Davidsons at Denver Comic Con

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A Gang of Harleys for Jimmy & Amanda! Photos: Patricia Vollmer.
A gang of Denver Comic Con Harleys for Jimmy amd Amanda! Photos: Patricia Vollmer.

One of the highlights of my Denver Comic Con weekend was the time I spent with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the writers for DC Comics’ Harley Quinn and the upcoming return of Starfire.

I had the chance to see the sneak peek of Starfire, with issue #1 coming out on June 10, and was excited to talk to Jimmy and Amanda about it. I also got the chance to sneak in a couple of questions about the immensely popular Harley Quinn, whose series is resuming this week. Did I mention that Harley Quinn was DCC’s most-popular cosplay character all weekend?

Starfire #1: June 10

We started our conversation discussing the Starfire reboot that’s coming out on June 10. Frankly, I’m not sure “reboot” is the right word, since her backstory isn’t necessarily being rewritten. Instead, the writers plan to feature the alien warrior princess, who will go by Kori (a variation of Koriand’r), trying to adapt to normal human life in a trailer park on Key West. All the while, she continues to figure out her place in society and the part she can play in improving it. They gave several examples of how readers might enjoy Starfire’s adventures trying to be human.

  • Realizing that wearing clothing is what civilized people do.
  • Understanding how certain foods are eaten. Jimmy cited an example of Starfire trying to eat a watermelon like an apple, simply taking a bite out of it.
  • Social customs: Look for Kori enjoying drinks in a bar that were purchased by numerous suitors. She learns that it’s customary to at least engage in conversation with the suitors.

Jimmy made it clear that this new version will be designed for readers who had never read about Starfire in previous stories. Amanda pointed out that fans of Starfire on Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! will appreciate this new version of her, with the bubbly personality and charm. Fans will also see the extreme emotions, another thing that Starfire will need to learn to adapt to human interaction.

Fans will quickly see Kori called to action as a natural disaster strikes Key West within the first two issues, and she learns that she can’t simply stop some of these afflictions on her new friends.

We discussed the strong female characters that will be introduced in the first several issues, such as Sheriff Stella Gomez, who will take Starfire under her wing, helping her adjust to life among the humans on Key West, and will mentor her through the first issues’ conflicts. Stella’s brother will be a character worth watching for, a Coast Guard officer who will get to know Kori during the natural disaster of the first couple issues.

Geography was a theme during our interview, particularly with the challenges and new frontiers of pulling a DC character out of Metropolis or Gotham and having adventures in real locations. Jimmy and Amanda pointed out the research that’s required to do that, as well as the differences readers will encounter having settings on Key West as opposed to the urban settings in most of the DC Universe.

Starfire #1 comes out on June 10, and you can download the sneak peek now through the DC Comics website. I hope you’re as excited for it as I am!

Harley Quinn returns with #17 : June 10

Our discussion of geography was a perfect segue into talking about Jimmy and Amanda’s Harley Quinn coming out of Gotham and setting up operations on Coney Island. By taking her out of Gotham, she is able to really establish her own identity, without the influence of other characters’ story arcs that might have been occurring in parallel.

My friend's daughter who was at DCC at Harley. Photo: Janet Baratti, used with permission.
My friend’s daughter was at DCC as Harley. Photo: Janet Baratti, used with permission.

The specific question I had about geography came from a young fan I know, “Why did you remove Harley from Gotham?” Jimmy made it clear that taking her out of Gotham allows him and Amanda to really develop her character. I loved Jimmy’s analogy: “It’s like having a new boyfriend, but the only time you interact with him is with the rest of his family. You have to go out of town with your boyfriend to really get to know him.” He felt that keeping her in Gotham would keep her adventures restricted to those that also involve the Joker, Batman, Catwoman, and so forth.

I asked about any challenges with having Harley among true locations in New York City. Amanda couldn’t emphasize enough how perfect it is to have Harley in a building with a freak show on Coney Island (and I agree!). Jimmy was grateful for the support and creative liberties DC Comics had given them, and the writing duo has had a field day developing her character into someone who can do more than just foil Batman. I especially enjoy the good this new Harley is trying to do for her community.

Another question I had from my friend was about Harley’s roller derby costume. Amanda claimed the roller derby storyline is her fault… and it all stems from her having some fun with the costume design. The story followed. There was a request from DC Comics that Harley remain somewhat true to her original appearance from the New 52 Suicide Squad from 2011. However, Amanda wanted to experiment with her appearance for their own relaunch on Issue #1. She changed the colors back to black and red, added shoulder pads, and thought to herself, “It looks like she belongs in a roller derby!”

After a springtime break, Harley Quinn—and her newly hired Gang of Harleys—returns in Harley Quinn #17 on June 10.

How About a Gang of Harleys on Harleys?

At the end of the interview, we discussed the numerous Harley Quinn cosplayers at Denver Comic Con, and Jimmy said he’s hoping one day to see a gang of Harleys… riding on Harleys!

Obviously, you can’t have an official Harley Quinn Harley-Davidson without some licensing (such as what Marvel did for Captain America and Black Widow), but Jimmy thinks a “Harley Harley” would be perfect. He plans to keep his eye out for custom bikes!

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