Last week, DC Comics announced an open talent search to work on Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.
Artists were asked to draw one script page consisting of four panels, the last of which included an image of Harley naked in the bathtub and apparently committing suicide. The page was meant to be "meta" and tongue-in-cheek, explained the creators and the publisher, but criticism has persisted for six days. This morning, Palmiotti took to his Facebook page in another hope to get the situation under control.
"That the tryout Harley Quinn page went out without an overall description of tone and dialogue is all my fault," Palmiotti wrote. "I should have put it clearly in the description that it was supposed to be a dream sequence with Amanda and I talking to Harley and giving her a hard time. I should have also mentioned we were thinking a Mad magazine /Looney Tunes approach was what we were looking for. We thought it was obvious with the whale and chicken suit, and so on, but learned it was not. I am sorry for those who took offense, our intentions were always to make this a fun and silly book that broke the 4th wall, and head into issue 1 with a ongoing story/adventure that is a lot like the past Power Girl series we did. I hope all the people thinking the worst of us can now understand that insulting or making fun of any kind was never our intention. I also hope that they can all stop blaming DC Comics for this since It was my screw up. The idea for the page to find new talent is an amazing one and we hope that can be the positive that comes forward from today on...that we get some new talent working in our field because of this unique opportunity."
Whether it will help defuse the situation remains to be seen yet but for many, Palmiotti and Conner are the part that hold the whole thing together, so for Palmiotti to shift blame off the publisher may help.
"For the record, hard to respect anyone in comics more than Jimmy Palmiotti," tweeted Mark Waid late last night at the close of a long conversation between himself and a number of other comics creators regarding the controversy.