They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. While that might be true for prose, it’s not entirely true for comic books. Comic books are a visual medium and more times than not, it’s the art that draws you in. With so many comic books coming out these days, a cover that stands out from everything else on a wall of new releases can determine how well it sells. I know that I’ve picked up new titles solely based on the cover.
It is with that in mind that we bring you Face Value, a column where we will be looking at the best covers in comics, both new and old, every two weeks. This month, DC will be celebrating Harley Quinn on what is traditionally Batman Day. This year marks the character’s 25th anniversary which got me thinking about her long history in the pages of comic books and how she’s especially changed over the last few years. As a huge Harley Quinn fan, I’m using this an excuse to talk about her all month long. This month’s special edition of Face Value is all about this character, who is near and dear to my heart.
Harley Quinn #30 (volume 2) by Amanda Conner
I’m strangely obsessed with this cover because it’s the least amount done with the character on a cover while still being totally Harley Quinn. It’s also very different from what Amanda Conner usually does as far as her work goes. It’s very understated and quiet for Harley but such a great design.
Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special by Amanda Conner
This is a fun cover because it’s a completely ridiculous situation given the history these two characters have. Harley Quinn has come a long way since her days as the Joker’s sidekick but smooching Batman is still a big deal. What’s great about this image is that it’s completely playful. This isn’t the start of some epic romance but a silly adventure centered around a romantic holiday. Conner’s ability to totally nail Batman and Harley’s differences is great. If you ever get the chance to read this, do it, because it’s a great jab at Batman’s romantic history through Harley Quinn style comedic antics.
Harley Quinn #9 (volume 2) by Amanda Conner
Harley Quinn getting arrested, for probably hitting someone over the head with a giant mallet, with a big smile on her face. Throw in these incredible light effects in the background and this makes for a good cover. I want to know what she did and I want to know it now.
Harley Quinn #12 (volume 2) by Darwyn Cooke
What if Lucille Ball played Harley Quinn? That was basically my immediate reaction when I saw this cover and it remains that. Cooke was one of the greatest ever and he didn’t get to draw this character a whole lot but he definitely made it count. I love comedic, playful Harley and despite my issues with her outfit here, I do love this cover.
Harley Quinn #26 (volume 1) by Terry Dodson
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are soulmates and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. They compliment each other very well and whenever one of them appears in the other’s story, it’ll be a good time. I like this cover because it’s not necessarily romantic but is instead fun. Dodson gives them these great looks from top to bottom and it’s kind of like a pitch for Thelma & Louise but with Harley and Ivy. I would watch that movie. Many times.
DC Comics Bombshells #32 by Mirka Andolfo
Unlike the above cover, this one is romantic. “DC Comics Bombshells” has not shied away from Harley and Ivy as a couple. Writer Marguerite Bennett made that very clear early on in their meeting in this alternate timeline. It’s great and there have been many artists who have come onto the series. Andolfo’s cover is probably not the most memorable but it is the best one that features the two of them together. There’s Harley with her classic look and Ivy getting ready to put something a little scandalous. It’s colored extremely well and is overall, incredibly cute. I want to go to their circus.Continued below
Harley Quinn #17 (volume 3) by Amanda Conner
A lot has been made over Harley Quinn’s redesign while I have my own opinions on that, I do like this cover and the duality that exists in it. It’s the past meeting the present with swapped colors on each side. While they may look different, these two women are exactly the same and there’s very little doubt of that in how Conner draws the two images.
Harley Quinn #1 (volume 1) by Terry Dodson
This is kind of Harley Quinn’s re-debut if you ask me. This series was truly her breaking free from just being a supporting Batman character and the Joker’s girlfriend. Dodson’s cover is her on her own and happy. It is really different from what we had seen from the character up to this point. It’s one of the first images I think of when I think of the character.
Batman: Harley and Ivy #1 by Bruce Timm
This was a very short miniseries but it’s one of the earliest moments between these two characters in the core comic book line. Harley and Ivy was always a sort of unlikely pairing and they weren’t an immediate love story. This cover is cute because it directly highlights how different they are and it’s kind of cute seeing them way back when.
Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica by Amanda Conner
So, I’m absolutely cheating here because this isn’t actually out yet but I really love the way Conner immediately hits all these characters’ personalities. Each expression here is perfect and this is an image that tells a story. I’m just throwing this out there but Harley and Ivy should absolutely steal Betty and Veronica from Archie. That would make this whole series worth it.