Harley Quinn grabs the spotlight once again in this new limited edition fine art print from Sideshow Collectibles by superstar artist Warren Louw.
The piece is entitled Harley Quinn: Legends of the Dark Knight #1, as it was first seen as an alternative cover to the first issue of Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 2) which ran for eight issues through 2021 reprinting the digital-first series of the same name.
The story, written and illustrated by Darick Robertson, didn’t actually focus on Harley Quinn but DC knows how integral Harley is as a selling point for the Batman universe. In fact, DC publisher and comics legend Jim Lee has referred to her as the fourth pillar of the DCU alongside Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Not bad for a character who debuted in the 22nd episode of Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) as an intended single appearance. It was, of course, one of many extraordinary successes of the multi-award-winning show, as Harley not only returned for future episodes but made her comic book debut in The Batman Adventures #12, a comic that was released at the same time the TV series aired.
She appeared in her first main continuity title seven years later, in the one-shot Batman: Harley Quinn #1 (1999). It’s an origin worth appreciating and it’s honored in this very picture with what looks like 2D stands of both Harley in her original costume and the Joker.
The Easter eggs don’t end there. Joker’s face is lit up in fluorescent lighting on the wall, the sofa seats are decorated with bats, and Batman himself is lurking in the doorway. Of course, we’re talking about a Harley Quinn picture here, so Batman’s presence is made funny when you notice the toilet sign above the doorway. As for the pictures hanging on the wall, I’ve had my magnifying glass out, but I concede that it should be a secret to unlock when you have the item in your hands!
Then there’s Harley herself. Artist Warren Louw is famed for a softer take on his female characters, and he aptly presents a more girly version of the self-titled Cupid of Crime (Harley Quinn #12, 2001) – although that playfully sly grin somehow remains a constant on whichever version I see. Finally, there’s the Batman symbol on the pinball machine which becomes strangely metaphorical – as if she’s always playing games with the Dark Knight.
Louw, a freelance illustrator and character designer from South Africa, has said on his DeviantArt page that this commission pushed him to the point where he was initially anxious about it.
This was the artwork that has taken me to the next level in my evolution of skill. The brief gave me anxiety – Harley Quinn with a pinball machine… I was seriously worried about all the detail involved, but it wasn’t long and a beast within awoke. In the end, I am personally overwhelmed by the results. This artwork however didn’t even receive 100% of what I can do. I just ran out of time. I had plans to still take it further.
We can only imagine what he had planned. Personally, I think it’s not only a technically clever piece of work (that angle must’ve been a devil to get right) but an excellent interpretation of the character, capturing her past whilst incorporating iconology and humor. Just admit it, Harley’s playing pinball with all our hearts.
The limited-edition Harley Quinn: Legends of the Dark Knight #1 fine art print is available from Sideshow Collectibles.
- Officially licensed by DC Comics
- Limited edition of 200
- 18 x 24” fine art giclée print, image dimensions 14 x 20”
- 100% cotton rag, acid-free, certified archival matte Epson Cold Press Natural, 305GSM
- Epson archival inks
- Autopen artist signature. Note: Signatures shown in photos are approximations and may differ from the actual product in shape, size, positioning, and ink color.
- Embossed seal of authenticity
- Print is wrapped and hand-rolled in acid-free paper, inserted in a protective plastic sleeve, and shipped in a 4” diameter tube
Images and Press Release Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles