Writer Sam Humpries, who takes over Harley Quinn’s comic this week, has some deep love for this character. It wasn’t always that way, though. It took some time for Humphries to warm up to one of my personal favorite comic characters of all time. But between his first exposure to Harley, and penning HARLEY QUINN #45, Humphries has come to understand and embrace this survivor.

Humphries, who has also written series like LEGENDARY STAR-LORD, GREEN LANTERNS, and FANBOYS VS ZOMBIES, has one hell of a story set to lead us into an epic 50th issue. In HARLEY QUINN #45, Harley meets Granny Goddess and launches into the world of the Female Furies. This is a situation, unlike any Harley, has ever been in, but as Humpries says, Harley can adapt to any scenario and still be her lovable self.

How Harley Quinn’s Journey Affected Her Mental Health

Humphries took some time to talk about Harley and his plans for her with ComicsVerse. Check out the conversation, as well as some images from the upcoming issue, below.

Humphries On Harley

ComicsVerse: When did you first become aware of Harley Quinn? What were your first impressions of this character?

Sam Humphries: I first became aware of her on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. I did not get Harley Quinn at first. It wasn’t until I read MAD LOVE that I really connected with her.

CV: So, Harley is a pretty intense and complex character. How do you approach writing her and mastering her voice?

SH: The way I see it, Harley made a decision years ago to always be 100 percent herself. It’s not always easy and it’s not always simple, and she doesn’t always know what that means, but she’s never going to let anyone else push her into being anything less than herself.

Her Strength & Her Relationships

CV: Is there anything new you want to bring out in Harley? Is there an aspect of her personality or past that you really want to highlight?

SH: I want to show how strong she can be even without the hammer.

HARLEY QUINN #45. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

CV: Are there any side characters in Harley’s circle that you’re particularly excited to work with? Her makeshift family is so dynamic and vibrant.

SH: Yes, I love Coach, she’s a great counterpoint to Harley. She’ll be sticking around. We’ll also have her mom, and Bernie, because who doesn’t love a dead talking beaver? Beyond that, we’ll have some new supporting cast members. The first one comes from Apokolips.

CV: One of the things that makes Harley very important to me personally is the fact that she is a survivor of abuse and trauma. Is that something you have in mind while writing her? Now, do you navigate that aspect of her identity?

SH: Oh yeah, absolutely. I love her emotional resiliency. She’s been through a lot, she’s a real survivor. As I said before, I want to show that strength — the strength that comes from surviving emotional trauma. She’s not damaged, she’s powerful.

HARLEY QUINN #45. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

CV: The Granny Goddess + Harley dynamic is absolutely amazing to read. Where did this idea come from, and how did you approach it?

SH: I thought that Harley would love to be Queen Wild Card on Planet Bad Ass, so we sent her to Apokolips. And I knew Harley and Granny would drive each other crazy and one of them would eventually hit the other with a hammer and I thought, this is gonna be a dope comic.

HARLEY QUINN #45 and Beyond

CV: How do you collaborate with the brilliant art team to bring this book to life?

SH: John Timms is amazing. We hit the ground running right away. I give him a lot of space to go crazy, and boy does he flex. It’s a beautiful collaboration.

HARLEY QUINN #45. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

CV: What can you tell us about the upcoming 50th issue?

SH: Issue 50 is going to be unlike any comic you’ve ever seen! A nearly double-sized art jam issue where Harley DESTROYS DC continuity. To save it, she must deal with the most elusive comic book writer of all time: M. Clatterbuck. Guest starring Jonni DC, one of my favorite characters.

CV: Let’s get a little weird. If you could write Harley into any situation with no ramifications and no need for context — simply because it would be fun for you to write — what would it be?

SH: This is a great question because, so far, I’ve written her into some weird situations on this run and have never been told no. She’s like Bugs Bunny, she can go anywhere, walk into any situation, meet anyone, and always be herself.

HARLEY QUINN #45. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

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HARLEY QUINN #45 comes out this Wednesday, July 4th. The oversized, 38-page HARLEY QUINN #50, called HARLEY SAVES THE UNIVERSE, hit stores September 19th.

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