Wednesday Comments – Hunting Harley Quinn

I love comic books. I love the characters and their adventures. I love creators and their vivid imaginations. Comic books are easily my favorite things published.

But there’s something else that I love about comics; the collecting.

I don’t know if comic books created my collectors mentality or just fueled it, but I’m a full-blown collector. I collect cds, dvds and the occasional action figure. I guess you could even say that I “collect” ice cream, in that whenever I see a new flavor I’ve got to have it.

But yeah, I’m primarily a comic collector. And I’m a pretty big fan of “the complete run.” Unfortunately, given the brief lifespan of most titles in the current climate, it’s getting easier and easier to get complete runs. It stinks.

Getting my complete run of Starman was a challenge. I started collecting around #45 and then collected both forward and backward. With DMZ I collected the first couple of storylines, then the last couple and filled in the middle via Baltimore Comic Con. And tracking down my run of Sandman Mystery Theatre was a joy. When I got that final issue I was looking for, it was such a great feeling.

I actually felt that same feeling in December when I went back home and visited Fantasy Comics. It was there that I found Superman/Batman Generations 3 #12. Finally having a complete run of Superman/Batman Generations felt pretty cool.

But I’ve got a problem. My current “complete run” project is Harley Quinn. And how I got into it is sort of weird.

So, awhile back I recalled my experiences with subscriptions from DC and how I had a stack of Harley Quinn issues sitting at home. Now, as near as I can tell, my subscription to Harley Quinn picked up once Aquaman ended. And it also seems to be that I also got Harley Quinn when Starman ended as well.

Basically I’ve got Harley Quinn #1-10 and #12-18. Naturally, I want to complete my run.

The thing is; I can’t find Harley Quinn issues anywhere. When I went to Fantasy Comics, they didn’t have anything in stock. For the past three years I’ve looked for Harley Quinn at the Baltimore Comic Con and found zilch. And I’m the type of con attendee that hits every booth.

You wouldn’t think that a book from a dozen years ago would be hard to find. Especially a DC book. Honestly, if you look at what else was on the stands around the same time and how easily most of those books are to track down, it’s sort of baffling.

I mean, I know Harley Quinn is a popular character and that she’s part of the Bat-verse, but you’d think that both of those would be reasons why her book wouldn’t be so rare. Print runs were higher back then and the title only ran for 38 issues, which means it wasn’t a huge seller. Harley Quinn should be readily available in discount long boxes at every con.

But I can’t even find Harley Quinn bagged and boarded.

It’s frustrating. Especially because I’m a collector. And to make matters worse, I’m not even really a Harley fan. The only reason I have the title in the first place is because a book I subscribed to got the axe and they filled the remainder of my subscription with Harley Quinn.

I don’t love the character. I’m not really all that invested in the story. But I am a collector and I will not be denied.

A complete run of Harley Quinn is my new quest. And I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

In the meantime, its Wednesday go and get some fresh comics from you local comic shop.

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