She’s No Joker
♦ Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden gives us his twelfth in a regular series about comic series that never were. Today it’s the turn of Bob Rozakis’ The Harlequin…
Bob Rozakis’ The Harlequin…
One of the premier voices of the Bronze Age of the DC Universe – as well as comicdom’s original “Answer Man” – Bob Rozakis thrilled readers with his work on the Original Universe’s various titles, including Teen Titans. Now, he tells of the back-up series that would have taken his Teen Titans creation to new heights within the pages of The Harlequin.”
Although a prominent member of the Titans, the Harlequin would have gone solo in the back-up series. Rozakis pointed out that the stories “would have appeared after Teen Titans #53, in which the group broke up.
“Duela Dent is the daughter of Two-Face. After discovering who he was — her mother had kept it a secret while Duela was growing up — she decided to become a hero and atone for his sins. She first took on the guise of The Joker’s Daughter and later became the Harlequin while a member of the Titans. In the first script, Duela is tracking down her father, who has escaped from Arkham Asylum.”
Although the back-up series was assigned an editor — Jack C. Harris – Rozakis pointed out that the script has no indication of an artist. Still, that wouldn’t have prevented him from choosing his own.
“I would have liked Irv Novick, Don Heck, or Jose Delbo on the series,” Rozakis said. “All three had drawn the character in Batman Family or Teen Titans. My friend Alex Saviuk also would have done a great job.”
As far as the initial eight-page script itself, Rozakis said that he did two versions of it.
“Both of them begin with Harlequin tracking down two petty burglars who had been working for her father,” Rozakis said. “In the first version, she then tracks Two-Face to an office in NYC’s World Trade Center and he tells her about a major criminal enterprise she should investigate. The second draft ends with her subduing the crooks and heading off in search of Two-Face. I do not recall why I did a complete rewrite since there is virtually no difference in what happens in the opening confrontation. It would have to have been at the request of my editor, Jack; maybe he thought I had too much going on in one eight-page story. All these years later, I really do not recall.”
As Rozakis mentioned above, the Vixen series was axed in the DC Implosion. Although she didn’t disappear from the DC Universe altogether.
“Gerry finally got to use the character a few years later in a Superman story, if I recall correctly,” said Rozakis. “Then she went on to join the Justice League. Duela made a few appearances after this in some Robin stories I wrote.”
Rozakis confessed that given the opportunity, he would have enjoyed the chance to write the series. However, that didn’t stop him from being busy within and outside of the comics industry.
“Since that series (some 40 years ago),” Rozakis admitted, “my major works were ‘Mazing Man and Hero Hotline (both co-created with Stephen DeStefano). But once I became head of DC’s Production Department in 1981, I spent much of my time handling the more sophisticated printing and formats as well as guiding the company into computer-colouring, so I did not do as much writing.
“After leaving the staff job in 1998, I wrote a variety of custom comics for DC. I also wrote The Secret History of AA Comics, which posits a comics industry in which Maxwell C. Gaines and his AA Comics buy out his DC partners rather than what actually happened. I also published The Answer Man’s Book of Trivia Quizzes, a collection of questions and trivia collected from an online comics chatroom I ran on AOL for a number of years.
“Currently, I teach a creative writing class for the Johns Hopkins University CTY Summer program, something I’ve done for 26 years. I have just started teaching a class on Comic Books & Graphic Novels at Farmingdale State College.”
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