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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Godspeed you Lunatic Hillbilly

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: September 2014

What the heck is going on with Harley Quinn? Or more specifically I guess I should ask, what the heck is going on with the series creators and contributors? Last year DC announced it was holding open submissions for a few different panels of a Harley Quinn comic. I’m all for an increase in opportunities for up-and-coming artists to break into the industry, but I was mildly horrified when I learned that one of the panels open for reinterpretation was of Quinn herself, in a bathtub about to commit suicide. DC’s open call for Quinn shown in a humorous suicidal scene was made worse by the fact that this was publicized during September, which happens to be suicide prevention month.

It seems DC has made another strange misstep in their seeming effort to differentiate themselves from the rest. DC fans have known for a while that a “scratch-n-sniff” issue was being released soon, but it’s come to light that the issue in question, “Harley Quinn Annual #1” will contain smells including leather, suntan lotion, pizza and what’s referred to in the story as “cannabisylocibe 7-A,” AKA cannabis. I can just imagine the writers for Harley Quinn(Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner), with a table of half-empty lines of coke in front of them screaming excitedly at each other.

Snnnooooorrrrrt. “Holy shit. I just had an incredible idea. This is like, cutting edge shit! Wait. Wait. Wait. Listen. Are you listening?!

Snnnoooorrrrrrrt. “Yes.”

“Let’s make one panel smell like weed.”

“YOU ARE A GODDAMN GENIUS. You know what we should do? Let’s get more coke.”

When it came time to push this idea through to print, someone realized that there was a giant flaw in the plan to ship boxes of something weed-scented to a bunch of different countries. They decided to solve this by changing the “cannabisylocibe 7-A” scent to “grass clippings” for all countries other than the US. Good thinking you two, you really dodged that bullet. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at any publicity stunt attempted by the creators of a series which seems little more than a half-step above Juggalo fan fiction.

Speaking of fan fiction (and this one’s for all you Harry Potter fans out there), it seems a conservative Christian mother has set out on a mission to rewrite the Potter books so she can let her kids read them without fear of them turning into witches. From her site, “Hello friends! My name is Grace Ann. I’m new to this whole fanfiction thing… My little ones have been asking to read the Harry Potter books; and of course I’m happy for them to be reading; but I don’t want them turning into witches! So I thought… why not make some slight changes to these books are family friendly?” This reminds me of the time I was a counselor at a summer camp and there was a kid who wasn’t allowed to drink Pepsi, not because of the staggering amount of sugar in it, but because the brand was currently featuring Harry Potter on their label for a promotion. There was something really infuriating about the entire situation. In any case, if the lunatic ramblings of this insane woman have intrigued you, the first seven chapters of her fanfiction, Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, are available online. Godspeed.

Arielle Mullen