Tee Franklin, Author of Harley Quinn: The Animated Series – The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour

“Tee Franklin: Harley kickin Zeus’ ass was dope as hell. But that kiss! That kiss, shut it down. Changed everything, just jaw dropped; time stopped.”

Check out our interview with Tee Franklin, author of ‘#HarleyQuinn: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour’!

Tee Franklin holds a copy of Bingo Love

Do you know who Tee Franklin is? Of course, you do! Tee Franklin is a Queer, disabled, Black woman and best-selling writer of comics and TV. She’s written The Outfit (Nailbiter #27), A Blazin’ (in the Ignatz award-winning Elements Anthology), Tears (in the Eisner-winning and New York Times Best Seller, Love is Love), and most recently the ‘Harley Quinn: The Animated Series – The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour’ series!

We got the chance to speak with Tee about her experience working on The Eat, Bang! Kill. Tour, her love of Dr. Harleen Quinzel and her upcoming works.

Tora Shae

Alright, let’s get started!

So first of all, tell me what it was like getting into. I know you’re familiar with comics. But tell me what it was like delving into the personality of Harley Quinn. I recognize bits of myself in Harley and Dr. Harleen Quinzel, but what was it for you, delving into her and trying to write from that angle? 

Tee Franklin  

Harley, I can see a lot of myself in Harley. Regarding the domestic violence angle, and just not being able to leave for whatever reason, right with Harley and Joker, there were no kids, but in my situation, there are kids. 

So you know, we both stayed. But she is very… she is who I wish I could be, you know, provided like I wouldn’t go to jail for mass murder. And, you know, robbing banks and, you know, holding my city hostage. So I don’t know if I will go that far. But I would definitely, you know, if I had it, like, what I would get so much revenge on everybody. And I’m just like, well, since I know I can’t do it. Harley can!

Tora Shae  

*laughs* You’re going to live vicariously through Harley!

Tee Franklin  

Absolutely! Absolutely. That’s Harley’s like, Look; I don’t give a damn. I don’t care about the consequences. Y’all will be a-okay. And most times, it’s not a-okay, but Oh, well. She’s moved on to the next thing in her life. So yeah, I would. I would, you know, I took some of the stuff that I wish that I could do and put it in Harley Quinn. You see, she’s a complex individual full of trauma. Trauma from her parents, trauma from losing, you know, her gymnastics competition to everything you know from with Joker and everything. 

So she’s beyond complex with tons of trauma and mental health issues. And she’s the psychiatrist. So she’s, you know, she got a lot of shit *laughs* and so do I!

Tora Shae  

Right, so we see this, we see this issue pick up from right after Ivy’s wedding, and we see them speeding down Harley’s highway. 

Tee Franklin  

I love her highways. The colour scheme, I love it. 

Tora Shae   

And I wanted to kind of pick up on what you said about Harley being complex. And no spoilers. But there is a moment within the comic where you see Harley fighting within herself. About you see her talking with–

Tee Franklin  

Harleen Quinzel! Dr. Harleen Quinzel, *laughs*

Tora Shae

*laughs* Harleen Quinzel, about her concern for Ivy. And I think it’s so brilliant that you have her. Without having to go through the whole rigmarole of Ivy having to do that for her. Her being able to take those necessary steps of inner workings and taking a step back and saying, “Should I do this? I know I’m concerned. But I should I push my friend the way I usually do.”

Tee Franklin  

Right? She does that a lot in the cartoon, she pushes Ivy, and she just doesn’t care about her feelings. And it’s nice to finally see her like, “Hey girl, You know, I’m here for you if you need a shoulder, right, but in season one and season two, we were breaking TVs we were breaking the Gucci, Gucci, Gucci, Gucci tables, like we were doing all of this stuff. And, you know, ultimately leaving Ivy to be kidnapped and poisoned and killed. Like Ivy is still, she’s caught to be processing the fact that you know, I was murdered, my friend’s ex murdered me. Like, what? That’s a lot of shit that’s going on between the both of them. And they’re also trying to navigate this new queer baby relationship.

So these ladies are going through it, and I am proud of Harley to be taking that step back, and like, “Yo, I see there’s something wrong. I’m here if you want to talk, but I’m not gonna push the issue” because she’s still impetuous. She’s still want to have her fun and go on a road trip. Okay! Like she wants it. But she also wants to make sure her girl is fine. So I love the little Harley versus Harleen, not even versus. But just like, chick have a seat. Sit down, let’s have this conversation, cuz you doing too much. 

Tora Shae

Right. I also wondered if it was, it might not have been. I asked if it was symbolism that they were driving way too fast on Harley’s highway. 

Tee Franklin  

No comment. No comment, but I will say like, it’s just you know, just like on the show. Nobody’s breaking– It’s not breaking up, right. We’re not going to; it’s no queerbaiting. But, you know, we’re not going to give you a little taste and then oh, no, they’re broken up. So that you know, we’re definitely not doing that. But you know, usually, right? The saying is to get over one ex; you get under somebody new. 

Now, while that’s not the case, I’m just saying, like, baby girl, you need to breathe. You literally put on your wedding dress. Okay, the Vera Wang! Like she’s got the Vera Wang on, and she’s like, I know well. Who’s that? Like hip hop harry! I need them both. Like they both need to just. They both need therapy. But not Harleen!

Tora Shae 

And they cannot be each other’s therapists. 

Tee Franklin  

Absolutely not! We are not going down that route.

Tora Shae  

No, exactly. So like I said for Harley, how did you get into Ivy’s persona? Because she’s an entirely, that’s a wholly different, that’s a horse of different colour.

Tee Franklin  

Yes, literally. Ivy is very. From what I gathered on the show, right Ivy is Oh, come on, brain. What is the word? Oh, Lord. 

She’s anti-social. Right? I don’t want to team I’m by myself. I wish I were Catwoman again, instead of having people to depend on. You know, she’s very just like, you saw her plenty of times just whistling and cleaning her house. In the show. She’s like, yo, leave me alone I want to read my, you know, my trash magazines, and cook and clean. Like, Bro, I don’t have time for a little loose. You know, I’m a kill here and there, but all that extra stuff. You know? I’m off that. 

And she’s very. She’s very cool. Right? She’s just laid back. She’s like, bro, whatever. If you need me, and it’s something serious. Aight, I’ll be there. Right, but it’s not. They are. They are polar opposites. And being an introvert, being an anti-social, like, if I got both sides.

Tora Shae  

Right. So what moment would you say was your favourite throughout the series? And what moment, without spoilers, would you say was the most fun for you to put on paper?

Tee Franklin  

Oh my, it’s so many awesome parts of the show. I mean, ah, Harley kickin Zeus’ ass was dope as hell. Like you perverted. Nasty mofo. She just beat ass, like that was dope!

But that kiss, like that kiss coming out of the pit! That kiss, shut it down like that. Changed everything. That moment changed everything for me as a fan. I remember watching that clip, and I just jaw dropped; time stopped. I was like, yo, ain’t nobody in the room, but I’m talking to the people in my room. Like y’all see this? They kissin!

Tora Shae  

So, um, how excited Do you think readers would be for the release?

Tee Franklin  

I feel like once certain pages get out there. I hope it breaks the internet like I really do. But, because it’s about time, I feel that they might; I mean, as a fan of Harley and Ivy myself, it’s just like, damn, it’s about time. And knock on wood. It’s canon and stays canon. 

Right, like they are together, they are in love, they are kissing each other. They’re doing a lot. They are doing a lot throughout this whole series. And I think it’s lovely. Now I know it’s not gonna please some people; they want her with the Joker or whatever. But I like happy Harley. And I love in-love-Harley. 

Tora Shae  

Say that. What I also really admired was even more than just the steamy moments; there were, as you said, the tender moments. They care, which you don’t often see when queer characters are written by people who are not us. That’s all that they focus on is the steamy moments. I appreciated the attention to care for each other. And checking in. Just being there, in the moment, without going into further detail, *laughs* just, like loving on each other. 

Tee Franklin  

Yes.

Tora Shae  

That was so so important. And I think it’s so so important to have that sort of representation for us as well. So thank you for that. 

Tee Franklin  

Yes, I wanted to show their vulnerability, right? I want to show them. I hope people pick up on the mental health aspect in both characters. Like there’s a lot, and I just wanted to show that it’s not just all the fighting and sex, right? And just because in the show, we never got to see a relationship with just saw them getting drunk and having sex. Going out to the club and partying and drinking and then waking up like, Oh shit, what the hell did we do? Right? 

This will be the first time where they are in the right headspace. 

Tora Shae  

Right. 

Tee Franklin  

And realizing like Yo, I love this woman. She means so much to me. And it. It was really important. I feel that Ivy is still in her wedding dress and them consummating the relationship for the first time where nobody Is intoxicated. Right, that they wake up in bed together, not surprised that the other person is next to them. 

I love it. I just hope everybody loves and enjoys ‘The Eat, Bang! Kill, Tour.’. The team is fucking badass. Oh my god. Max Sarin, Taylor Esposito, Marissa Louise, Katie Kubert, like Yo, everybody did the damn thing.

Baby, that artwork! Every page I get, I’m like, this can’t be my life right now, cuz it’s so dope. It’s so… Max’s facial expressions give me life. Life! I’m animated; I talk with my hands. My face, my eyes, my eyebrows. My nose hair like I’m animated as shit. So getting to see. Like, everybody’s is being so animated. So it’s just like, oh, I’m not alone, yay!! *laughs*.

I love it. Right. Maxine Waters is, you know, her facial expressions are pfft. Right? Everybody knows her facial expressions. And I’m like, yo, Catwoman. Right there. Let’s make that happen, right like it. People like it; that’s why memes are so popular. Right? And gifs, they’re so popular because of people’s expressions. So I’m like, yo, let’s go. Let’s go deep with it. Harley’s already animated as it is. You know she is a handful. Let’s do it. Let’s turn it up. 

And Max is just on point every time.  I’m just like, yep, she’ll take my boring ass words and just. Oh my god. Oh my god. Like I’m seeing this black and white. Right? It’s black, white, black text on white paper. And that was just like what? How? Oh my god, like the page, the pages that had my words on it. They did that! They did that; Max did that! 

Like shit, I love the art. The letters does not take you out– yo Taylor is such a bomb ass letterer, and I need him to get more work. Preferably with me. But he, like his work, Taylor, he’s also a Jersey Boy. Jersey in the house. But Taylor is so badass. It doesn’t take you out. The captions like everything, just, oh my god, the sound effects bro. He just makes that shit work and Marissa on the colours? It’s like everybody that’s there. It’s like they just pulled it right out of the show. 

Because it flows so effortlessly and blends perfectly with the television show, and I’m just; I’m always amazed by them. Wait till y’all see the variant covers. Oh my god, MHH! But, man, it’s just, everybody has been made shit. And I’m just so grateful that I get to be a part of it. I really am.

Tora Shae  

We definitely are inspired by you. And by this, what’s next for you after this?

Tee Franklin  

Oh, nothing that I can say. But yeah, yo, NDAs are bitch.

But umm, I am. I can say that. I’m a television writer now. So that’s pretty cool. But I can’t say what I’m writing on. 

But! Yeah, I am venturing over into the TV side. I’m really freaking hyped. And hopefully, I do a kick ass job and sell like a million copies, and DC is like, ‘write what you want to write! I love you’. That is my goal. That is what’s next. I just put it out in the universe a million copies. Vixen is an ongoing series. Umm, Vixen animated TV show. That’s what I’m getting two mins for each episode and Vixen CW series! That’s what’s next to me. I’m writing at all. I don’t know they know that, but *laughs*

Baby, I could be here for an hour, like oh yeah! And this one too.

Tora Shae

Thank you so muc–

*both start laughing again*

Tee Franklin

You’re welcome! Thank you for interviewing me, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, and you’re the second person I’ve heard from who’s read the book and enjoyed it. So I am over the moon! Super over the moon.

Tora Shae

Again, thank you so much for having me and allowing me to interview you. As a huge Harley Quinn nerd and a DC fan, I’m just honoured.

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