Reblogged from duss005 February 15, 2012 by clownyprincess
for everyone out there celebrating mad love.
happy valentine’s day
In addition to being a really sweet and talented guy, Dustin is someone who’s demonstrated in his art that he understands and appreciates the subtleties and nuances of the JokerxHarley relationship.
This gorgeous piece of art is an obvious homage and reference to the last page of Mad Love, flipping the places of Joker and Harley, Joker taking central position in the image with Harley symbolically present through the rose she has sent him for his convalesence.
Knowing the dynamics of Batman/Joker/Harley it’s easy to imagine the context - this is after one of the Joker’s run-ins with the Bat - run-ins that often end with the Joker physically very much the worse for wear. There’s a perverse satisfaction in that for the Joker - he’s a masochist as much as he is a sadist and engages in his crimes with deliberate intent to provoke the Batman’s rage, knowing full well the potential consequences upon his person. Whilst on one level he may not “succeed” once Batman has stopped him once again, he very much is triumphant on another - especially if he’s laid up like this. He’s driven the Bat to the edge again, forced a compromise in the Batman’s ethics.
To my eyes, him smiling upon the rose that Harley has sent him is him reflecting on his bizarre, twisted life with a great deal of contentment. That rose is intended to be a comfort to him - and it reminds him just as much as his physical injuries do of where he is and why - in a way, that rose underscores his relationship with Batman and emphasises the life he has is one of his own making, including Harley who stays by his side through it all.
On another level, a very subliminal, subconscious one, I think the rose also serves as an anchor in his very chaotic life. The Joker is a monster who cannot process or experience emotion like ordinary people, but his creation of Harley Quinn does reflect a perverse sort of loneliness. And after a lifetime of absolute isolation, to have one person to share it with him, and express that in so simple a gesture as a single rose by his sickbed, would be a powerful experience. Not one dealt with without a great deal of conflict and likely resentment, but something that touches the Joker just lightly on that black little heart of his, even if it manifests more as grotesque delight at the wickedness he has done Harley in driving her mad and making her his companion.
The charge that Dustin would support domestic violence is a gross simplification of what he conveys in his art. To a one and whatever the subject matter, his art is non-exploitative and non-fetishising and actually focuses more on expressing subtler intricacies and macabre beauties of the characters he depicts, Joker and Harley being amongst them.
Edit: I haven’t actually asked Duss, so it IS entirely possible that Joker is laid-up after Harley’s given him a whuppin’, as she will do when sufficiently provoked. I think there remains a beautiful (and twisted - always twisted) symmetry there - as with Mad Love the rose symbolises the possibility, always, of starting over and over again - leaving the past absolutely behind and plowing on with it. It’s warped and sick but it’s meant to be.