September 18, 2022 19 min read
Harley Quinn is the Joker's frequent accomplice and lover, whom she met while working as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, where the Joker was a patient. Her name is a play on the name "Harlequin", a character which originated in the commedia dell'arte.
After the success of The Animated Series, the character proved so popular that she was eventually added to the Batman comic book canon. She first appeared in the original graphic novel, Batman: Harley Quinn, as part of the "No Man's Land" story, although she had already appeared in the Elseworlds Batman: Thrillkiller and Batman: Thrillkiller '62 in 1997. The comic book version of Quinn, like the comic book version of the Joker, is more dangerously violent and less humorously quirky than the animated series version. Despite her noticeably more violent demeanor, Harley does show mercy and compassion from time to time; she notably stops Poison Ivy from killing Batman, instead convincing her to leave the hero hanging bound and gagged from a large statue. Batman is later untied by Batgirl. While the comic book version of the character is still romantically linked with the Joker, a more recent development has Harley also romantically involved with Poison Ivy. Harley Quinn series writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner confirmed that the two characters are in a non-monogamous romantic relationship.
A Harley Quinn ongoing series was published monthly by DC Comics for 38 issues from 2001 to 2003. Creators who contributed to the title included Karl Kesel, Terry Dodson, A.J. Lieberman, and Mike Huddleston. The series dealt with her going solo, eventually starting a gang and then fleeing Gotham for the city of Metropolis with her friend Poison Ivy. Quinn dies, only to be resurrected and return to Gotham. The series ends with Harley turning herself in to Arkham Asylum, having finally understood that she needs help. We also learn in issue #8 of the comic that Harley had a relationship in college with fellow psychiatry major Guy Kopski whose suicide started her obsession with the Joker. Harley later appears in the Jeph Loeb series Hush. She is next seen in a Villains United Infinite Crisis special, where she is one of the many villains who escape from Arkham (although she is knocked unconscious the moment she escapes).
In the One Year Later continuity, Harley Quinn is an inmate at Arkham, glimpsed briefly in Detective Comics #823.
Harley next appeared in Batman #663, in which she helps the Joker with a plan to kill all his former henchmen, unaware that the "punch line" to the scheme is her own death. Upon realizing this, she shoots him in the shoulder.
Harley resurfaces in Detective Comics #831, written by Paul Dini. Harley has spent the last year applying for parole, only to see her request systematically rejected by Bruce Wayne, the layman member of Arkham's medical commission. She is kidnapped by Peyton Riley, the new female Ventriloquist, who offers her a job; Harley turns the job down out of respect for the memory of Arnold Wesker, the original Ventriloquist, who attempted to cheer her up during her first week in Arkham while the Joker was still on the loose. She then helps Batman and Commissioner Gordon foil the impostor's plans. Although Riley escapes, Bruce Wayne is impressed with Harley's effort at redemption, and agrees with granting her parole.
In Birds of Prey #105, Harley Quinn is revealed as the sixth member of the Secret Six. In issue #108, upon hearing that Oracle has sent the Russian authorities footage of teammate Deadshot murdering the Six's employer as payback for double-crossing them, Harley asks, "Is it a bad time to say 'I quit'?", thus leaving the team.
In Countdown #43, Harley appears to have reformed and is shown to be residing in an Amazon-run women's shelter. Having abandoned her jester costume and clown make-up, she now only wears an Amazonian stola or chiton. She befriends the former Catwoman replacement Holly Robinson, and then succeeds in persuading her to join her at the shelter, where she is working as an assistant. They are both brought to Themiscyra by "Athena" (really Granny Goodness) and begin Amazon training. Holly and Harley then meet the real Athena, and encounter Mary Marvel. The group reveal Granny's deception, and Holly, Harley, and Mary follow her as she retreats to Apokolips. Mary finds the Olympian gods, whom Granny had been holding prisoner, and the group frees them. Harley is granted powers by Thalia as a reward. Upon returning to Earth, the powers vanish, and Harley and Holly return to Gotham City.
Harley Quinn joins forces with Poison Ivy and Catwoman in the series Gotham City Sirens. Having moved in with Pamela Isley at the Riddler's apartment, she meets up with Catwoman, who offers for the three of them to live and work together. A new villain who tried to take down Selina Kyle named Boneblaster breaks into the apartment, and the three of them have to move after they defeat him. Later, after a chance encounter with Hush, the Joker attempts to kill her, apparently out of jealousy. Quinn is rescued by Ivy and Catwoman, and it is later revealed that her attacker wasn't the real Joker, but one of his old henchmen impersonating him.
Gotham City Sirens #7 establishes that she was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, into a Jewish-Catholic family. Her father is a con artist who is still in jail. Her brother, Barry, is a slob with dreams of rock stardom, and her mother, Sharon, wants her to stop the "villain and hero stuff". It is stated that the reason why Harley chose to become a psychologist in the first place was to try and understand her own broken family.
On a certain instance Harley attempted to steal from Two-Face and the Riddler, but was caught and they were not happy. Later, Poison Ivy discovers Harley bound and gagged in a closet, and Ivy removes the gag and unties her.
Following a number of adventures with Catwoman and Ivy, Harley betrays them and breaks into Arkham Asylum with the goal of killing the Joker for his years of abuse towards her. However, Harley ultimately chooses instead to release Joker from his cell, and together the two orchestrate a violent takeover of the facility that results in most of the guards and staff members either being killed or taken hostage by the inmates. Harley and the Joker are eventually defeated by Batman and Catwoman, and Harley is last seen being wheeled away while bound in a straitjacket and muzzle. Shortly after this, Poison Ivy breaks into Harley's cell and attempts to kill her for her betrayal, but instead offers to free her if she helps kill Catwoman, who had left both of her fellow Sirens behind in Arkham. Harley agrees, and the two set out to trap Catwoman. During the ensuing fight, Catwoman says that she saw good in them and only wanted to help. Just as Batman is about to arrest them, Catwoman helps the two of them escape.
Following DC's 2011 relaunch of its titles, Harley Quinn's costume and appearance was fully revamped. The New 52 shows Harley Quinn with a sleeveless top, tight shorts, and boots. Her hair color has also been altered to half-red and half-black, like the jester cap of her previous incarnation, rather than fully blonde. Consistent with her new origin, her bleached skin is the result of being kicked into a vat of acid by the Joker.
After a falling out with the Joker, she goes into a murderous frenzy, directed towards people responsible for the Joker's imprisonment. Captured by Black Canary, she is forcibly inducted into the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller. However, when she discovers that the Joker is rumored to be dead, it takes a further toll in her already addled mind, and betraying the Suicide Squad, she puts their safety and secrecy at risk by turning herself into the Gotham Police Department in a plot to gain access to the skinned face of the Joker. Her plan apparently pays off, and she manages to recover the face, though in a further psychotic episode, Harley captures and ties up Deadshot and places the skinned face of the Joker over Deadshot's face, so that she can carry on a "conversation" with her dead lover. Deadshot lures Harley in close, shooting and severely injuring her during the conversation. After the Joker returns to Gotham in the "Death of the Family" story line, he forces her to disguise herself in his old Red Hood costume and trick Batman into coming to the chemical plant where they first met. Batman then falls into a tank and demands Harley to tell him where Joker is. But she only replies, in tears, that he's no longer the Joker she had fallen in love with.
On July 16, 2013, DC announced that a new Harley Quinn ongoing comic book series would begin publication in November 2013, co-written by Amanda Conner and her husband Jimmy Palmiotti, cover illustrated by Conner and illustrated by Chad Hardin. The series has notably become distanced from the "Batman Family" of DC publications in both tone and premise, with Harley no longer having any significant connection to either Batman or the Joker following the "Death of the Family" storyline. In the series, Harley Quinn has become a landlady at Coney Island, is a part-time member of a roller derby team and has returned to psychiatric work under her real alias, indicating that Harley's real identity is not public knowledge in the new status quo.
Under Conner and Palmiotti's writing, Harley was reinvented as an antihero, who values human life and actively tries to improve life in her neighborhood. Between issues #11 and #13 Harley formed a brief partnership with an amnesiac Power Girl and battled Clock King and Sportsmaster before Power Girl's memory was restored and she left Harley at the top of the Eiffel Tower as punishment for her deceit. Harley attempts to coerce a romantic connection with her tenant Mason, but was unable to make the date due to the multitude of responsibilities in her life, balancing her two jobs with her commitment to her roller derby team and her career as a crime-fighter. With support from her friend Poison Ivy, Harley makes amends with Mason and turns to the internet to recruit other strong, young women in a crime-fighting team she is forming. This team, composing of young women of various ethnic backgrounds and one gay man called Harvey Quinn, then fights Captain Horatio Strong, a sea captain who becomes superhumanly strong after eating an addictive alien sea-plant, in an homage to Popeye. Harley agrees to help a woman whose daughter has been kidnapped by a gang in Hollywood.
Harley Quinn has featured a few standalone specials which are not directly connected to the main series and feature multiple artists. In the scratch and sniff-themed Annual issue, Harley briefly returned to Gotham to save her friend Poison Ivy, as the Arkham Asylum employees monitoring her had brainwashed her to create a hallucinogenic pathogen. In the Valentines Day Special, Harley returned to Gotham to win a prize date with Bruce Wayne (who unbeknownst to her is Batman) and finds herself fighting animal rights activists-turned-super villain blackmailers. She shares a brief intimate moment with Bruce Wayne. At Coney Island, Batman informs Harley that while he still distrusts her, he admires her attempt at heroism and promises not to interfere. Harley kisses Batman and tells him to get "lessons" on kissing from Bruce Wayne, to which Batman privately grins.
In Futures End, a series set five years in the future, Harley mails herself to the Bahamas in an attempt to save money on airfare. The plane carrying her crashes over the ocean while flying through a storm and Harley is washed up onto the shores of an island inhabited by an un-contacted tribe. The tribe quickly declares her a goddess and is determined to have her meet their god-king who turns out to be The Joker. After a fight and reconciliation Harley learns that The Joker has been living on the island as a god and making the inhabitants dress up as various superheroes and track him down while playing tricks on them. It is announced that she and The Joker are to be married. She's initially excited about the pending marriage until she discovers that the two will be sacrificed to the island's volcano as their wedding ceremony ends.
A spin-off series entitled "Harley Quinn and Power Girl" was launched in June 2015. The series is set to run six issues and takes place while Harley has the amnesiac Power Girl convinced the two are a crime fighting duo. The story follows the two when they're sent to a part of deep space known as La Galaxia Del Sombrero during the unseen events mentioned in Harley Quinn #12 and then chronicles their journey to return to earth.
In September 2013, DC Comics announced a contest for fans and artists, "Break into comics with Harley Quinn!", in which contestants were to draw Harley in four different suicide scenarios. This contest drew controversy not only because it was announced close to National Suicide Prevention Week, but because some artists did not like the sexualized portrayal of Harley in the fourth scenario, in which Harley attempts suicide while naked in her bath tub.
Using the end of the New 52 initiative as a launching point, DC Comics began a second relaunch of its entire line of titles called DC Rebirth in June 2016. Harley Quinn (vol. 3) #1 was the debut bimonthly relaunch of Harley Quinn's comic book title.
Harley Quinn's new outift is similar to that from the New 52, in which she wears a sleeveless top, tight shorts, and boots. Her hair color has changed to blonde hair with blue dip dye on the left side and pink dip dye on the right.
Harleen Quinzel was born in Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of four children and the only girl. Her interest in criminal psychology grew early in her childhood, and blossomed when she met a boy named Bernie Bash, who turned out to be troubled enough to commit murder as a way to prove his love for her. Despite his crime, Harley later broke into his house and stole a stuffed beaver from his father's taxidermy shop as a memento of their relationship that she would keep with her into adulthood.
She was an Honor Student and a Gymnast. She attended Gotham University and initially went to college for Veterinary and Biological Science, but for some unknown reason she left that field to pursue Psychiatry. She excelled in her field, eventually earning a place as a psychiatrist at a prominent hospital, but her interest in criminal psychology led her to transfer to Gotham City's famed Arkham Asylum. Soon discovering that the other doctors could not penetrate the minds of their patients, Harleen went undercover as a patient herself. The Joker - whom she had thought was misdiagnosed by his previous doctors - saw through her disguise, and opened up to her. Her confidence and savvy in the face of the Joker's madness impressed him. On their tenth session, he revealed to her that he knew about the fact that her father had been killed by a drunk driver who had had the connections required to get off without any punishment. As a gift to her, he presented her with the driver's finger as proof that the man had been brought to justice. He then promised that he could teach her how to become as powerful as he had, by failing to care about life's rules.
Unfortunately, Harleen's supervisor, Dr. Sterano, discovered her crush on the Joker after stealing her psychiatric notes with the intention of publishing them as her own. In a rage, Harleen tried to kill Sterano, but was interrupted by the guards. Rather than surrender, she killed a guard and broke the Joker out of his cell. That night, the Joker took her to the Ace Chemical Processing Plant where his persona had been born, and promised that this would be her birthday. Realizing his intention, she had struggled, but he shoved her into one of the chemical vats and watched her sink to the bottom. Afterwards, he drained it and found her inside, alive, but changed. She had lost touch with reality, which meant that she could do whatever she liked. He dubbed her Harley Quinn, and the two of them were together - until he tired of her.
Freed of the constraints and strict regiment of her former life, Harley chose a uniform for herself, forming a mosaic of all of the people she was or wanted to be. Any guilt for the crimes she committed as Harley Quinn was repressed along with Harleen Quinzel.
Harley Quinn was arrested by Black Canary while on a murderous spree of revenge against the lawyers who put the Joker away. While on death row at Belle Reve prison for her crimes, her cell filled up with gas, and she was implanted with a micro-bomb to insure her obedience. She was made to undergo torture in order to test her loyalty, and was finally inducted into Amanda Waller's Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad.
Waller put the team to work on tracking the metahuman terrorist organization called Basilisk, with their first mission being to contain an outbreak of a zombifying virus and collect a newborn baby from the scene who could hold the cure. While on downtime between missions, Harley seduced Deadshot, unaware that he may have been secretly infected with the virus.
Their next mission saw Captain Boomerang joining their team as leader. Offhandedly, he mentioned that the Joker had disappeared and was presumed dead. After the mission was complete, they returned to Belle Reve, where a guard accidentally deactivated Harley's micro-bomb before she was safely in her cell. Naturally, she escaped and caused a prison riot, which her teammates were given just eighteen minutes to end. After succeeding, Waller gave Deadshot the treatment he needed for the virus and promised an hour with his daughter Suchin - however, she wouldn't give him the full hour until he and the rest of the Suicide Squad found Harley Quinn, and brought her back dead or alive.
Harley had escaped to Gotham City to confirm the rumours about the Joker's death. She went to Arkham Asylum and enlisted the help of several escaped inmates to help thwart the Suicide Squad's attempts to find her. While there, she kidnapped Dr. Sterano and demanded to know whether it was true that the Joker had been killed. She revealed that he was supposedly skinned alive, and that his face was being kept at Gotham City Police Headquarters in evidence. Hearing this, Harley murdered Sterano, finally. In the meantime, though, the Suicide Squad had gathered the same information from one of the escaped inmates, and watched from a nearby rooftop as Harley surrendered to the police and was taken inside the station - exactly where she needed to be.
The Squad created a diversion in order to pursue her unfettered, but the distraction also allowed Harley to get to the evidence room and steal the Joker's face. On her way out, she encountered Deadshot and knocked him unconscious. He woke unmasked and tied to a chair in the dark. In her insanity, she stretched the severed face over Floyd's own, and began talking to him as if he was the Joker, demanding to know why he left her. Unsure of what to do, Floyd played along, claiming that she should prove her love by killing all of Batman's distractions; his family. In her joy, Harley was too distracted to notice Floyd pulled his gun, and shot her in the gut.
After her brush with death, Harley's mental state deteriorated, and gave way to a form of dissociative identity wherein she claimed to be exclusively Dr. Harleen Quinzel. This annoyed Waller, who still needed Harley Quinn, and would have let Deadshot kill her otherwise. Despite the protests of her teammates, Harleen rejoined the Suicide Squad for yet another mission to catch the leader of Basilisk, known as Regulus.
However, over the course of the mission, they discovered that someone on the team was a traitor. Even so Waller sent them all in search of Regulus in South America, but their plane was destroyed by a sleeper agent, and they ended up captured by a primitive native tribe intent on sacrificing them.
They were saved at the last moment by Basilisk agents, at the order of Black Spider, who was the traitor all along. He had managed to implant hypnotic suggestions into the minds of every member of the squad except for Deadshot and Harley, leaving the pair of them to face their hypnotized companions. With some effort, the pair managed to snap the others out of their hypnosis, but not without taking casualties. Regulus appeared, and took Deadshot hostage, providing Harley with the dilemma of whether to risk hitting him. Before she could make a move of her own, Deadshot fired a shot through his own chest, and killed Regulus and himself.
At Deadshot's funeral, a sudden gas attack caused everyone in attendance to collapse - except Harley. This is because she is immune to Joker Venom, which was employed for just this purpose. The Joker had returned. Despite her happiness at seeing him alive, if disfigured, he brutal and vengeful, having learnt already of her dalliance with Deadshot. He had sensed a change in her, and he didn't like it. He agreed, though, to forgive her if she would do him a favour.
Dressing in the Joker's old Red Hood get up, Harley was forced into meeting Batman at the old Chemical Mill with the Joker's tape-recorded voice attached. She managed to convince the Batman well enough to trick him into falling and being trapped within an overfilling vat of chemical waste. Upon hearing his demands to be freed, Harley turned to leave warning him that the Joker, her once true love, had changed. The Joker had heard, her though, and he wondered if she hadn't changed, threatening to cut off her face to as a test of her loyalty. She claimed to be the same as always, but he disbelieved her, choking her into unconsciousness with a chain. She woke to be attacked by her own Hyenas, intentionally infected with rabies by the Joker. She had to kill them both, reluctantly, to survive. Consumed by rage, she attempted to kill him as well, but he evaded her and left her for dead.
She'd had to slit her wrists to get out of his handcuffs, but Harley survived. When Deadshot recovered from his own wound, he went to see her in the infirmary, and she broke off their relationship, insisting that she was too good for him or the Joker.
While hiding out in one of her old storage spaces, Harley discovered that the Joker had planted a bomb there, and it burned down her apartment. She collected the taxidermy beaver she'd dubbed Bernie (after her first love, Bernie Bash) from the wreckage, and made her way to the street, where a mysterious man in a limousine informed her that she had been bequeathed a four-story property in Coney Island by an anonymous benefactor - a former patient.
While moving herself from Gotham to New York, an assassin attempted to take kill her, and was rewarded for his efforts to claim the bounty on her head with his own beheading by Harley. After rescuing a dog from an unfriendly owner, she made her way to her apartment block in Coney Island, which she learned was home to a freakshow. Big Tony, one of the tennants, greeted her and showed her around. The next morning, she disguised her bleached skin, and took job interviews first at a senior citizens' home as a therapist, and then a second job on a roller derby team. After returning home, a second assassin made an attempt on her life, and she was rescued by Big Tony. After searching the body, they discovered that a bounty had been placed on her.
Harley later happened upon a protest against a high-kill animal shelter, and after learning that the protesters have been prevented from adopting anymore animals, she and her friend Poison Ivy decide to break in and free the dogs before they're euthanized. Unfortunately, they simply ran wild, and Harley decided it would be best to adopt them all. At her job at the Free Spirit Assisted Living Home, Harley met a man named Sylvester Borgman, who claimed to have been a hero during the cold war, and recruited her to finish his final mission for him - killing off the eight Russian agents who put him in a wheelchair. After knocking two of the agents off, the other six were warned of Sy's campaign against them. They ended up in a confrontation with one of the others in the Prospect Park Zoo, where all of the animals were released. After killing every one of the villains, Harley returned home to find that Poison Ivy had captured yet another assassin. After a series of botched attempts to trap the assassin, the two discovered that it was Harley herself who had called the hit on herself, having done it in her sleep.
While filling in for a role in the cabaret show at the freakshow in her apartment block, Harley inadvertently caused a riot, and in the confusion, she was arrested by a man posing as a police officer, who was in fact a crazed, love-struck stalker. After humouring him a while, she insisted he get some help, and headed to her impending roller derby game. In the game, Harley ended up killing her opponent, causing some distress. Afterward, she was introduced to Mason Macabre, son of the wax museum's curator Madame Macabre. Though she found him handsome, he slipped off. Having been out with the derby girls all night after that, Harley watched the sunrise and was surprised by the sudden crash of Power Girl tumbling down from the sky next to her. Harley's first call was to Big Tony, who brought Mason with him to the crash site. They soon discovered that Power Girl had lost her memories. Harley saw this as an opportunity to create a superhero duo of the two of them, and convinced Power Girl to participate in the freakshow as a strong woman. While out together at a food court, the pair were attacked by Sportsmaster and the Clock King. Armed with a teleportation device, Clock King sent them adventuring all over the universe.
After playing on Power Girl's amnesia a little while longer, including taking part in the freakshow, Harley had to contend with the inevitable return of her new friend's memories. Despite her anger, Power Girl had become friendly with Harley, and took pity on her, deciding to mercifully tie her to the tip of the Eiffel Tower and abandon her there.
Harley Quinn has a number of allies including Joker, Deadshot, Power Girl, Red Tool, Rick Flag, Killer Croc and many more.
Harley Quinn being a villian has enemies who are heroes including Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl, Robin, Batwoman, Huntress and many more.
Suicide Squad is the third movie in the DCEU. It was directed by David Ayer starring Jared Leto as The Joker,Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn,Will Smith as Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag and many other actors such as Cara Delvinge as Enchantress,etc. Ben Affleck featured as Batman in a cameo role. The movie has mixed reviews by critics but was enjoyed by fans and performed well at the box office.
You can check out the trailer below
In 1992 Warner Bros. started Batman: The Animated Series. the show was produced by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski. The series was a big hit and was praised for its darker tone, thematic complexity, artistic quality and modernization of the character. The show aired from 1992 to 1995 and throughout this period, the show won 12 Emmy Awards and was nominated for 12.The series starred Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Loren Lester as Robin/Dick Grayson, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth, Bob Hastings as Jim Gordon, Richard Moll as Harvey Dent/Two Face, Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn and Adrian Barbeau as Catwoman.
You can check out the trailer below
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