Super of the Week: Harley Quinn

Is she an antihero? Is she a hero? Perhaps she’s a villain. We don’t really know when it comes to the unpredictability that is Harley Quinn. To celebrate the upcoming Birds of Prey movie, we dive into the mind of Joker’s on-off girlfriend.

What happens when the Joker falls in love? You get utter chaos. So who who is his mystery love? Enter one Harley Quinn. She’s unpredictable, crazy and a real… harlequin? Over the years, the Clown Queen of Crime has joined several groups, mostly containing villains including the Gotham City Sirens and the Suicide Squad. But, who is she really? We examine the life of our favourite DC Comics antiheroine.

FULL NAME: Harleen Frances Quinzel

NICKNAME(S): Harley

ALIAS(ES):

– Harley Quinn

– Harley

– Dollface

– The Queen of Gotham City

– Bad Bitch

– Joker’s Girlfriend

– Craziness

– Psycho Chick 

COMIC BOOK FRANCHISE: DC Comics

CREATOR(S): Paul Dini and Bruce Timm

FIRST APPEARANCE(S): Batman: The Animated Series “Joker’s Favor” (1992) [Television] The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993) [Comics]

ALLIES:

– Joker

– Poison Ivy

– Catwoman

POWERS/ABILITIES:

– Expert gymnast

– Immunity to various toxins

– Utlises weaponised props

– Trained in psychiatry

FAMILY: Unknown

FRIEND(S):

– Poison Ivy (best friend)

– Catwoman

TEAM(S):

– Suicide Squad

– Justice League

– Gotham City Sirens

– Secret Six

– Secret Society of Super Villains

BIOGRAPHY

[Credit: Adweek]

Doctor Harleen Frances Quinzel burst onto the DC Comics scene in 1992 during the Batman Animated Series episode, Joker’s Favor. Since then, she’s been a comic book staple as the famed Batman villain’s on-off girlfriend.

According to her origin story, she meets Joker during her stint as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum. They fall in love and she becomes his partner-in-crime. Quinn later appeared in the mainstream comics and became an even bigger hit. She has since earned her own storylines and has gone on to appear in live action projects.

Despite her fascinations with the Joker, he has come close to killing her multiple times and she has almost ways forgiven him.  Because of her view on him, she convinces herself that Mr J actually loves her when it’s obvious he doesn’t know what love is.

RECENT MEDIA APPEARANCES

Harley

Since her animated debut in 1992, Harley has appeared in only a handful of  live-action portrayals. The most recent appearance was in 2016’s Suicide Squad film. Harley received her own animated series on DC Universe called Harley Quinn in 2019. The main squeeze of the Joker appears in the 2002 CW series, Birds of Prey. She almost cameoed in the Arrowverse series, Arrow in the episode ‘Unthinkable’. Her laughter is heard in the episode ‘Suicide Squad’.

RECEPTION

Harley has recieved high praise over the years. Described as having a dependent personality disorder, Kate Roddy sees her as being: 

“An ambitious career career woman who give up her autonomy to become an abused sidekick.”

Moreover, since her 1992 debut, Harley has become one of the most popular DC Comics characters since Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. She placed on IGN’s 2009 list of The Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranking at #45. She got a spot on the 2011 Comics Buyer’s Guide list of 100 Sexiest Women in Comics placing 16th.

According to writer Jim Lee, Harley is the fourth pillar in DC’s publishing line while Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. She currently appears in four different storylines that are currently ongoing.

According to writer Jim Lee, Harley is the fourth pillar in DC’s publishing line while Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. She currenly appears in four different storylines that are currently ongoing. The antiheroine is described by Kevin Kiniry, the vice-president of DC Collectibles as the following 

“Being about to go toe-to-toe with Batman and the Joker as one of the most fan-requested and sought-after characters.”

Due to her popularity, Harley is a massive figure in the cosplay community. In 2016, Harley’s Halloween costume was the most sought-after for Halloween in the United States and in the United Kingdom. DC Comics dedicated an entire month to the character in February and published variant covers of the character to celebrate her.

PORTRAYALS – LIVE ACTION

Opinions; Harley
[Credit: DC Entertainment]

Harley pops at least three times in live action. The most famous version of the character is the one by Australian actress and Academy Award nominee, Margot Robbie who first appeared in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Robbie will reprise the role in the upcoming Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

The first known live-action adaptation of Harley appeared in the 2002 CW series, Birds of Prey where she was played by Mia Sara. In this series, Harley is a psychiatrist who treats Helena Kyle after she is convicted of vandalism. Like her animated counterpart, Quinn is the Joker’s girlfriend and accomplice before he was imprisoned.

Prior to Robbie’s portrayal,  Cassidy Alexa portrayed Harley from behind in a deleted scene from the Arrow episode ‘Unthinkable’. However, it was not Cassidy’s voice but that of voice actor, Tara Strong.

There was also a Harley Quinn-esque character in the Batman prequel series, Gotham called Ecco. While it isn’t Harley herself, the character got ultimate cut. Also, the character of Barbara Kean was also loosely based off Quinn. Francesca Root-Dodson portrays Ecco.

PORTRAYALS – ANIMATION

[Credit: PopSugar]

There are more animated portrayals of Harley than there are live action. Depending on the project, the on-off villainness is voiced by Tara Strong or Hynden Walch. Arleen Sorkin became the first person to voice her.  However, in the animated film, Batman and Harley Quinn, the character is played by Big Bang Theory star,  Melissa Rauch. Rauch’s Big Bang co-star, Kaley Cuoco plays the character in the Harley Quinn animated series on DC Universe.

5 FUN FACTS

  1. Director/Actor Kevin Smith named his daughter, Harley Quinn.
  2. In the Suicide Squad movie, it’s indirectly mentioned that Harley was involved in the murder of the second Robin, Jason Todd.
  3. She might seem oblivious to Joker’s lack of feelings towards her, but she knows he’s more than capable of killing her.
  4. It’s rumored that Harley is bisexual in the Harley Quinn animated series.
  5. Harley is an expert gymnast.

cjhawkings

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: