|“||My love for my Joker was stronger than their madhouse walls.||„|
|~ Harley Quinn expressing her love of the Joker.|
|“||You think I'm just a doll. A doll that's pink and light. A doll you can arrange any way you like. You're wrong. Very wrong. What you think of me is only a ghost of time. I am dangerous. And I will show you just how dark I can be.||„|
|~ Harley Quinn|
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, better known as Harley Quinn is a super villainess from DC Comics. She is the Joker's self-proclaimed girlfriend and henchwoman.
Harley Quinn is eccentric and extravagant, and usually commits crimes with a sadistic glee and hyperactive energy. In most incarnations, she is loyal to the Joker regardless of how cruelly he treats her. Despite being a psychiatrist, Harley is often portrayed as rather dimwitted socially and logically, as she tends to fail to notice obvious problems or overthinks minor issues.
Even though she keeps an enthusiastic, crazed demeanor, deep down she is secretly tormented and tragic. Occasionally, she will have enough of the Joker and being evil and will try to fight on the side of good, such as when the world or someone she truly cares about is at stake. Even when she is on the evil side, she does have a sense of honor.
For example, in the Injustice comic series, she refuses to fight Black Canary when she finds out she is pregnant. Harley also has her limits, and can be pushed too far, even by the Joker, causing her to leave and eventually team up and form a new romance with Poison Ivy.
Creation and Origin
Harley Quinn first appeared in Paul Dini's Batman: The Animated Series. To the comic book canon, she was interning at Arkham Asylum as a psychologist when she met the Joker.
She got overly fixated on him and started believing she loved the Joker. From there, her character was included in The New Batman Adventures and into the DC Comics. She does whatever she has to do to achieve the Joker's approval. She also allies herself frequently with Poison Ivy, who she later became romantically involved with. Depending on the writer and story.
Joker either doesn't love her and just manipulates her into doing what he says or he can love her, but is just very vituperative and abusive. As what was originally supposed to be the animated equivalent of a walk-on role; a number of police officers were to be taken hostage by someone jumping out of a cake, and it was decided that to have the Joker do so himself would be too bizarre (although he ended up doing so anyway).
Dini thus created a female sidekick for the Joker. Arleen Sorkin, a former star of the soap opera Days of our Lives, appeared in a dream sequence in that series in which she wore a jester costume; Dini used this scene as an inspiration for Quinn. Having been friends with Sorkin since college, he incorporated aspects of her personality into the character.
The 1994 graphic novel Mad Love recounts the character's origin. Told in the style and continuity of Batman: The Animated Series and written and drawn by Dini and Timm, the comic book describes Harley as an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who falls for the Joker and becomes his accomplice and on-off sidekick/lover.
In High School, her gymnastic skills won her a scholarship to the local university where she studied criminal psychology. Though her grades were poor, she seduced her professor into passing her with top grades. She quickly applied for an internship at Arkham, hoping to write a successful book about her experience and get her own TV show.
At Arkham, she becomes fascinated with the Joker. He flirts with her, even leaving a flower on her desk. Harley volunteers to analyze him. She falls hopelessly in love nearly instantly with the Joker during their sessions when he tells her false stories about a traumatic childhood, and she helps him escape from the asylum more than once.
When the Joker is returned to Arkham after a battle with Batman, the sight of her badly injured patient drives Harley to don the costume and become Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick and on/off girlfriend. She later becomes fast friends with Poison Ivy, who injects her with antitoxins to give her the same immunity to poisons she has (which explains why she is not affected whenever the Joker releases his lethal laughing gas).
The Clown at Midnight
After Joker is shot in the face by a Batman impersonator, he had facial reconstructive surgery which gave him a fixed Glasgow smile. Because of these events, he started to go through a spiritual rebirth and had Harley Quinn murder his past henchmen to symbolize the rejection of his previous life. Harley managed to succeed in her mission despite Batman being hot on her heels and returned to Arkham Asylum where she got a bit intimate with the Joker.
However, Joker secretly had a razor with him and planned to slash Harley's throat then bathe in her blood in front of Batman to complete his transformation. Batman soon arrived and made Harley realize Joker's intentions before it was too late, causing her to twist the razor out of her lover's grasp. Heartbroken by his attempt on her life, Harley shot Joker in the shoulder out of revenge and asked if he still loved her before breaking off their relationship.
Harley has since been living with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, claiming she was done with the Joker and continued to join them in their activities. Although despite her claims, Harley occasionally shows strong signs of backsliding.
Harley Quinn’s origins and history were altered for the New 52. In this continuity, Harley is still a former psychiatrist who had the Joker for a patient, but in she was not fooled by his sympathetic stories, and even caught him bringing a knife to their first session.
After the tenth session, Joker revealed what he had learned about her; that her father was killed by a drunk driver who was never punished for the crime. Joker then showed her the severed fingers of that same driver which he snuck into their interview as a gift for her. The clown claimed he could teach her to have that same strength that he used to punish her father's killer. She fell in love with him right then and there.
One of her colleagues, Dr. Sterano, found out about Harleen's relationship with the Joker, and tried to blackmail her. Enraged, Harleen tried to kill Sterano, but she was stopped by a security guard, whom she killed instead. Harleen then broke Joker out of Arkham and the pair went to the ACE Chemical Plant, where the Joker had his fateful first encounter with Batman. Joker pushed her into a chemical vat, then drained it when she sunk to the bottom. Harleen’s skin had been bleached chalk white while Harleen herself had lost her grip on reality. Joker dubbed her Harley Quinn, and the two embrace.
Around the time Joker had his face cut off and disappeared from the public eye, Harley Quinn was enrolled into Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad after murdering a number of Joker’s lawyers that had fail to keep him out of Arkham Asylum. Harley was forced to go on a couple of mission with the squad and soon became attracted to Deadshot, as his demanding personality was similar to Joker's strict nature with her. This soon resulted in the two villains having sexual intercourse with one another inside a bathroom.
Despite this, Harley eventually betrays the squad by trapping the group inside Blackgate Prison and starting a riot. She manages to capture Deadshot after obtaining Joker's severed face and ties him to a chair before placing the severed face over his. Harley then starts talking to Deadshot as if he was the Joker and demands why he left her. Deadshot decides to play along, saying that she needs to prove her love for him by getting rid of the Bat Family. Harley is overjoyed and tries to embrace him, but Deadshot manages to shoot her in the gut.
Afterwards, Harley recovered from her injury and rejoined the squad, only for another member to betray the group. Black Spider had planted post-hypnotic suggestions into the minds of all his teammates except Harley and Deadshot, forcing the pair to work together in order to save their comrades. Although they succeed, Deadshot is held hostage by Black Spider’s employer, Regulus, who dares Harley to shoot him, even though she could potentially kill her teammate as well. Before Harley could decide, Deadshot managed to fire a bullet through his own chest, which killed Regulus and apparently himself.
Death of the Family
Harley Quinn was among various other attendees at Deadshot’s funeral when everyone but her was infected with Joker Venom via poisonous rain. The Joker then appeared to greet Harley, but when she ran to hug him, the clown punched her square in the face while claiming she had something on it. Joker told Harley he missed her, and had missed her so much that he kept tabs on her while he was away. He knew about her time with the Suicide Squad and even her sexual encounter with Deadshot. Joker walked over to Deadshot’s coffin with intent of mutilating the corpse inside when Harley angrily points a gun at him, telling Joker to say away. Although he believed that she wouldn't of pulled the trigger, Joker decided to make a deal with Harley instead. He would leave Deadshot's body alone if she would do a favor for him.
Harley accepted his offer and soon found herself at the ACE Chemical Plant, where Joker pulled a cruel prank on her while he dressed her up to look like him as the Red Hood. Harley was then left alone to confront Batman as part of a trap Joker set up, and after performing her part in it, she admits to the Dark Knight that Joker has changed and was no longer the same man she fell in love with. Harley leaves Batman trapped within a filling chemical vat to find the Joker, who asks if she has changed since he’s been away. Harley replies that she hasn't, but Joker doesn't believe her and starts to choke Harley with chains. He claims that she was becoming more “Harleen” than “Harley” and should shed away her humanity like he did to instead become a being of pure impulse.
Joker then reveals to Harley that he infected their beloved hyenas, Bud and Lou, with rabies before letting them loose on her. Harley had no choice but to put them down and sadly snapped the necks. Enraged by what Joker forced her to do, Harley attacks him and admits that she has changed. Her time in the Suicide Squad gave her a taste of what it's like to be a hero, and she liked it. But now will kill Joker for what he has done. Joker brushes off her threats, saying that she loves him too much to go that far. But Harley replies that while she does still love him, she doesn't have to live with him and decides she wants to break off their relationship. Joker agrees, and then strangles her unconscious.
When Harley awakens, she finds herself chained in a room full of skeletons. Joker claims that she was one of many Harley Quinns who have been deemed a failed experiment and she will now spend the rest of her life trapped inside that room. However, determined to show Joker that she was not some doll for him to play around with, Harley manages to escape by biting off her wrists and using her own blood as lubricant to free herself from the shackles. She then leaves the chemical plant to seek medical attention.
DC Animated Universe
- Main article: Harley Quinn (DC Animated Universe)
Batman and Harley QuinnHarley Quinn is the titular deuteragonist of the 2017 DC animated film Batman and Harley Quinn, which takes place in the DCAU. In the film, she is forced to team up with Batman and Nightwing to stop Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man from transforming all of humanity into plants.
The BatmanHarley Quinn appears in the third and fourth seasons of The Batman, again appearing as Joker's henchwoman.
However, here she is reimagined as a television talk show personality that helps people with psychological issues. However, her advice was often flawed and caused more harm than good. After attacking Bruce Wayne based on his multiple romances, her executives finally became fed up with her and cancelled her show.
Joker took advantage of the distraught Harley and manipulated her into believing he was the ultimate answer to her questions about psychology and her desire for romance. Harley fell for Joker and soon dawned an old jester costume, taking up the mantle of Harley Quinn.
DC Universe Online
Harley Quinn makes an appearance as Joker's Hench girl and right-hand, in DC Universe Online.
In the alternate future, Harley assisted The Joker during the climatic battle between the Justice League and the Society. She was killed after she used her body to shield the Joker from an explosion caused by a combination of Black Adam, The Flash, and Green Lantern's powers. She appears to have killed or assisted in killing Robin sometime prior to this, as she is seen wearing his tattered cape.
Birds of Prey
- Main article: Harley Quinn (Birds of Prey)
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
- Main article: Harlequin (Gods and Monsters)
Though the character in Justice League: Gods and Monsters is more an adaptation of the obscure Green Lantern villain Harlequin, this version of said character incorporated elements of Harley Quinn into the character and even had her up against that universe's version of Batman.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Harley makes a minor appearance in Batman: The Brave and the Bold in an alternate costume while the Joker is Emperor Joker. She later would develop a small crush on Bat-Mite before deciding she loved the Joker more. She later appeared in the final episode.
- Main article: Harley Quinn (Arkhamverse)
In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Harley helps the Joker bomb Metropolis, causing the eventual downfall of Superman. In the alternate universe, she allies herself with Batman to take down Superman's Regime. In Injustice 2, she fully redeems herself into a full-time superhero.
Additionally, the comic series reveals Harley gave birth to the Joker's daughter, but hid her with her sister so the Joker would never find out about her. Harley said that when she returned after two years of making sure her baby was safe, the Joker did not even realize she had left.
DC Extended Universe
- Main article: Harley Quinn (DC Extended Universe)
- Main article: Barbara Kean
While Dr. Harleen Quinzel does not appear in Gotham, the character is merged into Barbara Kean, who takes most of her traits and actions, such as her love for anarchy and violence, as well as being an assistant to Jerome Valeska, who acts as a tribute and precursor to The Joker. Like Harley in the comics she eventually forms a group consisting of female supervillains like in the comic series Gotham City Sirens.
- Main article: Ecco
In season 4, Jeremiah Valeska (the true identity of the show's version of the Joker) has a devoted sidekick named Ecco, who appears as a blonde woman who dons a jester like outfit to help him out in his crimes, although it is unknown if she is intended to simply be a homage to Harley Quinn or a forerunner to the character.
The LEGO Batman Movie
- Main article: Harley Quinn (The Lego Batman Movie)
Batman: The Telltale Series
- Main article: Harley Quinn (Telltale)
- Her actual first appearance in the DC universe was in Batman: The Animated Series in the episode "Joker's Favor".
- Harley's Olympic-level gymnastic skills have said to rival that of Nightwing and Catwoman.
- Harley is the third most recurring villain of the DC Animated Universe (behind Joker and Lex Luthor).
- Harley Quinn was supposed to appear alongside the Scarecrow as one of the main antagonists of Batman Unchained, a planned fifth entry in the live-action Batman film series that ran from 1989 to 1997. Here, she would have been rewritten into the daughter of the Joker from the first film seeking revenge for her father. However, after the universal negative reception to the fourth entry, Batman & Robin, the film was cancelled.
- In Batman Unchained, Harley would have been portrayed by Madonna.
- Harley Quinn was supposed to appear as a DLC character in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, but this was cancelled when the developer, Midway, went bankrupt.
- Harley is featured in the movie Ready Player One.
- The New Earth version of Harley Quinn is Jewish but her Prime Earth counterpart seems to be foreign to Jewish tradition.
- However, it has been confirmed in DC Rebirth Holiday Special 2017 that Prime Earth Harley Quinn is Christian-Jewish like her New Earth self.
- Similarly, Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series dislikes the taste of fish, while Harley Quinn of Prime Earth likes anchovies on pizza (although they make her gassy).