|First appearance||Batman: The Animated Series|
"Joker's Favor" (September 11, 1992)
|First comic appearance||The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993, non-canon)|
Batman: Harley Quinn #1 (October 1999, canon)
|Created by||Paul Dini|
|Alter ego||Harleen Frances Quinzel|
|Place of origin||Brooklyn / Gotham City|
|Team affiliations||Suicide Squad|
Gotham City Sirens
Gang of Harleys
Justice League of Anarchy
Bud and Lou
|Notable aliases||Holly Chance|
Dr. Jessica Seaborn
Harley Quinn is a character appearing in multimedia published by DC Entertainment. Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm as a comic relief henchwoman for the supervillain Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, and debuted in its 22nd episode, "Joker's Favor", on September 11, 1992. While originally intended to appear in one episode, Quinn became a recurring character within the DC Animated Universe as the Joker's sidekick and love interest, and was adapted into DC Comics' Batman comic book canon seven years later, beginning with the one-shot Batman: Harley Quinn #1 (October 1999). Quinn's origin story features her as a former psychiatrist at Gotham City's Arkham Asylum named Dr. Harleen Quinzel who fell in love with the Joker, her patient, eventually becoming his accomplice and lover. The character's alias is a play on the stock character Harlequin from the 16th-century theater commedia dell'arte.
Following her introduction to the DC Universe in 1999, Harley Quinn was depicted as a frequent accomplice and lover of the Joker as well as the best friend of fellow supervillain Poison Ivy. Later stories depicted Quinn as a supervillain who has left her relationship with the Joker behind, beginning with the publication of her first ongoing series written by Karl Kesel in 2000. After years of scarce appearances in comics, Quinn returned in a leading role in 2009 with the Gotham City Sirens series, as part of an unstable alliance with Poison Ivy and Catwoman. In 2011, DC's line-wide reboot The New 52 reintroduced Quinn in the relaunched Suicide Squad title, which changed the character's personality, design, and origin, replacing her original jester costume with a revealing ensemble and depicting her to be darker than her earlier counterpart. The character took a lighthearted and humorous direction with her second ongoing series in 2013, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, which features the character moving to her hometown of Brooklyn and starting her own life in Coney Island. The character has since been depicted as an antihero independent of the Joker and a recurring core member of the Suicide Squad, with Poison Ivy becoming her primary romantic interest. In 2021, DC's line-wide Infinite Frontier relaunch brought Quinn back to Gotham City and reestablished her as a superhero seeking redemption for her past actions, with a new design combining her early and modern appearances.
Harley Quinn's abilities include expert gymnastic skills, proficiency in weapons and hand-to-hand combat, complete unpredictability, immunity to toxins, and enhanced strength, agility, and durability. Quinn often wields clown-themed gag weapons, with an oversized mallet being her signature weapon. The character has a pair of pet hyenas, Bud and Lou, which sometimes serve as her attack dogs. As a trained psychiatrist with a genius-level intellect, she is adept at deception and psychological manipulation.
Harley Quinn has become one of DC Comics' most popular and profitable characters, and has been featured in many of DC's comic books and adapted in various other media and merchandise. DC Comics Publisher Jim Lee considers Harley Quinn the fourth pillar of DC Comics' publishing line, behind Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
Originally voiced by Arleen Sorkin in the DC Animated Universe, she has since appeared in many other DC projects voiced by actresses such as Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Laura Bailey, Jenny Slate, Melissa Rauch, Laura Post, and Kaley Cuoco; the latter provided the character's voice in the 2019 animated series, Harley Quinn. Mia Sara portrayed the character in the 2002 television series Birds of Prey. Harley Quinn makes her live-action cinematic debut in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film Suicide Squad (2016), where she is portrayed by Margot Robbie. Robbie reprises her role in Birds of Prey (2020) and The Suicide Squad (2021), with elements of her portrayal's design consequentially incorporated into comics, while Lady Gaga will portray the character in Joker: Folie à Deux (2024).
Harley Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series episode entitled "Joker's Favor" while Dini was writing the episode. Initially written as an animated equivalent of a walk-on role, Harley Quinn was intended to appear in just one episode. As Dini was putting together the story for the episode, he wanted to introduce a foil for the supervillain Joker; Dini recalled, "The way I created her was I was writing a story called “Joker’s Favor” and it was my first Joker story and I wanted to make it good and I wanted to make the Joker everything he is in the better comics books, which is funny and scary and egotistical and I thought maybe a foil would bring out some of those personality traits." He then thought of giving Joker a female henchperson, inspired by the molls of the 1960s live-action Batman series, and then decided she would be a "funny counterpart to the Joker to maybe work up a little Punch and Judy attitude between them"; Dini stated, "[...] she could crack a joke and the henchmen would laugh, and the Joker would kind of glare at her." In 1991, after seeing his college friend Arleen Sorkin play a roller-skating jester from a dream sequence in the soap opera Days of Our Lives, Dini decided to have Sorkin voice her. Dini then partly based Harley Quinn on Sorkin, with Dini incorporating aspects of Sorkin, such as her "very snappy, wisecracking, bubbly blonde" personality into the character as well as her mannerisms. In recording Harley Quinn's voice, Sorkin spoke in her normal Brooklyn accent while putting in a "little Yiddish sound", since Dini made the character Jewish, another aspect of the character borrowed from Sorkin.
|Paul Dini's original design for Harley Quinn, a "crazy blond character in a miniskirt" based on actress Barbara Eden and "1940s screwballs" such as Betty Hutton, Gloria Grahame, and Claudette Colbert.|
|The dream sequence from the show Days of Our Lives in which Arleen Sorkin plays a jester, which served as inspiration for the character's creation. Dini came across the scene while watching a VHS tape of Sorkin's "favorite Days moments", given to Dini by Sorkin.|
Dini had several names in mind while naming the character, such as Columbine, and eventually settled on the name "Harley Quinn". Dini chose the name for the character to be in line with other Batman characters's names being puns, and also because he thought "Harley was a fun name for a girl." The name Harley Quinn is a play on Harlequin, a stock character from the sixteenth-century Italian physical comedy theater commedia dell'arte.
In designing the character, Timm did a "simplified supervillain version" of traditional Harlequin gear; from the commedia dell'arte original, he took the jester hat, ruffled collar, diamond pattern, and domino mask and put them on a red-and-black bodysuit, on which the diamonds were strategically placed for easier animation. Timm took Harley Quinn's red and black motif from the Golden Age comic book character Daredevil. Dini had previously made a rough design for the character, which Timm improved on.
"Eventually each of the directors wanted to do a Harley episode, so the character began to appear in stories without the Joker. Over the years she allied herself with best gal pal Poison Ivy for occasional romps through Gotham, and has even succeeded in giving Batman a hard time on her own. We now look upon Harley as our series' wild card, capable of showing up anytime to bedevil our heroes with her screwball antics."
"The more we used Harley and the more we used her in different roles, the more we discovered what a richer character she was; she just blossomed, in a very short time, to the point where she was just as interesting as Catwoman or Penguin or Ra’s al Ghul or one of the other core Batman characters."
After seeing Harley Quinn in the rough cut of "Joker's Favor", the producers of Batman: The Animated Series, which include Dini and Timm, were impressed with the result, with Dini wanting to bring the character back for more episodes. Timm and another producer, Alan Burnett, were initially reluctant of this, and thought that giving Joker a girlfriend "played more towards his comedic side" and would "humanize him too much", which contrasted their vision for Joker as a character who is "as serious a threat as possible to Batman". Nevertheless, months after "Joker's Favor", Harley made a second appearance on the show in the episode "The Laughing Fish" and became the Joker's love interest. Harley Quinn gained popularity with fans of The Animated Series, with the character being featured more on the show and eventually starring in her own episodes, such as 1993's "Harley and Ivy", which introduced a friendship between Harley Quinn and fellow supervillain Poison Ivy, and 1994's "Harlequinade" and "Harley's Holiday", which explored Harley Quinn's life without the Joker. Harley Quinn then became a recurring character in the DC Animated Universe, appearing in The Animated Series sequel The New Batman Adventures, and in non-Batman animation such as Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock, and Justice League. On February 7, 1994, she made her first appearance in a video game in The Adventures of Batman and Robin, an action platformer based on Batman: The Animated Series.
Because of her popularity, Harley Quinn was adapted into DC's comic books. In September 1993, a year following Harley Quinn's first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, the character made her comic book debut in the twelfth issue of The Batman Adventures, a series set in the universe of The Animated Series, and became a regular character. In 1997, she appeared in the story Batman: Thrillkiller, released under Elseworlds, a DC Comics imprint that published out-of-continuity alternate reality stories, as Hayley Fitzpatrick. In 1999, she became a canonical character with the release of Batman: Harley Quinn #1.
Main article: The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
"Bruce and I [...] were talking about what if there was some sort of surprise to her origin? What if she’s not just a hench girl? We came up with the idea that she had been a doctor at Arkham Asylum and the Joker had gotten into her head and worked her into being his follower. … Then we thought, what if Harley’s in the role of the long-suffering girlfriend?."
Paul Dini about the creation of Mad Love
In February 1994, the one-shot The Batman Adventures: Mad Love recounting Harley's origin was released. Written by Dini and drawn by Timm, the story marks their first comic book collaboration. Mad Love introduces Harley Quinn as a former psychiatrist named Harleen Quinzel who fell in love with the Joker during her internship at Gotham City's Arkham Asylum and details her transformation into the Joker's villainous accomplice Harley Quinn, as well as the Joker's lack of respect for Harley. Widely considered the definitive Harley Quinn story, Mad Love added dimensions to the character, with Dini introducing Harley Quinn's motivations as well as establishing her as a tragic figure and sympathetic villain. The story received wide praise and won the Eisner and Harvey awards for Best Single Issue in the same year and was later adapted into an episode of the same name in The New Batman Adventures in 1999.
Harley Quinn's actual name is established in Mad Love as Harleen Frances Quinzel. "Harleen Frances" was borrowed by Dini from Sorkin's first and middle name, Arleen Frances. "Quinzel" was taken from a former teacher of Dini's from Emerson College named Quenzel.
Harley Quinn was adapted into the main DC universe with the 1999 one-shot graphic novel Batman: Harley Quinn, written by Dini and illustrated by Yvel Guichet., which put her origin in the middle of the "No Man's Land" storyline. Dini changed Harley and Joker's relationship to be darker to match Joker's character in the comics; in the story, Joker attempts to kill Harley at the first opportunity. Dini also gave Harley new abilities, such as immunity to toxins and enhanced strength and agility, which she received after having been injected a special formula by Poison Ivy. These changes were made to match the needs of the DC Universe; on her new abilities, Dini said: "I figured if she'd be going head-to-head with Batman and the other DC heroes, Harley would need some kind of physical edge."
"[The series] is an interesting assignment because the main character is a) insane and b) a criminal, and both of these things are pretty essential to the character, so we don’t want to get rid of either of them. [...] [We] hammered out a direction for the book which [...] will establish a motivation and agenda for Harley. Depending on the storyline, she will be on the side of the angels sometimes, and on the side of the demons and devils on others. Like most great crime characters, she’s not concerned with the law. What concerns her is something totally different. What that is will be revealed as the first half dozen issues progress."
Karl Kesel, 2000.
While pursuing new assignments at DC Comics' offices in New York City, Karl Kesel was approached by former DC editor Matt Idelson to create a pitch for Harley Quinn's first ongoing series, which Karl accepted, being a fan of the character after having read Dini's Mad Love. Kesel chose Terry Dodson as the artist for the series, whose art Kesel thought complemented the character's cartoonish roots and worldview. Kesel called Dodson and asked him if he was interested on working on the comic, to which Dodson agreed, and the two worked for a month on their proposal for the series, which was to make a comic about "love gone horribly, terribly wrong". The proposal was accepted by DC Comics, and the pair began work on the series, with Kesel and Dodson both being involved in the storytelling, and Dodson bringing in his wife, Rachel Dodson, to ink. Kesel's run on the series began being published in December 2000, and was about Harley Quinn leaving the Joker and becoming a solo criminal, alongside a supporting cast of henchmen named the Quinntets. Because of underwhelming sales, his 25-issue run ended in December 2002, and DC decided to change the creative team; the series was given to writer A.J. Lieberman and artists Mike Huddleston and Troy Nixey by Idelson, and took on a grittier and darker direction, contrasting Kesel's run. The decision renewed interest in the character, but the sales remained lackluster and the series was cancelled in 2003.
Main article: Gotham City Sirens
After years of scarce appearances in comics, Harley Quinn resurfaced in a leading role in July 2009 with Gotham City Sirens, a team-up title created by Dini. The series brought together Batman's most popular female villains, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy, in an unstable alliance. The series also expanded on Harley Quinn's background and early life; in Gotham City Sirens #7, Dini established the character's hometown being Brooklyn, and also introduced her dysfunctional family, with her swindling father being described as the main reason for her pursuing psychiatry.
The first several issues of Gotham City Sirens were written by Dini and illustrated by Guillem March. Other creatives who worked for the series include writers Tony Bedard and Peter Calloway, and artists David López, Andres Guinaldo, Peter Nguyen, Jeremy Haun, and Ramon Bachs. The series was cancelled in August 2011 for The New 52, DC Comics' relaunch of their entire comic line.
"One thing that we're trying to show with her, and I don't think it gets played with enough with Harley, is here's a woman who was a very intelligent and very manipulative doctor. We're trying to play up that quality. She is crazy, but there is something behind the madness. In the new DCU maybe everyone doesn't get shipped off to Arkham Asylum. Some people may have to do hard time and get shipped off to Belle Reve [the prison the Suicide Squad operates out of], and her presence here doesn't mean she hasn't been or won't end up in Arkham. Basically we needed a bad girl character and the best bad girl character in the DCU is Harley Quinn."
Adam Glass, 2011.
As part of the New 52 reboot in September 2011, Harley Quinn was reintroduced by Adam Glass as a prominent member of the supervillain team Task Force X in the relaunched Suicide Squad series. The character was heavily redesigned to fit the tone of the book; her color motif was changed to red and blue, her jester costume was replaced with a revealing ensemble consisting of a corset and hot pants, her skin was bleached white, and her previously blonde hair was altered to half-blue and half-red. Her personality had also been depicted to be more violent and psychopathic than her former iteration.
|The controversial cover artwork for Suicide Squad (vol. 4) #1, which introduced Harley Quinn's revealing look for the relaunched title. Art by Ryan Benjamin.|
In the series, Glass separated Harley Quinn from the Joker and explored her "becom[ing] her own person", with the Suicide Squad becoming a family to her; Glass stated, "Harley's always wanted to belong to something. And if not Joker, then the team – and she's finding herself in all this. She's finding her place in the world, that she's not just a sidekick."
Suicide Squad was cancelled in April 2014 to coincide with the conclusion of the "Forever Evil" storyline.
In the seventh issue of Suicide Squad, Glass revised Harley Quinn's origin story, making it reflect the Joker's origins. In the story, the Joker takes Harleen Quinzel to the chemical plant where he originated and pushes her into a vat of chemicals against her will, which bleaches her skin and drives her insane, resulting in her transformation to Harley Quinn, similar to the Joker's transformation in his origins. This origin was received negatively by fans of the character, who felt that its removal of Harley Quinn's choice to become the Joker's accomplice herself, as depicted in her previous origin stories, took out an essential part of her character.
Harley Quinn's second ongoing series, written by husband and wife Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, with the interior art illustrated by Chad Hardin and John Timms, explored Harley Quinn leaving Gotham City and starting her own life in her hometown of Brooklyn, depicting her as a landlord in Coney Island, where she shares an apartment building with a supporting cast of "sideshow freaks". Considered to be the most defining writers to work on the character since Dini and Timm, Palmiotti and Conner reinvented Harley Quinn as an antihero who has left her controlling relationship with the Joker behind.
In contrast to Harley Quinn's depiction in Glass' Suicide Squad, Palmiotti and Conner wrote Harley Quinn with a lighthearted, cartoonish, and humorous tone. Her costume has also been changed with a roller derby-inspired costume designed by Conner, which incorporates Conner's favorite aspects of Harley Quinn's early costume and her costume in Glass' Suicide Squad. The series also brought back Harley Quinn's red and black motif.
The series began being published in November 2013, starting with Harley Quinn #0, which brought together seventeen comic book artists, including Harley Quinn co-creator Bruce Timm, to illustrate a fourth wall-breaking story about Harley thinking of the artists that could illustrate her in her own comic book series. The rest of the series details Harley Quinn's adventures in Coney Island with her supporting cast. In Harley Quinn #25, Palmiotti and Conner reunited Harley Quinn with the Joker; the story depicts Harley Quinn returning to Gotham City to confront the Joker and end their relationship.
With Harley Quinn's longtime friend Poison Ivy being a recurring character in the series, Palmiotti and Conner built on their relationship and hinted at romantic feelings between the two characters; Poison Ivy is shown kissing Harley Quinn multiple times throughout the series, and a sexual relationship between them was alluded to in the twenty-fifth issue. When asked regarding their relationship in a Twitter Q&A, Palmiotti and Conner replied, "Yes, they are girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy."
The New 52 Harley Quinn series received positive reception, and was also one of DC Comics' top selling series, inspiring multiple spin-offs. The series was ended for the DC Rebirth relaunch of DC's titles.
The cover of the first issue of the New 52's Suicide Squad title drew controversy for its oversexualized depiction of Harley Quinn. This also caused some fans of the character to send Glass hatemail and personal threats.
In September 2013, DC Comics announced an art contest entitled "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 Quinn in the fourth scenario, in which the character attempts suicide while naked in her bathtub. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association, and National Alliance on Mental Illness all responded to the controversy in an emailed group statement to Huffington Post, stating, "We are disappointed that DC Comics has decided to host a contest looking for artists to develop ways to depict suicide attempts by one of its main villains – Harley Quinn". After seeing the reactions to the contest, DC Comics apologized, saying they should have made it clear it was a dream sequence that was not supposed to be taken seriously. In the final version, the bathtub scene was cut and replaced with Harley Quinn sitting on a rocket while flying in space.
In June 2016, the DC Rebirth event relaunched DC Comics' entire line of comic book titles. Both Harley Quinn as well as Suicide Squad were rebooted, with the latter starting with the one-shot issue Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 (October 2016). Harley Quinn's DC Rebirth design included pink and blue dyed hair tips and a jacket inspired by Margot Robbie's portrayal of the character in the 2016 film Suicide Squad, a change established in the last issues of her New 52 series.
Harley Quinn returns as a regular character in the relaunched Suicide Squad series, written by Rob Williams. The series was cancelled in January 2019.
Harley Quinn's relaunched ongoing series is a direct continuation of the former, with Conner and Palmiotti still writing for the character, and Hardin and Timms illustrating the interior art. After having written 64 issues of Harley Quinn's ongoing series, Conner and Palmiotti's five-year run ended with the 34th issue of the series in December 2017, with writer Frank Tieri and artist Inaki Miranda taking over the title. Tieri's run on the series ended with the series' 42nd issue, followed by a two-issue storyline written by Christopher Sebela and illustrated by Mirka Andolfo. By issue 45 in July 2018, Sam Humphries was the new writer for the series, with John Timms returning to provide art. The series ended in August 2020.
In 2017, Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini wrote a backup feature for Harley Quinn's Rebirth monthly series entitled Harley Loves Joker, co-written by Palmiotti and illustrated by Bret Blevins, which ran for 9 issues. The story brought back Harley Quinn's classic characterization and focuses on her past with the Joker. Unlike her characterization in Batman: The Animated Series, Dini and Palmiotti wrote Harley Quinn in the story as less of a "doormat", with Harley Quinn and Joker being on equal footing in their relationship. The story concluded with the two-part limited series of the same name, which also expanded on Harley Quinn's past as a former intern in animal research at S.T.A.R. Labs, where she met her pet hyenas Bud and Lou. In the second part of the story, Dini and Palmiotti explained Harley Quinn's change in costume, establishing the character's modern design as a reflection of her having left her relationship with the Joker.
For the 2021 Infinite Frontier relaunch, Harley Quinn is moved back to Gotham City as a superheroine, where she frequently interacts with and aids the Batman family, and she is given a new design by Riley Rossmo. Harley Quinn's fourth ongoing series, written by Stephanie Phillips and illustrated by Rossmo, depicts her "actively looking to make up for her past sins", alongside a former Joker henchman named Kevin. Harley Quinn also has a prominent role in the Fear State crossover event.
Harley Quinn has no superpowers, and relies on her unpredictability, gymnastics skills, and weapons and hand-to-hand proficiency. She is a peak athlete, having won a gymnastics scholarship at Gotham City's Gotham State University. Following her transition to main DC canon in 1999, Harley Quinn was established as having immunity to toxins and enhanced strength, agility, durability, and reflexes, which she received after having been injected a serum concocted by Poison Ivy. "Vengeance Unlimited, Part Five" (Harley Quinn vol. 1 #30) revealed that it also gave her the ability to breathe underwater.
Harley Quinn is skilled in using various weapons, often employing weaponized clown-themed gag items, including pop guns, rubber chickens, and a gun that shoots a boxing glove, as well as oversized pistols and mallets, the latter being her signature weapon. Other weapons she uses include: unconventional weapons, such as a baseball bat; explosive weapons such as bazookas, customized bombs, and dynamites; firearms, such as pistols, assault rifles, and machine guns; Harley Quinn also has a pair of pet hyenas, Bud and Lou, which she can order to attack her opponents.
Despite being mentally unstable and sometimes distracted, Harley is highly intelligent. Her intellect extends to her psychological, tactical and deception abilities, but she does not stand out for particular strategic or scientific skills and often remains subordinate to the Joker, who between the two is the genius and the inventor. Harleen Quinzel earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and as a former Arkham psychiatrist, was highly qualified in psychoanalysis, criminology, and forensic psychiatry. While not on par with Joker, she is still an expert tactician, deceiver and escapologist, and still shows traces of her psychological experience. Harley Quinn is the only person besides the Joker to concoct Joker Venom, the Joker's signature weapon, and is shown to have reverse-engineered its formula and developed an antitoxin. She also has an indomitable pathological will.
Just like Poison Ivy, sometimes and not as much, Harley uses her feminine charm to attract men but only to be able to manipulate them. Unlike the Joker, she is able to simulate sanity, thus being able to pretend to be a "normal" person. In this way, she disguised herself as a security guard, a lawyer and even Poison Ivy and Batgirl.
Harley Quinn has had several love interests, the most notable being Joker and Poison Ivy. Other love interests include Mason Macabre, a character created by Conner and Palmiotti. Plastic Man was initially intended to be a love interest for Harley Quinn by Kesel, but was not approved by DC.
"So Harley in her earlier incarnation really felt like she was the one for the Joker, that she could catch him and cure him and bring him back to humanity. But actually, in the process, she lost hers. Before she knew it she had fallen head-over-heels in love with him. I think initially he was looking to play her and get what he could out of her, and then realized he had opened Pandora’s box and this woman in her madness could match him at just about anything he does. I think he finds that, in some ways, very sexy and attractive. But he’s not really set up to love in the way a regular person is. I think there are sparks and intensity and weird passion of a sort to their relationship, but I would not call it a loving relationship in the traditional sense."
Paul Dini, 2017
The Joker is Harley Quinn's former lover. Harley's solo comics often explores her former association with the Joker through "flashbacks of their past exploits, present-day conflicts", or through Harley as she "laments his absence". Harley often refers to him as "Mistah J" and "Puddin'".
Their relationship is known for its abusive and codependent nature, first established in Harley's first origin story Mad Love. The Joker habitually abuses Harley, and despite the verbal abuse, Harley Quinn returns to him. In the 1999 one-shot comic Batman: Harley Quinn, the Joker decides to kill Harley, after admitting that he does care for her, that their relationship is romantic, and that these feelings prevent him from fulfilling his purpose. Dini describes their relationship as abusive, and empathizes with Harley's feelings of abandonment, with Dini basing most of Harley's dialogue on his past experiences.
The Joker's controlling and codependent relationship with Harley Quinn has been analyzed as a means of the Joker reinforcing his own belief in his power in a world where he may be killed or neutralized by another villain or Batman. Joker mirrors his identity through Harley in her appearance, and even though he may ignore or act indifferent towards her, he continues to try to subject her to his control. When Harley successfully defeats Batman in Mad Love (1994), the Joker, emasculated by his own failure, severely injures her out of fear of what the other villains will think of him; however, while Harley recovers, the Joker sends her flowers, which she accepts, reasserting his control over her.
Poison Ivy is Harley Quinn's current love interest and best friend, and Harley often refers to her as "Red". Ivy was first introduced as a new friend to Harley by Dini in the 1993 Batman: The Animated Series episode "Harley and Ivy". The episode came from Dini wanting to make Harley a stronger character and write a story where she leaves the Joker; Dini decided to pair her up with Ivy because she was "the strongest contrast to Harley". The two later became close friends within the DC Animated Universe. Dini has stated that he could see a romantic relationship between the two happening the more he worked with the two characters, but the impossibility of properly portraying their relationship in a kids cartoon at the time prevented it from happening.
Prior to the New 52 reboot, Ivy is shown as having teamed up on occasion with Harley with Harley being her best friend and recurring ally. Unlike most villain team-ups, their partnership is based on genuine friendship and mutual respect. Ivy sincerely wants to save Harley from her unhealthy abusive relationship with the Joker. Accordingly, Poison Ivy despises the Joker, and the two exchange vicious banter at every opportunity. In the final storyline of the Gotham City Sirens series, Harley suggests that Ivy may be in love with her, an accusation that stuns her. The following issue has Poison Ivy acknowledge that she may indeed love Harley, but the details of her love are never specified, and the series ended with the New 52 reboot before their relationship could be addressed.
Conner and Palmiotti hinted at a romantic relationship in the New 52 Harley Quinn series, and later confirmed that Harley and Ivy are in a non-monogamous relationship. 2017's Harley Quinn #25 marked their first canonical kiss.
Main article: DC Animated Universe
Harley Quinn first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995), voiced by Arleen Sorkin, who subsequently reprised her role in other DC Animated Universe series, including Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000), The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999), Static Shock (2000–2004), and Justice League (2001–2004), as well as the film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000). Following Sorkin's retirement in 2012, the character was voiced by Melissa Rauch in Batman and Harley Quinn (2017) and an uncredited Tara Strong in Justice League vs. the Fatal Five (2019).
Originally a career-oriented psychologist, Dr. Harleen Quinzel's life took a radical turn when she chose to take an internship at Arkham Asylum for a semester of college. Convinced by the Joker himself to do it, Harleen interviewed him and learned he was abused as a child by his alcoholic father (later learning this backstory to have been one of several different stories he had told to others, some with different details each time), and after more interviews, determined Batman was the primary source of the Joker's anger and was to blame for his actions, but that she also had fallen in love with him. Harleen helped the Joker escape and, renaming herself Harley Quinn, became his sidekick in hopes that she could win his love, going on a crime spree across the United States of America.
After assisting Joker in attempting to assassinate Commissioner James Gordon by planting a bomb at a dinner in his honour, she was subdued by Batman, and subsequently an accomplice in virtually all of Joker's criminal schemes. On occasion, she would be kicked out of Joker's gang when unintentionally upstaging or annoying the Joker, on one of these occasions teaming up with Poison Ivy, with the two becoming close friends and a successful crime duo independently. While imprisoned on her own in Arkham Asylum, Batman offered her a pardon in exchange for helping him track down the Joker after he had stolen a nuclear bomb. The day she is declared rehabilitated and paroled, Harley's hyperactivity and unfamiliarity with the "real" world leads to her accidentally kidnap someone and be returned to Arkham yet again.
In the 31-episode Gotham Girls webtoon, Harley joins forces with Poison Ivy and Catwoman in a co-starring role.
After several failed attempts at rehabilitation, Harley returns to the Joker's side. However, after another failed attempt to kill Commissioner Gordon leads the Joker to forgetting their anniversary, Harley re-examines her life and decides that as Batman was the cause of the Joker's obsession, she should capture and kill him herself for him to kill, doing so by falsely pretending to have found sanity and luring Batman into a trap. Recognizing Harley to have come closer to killing him than Joker has ever done, Batman tricks her into facilitating his escape by making her call the Joker and tell him what she has done, knowing that he would not allow anyone other than himself to kill Batman, pushing her aside and unknowingly knocking her out a window. Recovering in Arkham, Harley decides that the Joker will never truly love her, before returning to her devotion upon seeing that he has left her a rose in a vase from him by her bedside table, with a note hoping that she gets better soon. Harley later references having convinced the Joker to attend couple's counseling with her.
In the film Batman and Harley Quinn, Harley (voiced by Melissa Rauch) is working as a waitress after breaking up with the Joker again. Approached by Batman and Nightwing to help stop Ivy from accidentally causing the extinction of all life on Earth, Harley agrees to help them after having sex with Nightwing, convincing them to light Jason Woodroe on fire after she talks Ivy down with tears. Sometime later, Harley hosts a reality television game show, where she makes contestants run an elaborate obstacle course to win a year of therapy from a professional, in a scathing indictment of the American insurance system.
In the film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (again voiced by Sorkin), flashbacks reveal Harley's apparent final actions after returning to the Joker again were assisting him in kidnapping Tim Drake and torturing him into insanity in order to transform him into their son "J.J", so that they can start a family together. She later fought Batgirl who angrily chastised her for even helping Joker commit a heinous act but fell deep into an abyss, leading to the latter presuming her dead, though she survived as depicted in the present, where she appears at the end of the movie, revealed to be the grandmother of the Jokerz members, the Dee Dee Twins, who address her as "Nana Harley", having reformed from her life of crime.
Main article: DC Universe
Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, and after meeting the Joker, she became his frequent accomplice, takes on the name Harley Quinn, and gets in an abusive codependent relationship with him. She eventually splits up with him, and becomes a solo criminal, forming a criminal gang called the Quinntets. Following the Quinntet's dissolution, Harley Quinn moves to Metropolis with her best friend Poison Ivy, where she works as a love columnist in the Daily Planet under the alias Holly Chance. She then moves back to Gotham City, where she then voluntarily incarcerates herself in Arkham. Harley Quinn then spents a 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 Jim 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.  She then briefly joins the Secret Six, then decides to quit.
During Countdown to Final Crisis, a reformed Harley Quinn resides 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 reveals 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.
Main article: Gotham City Sirens
Harley Quinn then joins forces with Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle) in the series Gotham City Sirens. In Gotham City Sirens #7, Harley Quinn visits her family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, during the holiday season. Harley's father is a swindler who is still in jail, and her brother, Barry, is a loser with dead-end dreams of rock stardom. Her mother, Sharon, wants her to stop the "villain and hero stuff." The dysfunctional, "horrible" experience while visiting family causes her to return home to the Sirens' shared Gotham City hideout where Harley, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy spend the rest of Christmas together. Following several adventures with Catwoman and Ivy, Harley betrays them and breaks into Arkham Asylum, intending to kill the Joker for his years of abuse towards her. However, Harley ultimately chooses instead to release the 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 afterward, Poison Ivy breaks into Harley's cell and attempts to kill her for her betrayal, but instead offers to free her if she helps her 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 she saw good in them and only wanted to help. As Batman is about to arrest them, Catwoman helps the two of them escape.
Like her previous incarnations, Harleen Quinzel was still the Joker's psychiatrist, but before she becomes Harley, the Joker pushes her into a vat of chemicals, bleaching her skin white and driving her insane. Harley Quinn is forced to join the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller. Harley Quinn then leaves Gotham City and moves back to her hometown Brooklyn and resides in Coney Island.
Harley Quinn moves back to Gotham City in an attempt to reestablish herself as a hero, aiding the Batman Family and trying to make up for her past "where she often enabled the Joker".
Harley Quinn has become one of DC Comics' most popular characters. The 2016 relaunch of her comic shipped more copies than any other DC Rebirth title and was one of the best-selling comics of the year. DC Comics Publisher Jim Lee refers to Harley Quinn as the fourth pillar in their publishing line, behind Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Harley Quinn currently stars in four separate ongoing series — three eponymous titles and Suicide Squad. Only Batman and Superman have comparable numbers of monthly appearances, making Harley DC Comics' most prominent and profitable female character. Kevin Kiniry, vice-president of DC Collectibles, says Harley Quinn is always a top-seller and she "can go toe-to-toe with Batman and the Joker as one of the most fan-requested and sought-after characters." In 2016, Harley Quinn's Halloween costume ranked as the most popular costume in both the United States and the United Kingdom and it remains a popular subject for cosplay. To celebrate the character, DC Comics declared the month of February to be Harley Quinn Month and published 22 Harley Quinn variant covers across their line of comic books. IGN's 2009 list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranked Harley Quinn as #45. She was ranked 16th in Comics Buyer's Guide's 2011 "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list. Joker voice actor Mark Hamill attributes the success of Harley Quinn to Arleen Sorkin's performance. On Twitter, he stated: "In the script she was just an unnamed Joker "hench-wench" w/ no discernible personality. When Arleen began reading her lines in that unforgettable voice so poignant & full of heart I nearly fell off my chair! She brought SO much more than was on the page & a legend was born."
This section lists the collected editions, from trade paperbacks to omnibus editions, of various comics in which Harley Quinn is mainly featured.
|Vol. #||Title||Material collected||Pages||Publication date||ISBN|
|Harley Quinn (2000–2002)|
|1||Preludes and Knock Knock Jokes||Harley Quinn vol. 1 #1–7||192||December 2007||978-1401216573|
|2||Night and Day||Harley Quinn vol. 1 #8–13 and Harley Quinn: Our Worlds at War||190||June 2013||978-1401240417|
|3||Welcome to Metropolis||Harley Quinn vol. 1 #14–25||288||March 2014||978-1401245955|
|4||Vengeance Unlimited||Harley Quinn vol. 1 #26–38||314||September 2014||978-1401250683|
|The Deluxe Edition|
|1||Harley Quinn By Karl Kesel And Terry Dodson: The Deluxe Edition Book One||Harley Quinn vol. 1 #1–8||224||September 2017||978-1401276423|
|2||Harley Quinn By Karl Kesel And Terry Dodson: The Deluxe Edition Book Two||Harley Quinn vol. 1 #9–19||288||November 2018||978-1401285098|
|Harley Quinn (2014–2016)|
|1||Hot In The City||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #0–8||224||October 2014||978-1401254155|
|2||Power Outage||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #9–13, Harley Quinn Futures End #1, Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego and material from Secret Origin #4||208||April 2015||978-1401257637|
|3||Kiss Kiss Bang Stab||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #14–16, Annual #1, Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 and Harley Quinn Valentine's Special #1||168||December 2015||978-1401262525|
|4||A Call to Arms||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #17–21 and Harley Quinn Road Trip Special #1||176||June 2016||978-1401269296|
|5||The Joker's Last Laugh||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #22–25 and Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For||144||September 2016||978-1401271992|
|6||Black, White and Red All Over||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #26–30||144||January 2017||978-1401272593|
|Harley Quinn (2016–2018)|
|1||Die Laughing||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #1–7||168||March 2017||978-1401268312|
|2||Joker Loves Harley||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #8–13||144||June 2017||978-1401270957|
|3||Red Meat||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #14–21||168||September 2017||978-1401273699|
|4||Surprise, Surprise||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #22–27 and Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special||168||January 2018||978-1401275266|
|5||Vote Harley||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #28–34||168||May 2018||978-1401278823|
|6||Angry Bird||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #35–42||192||August 2018||978-1401281526|
|1||Harley Quinn: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #1–13||304||September 2017||978-1401273682|
|2||Harley Quinn: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #14–27 and Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special||384||July 2018||978-1401280659|
|3||Harley Quinn: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 3||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #28–42||392||January 2019||978-1401285531|
|Harley Quinn (2018–2020)|
|1||Harley vs. Apokolips||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #43–49||168||December 2018||978-1401285074|
|2||Harley Destroys the Universe||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #50–54 and #56||160||April 2019||978-1401288099|
|3||The Trials of Harley Quinn||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #55 and #57–63||208||October 2019||978-1401291914|
|4||The Final Trial||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #64–69 and Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1||208||March 2020||978-1401294557|
|5||Hollywood or Die||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #70–75||176||April 2021||978-1779503091|
|Harley Quinn (2021–present)|
|1||No Good Deed||Batman: Urban Legends #1 and Harley Quinn #1–6||168||December 2021||978-1779513465|
|2||Keepsake||Harley Quinn #7–12||168||August 2022||978-1779516633|
|Title||Material collected||Pages||Publication date||ISBN|
|Harley Quinn Omnibus By Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti 1||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #0–16, Annual #1, Harley Quinn: Futures End #1, Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego, Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1, Harley Quinn Valentine's Special #1, Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1–6 and material from Secret Origin #4||768||September 2017||978-1401276430|
|Harley Quinn Omnibus By Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti 2||Harley Quinn vol. 2 #17–30, Harley Quinn Road Trip Special #1, Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For Special Edition, Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #1–6 and Harley's Little Black Book #1–6||864||October 2018||978-1401284565|
|Harley Quinn Omnibus By Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti 3||Harley Quinn vol. 3 #1–34 and Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special||800||October 2019||978-1401294465|
|Harley Quinn & the Gotham City Sirens Omnibus||Gotham City Sirens #1–26 & Catwoman #83||648||April 2018 September 2022||978-1401278397 978-1779516763|
|Harley Quinn: 30 Years of the Maid of Mischief Deluxe Edition||The Batman Adventures #12, Detective Comics #831, The Batman and Robin Adventures #18, Batman: Gotham Adventures #10, Batman: Gotham Knights #14, Harley Quinn #3, Gotham City Sirens #20–21, Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1, Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For Special Edition #1, Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special #1, Harley Quinn: Make 'em Laugh #3, Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #14, Batman #98, and story from Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special #1||336||September 2022||978-1779517180|
|Title||Material collected||Writer & artist||Pages||Publication date||ISBN|
|Batman: Harley and Ivy||Batman: Harley and Ivy #1–3, Harley and Ivy: Love on the Lam, and a story from Batman: Black & White Vol. 2||Paul Dini, Judd Winick (story)
Bruce Timm, Joe Chiodo (art)
|Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories||The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, Batman Adventures Annual #1–2, Batman Adventures Holiday Special, Adventures in the DC Universe #3 & Batman Black and White #1||Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Glen Murakami (story)
Bruce Timm, Mike Parobeck, Matt Wagner, Dan DeCarlo, Klaus Janson, and Glen Murakami (art)
|Batman Adventures: Mad Love Deluxe Edition||The Batman Adventures: Mad Love||Paul Dini (story)
Bruce Timm (art)
|Harley and Ivy: The Deluxe Edition||Batman: Harley and Ivy #1–3, Batman Adventures Annual #1, Batman Adventures Holiday Annual #1, Batman: Gotham Knights #14 & Batman: Black and White #3||Various||176||February 2016||978-1401260804|
|Harley Quinn and Power Girl||Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1–6||Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (story)
Stéphane Roux (art)
|Harley Quinn's Gang of Harleys||Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #1–6||Frank Tieri & Jimmy Palmiotti
|Harley's Little Black Book||Harley's Little Black Book #1–8||Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (story)
Amanda Conner, John Timms, Mauricet, Joseph Michael Linsner, Billy Tucci, Flaviano, Neal Adams, and Simon Bisley (art)
|Harley Loves Joker||Harley Loves Joker #1–2 and back stories from Harley Quinn vol. 3 #17–25||Paul Dini & Jimmy Palmiotti (story)
Bret Blevins and J. Bone
|Old Lady Harley||Old Lady Harley #1–5 and Harley Quinn vol. 3 #42||Frank Tieri (story)
Inaki Miranda, Tom Derenick, and Mauricet (art)
|Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica||Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #1–6||Marc Andreyko & Paul Dini (story)
Laura Braga (art)
|Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy||Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1–6||Jody Houser (story)
Adriana Melo, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Mark Morales (art)
|Harley Quinn Black + White + Red||Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #1–17 and two new original stories||Various||224||June 2021||978-1779509956|
|Harley Quinn: The Animated Series Vol. 1: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour||Harley Quinn: The Animated Series Vol. 1: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour #1–6||Tee Franklin (story)
Max Sarin and Erich Owen (art)
Harley Quinn stars in various series under DC Comics' adult-oriented Black Label imprint.
|Title||Material collected||Writer & artist||Pages||Publication date||ISBN|
|Harleen||Harleen #1–3||Stjepan Šejić (story and art)||200||February 2020||978-1779501110|
|Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey: The Hunt for Harley||Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey #1–4 and a short story from Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #12||Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (story)
Amanda Conner & Chad Hardin (art)
|Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity||Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1–8 & Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity-Secret Files (2022 edition adds story from Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special #1)||Kami Garcia (story)
Mico Suayan, Jason Badower, and Mike Mayhew (art)
|304 312||September 2021 September 2022||978-1779512024 978-1779517203|
Main article: Harley Quinn (TV series)
Main article: Harley Quinn (DC Extended Universe)
Margot Robbie portrays Dr. Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn in the DC Extended Universe.
Further information: DC Animated Movie Universe
Further information: The Lego Movie (franchise)
Harley appears in the DC Universe Online video game, with Arleen Sorkin returning as her voice. Harley is the basic Legends PVP character granted to Villains without having to spend Marks of Legend. To date, this was the last time Arleen Sorkin voiced the character; as of 2016[update], Harley Quinn is now voiced by Jen Brown, starting with a DLC episode based on the Gotham City Sirens.
Harley Quinn appears in the Batman: Arkham franchise. While Arleen Sorkin reprised her role from the DC Animated Universe in the first installment, she was replaced by Tara Strong for the rest of the series.
Harley Quinn appears in Batman: The Enemy Within (the sequel to Batman: The Telltale Series), voiced by Laura Post. This version of Dr. Harleen Quinzel was driven insane following her father's long bout with mental illness and eventual suicide. Attempting to avoid her father's fate, she joins a criminal organization called the Pact to steal a virus able to cure her hereditary condition. This depiction initially reverses the dynamic between Harley and the Joker. Quinn manipulates and abuses her former patient at Arkham Asylum, named "John Doe", who is infatuated with her. As the series progresses, John's confidence will increase, and depending on the player's choices, he will either aid Bruce Wayne in capturing Quinn or transform into the traditional version of the Joker. In the latter outcome, Harley will become the Joker's girlfriend and the two use the virus to threaten Gotham City.
Harley Quinn has her own novel adaptation from comics as part of the DC Comic Novels series. Mad Love was released in November 2018 and written by Pat Cardigan and original co-creator Paul Dini and published by Titan Books.
She is reinterpreted as Pauline Ketch in The Refrigerator Monologues.
As a teenager, she earned a gymnastics scholarship at Gotham State University. She used this opportunity to pursue a degree in psychology.
When Harley attacks the yacht in the first scene, she’s using a giant mallet, which has been her signature weapon since the New Batman Adventures episode “Holiday Knights.”
Why, hellllo Harley! What better way to welcome Harley Quinn to the pantheon of Infinite Crisis champions than by going behind the voice with Tara Strong. Find out what this fabulous, fan-favorite voice actor thinks of returning once again to the character she helped make famous.