(Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D.
) is a fictional character
appearing in American comic books
published by DC Comics
, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman
. The character was created by Paul Dini
and Bruce Timm
, and first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series
in September 1992. She later appeared in DC Comics
' Batman comic books, with her first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures
#12 (Sept. 1993). Throughout her animated depictions, she is shown to speak with a pronounced New York accent
The character is a frequent accomplice and girlfriend of the Joker
, and a close friend of the supervillain Poison Ivy
, from whom she gained an immunity to poisons and toxins. Harley Quinn's origin story relates that she met the Joker 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
Harley Quinn was originally voiced by Arleen Sorkin
in various tie-ins to the DC animated universe
, and has also been voiced by Hynden Walch
and Tara Strong
in either DC Animated Showcases
or in various video games
. In the Birds of Prey television series
, she was portrayed by actress Mia Sara
. The character will be making her live-action cinematic debut in the upcoming 2016 film Suicide Squad
portrayed by Australian actress Margot Robbie
'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
"100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
Harley Quinn first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series
episode "Joker's Favor
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 on 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 Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D.
as an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist
who falls for the Joker and becomes his accomplice and on-off sidekick. The story received wide praise
and won the Eisner
and Harvey Awards
for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. The New Batman Adventures
series adapted Mad Love
as the episode of the same name in 1999, making it the second "animated style" comic book adapted for the series. (The other was "Holiday Knights".)
She becomes fascinated with the Joker while interning
at Arkham and volunteers to analyze him. She falls hopelessly in love with the Joker during their sessions, 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 Harleen insane, leading her to quit her psychiatrist job and don a jester costume to become Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick. She later becomes friends with Poison Ivy
, who injects her with an antitoxin
which gives her increased agility and an immunity to toxins. the web cartoon Gotham Girls
. She also made guest appearances in other cartoons in the DC animated universe
, appearing in the Justice League
episode "Wild Cards" (alongside the Joker) and the Static Shock
episode "Hard as Nails" (alongside Poison Ivy
She appeared in World's Finest: The Batman/Superman Movie
as a rival and foil
for Lex Luthor
's assistant Mercy Graves
; each takes an immediate dislike for the other, at one point fighting brutally with each other as Lex Luthor and the Joker have a business meeting. In the film's climax
, Harley tied Graves as a human shield
to a combat robot set to confront Superman
, but Graves is rescued by the two heroes without suffering any harm (other than the damage Harley had inflicted on her beforehand).
The animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
takes place in the future, long after the events in Batman: The Animated Series
. It includes a flashback scene with Harley falling down a deep pit during a battle with Batgirl. At the end of the movie, a pair of twin girls who model themselves on the Joker are released on bail to their grandmother, who angrily berates them—to which they answer: "Oh, shut up, Nana Harley!"
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.
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
. 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
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.
#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
. 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
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
, 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 Assylum 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 is fully revamped. Harley Quinn has a more revealing costume, altered hair color, and bleached skin. Her hair is 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 has been reinvented as an antihero
rather than a villain, 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
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 shore's 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 will 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 the chronicles their journey to return to earth.