Hello interweb, Nate here. So due to how long my review for Batman Beyond is taking, my schedule for this month is a little out of whack. So today I’m doing my Harley Quinn Character Bio today rather than next Monday. This will be my first Character Bio on a supervillain so I hope I do well here.
You can see my other Character Bios here.
Name: Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel
Alias: Harley Quinn
Occupation: Psychiatrist, Supervillain
Affiliations: Joker, Quintets, Suicide Squad, secret six, secret society of super villains
Powers/Abilities: Poison immunity, high knowledge of psychiatry, talented gymnast, metahuman agility, enhanced strength, enhanced intellect, above average martial arts skill, total disregard for human life (except Poison Ivy’s and Joker’s)
Love Interest(s): Guy Cobsby, Joker, Deathshot
Creators: Paul Dini and Bruce Timm
Publisher: DC Comics
Debuted in: September 1992 (Cartoon), September 1993 (Comics)
So you may notice that Harley Quinn was made by the same two people who made the rest of the DCAU: Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. This is because they were writing a script for a new episode of Batman: The Animated Series: Joker’s Favor (Season 1 Episode 22). They needed someone to jump out of the cake for the Joker’s plan because they thought it would be silly for the Joker to do it. While the Joker would do it in the end anyways, they got a design and concept idea for a clown to be the Joker’s “love interest”. The design was inspired because Paul Dini saw an episode of a Days of Our Life and his friend, Arleen Sorkin, was dressed up in a clown costume and making a bunch of bad jokes. This character was so popular, she got more episodes focused around her and even made it into the comics.
Harley Quinn’s Biography
So there’s actually three origin stories to Harley Quinn. One from the cartoons, one from the comics (also called New Earth), and one from the comics after the New 52 (or Prime Earth), I won’t get to much into the New 52 version as that version is really dark and isn’t really what I would consider suitable for this blog (I like to try and keep this blog children friendly).
The episode Mad Love showed us the origin to how Harley and Joker became a thing. Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatric intern at Arkham Asylum. There, she met the Joker and became instantly interested. The Joker saw that, and manipulated and seduced her until she eventually fell in love with him. She believed he was just doing these criminal acts to get people to laugh, but finding no one laughing at his antics. She eventually concluded that Batman was the cause to this and believed Batman was being a bully to the Joker.
One day, Joker escaped and was soon caught and beat up by Batman and sent back to the Asylum. Seeing the Joker in this crippled state, Harley decided to go out and buy steal a clown costume and broke the Joker out. Changing her name from Harleen Quinzel to Harley Quinn, she drove out of the Asylum with the Joker in the car and about a dozen police cars on their tale.
This would leave them to starting a shaky relationship. While Joker saw Harley as more of an annoyance that he can manipulate, he constantly abused her. She would be abused by the Joker often and would get kicked out, but would always crawl back to the Joker. Eventually, Harley decided to get rid of Batman once and for all so the she and the Joker could spend time together. The Joker would get mad at her because he wanted to kill the Batman himself, and thus push her out of a building, causing her to get injured.
This abusive relationship would continue until she meets Poison Ivy (see video below) while trying to rob a museum. After this, Ivy will give Harley a shot that would make her immune to poisons and toxins. The two would go on and rob a number of banks and museums, forming a sister-like bond. Harley would start to miss the Joker, making Ivy mad at her for missing that psychopathic clown.
It is revealed in a flashback of Batman Beyond that Harley and Joker would decide to settle down and have a kid. And by have a kid, I mean they would go out and kidnap Batman’s kid: Tim Drake (Robin). The two would brainwash Tim and turn him into Joker Jr. This would cause Batman and Batgirl to go and rescue Tim, leading to Harley falling off a cliff and Tim to shoot Joker (electrocute in the censored version). We won’t see Harley for 20 more years when two Jokerz (members of gangs who name themselves after the deceased clown prince of crime) named Dee Dee would be bailed out of jail by an elderly lady who was complaining about them being thrown in jail, this caused one of the Dee Dees to say “Shut up Nana Harley!”
FYI, this origin is a little dark and so be aware.
The comic’s version is very similar to the cartoon version. So Harleen Quinzel was an internship under Dr. Odin Markus at Arkham Asylum, like the cartoon. This time, however, she came with a graduate thesis that there are only two times a person would disregard the rules of society: when committing a crime, and when they’re in love. To show this, she conducted a live experiment with her boyfriend: Guy Cobsby.
Guy noticed that there was something wrong with Harleen and she explained that she ran a red light in a car she stole and possibly shot Dr. Markus. She then asked him “Do you still love me?” and Guy was a little iffy about believing her until she showed him a handgun that was recently shot and he grabbed it and ran. Harleen ran after him and found him in the gymnasium and laughing nervously at a dead body of a homeless guy who he believed was Dr. Markus. Guy then asks Harleen to help him kill himself. Harleen didn’t want to, but Guy begged her. The next thing we see is a gunshot, we don’t know who shot the gun, just that Guy is dead.
Believing that Guy’s death was born from total chaos, Harleen wanted to see the Joker and showed Dr. Markus that she’d go to extremes to meet him. After this, Dr. Markus attempted to help her until she got to meet the Joker in person. After being with the Clown King himself, she introduced herself as Harleen Quinzel but stated that he could call her Harley Quinn, like the clown. Joker was usually silent with most doctors, but at that instant he burst out laughing and asked her if she was flirting with him. She then leaned into him, and the Joker put his hands around Harley’s neck, and started strangling her. She didn’t flinch at all, and this surprised the Joker so he took his hands away and told her that it was only a joke.
Harleen and Joker would share an affair and Harleen would help Joker break out of jail a number of times before she was caught. She then told them that she released him for therapeutic uses. This obviously didn’t fly with them, and she had her medical licenses was revoked and she was sent to Arkham herself. She then would break out of jail numerous times with the Joker until she realized that the way he treated her was just abusive and she decided to lead a crime ring of her own and formed the Quintets.
The Quintets wouldn’t be that good and all their heists would fail. At this, one of the Quintets had enough of this and sent assassins to attack Harley including Killer Croc. She managed to survive these attacks with some help from others, but just barely.
In this version, Harleen Quinzel would be an intern to Arkham Asylum and had a slight fascination with the Joker but nothing close to love. She was convinced that everyone has misdiagnosed him though. She would continue to have sessions with the Joker and the Joker constantly tried to scare her, but she never was frightened of him, and he liked that. The Joker eventually told Harleen that he knew about how her parents died in a car accident and showed her a severed finger from the drunk driver that killer her parents to show her that he has been brought to justice.
So eventually, a coworker of Harleen’s wanted to steal Harleen’s notes and publish it as her own. While reading the notes, she learned that Harleen has fallen in love with the Joker. Once Harleen found out about this, she killer her coworker only to be interrupted by a guard. But she didn’t back down, she instead killed the guard and set the Joker free. The two ran to a chemistry area and the Joker told Harleen that this will be her new birthday.
Harleen realized what was going on and attempted to run, but the Joker grabbed her and threw her into a tub full of chemicals. He then drained the chemicals and at the bottom of the tub was Harleen only the chemicals bleached her skin white and permanently died half of her hair red and the other half blue. On top of this, she was mentally disconnected from reality and became mentally insane.
I just want to say real quick that I am not a big fan of this Harley Quinn’s design. I feel that they over sexualized her and I’m never a fan of over sexualizing characters. While she’s not necessarily inappropriate, I wish they either stuck with her old design or just make her look more psychotic. I do like her new hair though, I think that was a nice touch to this character.
The Joker was soon arrested and Harley Quinn (no longer Harleen Quinzel) avenged the Joker by going on a murderous rampage. She was then arrested and put up for the death penalty until her room was filled with gas and a stranger put a mini bomb on the back of her neck. The stranger than tortured her to make her prove her loyalty before removing her from the place and forced her to join the Suicide Squad. The suicide squad was then put on a mission to find a baby that might hold the cure to this zombie virus. Between missions, Harley Quinn and Deathshot, a member of the suicide squad, got romantically active and did some kissing. It was unknown to Harley that Deathshot secretly had the virus. Later, the suicide squad went on a mission that went well and Harley was sent back to her cell. On the way there, the guard accidentally turned off her bomb. Seeing opportunity, she caused a prison riot and escaped. Deathshot was eventually cured of the virus and they told him that he can see his daughter again if he brought Harley back, dead or alive.
The rest of the story gets really freaky and so I’m just going to stop here.
- Harley Quinn also appeared in non-DCAU series such as The Batman and Batman: The Brave and The Bold
- Harley Quinn’s accent was created to separate Harleen Quinzel from Harley Quinn
Comics to Check Out
If you want to get some Harley Quinn stories, some suggestions are:
- Mad Love
- Suicide Squad #1
- Harley Quinn #1
- The Batman Adventures #12
Why I Like/Dislike Harley Quinn
Frankly, I tend to like her Batman: TAS version better than her comics version. Her cartoon version is just fun to watch and she’s probably the only Batman villain who could just act so naive and innocent while committing a crime. That sounds kind of weird, but if you see some episodes she’s in you’d understand what I’m saying.
Do you like this clown?
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