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Harley Quinn

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Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn
Information
Real name: Harleen Quinzel[1]
AKA: The Joker's Moll[2]
Thalia[3]
Species: Human
Hair: Blond (dyed),[4] White (later in life)
Eyes: Blue
Relatives: Delia Dennis (granddaughter)
Deidre Dennis (granddaughter)
Base: Gotham City
Affiliations: Joker
Poison Ivy
Rogue of: Batman, Batgirl
Abilities: Master gymnast
Toxic immunity[5]
Trained psychiatrist[4]
Weaponry: Clown-themed gadgets
Voiced by: Arleen Sorkin
52 images

"Face it, Harl, this stinks! You're a certified nutso wanted in 12 states and hopelessly in love with a psychopathic clown. At what point did my life go Looney Tunes? How did it happen? Who's to blame?... Batman, that's who. Batman! It's always been Batman! Ruining my life, spoiling my fun! Coming between me and my Puddin' from the very beginning..."[1]

Harley Quinn, real name Harleen Quinzel, was the sidekick and pseudo-girlfriend of the Joker. She occasionally struck out on her own, and often served as a roommate/accomplice to Poison Ivy.

History

Origins

Sane harleen

A once sane Dr. Harleen Quinzel.

Harleen Quinzel was once a career-oriented psychiatrist[4] whose life took a radical turn when she chose to spend a semester interning at Arkham Asylum. Upon meeting Dr. Joan Leland for the first time, the more senior doctor warned the eager and vastly inexperienced Harleen to be careful around the inmates. Originally drawn to the "glamor" of the inmates, she was unexpectedly intrigued by the Joker.
Joker opens up

Joker showing Dr. Harleen Quinzel an unknown side.

She organized regular therapy sessions with him, during which the Joker manipulated the inexperienced Harleen by telling her tales of a cruel father and an abusive childhood, mixed in with his early attempts at comedy. He made her laugh as much as he made her cry, and she fell hopelessly in love with him largely based on sympathy.

After the Joker's latest escape and re-capture by Batman, Quinzel went insane and adopted the clownish persona of Harley Quinn. Her first act was to break Joker out again.[1] Thereafter, she was his semi-constant companion and lover. She occasionally broke away from him, but always ended up going back to him in the end. For the Joker's part, while he had found her to be an annoyance some of the time, he was able to skillfully manipulate her to serve his own needs.

Criminal Career

Harley's first act was to assist Joker in attempting to assassinate James Gordon, by planting a bomb at his testimonial dinner. Batman subdued her after a brief fight. After that, she was an accomplice in virtually all of the Joker's criminal schemes.[6]

Sometimes, Harley would be kicked out of the gang when Joker's temper got the better of him. On one of those occasions, Harley teamed up with Poison Ivy, and the two became close friends and a successful crime duo.[5]

During one of her solitary stints in Arkham, Batman offered Harley a pardon if she would help him track down Joker, who had stolen a nuclear bomb. She did so, though in a crazy, roundabout way that ended up being almost as dangerous to Batman and Robin.[4]

After being pronounced rehabilitated by the doctors at Arkham, Harley was paroled, but her hyperactive personality and unfamiliarity with the "real" world led to an avalanche of trouble that led to her unintentionally kidnap Veronica Vreeland and being simultaneously pursued by Batman, Gotham gangsters, and the U.S. Army. She was returned to Arkham yet again, though Batman was more sympathetic to her, and understood how bad a day gone wrong could be.[7]

Unfortunately, Harley did not have much luck at being rehabilitated again and eventually returned to being the Joker's girl. However, after an incident involving Commissioner Gordon was botched, Harley began to re-examine her life. After she realized in a crazed manner that Batman was the cause of Joker's obsession and insanity, Harley devised a plan to capture him. Much to the surprise of Batman and the Joker, her plan not only worked, but according to Batman, was more likely to kill him than anything the Joker had ever devised before. However, Batman managed to escape by convincing Harley to call the Joker for approval, and knew that he would be furious at the idea of anyone other than him killing that Dark Knight.

As expected, Joker was furious and threw Harley out of a window, which nearly killed her and released Batman. Recovering in Arkham, Harley at last realized that the Joker would never love truly her and was nothing more than an insane killer. However, she returned back to her hapless devotion to him, upon seeing a single rose in a vase from him by her bedside table with a note that wished her a well and speedy recovery.

Harley later claimed that she and Joker had been to couples counseling. It didn't seem to help much, however, as it didn't take long for Batman to convince her that Joker was replacing her with Ace as his new sidekick. Enraged, Harley went to confront her "puddin'", who of course, immediately sweet-talked her back over to his side. Then he viciously backhanded her because she unwittingly led Batman right to his lair, which was the Dark Knight's plan all along.[8]

Later Life

Harley's final act in assisting the Joker was in capturing and torturing Robin into insanity, then adopting him as their "son", J.J. While Batman pursued Joker, Harley fought with Batgirl in the ruins of Arkham. In the fight, both women toppled into a deep pit. Batgirl managed to grab hold of a ledge, and tried to pull Harley up, but her sleeve tore, and she seemingly fell to her death.[9]

Harley as a grandmom

"Break a grandmother's heart! I hope they throw the book at you!"

With no body ever recovered, Barbara Gordon suspected that Harley may have survived, but she never resurfaced again. Without the Joker around, she apparently gave up her criminal career and, at some point, mothered or adopted one or more children, who in turn gave her at least two grandchildren, the twins, Delia and Deirdre Dennis. After they got arrested for assisting the returned Joker in his plan to control a weapons satellite, the twins were chastised for what disappointments they were by their "Nana Harley".[9]

Relationships

Relationship with the Joker

Harley's relationship with the Joker was perhaps one of the strangest in the whole character universe. At various times, she explained her feelings for him as sympathy for his abusive childhood (a story that Batman dismissed as a lie), tender feelings based on their therapy sessions, or simply that he made her life fun, after a stressful career as a psychiatrist.

Her devotion was inexplicable because the Joker seemed to return her feelings not at all, and frequently insulted and abused her. Occasionally, she would break away from him, but those moments of clarity never lasted very long, and, but a moment's kindness from Joker was enough to bring her back to him.[5][1][4]

Yet, at the same time, Joker found her a useful accomplice at times, and was often surprised by the depth of her devotion. At one point, he actually seemed to feel affection for her, after she demonstrated that she had enough "guts" to try to shoot him.[4]

Relationship with Others

Harley and Ivy

Harley and Ivy, out to have a little fun.

Harley had an on-again, off-again friendship/partnership with Poison Ivy, with whom she worked well with. Poison Ivy had always had a soft-spot for Harley, and often stated that Quinn had no need for Joker. However, Harley never seemed to accept that Ivy was right, and would often obsess over him. This along, with her flaky personality, would often cause Ivy great annoyance, but never to the point that she would sever ties with Harley.

Harley's feelings toward Batman were similarly conflicted. Most of the time, he was her enemy, which was natural given that he was also Joker's enemy. Sometimes, she even blamed Batman for the Joker's abusiveness toward her, and felt that his interference was what kept them from living a "normal" life.

Yet, on one occasion, Harley recognized that Batman was one of the few people who didn't think she was hopelessly insane, and who had done his best to help her.[7] Ironically, Harley was able to do the one thing that the Joker never could: make Batman laugh.[1]

Harley was the primary caretaker for Bud and Lou, the pair of hyenas that the Joker owned, and whom she affectionately referred to as her "babies".

Abilities and Equipment

Harley Quinn possessed above-average agility and fighting skills. She was an Olympic-level gymnast and acrobat.

Harley also carried an assortment of clown-themed tools, although they rarely proved effective.[4] One of her signature weapons was an over-sized wooden mallet which she swung around with surprising skill despite its unwieldy appearance. Another weapon in her arsenal was an over-sized revolver with a cork in the barrel. The cork usually contained ropes to tie people up or knockout gas.

Unlike the Joker, Harley could also act sane long enough to appear in disguise as a "normal" person. (She even got paroled from Arkham Asylum once.) Harley's impersonations included a security guard[6] and a lawyer.[10] A different security guard disguise was actually enough to get approval to guard the Joker alone during a police transport.[11]. Due to Harley's charisma and psychiatric training, she was also adept at psychologically manipulating others.

Early in their partnership, Poison Ivy injected Harley with a toxin antidote, which rendered her immune to certain chemicals and diseases,[5] and had the side effect of enhancing her strength and stamina, which allowed her to survive normally fatal accidents. [1][9]

Background Information

Harley Quinn was created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, based on (and created for) Dini's friend Arleen Sorkin, who provided the character's voice.[12] "Remarkably", Dini joked, "she still speaks to me".

The character was so popular that she was eventually incorporated into the DC Comics Universe.

There was some conflicting continuity about Harley's origins. Some episodes of Batman: The Animated Series such as "Harlequinade" described her as a serious clinical psychiatrist who was "rescued" from her boring life by Joker. However "Mad Love", the first full exploration of Harley's origins, portrayed her as more flaky, whose career as a psychiatrist was still undeveloped when she fell for Joker. Some details of "Mad Love" were fleshed out in the comic the episode was based on, also written by Dini and Timm.

Of Harley's relationship with the Joker, Dini wrote:

Bruce, Eric, Alan and I agreed that while we never wanted to delve too deeply into the rotting offal that passes as the Joker's soul, we did want to broaden the character a bit. One way we humanized the least human of Batman's enemies was to put him in a relationship with a woman who, for whatever reasons, adores him.


Mark Hamill added:

Expressing emotion in any way that's real and meaningful is alien to the Joker, but he's learning those parts of himself, however unconsciously, through Harley. On a physical level they're dynamite together. A lot of relationships are defined by that. Two people may be really horrible for each other, but physically they push each other's buttons so clearly they can't get enough of that person.


Says Arleen Sorkin:

Everyone else sees the Joker laugh, only Harley has ever seen him cry. It's the only reason she stays with him.


The producers have confirmed that it was Poison Ivy's stamina inducer that allowed Harley to survive the falls in "Mad Love" and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and to survive into old age.

Film director, Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma) was so taken with the character that he named his newborn daughter Harley Quinn Smith.

Trivia

  • During the episode: "The Man Who Killed Batman", Sorkin actually performed Harley's "Amazing Grace" on a kazoo herself. The producers gave her a kazoo and asked her to give it a try while they recorded the episode. Later they said it was lucky that they'd managed to do it in one take, because they were all helpless with laughter as soon as she'd finished.
  • Harley also appeared in the non-DCAU series "The Batman" and "Batman: The Brave And The Bold", voiced by Hynden Walch (who voiced Ace) and Meghan Strange, respectively.
  • Arleen Sorkin returned to the role of Harley Quinn for the video games DC Universe Online and Batman: Arkham Asylum (not in continuity with the DCAU). In Arkham Asylum, Harley sported a different appearance to her traditional jester's outfit look, and wore what appeared to be a modified nurse's uniform, though her jester's cap could be found on a dummy head in her old office. Harley also appeared in the sequel, Batman: Arkham City, and the prequel Batman: Arkham Origins (as Harleen Quinzel), but Tara Strong provided her voice instead. In Arkham City, figurines of Harley in her traditional jester outfit were scattered throughout the Steel Mill (where Joker and Harley were originally hiding out) and had speakers in the over-sized heads that allowed her to communicate through them. Her design from the DCAU series was later used in the Batman: Arkham Knight DLC "Batgirl: A Matter of Family".

Appearances

Batman: The Animated Series

Superman: The Animated Series

The New Batman Adventures

Batman Beyond

Feature film

Gotham Girls

Static Shock

Justice League

See also

Footnotes

External links

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