Subject 09: Harley Quinn AKA: Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel
With the Suicide Squad film set to hit theaters Friday and Harley Quinn #1 Rebirth and the Suicide Squad Rebirth One-Shot both dropping today how can I not talk about Harley Quinn! Rather than comics, I wanted to get into the Animated series she was created for. If you’re looking for some really cool Harley Quinn rare collectables, Topher has written about some great Harley Quinn firsts you should check out.
It’s no secret that Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created the character for the TV show. One name that doesn’t get mentioned often enough in Harley Quinn's creation is voice actress Arleen Sorkin. Harley Quinn just wouldn’t have turned out the same without Sorkin’s contributions. Don’t believe me, watch the episode Joker’s Millions if you have any doubt. I don't know about you, that's the voice I hear in my head when I read comics with Harley Quinn… Wait, that came out wrong… I don't hear voices… You know what I meant.
Harley Quinn's major front and center appearance is in the Mad Love One Shot comic, which was turned into an episode of BTAS years later. Mad Love is the origin of Harley Quinn and predates many of her TV Appearances. You'll see what I mean as I go through the early episodes.
Harley’s first TV appearance is BTAS episodes. “Joker's Favor” (1992). Followed by All Most Got Em, which marks Harley’s first meeting with Catwoman. It's also the first time Harley’s seen with her trademark oversized pop gun. Which Harley uses on Catwoman.
Harley’s 3rd appearance in the series is the episode Laughing Fish (1993). Laughing Fish is the first time Harley strikes that iconic pose with her gun in the series… After using it on Harvey Bullock first.
Harley and Ivy (1993) What brought Harley and Ivy together? It all starts when the Joker kicks Harley out of the gang. So Harley decides to pull a job by herself and ends up meets Poison Ivy for the first time. Hilarity ensues. This is the start of their Thelma and Louise'ish relationship. In many ways, It seems like Poison Ivy is Harley's first and only real friend.
Batman Adventures Mad Love One-Shot Comic (Feb 1994)- This is the comic that really put Harley into the foreground for the first time. Her backstory with regards to the Joker, the abuse, everything we didn’t know about Dr. Harleen Quinzel is answered here.
The Trial (1994) features Harley and Ivy working as a team, as well as the rest of Arkham Asylum residents. The Trial of Batman begins. During Harley Quinn's cross examination by Janet Van Dorn is the first mention of Harley’s origin as a doctor in the TV series. For fans that didn’t read Mad Love, they had no clue prior to this that Harley was a doctor.
Harlequinade (1994) The quinn'tessential Harley Quinn episode… Pun intended. Batman and Harley team up to track down the Joker. Harley has a limit to how much bad she's ok with. We see it for the first time here. Harley chooses to jump out of a plane, free Batman to stop a bomb from killing everyone in Gotham. Most importantly, the Baby’s, Ivy, Two Face and Hat Guy… She's referring to The Mad Hatter… I think. Regardless, it shows she's a good person deep down, she's just crazy…But not that crazy.
Harley’s Holiday (1994) Harley’s released from the loony bin and as you can guess things do not go smoothly. A misunderstanding at a department store sets off a chase through Gotham. Harley’s just trying to buy a new dress, the security tag sets off an alarm and everything goes sideways in a hurry. She goes back to Arkham unfortunately, but Batman makes her smile, and replaces the dress. So not all bad for Ms Quinzel.
Ok, since I know people are looking for books to speculate on, here’s some appearance that may or may not be on your radar. As always, it’s hard to list everything, so this is mostly stuff off the top of my head. Not really in any order.
Batman Animated Series #12- First Appearance of Harley Quinn in the Batman Adventures comic.
Batgirl Adventures #1- This is easily one of my favorite Harley comic appearances. What happens when Harley needs help to rescue Poison Ivy? She can't go to the cops, so who does she turn too? Batman… Except that's not who answers the signal, turning it into a Batgirl and Harley team up adventure!
Batman Adventures Winter/Holiday Special #1- A collection of short stories, one of which is Harley and Ivy VS Bruce Wayne’s credit cards. Then Batman shows up and spoils their fun. 3 of the stories from here were included in BTAS Episode Holiday Knights.
Batman: Harley Quinn #1- Alex Ross cover. First “in continuity” appearance of Harley Quinn. This was reprinted a few years ago.
Batman #570- Second “in continuity” appearance of Harley Quinn.
Detective Comics #737- Third “in continuity” interior and possibly second cover appearance of Harley Quinn in continuity. I mentioned this book during the Huntress article a few weeks ago. It's the first meeting of Huntress and Harley.
Harley Quinn Volume 1 #10-11 -Harley steals Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl Costume. This is while Barbara is Oracle and Cassandra Cain is Batgirl. Also mentioned previously.
Harley Quinn Volume 1 #19- First and only “Bizarro Quinn” appearance…. I’ve never seen mention of Bizarro Quinn anywhere else. It’s a brief appearance, regardless, it's one of the reasons this book is usually so expensive.
Catwoman #83, #84, #89- Have Harley Quinn Appearances, Mel mentioned these on the podcast a month or so ago.
Batman/Danger Girl One-Shot – First time J Scott Campbell draws Harley on a cover, granted she’s really small and not the focus. She has a brief interior appearance as well. The Campbell cover was a 50/50 split variant.
Suicide Squad #1- First New 52 appearance of Harley Quinn.
Suicide Squad #6 and #7- The Hunt for Harley Quinn. Here's the rub with these two issues. It's the New 52 origin for Harley, but issue 6 is all retread from her Mad Love origin. Issue #7 is the ”new 52 part of the origin” She goes in the vat of chemicals just like the Joker.
Detective Comics #23.2- Harley Quinn New 52 solo story.
Suicide Squad Vol 3 #14 and #15- And, as you may have guessed, Issue 15 is the issue where Harley “finally” breaks free of the Jokers and gains her independence.
Harley Quinn Volume 2 #13, 14, 15- Harley and Power Girl Team Up! I'm pretty much down with Power Girl teaming up with anyone, but this was fun. When Power Girl figures out Harley's taken advantage of her, not so much. Harley really tries to be good, it's really hard since she's crazy. So it harder still not to root for her.
Harley Quinn #25 1:25 Variant- I really like this variant since it’s another example of Harley throwing the Joker beating. They fight inside the issue too. Issues where Harley is fighting to break free of the Joker's hold have a lot of long term potential. It's only a matter of time before that plays out on the big screen… Assuming the movie doesn't flop.
Harley Quinn Volume 2 #26- A new look to get her closer to the “Movie Version” or for for Rebirth sake, I'm not really sure which.
This brings us to today's rebirth Harley Quinn Number #1. Which I'm sure we've all heard enough about… But if you still need more Harley Quinn, check out the CBSI Harley Quinn/Suicide Squad Charity Art Auction!
Next week, no Harley Quinn, I promise.