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Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel) is a fictional character, a supervillainess, in the animated series Batman: The Animated Series, later adapted into DC Comics' Batman comic books. As suggested by her name (a play on the word "harlequin"), she is clad in the manner of a traditional harlequin jester. The character is a frequent accomplice and would-be-girlfriend of Batman's nemesis the Joker, and is also a close ally of supervillainess Poison Ivy. The character was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm and was voiced in the Batman: The Animated Series and its tie-ins by Arleen Sorkin, and most recently by Hynden Walch on The Batman. In the Birds of Prey series, she was portrayed by actress Mia Sara.

Harley Quinn first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor" (episode #22, original airdate: September 11, 1992), 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 (though he ended up doing so anyway). A female follower of the Joker was thus created. Arleen Sorkin, formerly starring in the soap opera Days of our Lives, appeared in a dream sequence in which she wore a jester costume - Dini used this scene as an inspiration, writing the character specifically so Sorkin could voice her[citation needed]. Dini, who had been friends with Sorkin for years, incorporated aspects of her personality into the character. Sorkin's portrayal of Harley appears to be not only her own persona and quirks, but also seems to be a semi-caricature of actress Judy Holliday[citation needed]. The 1994 graphic novel Mad Love recounts the character's origin. It reveals that Joker intended to twist her mind as a joke because her name was close sounding to the word harlequin, a clown character in commedia dell'arte. Told in the style and continuity of Batman: The Animated Series and written and drawn by Dini and Timm, the comic book describes Harley as an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who falls in love with the Joker and becomes his accomplice and on-again, off-again girlfriend. The story received wide praise [1] 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 "Mad Love" in 1999, making it the third "animated style" comic book adapted for the series (the others being Holiday Knights and "Joker's Millions"). As portrayed in the comic, she becomes fascinated with the Joker while interning at Arkham, and volunteers to analyze him. She falls in love nearly instantly with the Joker during their sessions. After helping him escape from the asylum more than once, she is caught by her superiors, who revoke her license and put her in her own cell. During an earthquake in Gotham City, she flees and becomes Harley Quinn, the Joker's partner-in-crime.

The character proved so popular that she was eventually added to the Batman comic book canon (although she had already appeared in the Elseworlds mini-series Thrillkiller in 1997). The comic book version of Quinn, like the comic book version of The Joker, is more dangerously psychotic and less humorously kooky than the animated series version.

Quinn's DC Universe comic book origin, revealed in Batman: Harley Quinn (October 1999), is largely an adaptation of her animated origin from the Mad Love graphic novel. 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 ends with Harley turning herself in to Arkham Asylum. She then appears in the Jeph Loeb series Hush. She is next seen in Villains United Infinite Crisis special, where she is one of the many villains who escape from Arkham. (She is, however, knocked unconscious the moment she escapes). In the One Year Later continuity, Harley Quinn is an inmate at Arkham, glimpsed briefly in Detective Comics #823. Harley next appeared in Batman #663, in which she helps the Joker with a plan to kill all his former henchmen, unaware that the "punchline" 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. She is still a borderline psychotic, but has apparently reformed. 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 Sugar, 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, and helps Batman and Commissioner Gordon foil the imposter's plans. Although Sugar 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.



Harley's relationship with the Joker is one of the most popular in the DC Universe. While he often abuses her, sometimes near the point of death, there are as many instances that show a mutually affectionate side to their bizarre relationship. Certain stories imply that the Joker wrestles with the confusing reality of actually caring for someone, giving in to the sentiment more or less at times depending on his mood or state of mind. Of course other writers easily refute that considering Joker's long history without her.

A more in-depth look at the early stages of their DC Universe relationship is provided in Greg Rucka's No Man's Land novel. In the book Joker's initial reaction to Harley in her new mental state is a mixture of fascination and annoyance. Something that he can only seem to guess at causes him to not kill her and to keep her around. One part describes Joker observing Harley during one of their outings, "Harley, he had discovered, had tricks. One of her favorites involved a rusty cheese grater and a stapler. It didn't always work, mostly because people didn't tend to sit still for that sort of thing, but it gave Joker a consistent laugh, and he figured in time Harley would have it down to a science." In Batman #663, it is revealed that Harley included in her college thesis the theory that the Joker is constantly reinventing his personality; after she is corrupted, however, she refuses to accept that his love for her is not a constant. Furthermore, Joker relents after Harley defends herself against him, saying he will let her live, but that it would be better if she were disfigured. She apparently consents, but Batman attacks as Joker traces a razor against her cheek. The issue ends with Harley putting a bullet through Joker's shoulder. However, in Paul Dini's Detective run, Harley tells the Riddler that she's broken up with the Joker; confirming that they are no longer "on speaking terms". From this point onwards, Harley goes solo. Her once manic love for him has waned, and Harley seems at ease with herself and content in her current state.


Batman: The Animated Series

In the episode "Harley and Ivy", the Joker, frustrated with Quinn, kicks her out, so she steals a Harlequin Diamond in a museum to prove her worth. At the same time, Poison Ivy robs the museum of plant toxins. The two become quick friends and Ivy takes her back to her lair in a toxic waste dump where she takes care of her and injects her with a serum which has given Harley an immunity to all toxins and poisons. Harley and Ivy team up for a number of successful capers, becoming Gotham City's "Queens of Crime". Their partnership ends temporarily after the Joker welcomes Harley back. Ivy is continually frustrated by Harley's lingering feelings for the Joker. However, the friendship survives, and Ivy remains Harley's first port of call when she and The Joker go through a rough patch. She adopts the role of older sister and teller of harsh truths to Harley about her helpless infatuation with the Joker. When Ivy demands during "Harley and Ivy" that Harley stand up for herself, Harley says "I'm not a doormat — am I?" Ivy replies, "If you had a middle name, it would be 'Welcome'." She refers to Poison Ivy as "Red" (a reference to her red hair). Harley and Ivy made several appearances working together in other episodes and in the flash animated series Gotham Girls, the comic book of the same name, and a three-part mini-series entitled Harley and Ivy — in which they were shown sharing a bed. There are many other sapphic interpretations. Harley and Ivy are also shown working together in the Static Shock Season 3 premiere "Hard As Nails".

DC Universe Comic

The relationship between Harley and Ivy was integrated into the comics in Batman: Harley Quinn. In that comic, Joker finds himself beginning to care for her. Naturally, this can't be countenanced, so he decides to kill her. After he takes an apparently drugged Harley into his bed for what may or may not be the consummation of their relationship, he lures her into a rocket ship, telling her, in part: "I've noticed some changes coming over me since you came into my life. I've been reminded what it was like to be part of a couple. To care for someone who cares for me. It's the first time in recent memory I've had those feelings...And I hate having those feelings!" He launches the rocket, soberly telling an enraged Harley that he will truly mourn her, before erupting into a fit of his trademark diabolical laughter. The rocket lands in Robinson Park, where Harley first meets Poison Ivy. Ivy saves her, but after taking her in, recognizes Harley as Dr. Quinzel from the Arkham staff. When Harley regains consciousness, Ivy initially plans to kill her. The prospect of her own death totally fails to move Harley, and Ivy is curious as to why. She convinces Harley to tell her story, and comes to feel a kinship with Harley. Considering her another castoff, Ivy offers to help Harley take her revenge on both Batman and the Joker. Ivy gives Quinn a treatment that immunizes her to various assorted toxins and Ivy's own poisonous touch. It also dramatically enhances Harley's strength and speed. Ivy intends this to give her new friend an edge on Batman and the Joker. Hot-blooded Harley, however, is angrier at the Joker than at Batman, and even initially works with the Dark Knight to help bring down the Clown Prince of Crime. While Batman eliminates the villain's muscle, Quinn chases the Joker up a damaged building, intending to send him falling to his death. Before she can do so, however, the Joker apologizes. Falling in love with him again, she forgives him on the spot, and serves as his lieutenant throughout the rest of No Man's Land, as well as the Emperor Joker storyline.


The Batman

Introduced in the episode Two of a Kind in The Batman TV series, Season 4, she was originally Harleen Quinzel, a host of a pop psychology TV show Heart to Heart with Harley, a favorite show of the Joker. Claiming to have obtained an online degree for psychology, she gave off-the-cuff advice to her callers. Her bosses, fed up with her irresponsible behavior, canceled the show after she staged

an ambush on Bruce Wayne during her show, after falsely promising she would allow him to promote a charity drive on crime victims. The process of her sacking was caught on air, and watched by the Joker, who proceeded to take advantage of the situation. Initially thinking getting a tell-all from the Joker would restore her career, Harlene ended up rampaging the town with the Joker. She was recognized by the Batman. Eventually, she was arrested after being deserted by the Joker, and seemingly regretted taking up with the Joker. In an ending similar to her debut's in Batman: TAS, a note sent from the Joker as she was driven away in a police car drove her back from the regained sanity. She was voiced by Hynden Walch and, though the episode was written by Paul Dini, she more resembles her comics personality than her original animated series one, more dangerously psychotic and on slightly more equal terms to the Joker.

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