|First appearance||Batman: The Animated Series|
|First comic appearance||The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993)|
Batman: Harley Quinn #1 (October 1999)
|Created by||Paul Dini (writer)|
Bruce Timm (artist)
|Voiced by||Arleen Sorkin|
|Full name||Harleen Frances Quinzel|
|Team affiliations||Gotham City Sirens|
Secret Society of Super Villains
Harley Quinn (Harleen Frances Quinzel) is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, and first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series in September 1992. She later appeared in DC Comics's Batman comic books, with the character's first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993). In her depictions she has been portrayed as a physician psychiatrist and as a psychologist.
Harley Quinn is a frequent accomplice and lover of the Joker, whom she met while working as an intern Psychiatrist at Gotham City's Arkham Asylum, where the Joker was a patient. Her name is a play on the name "Harlequin", a character which originated in commedia dell'arte. The character has teamed up with fellow villains the Catwoman and Poison Ivy several times, the trio being known as the Gotham City Sirens. Poison Ivy is known to be a close friend and recurring ally of Harley, even being depicted as her girlfriend in recent comics. Since The New 52, she is now depicted as an antihero and has left her past as a supervillain behind. However, she is still depicted as a supervillain at times. Harley Quinn has also been depicted as a member of the Suicide Squad.
- 1 History
- 2 Characterization
- 3 Transition to comic books and publication history
- 4 Powers and abilities
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In other media
- 7 Reception
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Harley Quinn first appeared in the DC Animated Universe's Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor", in 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 it anyway. Thus they created a female sidekick for the Joker; she would become his love interest. 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; They used this scene as an inspiration for Quinn. Having been friends with Sorkin since college, he incorporated aspects of her personality into the character. Quinn was also inspired by a mutual female friend's "stormy but nonviolent relationship", according to Timm.
The 1994 graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love recounts the character's origin story. Written and drawn by Dini and Timm, the comic book is told in the style and continuity of Batman: The Animated Series. It describes Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, MD 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 and won the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. The New Batman Adventures series adapted Mad Love as an episode of the same name in 1999. It was the second "animated style" comic book adapted for the series, with the other being "Holiday Knights".
Harleen Quinzel becomes fascinated with the Joker while working at Arkham Asylum and volunteers to help treat him. She falls hopelessly in love with the Joker during their sessions and she helps him escape from the asylum more than once. When Batman returns a badly injured Joker to Arkham, she dons a jester costume to become Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick. The Joker frequently insults, ignores, hurts and even tries to kill Harley, but she always comes back to him, convinced that he truly loves her.
After Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, Harley makes several other animated appearances. She appears as one of the four main female characters of the web cartoon Gotham Girls. She also made guest appearances in other cartoons within the DC animated universe, appearing alongside the Joker in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards" and alongside Poison Ivy in the Static Shock episode "Hard as Nails".
Harley Quinn appears in World's Finest: The Batman/Superman Movie (a compilation movie consisting of three-part Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest") 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 ties Graves as a human shield to a combat robot set to confront Superman and Batman, but Graves is rescued by the two heroes without suffering any harm.
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 in which Harley helps the Joker torture Tim Drake until he has become "Joker Jr.", an insane miniature version of the Clown Prince of Crime; she then falls 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!". Prior to this, her costume made several appearances in episodes in the future Batcave.
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, is depicted as having been a Psychiatrist  at Gotham City's Arkham Asylum. Gotham City Sirens #7 (Feb. 2010) shows Harley visiting her family for the holiday season, in which they are portrayed as being very dysfunctional. It is stated that the reason Harley pursued Psychiatry was to understand her own broken family.
The character's origin story relates that Harleen Quinzel was once a Psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum and was assigned to treat the Joker. She eventually falls in love with the Joker and becomes his lover and accomplice. She follows suit in the Joker's clown-themed, criminal antics and adopts the name Harley Quinn, a play on "Harlequin" from the character in commedia dell'arte. Speaking with a pronounced Northeastern accent, Harley refers to the Joker as Mister J and Puddin', terms of endearment that have since been used in nearly every adaptation in which the two characters appear.
Harley Quinn was first introduced in the Batman: The Animated Series appearing in the style of a jester. She wore a black domino mask, white facial makeup and a one-piece black-and-red motley outfit with a cowl. Unlike the Joker, Harley's skin is not permanently white in the animated series, as this is reiterated in scenes showing Harley out of costume with a normal skin complexion. As Dr. Harleen Quinzel, MD, she is portrayed as having blonde hair and blue eyes. She typically wears glasses, a skirt, high-heeled shoes and a white lab coat.
In her early comic book appearances until 2011, the character wore her original black -and-red costume from the animated series. In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Harley Quinn had a revamped look that lasted until 2016. The New 52 showed Harley Quinn with an alternating black-and-red-toned outfit with a sleeveless top, elbow pads, tight shorts, knee pads and boots. Her hair color was altered to half-red and half-black, like the cap of her previous incarnation. Consistent with a new origin, her skin was bleached as the result of being kicked into a vat of acid by the Joker.
Following 2016's DC Rebirth, Harley Quinn debuted a new look in the third volume of her eponymous series, as well as the fifth volume of Suicide Squad. Her hair color is now blonde with blue dip dye on the left side and pink dip dye on the right, and she sports two new outfits. One outfit consists of tight, blue and red shorts, ripped tee shirt, satin jacket, fingerless gloves, fishnet stockings, studded belt and lace-up boots, much like Margot Robbie's depiction of the character in the 2016 Suicide Squad film. The character's other outfit is a two-tone, black-and-red suit consisting of a full-sleeve top, tight shorts, opaque stockings, garter belt attachments and boots. She has also been known to wear both red- and black-colored nail polishes on both her fingernails and toenails in an alternating fashion.
Harley Quinn is adorned with various tattoos, including four diamonds on her upper right thigh. Within the DC Extended Universe, both Harley and the Joker have several tattoos, with Harley having them on her cheek, forearm, legs and abdomen.
Transition to comic books and publication history
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.
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 then 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 student Guy Kopski, whose suicide foreshadowed her obsession with the Joker. Harley later appears in the Jeph Loeb series Hush. 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).
Harley next appeared in Batman #663 (April 2007), 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 (June 2007), 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 Jim 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.
Birds of Prey #105 (June 2039) reveals Harley Quinn as the 6th 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.
In Countdown #43 (July 2007), 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 or chiton. 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.
Gotham City Sirens
Harley Quinn joins forces with Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle) 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 tries to take down Selina Kyle named the 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 was not the real Joker, but one of his old henchmen impersonating him.
In Gotham City Sirens #7, Harley Quinn visits her family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn during the holiday season. Harley's father is a swindler who is still in jail and her brother, Barry, is a loser with dead-end dreams of rock stardom. Her mother, Sharon, wants her to stop the "villain and hero stuff". The dysfunctional, "horrible" experience while visiting family causes her to return home to the Sirens' shared Gotham City hideout where Harley, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy spend the rest of Christmas together.
Following a number of adventures with Catwoman and Ivy, Harley betrays them and breaks into Arkham Asylum, with the goal of killing the Joker for his years of abuse towards her. However, Harley ultimately chooses instead to release the 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 the Batman and Catwoman and Harley is last seen being wheeled away while bound in a straitjacket and muzzle. Shortly afterwards, Poison Ivy breaks into Harley's cell and attempts to kill her for her betrayal, but instead offers to free her if she helps her 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 the Batman is about to arrest them, Catwoman helps the two of them escape.
In August 2016, the debut of the six-issue miniseries Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death reuniting Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. Harley appears in the debut issue as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, PhD. with continued appearances throughout the series.
The New 52/Harley Quinn Rebirth
Following DC's 2011 relaunch of its titles, Harley Quinn's costume and appearance was fully revamped. The New 52 shows Harley Quinn with a sleeveless top, tight shorts and boots. Her hair color has also been altered to half-red and half-black and her bleached white 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 the 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 to 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 the Batman into coming to the chemical plant where they first met. The Batman then falls into a tank and demands Harley to tell him where the Joker is. But she only replies, in tears, that he is 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 story 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 the 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 her work in Psychiatry 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 was reinvented as an antihero who, after being released from the Suicide Squad and having her public files erased, values human life more or less and actively tries to improve life in her neighborhood, with mixed results. While the comic book version of the character is still romantically linked with the Joker, a more recent development has Harley also romantically involved with Poison Ivy. Harley Quinn series writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner confirmed that the two characters are in a non-monogamous romantic relationship. Between issues #11-13, Harley formed a brief partnership with an amnesiac Power Girl and battled the Clock King and the Sportsmaster 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 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, dubbed the Gang of Harleys (due to all members fashioning themselves after Harley and taking on similar codenames), comprising 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.
Catch Phrase: When startled or excited Harley tends to do a clear parody of Robin's old catchphrase by saying "Holee" and then some sort of alliteration.
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 girlfriend 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 the Batman) and finds herself fighting animal rights activists-turned-supervillain blackmailers. She shares a brief intimate moment with Bruce Wayne. At Coney Island, the Batman informs Harley that while he still distrusts her, he admires her attempt at heroism and promises not to interfere. Harley kisses the Batman and tells him to get "lessons" on kissing from Bruce Wayne, to which the 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 shores 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 is 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 takes place while Harley has the amnesiac Power Girl convinced the two are a crimefighting duo. The story follows the two when they are sent to a part of deep space known as La Galaxia Del Sombrero during the unseen events mentioned in Harley Quinn #12 and then chronicles their journey to return to Earth.
Harley has broken up with the Joker and has a romantic relationship with Poison Ivy.
The ongoing series has continued, with no apparent connection to Suicide Squad other than her new hairstyle, dyed for her by one of the tenants in her Brooklyn apartment and a few guest shots from characters like Killer Croc and Deadshot. Harley has once again met up with Power Girl and even her new sidekick Terra. She has faced down multiple villains from the Penguin to the corrupt mayor of New York and is in the process of running for mayor herself when the previous mayor tried to solve the homeless problem by feeding them to cannibals. She also runs a "vigilante for hire" group she calls her Gang of Harleys and has numerous other allies and stalkers including Red Tool (a parody of Deadpool), Harley Sinn (a former nemesis) and various other allies she has made along the way. The mayor countered by kidnapping her friend Mason and killing him. Harley got revenge and then she and Ivy went to visit with her family. On her return a Man-Bat was seen around town and Tony went missing. Not feeling very good after the death of Mason, Harley ordered her gang to stay out of it and was summarily ignored. They went to Arkham to ask Langstrom if he was behind it, but found him gibbering in his cell. He did, however, mention that there was "another". Meanwhile, Harley went hunting for the Man-Bat and took it down, only to find out it was Tony. Kidnapped moments later, they awoke in Langstrom's lab to find that his wife Francine was the newest Man-Bat and she then jabbed Harley with the Man-Bat potion.
After that mess, a few of her old criminal buddies, including the Penguin, the Mad Hatter, the Scarecrow, Solomon Grundy, False Face, Mr. Freeze and numerous other Batman villains took advantage of Harley's grief over her dead friend Mason to split her from her team. This was a temporary measure and soon Harley freed them from mind control and apologized for some things she said while on truth serum. Working together with all of her friends and allies like Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and Power Girl, Harley took the gang down. A few weeks later the Riddler showed up late for the fight while Harley and her gang were eating at the reformed Condiment King's new hot dog stand and they easily beat him up too. This was followed up by a one-shot issue in which we see a decimated future where Red Tool has tracked down Old Lady Harley at future cyborg Tony's request. We learn that she married pretty much everyone she knew at one time or another and that the world was mostly destroyed when her Gang of Harleys became several Gangs and tore each other to pieces after Coach was killed/absorbed by Brainiac. Harley finds her old original gang, beats them up and takes control again. This leaves Coach/Brainiac in charge and he heads out with Red Tool to go home. Back in the current time period, she recently went on a one-woman rampage on Apokolips before coming back to Earth with a new friend she rescued from Granny Goodness named Tina to deal with a realtor and a cult run by a skeleton-headed goof calling himself "Lord Death Man" who she heard about on a literal pirate broadcast. It turns out that he set it up himself because he is in love with her and thought it was fun walking into her traps, being apparently unkillable. Harley used the money he paid her to save her building and surrounding businesses from a land developer, whom she then catapulted away. When last seen, Harley was reading one of her own comics and a woman calling herself Jonni DC, Continuity Cop was threatening to stop her and the preview predicted Harley would destroy the DC Universe. After her mother was temporarily retconned and a series of pointless adventures through multiple continuity, everything was restored to normal, with the exception of an alternate past superhero with no concept of a "gray area" being pulled into Harley's world.
In September 2013, DC Comics announced a contest for fans and artists, "Break into comics with Harley Quinn!", in which contestants were to draw Harley in four different suicide scenarios. This contest drew controversy not only because it was announced close to National Suicide Prevention Week, but because some artists did not like the sexualized portrayal of Harley in the fourth scenario, in which Harley attempts suicide while naked in her bath tub. After seeing the reactions to the contest, DC apologized, saying they should have made it clear that it was a dream sequence that was not supposed to be taken seriously. In the final version, the bath tub scene was cut and replaced with Harley sitting on a rocket while flying in space.
Harley's Little Black Book
Harley also teamed up with a lot of major DC characters in Harley's Little Black Book, including Zatanna, Wonder Woman, Superman, Lobo and a version of herself and some other superheroines in a world in which they were trying to kill Hitler.
DC Comics began the next relaunch of its entire line of titles called DC Rebirth in June 2016. In December 2017, DC opted to rebrand its titles under the "DC Universe" name, using the continuity established from DC Rebirth. Within the DC Universe, Harley Quinn is featured in a bimonthly third volume of her eponymous series, starting with Harley Quinn vol. 3 #1 (October 2016).
Harley Quinn has a recurring role in the comic book title Suicide Squad, which debuted its fifth volume with Suicide Squad vol. 5 #1 (October 2016). Following the events of DC Rebirth, Harley Quinn sports two new outfits following in DC Universe. She wears tight blue-and-red shorts, a ripped white tee shirt, a satin jacket, fingerless gloves, net stockings and boots. Her other outfit is a two-tone, black-and-red suit consisting of a full-sleeve top, tight shorts, opaque stockings, garter belt attachments and boots. Harley Quinn is adorned with tattoos and her hair color is blonde hair with blue dip dye on the left side and pink dip dye on the right to match the movie and her new hair style in 52.
Unlike her counterpart in the New 52 series (who may be a sequel to this series after Harley finishes her time on the Squad, even going so far as to erase her public criminal record despite the fact that both versions got the dip-dyed hair style at the same time), she is still fairly dark and resists any attempts at labeling her a hero, no matter how many lives she saves or how many times she steps up to take command of the situation. She tends to swap her carefree joking attitude for the occasional sulk. So far, the events of the Squad do little to affect the DC Universe outside of their immediate mission. She is still officially done with the Joker in a romantic capacity and still Poison Ivy's on-again, off-again girlfriend.
The ongoing fifth volume of Suicide Squad shows Harley Quinn as an unpredictable and dangerous inmate at Belle Reve Penitentiary, attacking the facility's security forces when given the opportunity. Harley Quinn becomes the leader of the Suicide Squad in issue #20, following Rick Flag's apparent death. The members of the team under Harley's leadership include Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, the Enchantress, Katana and Killer Croc.
Powers and abilities
With the help of her girlfriend Poison Ivy, who is toxic by nature and did not want to poison Harley with her natural toxins, Harley Quinn is immune to various, though not all, toxins and heals quickly from minor wounds. It also enhanced her strength and natural agility. She also has developed an immunity to the Joker's venom and toxic gas, as mentioned in the Batman animated series and in the comic books, and other knock-out chemicals. If she is over-extended though, like when she was turned into a Man-Bat, her immunity can be worn down and such things will work for a time. Harley is a trained gymnast with fighting skills honed by years of her criminal undertakings. She is also well-educated, as she practices criminal Psychiatry and has her own nonlethal version of the Joker's gas. She has a slight immunity to mind control due to her insanity and not being sure what is going on in her head herself and has broken free of such before and from mentally damaged beings who have tried to read her mind.
- Harley Quinn's first major appearance outside the Batman animated world was in the Elseworlds miniseries Thrillkiller. This version of Harley is a schoolgirl named Hayley Fitzpatrick who dresses up in order to help a female version of the Joker called Bianca Steeplechase. After Batgirl kills Bianca, Harley is shown killing her own family, intent on revenge in the final frames of the story.
- In the Elseworlds 80-Page Giant, one of the stories is about Lex Luthor as a music producer. One of his groups is, as the press puts it, "alternative lifestyle folkies Ivy and Harley".
- On the new Earth-3, Harleen Quinzel is the Jokester's business manager and is killed by the Owlman.
- Harley appears in Batman/The Spirit. In this crossover, Harley is one of the many villains who helps try to take down the Batman and the Spirit. She initially appears disguised as a flight attendant.
- In the 2008 graphic novel Joker, Harley Quinn appears as the Joker's helper and aide-de-camp. She at one point acts as a stripper (though this may be a ruse) and is never shown speaking.
- In the Ame-Comi Girls universe, Harley is partnered with the Catwoman and Poison Ivy as part of a trio of villains.
- The Flashpoint version of Harley Quinn is named Yo-Yo. She was a henchmen of the Joker, and the Batman chased her down to find the Joker's location, as she had kidnapped Judge Dent's children. He chased her to the ledge of the building around Crime Alley. Batman drops her off the roof, but is luckily saved by Cyborg. 
- In Batman '66, a version of Harley Quinn designed more around the 1960s television show (she is slightly taller and her hair is short; she also wears prominent slanted glasses, a long red dress and red blouse, large pearl necklace, and fairly prominent earrings) appears as Dr. Holly Quinn, PhD, a psychologist at Arkham Asylum, referred to as Arkham Institute for the Criminally Insane. She convinces the Joker to cooperate with Batman and Robin in exchange for approving his comedy night proposal. Dr. Quinn is manipulated by the Catwoman and the Joker to perfect the Joker Wave — a hysteria-inducing transmitting dish used on Gotham. Quinn is devastated by her role in the plot and to atone for her mistake, Dr. Quinn reverses the device by submitting herself to its effects — freeing the people of Gotham, but sacrificing her sanity in the process. She escapes and becomes a supervillain named Harlequin, wearing a roller derby-inspired version of the classic Harley costume. She retains her considerable intelligence and psychological training, making her a difficult foe for the Dynamic Duo, but is eventually captured when Batman and Robin disguise themselves as criminals (Batman in his regular alternate guise of Matches Malone) who beat up other bad guys who were auditioning to be Holly's henchmen.
- Harley Quinn appears in the prequel comic to the game Injustice: Gods Among Us. She helps the Joker kidnap Lois Lane and surgically plant a trigger in her heart that will set off a nuclear bomb in Metropolis should her heart stop; when Superman accidentally kills her (thinking she is Doomsday) he becomes devastated, with the grieving Superman killing the Joker as a result. Harley struggles to come to terms with the Joker's death, but develops an attachment to the Green Arrow when he kidnaps her to protect her from Superman's wrath, but is also grief-stricken when he is killed by Superman. She later confronts the Black Canary, but hesitates upon realizing she is pregnant upon vomiting mid-battle and reveals to the Black Canary that she has a four-year-old daughter named Lucy who lives with her sister. Harley and the Canary befriend each other as a result and Harley starts helping Batman's Insurgency, though most members distrust her due to her lover's actions. In Injustice 2, she helps to fight Grodd's Society and Braniac alongside the Black Canary, the Green Arrow and the other Justice League and Regime members. It is revealed in the ending that she later joins the Justice League as a fully accepted member, though she occasionally has to deal with her violent impulses. It is also revealed that her daughter thinks her mother is actually her Aunt Harley, though Harley hopes she may one day be able to tell her the truth.
- In the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, Harley is made into a mutant hyena by the Shredder. She is knocked out by the Batman in the final battle and Splinter uses her hammer to take down the rest of the Arkham inmates. After the Shredder is defeated, the mutagen in her system decays naturally, causing her and the rest of the mutated inmates to revert to normal.
- In Batman: White Knight, it is revealed that Harley Quinn was two different women all along. The first Harley Quinn, Harleen Quinzel, quit when the Joker captured and tortured Robin (Jason Todd), and she was replaced by another girl, Marian Drews, without the Joker even realizing it. Once the Joker was cured from his insanity, he proposes marriage to Harley, only for her to beat him and mock him for acting "normal". The original Harley Quinn then appears, kicks the "fake Harley" unconscious and reveals to Jack Napier (Joker's true identity in this continuity) that there were two Harleys all along. While Harleen loved the Joker "despite his flaws", Marian loved the Joker by "his flaws". She accepts his marriage proposal and joins him in his quest to rid Gotham City of the Batman. Drews then takes the mantle of the Joker for herself "until the real Joker returns".
- In DC Comics Bombshells, Harley fell in with the Joker (in this version, a gangster) after leaving Charm School, but left him when he began his journey into the occult. By the time of the events of the story, Harley is drawn to England by a voice she believes is the Joker, but turns out to be the Joker's Daughter. She rejects the Joker's Daughter's attempt to have the Joker resurrected in the body of Poison Ivy, instead beginning a relationship with Ivy herself.
In other media
Harley Quinn has been adapted into various other forms of media. The character has appeared in both live-action and animated television series, films and video games. The character was originally voiced by Arleen Sorkin in the DC animated universe. Since then, she 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 made her live-action feature film debut in the 2016 film Suicide Squad, portrayed by Margot Robbie.
Harley Quinn has been interpreted as having dependent personality disorder as well as showing typically villainous antisocial behavior. Kate Roddy describes Harley Quinn as an "ambitious career woman who gives up her autonomy to become an abused sidekick" and discusses fan responses to the character.
Chris Sims describes the approach of Batman: The Animated Series as showing "a version of the character who is having adventures right now" and regards that choice as being a key part of Harley Quinn's production. Chris Sims describes her as the Joker's Robin.
Harley Quinn has risen to become one of DC Comics' most popular characters. The 2016 relaunch of her comic shipped more copies than any other DC Rebirth title and was one of the best-selling comics of the year. DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee refers to Harley Quinn as the fourth pillar in their publishing line, behind Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Harley Quinn currently stars in four separate ongoing series — three eponymous titles and Suicide Squad. Only Batman and Superman have comparable numbers of monthly appearances, making Harley DC Comics' most prominent and profitable female character. Kevin Kiniry, vice-president of DC Collectibles, says Harley Quinn is always a top-seller and that she "can go toe-to-toe with Batman and the Joker as one of the most fan-requested and sought-after characters." In 2016, Harley Quinn's Halloween costume ranked as the most popular costume in both the United States and the United Kingdom and it remains a popular subject for cosplay. To celebrate the character, DC Comics declared the month of February to be Harley Quinn Month and published 22 Harley Quinn variant covers across their line of comic books. IGN'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 2011 "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.
- Shelley E. Barba, Joy M. Perrin (eds.), The Ascendance of Harley Quinn: Essays on DC's Enigmatic Villain, McFarland, 2017, p. 204; Martin Gitlin, Joe Wos, A Celebration of Animation: The 100 Greatest Cartoon Characters in Television History, Rowman & Littlefield, 2018, p. 114.
- Michael Eury (ed.), Back Issue #99, TwoMorrows Publishing, 2017, p. 69, "Before she was Harley Quinn, she was the Joker's psychiatrist. ... Mad Love revealed that Harley Quinn was once Harleen Quinzel, winner of a gymnastics scholarship to Gotham State University. Pursuing a degree by romancing her way through her professors, Quinzel planned to become a pop doctor until an internship at Arkham Asylum introduced her to the Joker."
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Written by Karl Kesel and drawn by Terry Dodson, the double-sized first issue dealt with Harley's twisted relationship with the Joker.
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- Dockterman, Eliana (2016-09-27). "Superheroes Dethrone Princesses as Most Popular Kids' Halloween Costume". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
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