Origin Story of Harley Quinn: A villain may occasionally be too good to continue being a villain. Comic books are full of fictitious characters who start out as bad guys but change sides or become so-called “anti-heroes” who straddle the line between good and evil because their popularity makes it impossible for them to stay villains on someone else’s stage. The ideal illustration is Harley Quinn from DC. In the past 25 years, Harley Quinn’s popularity has made it hard for the cute maniac to stay inside the boundaries of her conception. She was never intended to be more than a one-dimensional Joker sidekick in a cartoon, but ever since her debut, she has grown into one of the most important characters in DC Comics and Warner Bros., on the big screen, on television, and in the comics.

Harley Quinn debuts in a cartoon

A select group of notable comic book characters that were converted from the page to the screen rather than the other way around includes Harley Quinn. Batman: The Animated Series’ episode from 1992, “Joker’s Favor”, featured the character for the first time. She also frequently appeared as a Joker-obsessed henchwoman throughout the entire series, even though it is obvious that the Joker doesn’t share her affections for her. Watching his former college buddy Arleen Sorkin on Days of Our Lives gave writer Paul Dini, who later wrote for many more Batman-related projects, the idea for Harley Quinn.

Dini was inspired by Sorkin’s portrayal of a jester in a dream sequence for the soap opera to both create and commission the character of the twisted girlfriend of the Joker. In the years that followed, Sorkin would portray Quinn in a variety of roles, most notably for the online role-playing game DC Universe Online. According to Sorkin, Quinn is someone who “wants to be a decent girl, but it’s so much more her to be a bad one”, according to Starlog Magazine.

Origin Story of Harley Quinn
Origin Story of Harley Quinn

Harley becomes part of DC Comics canon

It would be 1999’s Batman: Harley Quinn before Harley Quinn made her official comic book debut, seven years after her television debut. Quinn did make an appearance in comics published prior to 1999, most notably in the 64-page Batman Adventures: Mad Love special from 1994, which introduced Harley as the former Arkham Asylum doctor and homicidal patient of the Joker. But those comics weren’t a part of the main DC Comics story; instead, they were related to the setting of the animated series.

In the 1999 storyline No Man’s Land, in which Gotham City is abandoned by the US government after being nearly destroyed by a powerful earthquake, Harley made her first official DC Comics debut. Similar to her Mad Love counterpart, this Harley is the Joker’s doctor and is deeply attracted to him. When she aids him in escaping Arkham Asylum, she is quickly apprehended and committed. After No Man’s Land’s events decongest the asylum, Quinn is set free, finds her jester costume at a closed costume shop, and goes in search of her “puddin”. Harley is devoted to the Joker, fighting Penguin and his thugs for him and then engaging Batman directly so that the Joker may escape.

Harley Quinn strikes out on her own

The final issue of the series, Harley Quinn #38 from 2004, saw the hero meet a grim, if not foreordained, death. After all, A.J. Lieberman took up writing duties for Harley Quinn released in 2003, replacing Karl Kesel, and the book became substantially darker under Lieberman’s direction. Harley decides she belongs back “home” in the last issue. The last page depicts Harley banging on Arkham Asylum’s doors while it is pouring rain. Quinn’s face cracks into a smile as she is escorted to her cell in the last panel of the previous page.

Origin Story of Harley Quinn
Origin Story of Harley Quinn

Harley gets some backup

Harley Quinn made some pals in 2009. Gotham City Sirens made its debut in that year, featuring Harley teaming up with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, two other female anti-heroes. It all begins after Ivy uses her mind control skills to defend Catwoman from supervillain want tobe Bonebreaker and invites Selina to her new residence—the Riddler’s apartment, where she has made him catatonic. Then shortly after, Harley arrives and declares she is moving in. It is obvious that Harley is still fixated on the Joker despite years of abuse and death attempts.

Harley says she’s over “Mr. J” as soon as she gets to Ivy’s new apartment, and then she quickly inquires excitedly as to if he’s called. The three decide to work together at the issue’s conclusion, however they do depart from Riddler’s apartment and head to an abandoned animal sanctuary. But even if nothing else, it was a significant milestone in Harley Quinn’s development because it was the first time she appeared in a team series with other female characters; this happened again in Birds of Prey in 2022.

The character returns to Arkham

Batman: Arkham Asylum was released in August 2009 to the delight of DC fans and gamers alike. In this popular game, the player assumes the position of Batman who, after sending the Joker to the asylum, finds himself in a breakout planned by the Clown Prince of Crime that also include venerable members of the Gotham underworld like Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, and Scarecrow. The game also includes a tonne of voice actors from Batman: The Animated Series, including Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn, in addition to Arkham’s fascinating history.

Ironically, despite being the Joker’s top lieutenant in the asylum, she is one of the few Bat-villains that players never physically encounter in the game’s cut sequences. In a cut scene, Harley, who had sent squads of goons after the hero, is easily defeated by Batman. The fact that Harley’s role in the game is her first substantial media appearance without the traditional jester costume may be what makes it important. Instead, she is dressed like a sinister nurse and has the twin ponytails that would later become synonymous with Harley Quinn.

Origin Story of Harley Quinn
Origin Story of Harley Quinn

She becomes inseparable from the Suicide Squad

Harley joined the team in the 2011 volume of Suicide Squad, which debuted alongside DC’s line-wide reboot, the New 52. At this time, Harley’s jester appearance was replaced with black-and-red ponytails and a considerably skimpier attire. The majority of the first 19 issues of the new volume were written by Adam Glass, best known for his work as a writer and producer on the television series Supernatural. These issues paired Harley with Task Force X veterans like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang as well as more recent additions like King Shark and Diablo.

Harley Quinn hits the big screen

In David Ayer’s Suicide Squad from 2016, Harley Quinn finally made her way to the big screen in a live-action movie while brandishing a baseball bat and sporting some really low shorts. Naturally, rising star Margot Robbie, who won praise for her portrayal of Naomi Lapaglia in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, was chosen to play the psychologically unstable Quinn. Robbie’s portrayal of Harley stood out among an ensemble cast that included celebrity Will Smith as Deadshot, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jared Leto as the Joker.

She blazes her own path in an animated series

After finally breaking up with her abusive boyfriend, Joker, Harley Quinn follows the titular anti-hero as she attempts to establish herself among the ranks of supervillains. The group that Harley assembles is a reflection of the show’s frequent cruel, humorous parody of the Gotham City legend. There’s Clayface, who spends more time imagining the motives of the individuals he poses as than actually committing crimes and is more of a theatre nerd than a terrible man. Additionally, there is King Shark, who considers himself more of a tech support person and dislikes being viewed as a killer. Doctor Psycho, who is actually exactly as repulsive as he is in the comics, is also present.

Origin Story of Harley Quinn
Origin Story of Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn Returns to The Suicide Squad

Speculation about who would or wouldn’t return to their roles in the Task Force X’s bloody and casualty-filled Task Force X began to circulate when it was revealed that James Gunn would be writing and directing The Suicide Squad, the sequel, soft reboot, or reinvention of Suicide Squad, depending on who you ask. Forbes reported in Harley Quinn has been dropped from the plan. However, a week later, Mark Hughes of Forbes published a statement in which he stated that since then, he had learnt that Robbie was planning to re-join Amanda Waller’s incarcerated anti-heroes. Harley Quinn’s return to the Suicide Squad with her mallet and her murderous delight remained uncertain for the whole of 2019. However, in September 2019, Gunn posted an image with a list of all the actors who would be appearing in The Suicide Squad, including Margot Robbie.

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