For lifelong comic book fans, Harley Quinn is a relatively new character. First appearing in the 1990’s, Harley is technically a millennial. As it turns out, millennial’s like more complex characters, i.e. the antihero. Throughout the years, we’ve come to find out Harley Quinn is much more than just the Joker’s loving henchwoman.
Like many of her other cohorts, Harley doesn’t mind bending morality to get the job done. Alongside her Gotham City Sirens, Catwoman and Poison Ivy, and Suicide Squad members, like Deadshot and Diablo, these anti-heroes and anti-heroines prove that decency, honor and integrity aren’t simply measured. Not everyone can be labeled “good” or “bad.”
Regardless of whether or not you view Harley Quinn as a hero or a villain, no one can deny the girl is completely out of her mind. Even she admits it. Harley is fully aware that she’s “a certified nutzo wanted by the law in two dozen states and hopelessly in love with a murderous psychopathic clown.”
Either way, most people view Harley’s relationship with Batman’s most infamous foe as extremely unhealthy and violently abusive. Do you know why? How did Harley get her name? Where was she born? Has she finally gotten over Mistah J for good? You don’t need to bathe in acid, or even paint your face to prove your love for Harley, just take this quiz and test your knowledge of one of DC Comics' most notorious criminals.
Harley was an intern at Arkham Asylum.
The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, more commonly referred to as just Arkham Asylum, is the psychiatric hospital in Gotham City. Most of Batman's most notorious foes wind up serving some time in Arkham, including the Riddler, Two Face, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc and Mr. Freeze, plus many, many others of Gotham's villains. Obviously, the Joker was also an Arkham Asylum alum, but was his sweetheart one too? Is that how they met? What was Harley doing at Arkham before she became the Joker's henchwoman?
Harley Quinn's birth name is Harleen Quinlet.
The Joker took a liking to her almost immediately because he was smitten over the fact her name sounded like "harlequin." The late 16th century in Europe popularized the idea of the harlequin jesters, a checkered costume wearing comedic servant. The harlequin character possesses physical agility as well as mischievous trickster qualities. Harlequin wants to help their master in any way they can and was often portrayed as a romantic hero. The character was paired with a clown character in the 1800s. Sound familiar? The inspiration behind DC's feminine anti-hero is totally based off of the old characters of yore.
Harley has kissed Batman.
Since Harley is utterly devoted to her Puddin', Harley's nickname for the Joker, she'd literally do anything for him. And since Puddin's main obsession is with the Dark Knight, Harley has too vowed to take down "Batsy." However, her maniacal attempts at getting rid of Batman have always failed, and despite this, Bats still has a soft spot for the Clown Princess. He sees good in her and believes she can be helped. They've even fought side by side on numerous occasions and Harley has helped Batman find the Joker. Has she used her womanly wiles to get what she wants?
Bud and Lou are the names of Harley's hyenas.
The Joker's two laughing pet hyenas made their first appearance in the Batman Adventures "Mad Love #1," which depicted the relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn. Just like their master, they like to manically laugh and play pranks on their foes. However, they took a liking to Harley and never wanted to attack her. They'd always come to her rescue and all she had to do was yell, "Babies!" The hyenas went unnamed until the Joker reveals their names in an episode of The New Batman Adventures, entitled "Joker's Millions."
Harley has been romantically linked to Bane.
If there's one thing Harley proves, is that sexuality isn't black and white. We are all aware of Harley's toxic relationship with the Clown Prince of Crime, and her much healthier, romantic friendship with Poison Ivy, and her longtime crush on Wonder Woman. If you thought you felt some tension between Harley and Deadshot in Suicide Squad, you were right. The two characters have a physical relationship in the comics. How many other DC characters has Harley been with sexually?
Harley Quinn is originally from the Bronx.
DC has made numerous references to her NYC past, which is hard to ignore because of her distinctive, thick, New York accent, so there's no doubt the Clown Princess grew up in the Big Apple. Harley moved to "nearby" Gotham City for college and wound up keeping Gotham has her home base, especially since meeting Mistah J. When she eventually breaks out on her own, Harley goes back home for a while, and we get to see her various escapades in NYC in her own comic series.
Harley made her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series.
Harley Quinn has had an interesting background when it comes to her character development. Of course, like many comic book characters, her story has changed numerous times throughout the years. However, she's such a new character—she was created in the 1990s—because Batman writers never wanted the Joker to have a love interest. Allowing someone to love the Clown Prince of Crime makes him a more empathetic and human, which are qualities the Joker lacks. But there's just something about Harley. As soon as fans caught a glimpse of the Brooklyn broad in that skintight jumpsuit, they fell in love with her too.
The Joker eventually married Harley.
The Joker is a complete and total sociopath, which Harley is very much aware of. However, despite his ability to truly love and care for another human being besides himself (and Batman), in his sick, twisted way, he does actually love Harley. It's not the love that is seen in a healthy relationship, but he does what he can for a criminally insane clown. Fans have seen Joker push Harley out of windows, throw her to wild animals, even launch her to space on a rocket. Despite this, we've also seen him risk his life to win her back and break down crying in Harley's lap.
Harley has a daughter with the Joker.
We know that Joker has never really been able to commit to his adoring Clown Princess, so it would be hard to imagine them with a family—even though that's really all Harley ever wanted. In Suicide Squad, we see her have a fantasy of them in a very normal life, with a home, clean skin, and a few rugrats roaming around. However, has much as she wants the picture-perfect "normal" life with her Puddin' she knows it's unattainable for them. As Harley says, "Normal is a setting on the dryer."
Harley was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
Harley Quinn's creators were unaware that she would become a major character. Originally, Harley was only supposed to be a background character—just a member of Joker's gang of loyal misfits. However, audiences fell head over heels with the loving lunatic, who seemed to be much more than just a misunderstood henchwoman. She became an ongoing character in Batman: The Animated Series and then she began appearing in the comics shortly after. No other character has jumped from TV to comics like Harley has.
Harley's character was based off of Carol Burnett.
Obviously Harley's creators were inspired by the Harlequin character from back in the day, but one of her creators, Paul Dini, was very good friends with a comedic actress. He swears she inspired the infamous Batman villainess. Dini witnessed the actress do a skit, where "She was in a fantasy sequence where they were all playing, like, nursery rhyme characters," explained Dini. "And for whatever reason, they dressed her up in a little two-toned Pied Piper suit. And I was thinking, 'Hey that's kind of cool, you know? Let's go with that kind of feel.'"
Filmmaker Kevin Smith named his daughter Harley Quinn.
Kevin Smith is an accomplished director, actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and comedian. Smith became well known in the film business after the success of his low-budget 1994 film Clerks. He went on to make and star in Jay and Silent Bob, then Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma. His vast knowledge and experience about comics led him to host a reality show on AMC called Comic Book Men. The New Jersey comic book geek married actress Jennifer Schwalbach, and apparently she really loves him because she let him name their daughter, born in 1999, after one of his favorite comic characters.
She isn't good with weapons.
Harleen earned a scholarship to Gotham City University because she was a straight A student and prominent gymnast -- she trained ever since childhood. Her agility and gymnastic abilities have come in handy when she decided to hang up her white coat for a checkered jumpsuit to turn to a life of crime. Her psychiatric training taught her how to manipulate others without even lifting a finger most of the time. After all, she did impersonate a lawyer and a guard to get out of Arkham. Smart, creative and acrobatically inclined, does she even need any weapons?
Harley is immune to toxins.
When she first appeared, her weapon of choice was a comedic oversized mallet. More recently, she's seen wielding a baseball bat, like in Suicide Squad. Harley also likes to use an oversized revolver that can shoot out laughing gas. Most of her weapons don't usually prove to be effective, but that hasn't stopped Harley from kicking some serious butt when she needs to. Is it just her natural strength and stamina that allows her to go head to head with some of Gotham's most notorious bad guys?
Harley has blue eyes.
Since the Joker's gal appeared in the Batman canons, she has gone through drastic revamps. Her classic red and black jumpsuit has changed to a red and blue getup consisting of not much more than underwear. Originally, she has been portrayed to have blonde hair, then her hair changed to a two-tone black and red, as a nod to her original costume. Now she's seen with the blonde hair, but with blue and red dyed tips. However, one thing about Harley has not changed: her eye color. What color eyes does the Clown Princess have?
Harley was granted Amazonian goddess powers.
During one of the many times Harley “reformed” her bad gal ways, she was staying in the Athenian Women’s Shelter in Metropolis, where the residents are hand-picked by the Greek Goddess herself. Harley was working there as an assistant when the surrogate Catwoman, Holly Robinson joined the shelter. Shortly after, Harley and Holly were brought to Themiscyra to begin Amazon warrior training. However, they never got the chance to properly train because they needed to help free the captured Olympian Gods, who were being held prisoner by Granny Goodness. then coincidently foil Granny Goodness’ evil plan by freeing the captured Olympian Gods
Harley was born and raised in Coney Island.
In Gotham City Sirens #7, entitled "Holiday Story," the girls go home to visit their families for the holiday season. It's in this issue where we learn a bit more background about the anti-heroine. Harley has a heart-to-heart talk with her father back home in Brooklyn. "You know, Pop, the main reason I became a psychiatrist was so I could understand why you did the things you did to our family," explains Harley. "Now that I've been a criminal myself, I think I understand some of the choices you felt you had to make." Did this conversation take place in the beachside neighborhood of Brooklyn? Did Harley grow up in Coney Island?
Harley is a grandmother.
Not much is known about the Quinzel family, and probably with good reason. It turns out, Harley was originally fascinated with psychology because she longed to understand her own broken family. Her father was a really bad conman, who wound up in prison himself. Sharon, Harley's mother, doesn't quite understand her and wants her to give up the "villain and hero stuff"; meanwhile, her brother Barry is a "loser," who still has dreams of one day being a rockstar. It seems as if her sister is the only stable one, obviously stable enough that Harley trusted her to take care of her only daughter Lucy.
Harley winds up betraying Poison Ivy and Catwoman.
Creator Paul Dini decided that Harley Quinn should join forces with Poison Ivy and Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman in order to create the Gotham City Sirens series. As part of the Batman: Reborn relaunch of all DC’s Batman titles, the first issue was released in June 2009 and published monthly issues until its final in August 2011. Over the course of twenty-six issues, we get to follow the ladies of Gotham through a number of adventures. Everyone knows how much Harley and Ivy care about each other, could she ever really betray her and Selina?
Harley joins the circus in Coney Island.
Harley decides to pack up her life in Gotham and move back to the Big Apple after an old patient of hers from Arkham leaves her his apartment in Coney Island in his will. It wasn't a big change for her, growing up just a train ride away from the beachside neighborhood known for its eccentrics. It's there that she finally starts becoming her own person, breaking free of the Joker and her other Gotham City cohorts. While riding down the boardwalk on her motorcycle, she's protected the homeless and the tourists from mob bosses as well as zombie attacks. However, she still has to make some money, so she joins a crew that allows her to do that.
Harley’s nickname for Poison Ivy is "Red."
Despite the fact Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn have lived together for many years and clearly have a loving relationship, fans were still unsure if the two were actually romantically involved. DC Comics writers took to Twitter to clarify that “Yes, they are girlfriends without the jealousy of monogamy.” Then the Bombshells comic series — an alternate universe where the DC females are “fighting the good fight” during WWII — proves the two (former) villainesses are definitely in love. Fans finally got to witness a kiss in Issue 42, and see their relationship explored further throughout the series.
Harley was a part of the Female Furies.
DC's group of female warriors, who were trained by Granny Goodness and loyal to Darkseid, are called the Female Furies. The team first appeared in Mister Miracle #6 in February 1972, and have had many different members throughout the years, including Supergirl and Knockout. Darkseid has used the Female Furies to battle some of the most powerful superheroes, like Superman, Wonder Woman and the Suicide Squad --another team Harley was a member of. Wonder Woman was later recruited to the team, along with Giganta, Batwoman and Catwoman. Was Harley ever a part of this fantastic female led group?
Margot Robbie's portrayal of Harley Quinn was the first time we saw a live-action version of the character.
The blonde bombshell stole the show in her first role as the Clown Princess of Crime. Suicide Squad was a box office success, but a critical flop. Comic book fans were just so excited to see some of their favorite anti-heroes on the big screen for the first time. Margot Robbie nailed the "Brooklyn tinge" that distinguished Harley's voice since the characters creation. Robbie is said to be the first live-action Harley Quinn, but is she? One would think that such a popular and commercially successful character would have been portrayed already at some point.
Harley met Poison Ivy in The Diamond District of Gotham City.
Meeting Pamela Isley, more commonly known as Poison Ivy, was one of the best things that ever happened to Harley. She met Ivy after the Joker sent Harley away on a rocket. Luckily, Harley was able to commandeer the ship and land in Ivy's part of Gotham City. At first, Ivy was going to kill Harley, but then wondered why Harley seemed uninterested in her own demise. After Harley explains her heartache, the two villainesses form a tight kinship. Ivy takes her back to her lair and takes care of her.
The first Harley Quinn comic book series in 2001 had 34 issues.
The character's first ongoing comic book series was published monthly from 2001 to 2003. This series focuses on Harley's solo career, when she abandoned the jester costume, washed off the clown makeup and separated herself from her Puddin'. We see her join forces with her on again off again girlfriend, roommate and partner in crime, Poison Ivy, and eventually leave Gotham with her to head to nearby Metropolis. It was also in this series that Harley finally decides to seek some real psychiatric help... only after she dies, of course. But it's okay, characters don't tend to stay dead in comic books.