glimpse into the historical one-shot comic that introduced Harley Quinn
into the mainstream continuity, as well as some information on where Harley
has been and where she's going in the mainstream titles!
It happened in August
of 1999, as part of the No Man's Land
story-arc; a story which spanned numerous titles, exploring how Gotham
City coped in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake and being cut
off from the rest of the USA by the Government.
It was the event all Harleyites
had been waiting for. Making Harley an "official" character meant we would
all get to see a lot more of Harley and hopefully see a lot more of her
character and her relationship with Joker explored as well.
(it also kick-started
an incredible onslaught of Harley-related merchandising and usage which
unfortunately ultimately detracted from her character)
The book was "Harley
Quinn" and was thankfully handled by none other than Paul Dini.
Whilst sharing many characteristics with "Mad
Love", it is quite a separate story, suited to the nittier,
grittier reality of the Mainstream Universe.
Opponents to Harley Quinn
have always argued that someone like The Joker would not tolerate her to
the degree that he has. And I knew that The Joker of the mainstream
comics was quite a bit more extreme than The Joker of the animated continuity.
The mainstream Joker is more psychotic, unpredictable, wicked and outrageous.
He is renowned for doing some of the wickedest things to Batman and his
loved ones. He has also always been a lone-shark with a penchant for knocking
off his henchmen and disliking other company.
So how was he going to
deal with clingy, affectionate, needy Harley?
It would take a masterful
hand indeed to merge these two whilst keeping both of them in character!
Needless to say, Dini managed
the feat marvellously, resulting in a wonderful, lively, tongue-in-cheek
yet also bittersweet classic Harley & Joker story.
My favourite part, which
really typifies Joker, is when he reveals that he's begun to care for her
- and it's too distracting, so he'll just kill her to take care of it!
The cover was painted by
the incredible Alex Ross who created an iconographic Joker & Harley
image that captured everyone's hearts! The art was beautifully done by
Yvel Guichet, who does a gorgeous Harley and a very sexy Joker.
They always seemed to hold
back in the cartoon, but I finally got my wish - a Harley/Joker snogging
pic! YAY! :D
following images have been scanned from the comic book and are for entertainment
purposes only. No profit is gained. They should not replace your reading
enjoyment of the comic in full. Seriously, do yourselves a favour and buy
this comic - it is soo very worth it! Click the image to see it full size.
QUINN - THE MAINSTREAM STORY!
The Harley we have
come to know through the mainstream series has a bit of a different tale
to tell us than she of the animated series.
the same - but it's been a little bit more fleshed out - and parts of it
matured a little further.
We see Harleen
Quinzel, an eager young psychiatry student, doing what she can to get her
much coveted degree, and then moving into her first year internship at
she eventually persuades the higher-ups to let her have private sessions
with Joker. She wanted to write a book on the serial killer mystique, and
needed insight into his dangerous mind.
Well - she
Harley wasn't there by accident. She had a bit of a thing for Joker even
before securing her internship and when he begins strangling her during
their first session together, she responds with delight. This throws Mistah
J, who is immediately intrigued by the - possibilities.
madly in love with Joker, Harley is persuaded to assist him in his escapes,
having been told by Mistah J he needs time on the outside to put his therapy
into practice. Believing in her man, Harley obliges - how can she not?
And so things
go on for a while.
They pass their days and nights
in bliss together, Gotham is their oyster. There-s only one little problem:
Mistah J is beginning to care about her.
||Then one day
she is caught! Dr. Arkham is astounded and horrified. He has her doctor's
licence revoked and committed to the Asylum on the spot.
to solitary and counts away the hours, the days and the months until her
Puddin' comes to be reunited with her.
passes, and there's no sign of Mistah J. She's about to give up hope, when
her cell door mysteriously opens of its own accord.
an earthquake has wracked the city and Dr. Arkham has turned the loonies
loose on Gotham.
immediately into town with only one purpose in mind - find Mistah J - she
eventually catches up with her darling and proves herself of usefulness
to the Clown Prince, arranging a home for them and providing distraction
and aid where necessary.
Mistah J has feelings for someone, they might as well have dug their own
|The only way
for Joker to deal with inconvenient feelings of affection is to destroy
the object of them, so he immediately tries to off Harley. But she-s a
tenacious little sucker and lands in Robinson Park, where Poison Ivy takes
an interest in her, patches her up and sends her back to Joker - with a
few new enhanced abilities.
patch up their little spat, Harley serves as Joker-s companion through
the No Man-s Land saga. At one point, failing to get the attention she
desires from Mistah J, she fakes disinterest in him with the result that
he persues her. She distracts Bats dressed as Mistah J when he's about
to spring his Christmas gag on the city and then, after NML, joins him
in Metropolis to get vengeance on Lex Luthor. She continues to be by his
side in various adventures up until the commencement of her own series,
in which we saw them 'split' (yeah, right).
then is Harley persuing her own adventures and learning how to be an individual
in her own right. She's still madly in love with her Puddin', but she gets
quite a bit done herself! Bless her little sweet soul. Her friendship with
Poison Ivy is explored a bit more and she even runs her own gang.
But by the
end of the series, Harley decides she needs help and turns herself into
major therapy, Harley is up for release. Only problem is, that stinky Bruce
Wayne won't cut her a break. Depressed and despondent, she's also alarmed
to be unexpectedly kidnapped from Arkham in order to help out the Ventriloquist
and his new moll, Sugar, with a major haul. But Harley's just not up for
it anymore. She tips off the police and as a consequence Bruce Wayne approves
her application for parole.
Harley joins up with the Secret Six ' a misfit bunch of villains ' but
eventually quits them as well. Normal life is tough for her after her life
of crime and she's not really sure where she fits in. She secures herself
a place at an Amazon-run women's shelter, befriending a former Catwoman,
Holly Robinson. The two are taken to begin Amazon training, and have recently
been granted some mysterious powers by a couple of the Greek Goddesses!
catch up on what has happened after the finish of Countdown, check out
the Gotham City Sirens
and Suicide Squad
time period, Harley was making a lot of obvious 'denials' of her former
love, but it seems unlikely the love she had for him could be too easily
introduced during her mainstream series, which I outrightly reject, is
that her interest in Joker was spurred on by her college boyfriend, Guy
Kopski. As part of an experiment to make up for her lagging grades (apparently
she had a 'knack' for the profession, but lacked the ability to demonstrate
it adequately through her studies for an undisclosed reason) she wanted
to test how far Guy would go for love. She makes up a crime she committed
- attacking an attempting rapist - but Guy goes to avenge her, accidentally
killing a homeless man instead. Harleen confesses her lies, and Guy asks
her to help kill himself.
Harleen knows she must go to Arkham to work with Joker, stating he is the
one person in all the world who gets what an awful joke life is.
I reject this is because I think it actually completely undermines the
brutal twisting and breaking of her mind by Joker. Harley may have
been a little bent and twisted prior to Joker's manipulations, but on the
whole it is far more powerful a feat if she was essentially a normal person.
And while I don't doubt that Harley had other boyfriends she loved, there
should be no one who either eclipses or even comes close to what she feels
story, not part of the official canon, takes place in Batman Confidential,
in which Harleen and 'Jack' (Joker before his 'accident') encounter each
other while she is working as a waitress and he is a disillusioned hitman.
He is bored with his life of crime, and not knowing the details of what
he does, she says if he's got a gift he should pursue it. This reinvigorates
him and he returns to it for the passion, paying off Harleen's college
bills for her. Even though things go no further than that, both feel an
attraction to each other.
obvious problem with this is that Harley is barely in her late-twenties
attending Arkham as an intern, and Joker is at least ten years her senior.
But this storyline happens outside of the regular continuity anyway.