Character Spotlight #1: Harley Quinn

Character Spotlights are going to be a way for lesser known characters to be shown the attention that they deserve, to bring proper attention to well known characters, try to edit misconceptions on characters, etc. All of these character spotlights will contain characters from a variety of different mediums, and not all be written by me alone.

The first Spotlight is going to go to Dr. Harleen Quinzel or as most people know her as, Harley Quinn.

Brief History:

Harley Quinn first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series in the episode “Joker’s Favor.” She was meant to be a one time character, but proved so popular, she wound up being included in the mainstream comics.

Harleen Quinzel was an intern at Arkham Asylum, and eventually wound up analyzing the Joker as a patient. Upon analyzing him, he seduces her and she falls in love with him. He gives her these crappy childhood memories that are most likely false, and gains her trust and sympathy. After helping him break out of Arkham Asylum, she does wind up getting arrested and placed in an Arkham cell. Eventually she gets out and dons the Harley Quinn identity, which surprisingly remained a secret identity. At one point during her team ups with the Joker, he pushes her into a vat of acid so she could be more like him (and not because he loves her, just because he’s twisted). He fully expected her to die, and was surprised that she survived. After Joker got captured, she went on a murder spree until she got forcefully inducted into the Suicide Squad. After “Death of the Family” she actually moved to Coney Island and has started an attempt to be more heroic, (anti-heroic really).

Why is she getting a Spotlight?:

With the release of Suicide Squad, a DISTURBING number of people have turned to social media with the idea that Joker and Harley Quinn are “relationship goals” which is nowhere near true. Joker routinely abuses, berates and sets Harley up to die repeatedly. The most stable relationship Harley actually has is with Poison Ivy, and it’s practically the only positive relationship she has. Harley has been mentally, emotionally and physically scarred, and yes, while this is fiction, it comes from a very real place. Abusive relationships are real, and they are frightening to even think about, let alone be the victim in. It doesn’t help when people either make light of it or go as far as to blame the victim for not leaving. Harley actually demonstrates why the victim cannot leave. She’s made to think she’s nothing without her “puddin” (her words, not mine) and every time she tries to leave him to better herself, he finds her and manipulates her into thinking it’ll never happen again. Luckily she has finally moved on from the Joker, and her stories currently are about developing her as a character away from Joker, and Batman by extension. Harley Quinn is definitely an important character to have in the comic book world, and if more people read her stories and saw the movies and television shows she was in that didn’t romanticize her abusive relationship, they would see the depth that her character has.

Now I’m not going to tell you to watch and read stuff and leave you in the dark, so here are some stories that can give people insight into her as a character:

  • Batman: Assault on Arkham (Animated Movie)
  • Batman: Mad Love (Comic based on the B:TAS episode of the same name)
  • Batman: Harley Quinn
  • Batman: Harley and Ivy
  • Harley Quinn (2013 comic series written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti)
  • Suicide Squad (2011 comic series written by Adam Glass)
  • DC Bombshells
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