Supervillain Origins: Harley Quinn

Dr. Harleen Quinzel was once an intern psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum. While working at the Asylum, she quickly found herself fascinated with the Joker, and wished to uncover his insane motives. During their sessions together, the Joker confessed to having experienced a similarly tragic past due to an abusive father. Sympathetic and smitten with the clown prince of crime. she helped him escape. She also adopted her own criminal identity, that of a Harlequin Jester, which happened to be a play on words from her own name. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origins of Harley Quinn.
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Supervillain Origins: Harley Quinn

This former psychiatrist is the on-and-off-again girlfriend and accomplice of the Joker. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we will explore the comic book origins of Dr. Harleen Quinzel, otherwise known as Harley Quinn.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1993’s Batman The Animated Series’ episode “Mad Love”, before being expanded upon in the 1994 graphic novel of the same name, and 1999’s “Batman: Harley Quinn.”

Dr. Harleen Quinzel was once an intern psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum. She had joined the profession due to her deep-rooted desire to understand why her father had become a conman, who used his charm to ruin the lives of others and her family.

While working at the Asylum, she quickly found herself fascinated with the Joker, and wished to uncover his insane motives. As a result, she leapt at the chance to interview the madman, and formally analyze him.

During their sessions together, the Joker confessed to having experienced a similarly tragic past due to an abusive father. Sympathetic and taken in by his unusual charm, Harleen found herself smitten with the clown prince of crime.

Eventually, she helped the Joker escape. She even decided to adopt her own criminal identity. As a result, she took on the costumed appearance of a Harlequin Jester, which happened to be a play on words from her own name.

Emerging as the emotionally unstable and deadly sidekick Harley Quinn, she took part in all of her boyfriend’s diabolical plans to become the top criminal in Gotham.

However, she found out that everything that the Joker had told her was a lie, as he had used her affection and weakness for personal gain. He similarly abused her, and made several attempts on her life. Despite several attempts to break-up and move past her infatuation with the Joker, or even kill him, she always found herself running back to him.

Continuously used as a pawn, she came to be regularly caught by Batman and imprisoned. Always finding a means of escape, she has continued to function as the Joker’s second in command, and used to get into places where he could not.

Throughout her on and off again relationship, Harley Quinn found herself befriending Poison Ivy. Ivy not only helped her build-up her self-confidence, but artificially boosted her strength and speed, while making her immune to a large array of toxins. Afterward, she similarly befriended Catwoman Selina Kyle, with the trio eventually forming a gang called the “Gotham Sirens.”

Despite their friendship, the group would continuously fall into disarray and feuds due to each of the women’s ulterior motives, and Harley’s inability to live without the Joker.

An impressive acrobatic fighter that is both trained with many unique weapons and gadgets, and immune to poison, this Siren continues to be a mainstay in the Batman Franchise. She continues to appear in countless forms of media, and appears in the Arkham series of Batman video games.
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