15 Things You Didn't Know About Harley Quinn

The Clown Princess of Crime Harley Quinn may be one of the most beloved characters in the Batman universe (and the DC universe, for that matter) these days, but she's also one of the newest characters to haunt Arkham Asylum. While Batman, Robin, Catwoman, the Joker, and the like have existed since the 1940s and have had dozens and dozens of different looks from that time until today, Harley was nowhere to be found. Somehow, the Joker lived for 52 years without being called puddin' or Mistah J. Heartbreaking, right?

In 1989, Tim Burton's Batman film, starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, brought Batman back into the pop culture collective consciousness for the first time since the 1960s when ABC aired its version of Batman. The film was so wildly successful that Burton and Keaton were signed on to do a sequel called Batman Returns, released in 1992. With Batman such a heroic icon again, it was the perfect time for Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm to propose Batman: The Animated Series to Fox Network. This was where Harley was born.

Harley's life is really pretty much an open book. She's emotional, fiercely loyal to those she loves (like Poison Ivy and regrettably even the Joker), impulsive, and oh so whacko. When she was all but forgotten about, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Rocksteady Studios revived her in 2009 with the hit game Batman: Arkham Asylum, which saw Harley shed her black and red skintight jester's outfit for a nurse's getup instead. She was an integral player in sequels Arkham City and Arkham Knight, and with tons of comics featuring her playing the leading role, Harley Mania is at an all-time high. Are you a hardcore enough fan to know these 15 facts?

15 She Wasn't Supposed to Be a Recurring Character


As mentioned, Harley's first appearance on Batman: The Animated Series was in the 22nd episode entitled "Joker's Favor." Airing in September 1992, the Joker was of course pulling off another of his crazy capers. In this scheme, the plan called for him to dress as a woman and pop out of a cake. While the issue of cross-dressing wasn't the problem, Radomski and Timm did question what the likelihood was of Joker wearing women's clothing. They eventually decided to revise the storyline, adding in a henchwoman.

14 However, She Quickly Got Her Own Cartoon


If you don't remember ever seeing the listing for Gotham Girls in your TV Guide in the 1990s, don't despair. While Harley quickly became a mainstay on The Animated Series and Warner Bros. Animation did decide to give her a cartoon of her very own, it wasn't one that ever aired on television. Instead, it was a flash animated series. In conjunction with Noodle Soup Productions, the premise of Gotham Girls is pretty simple: the women of Gotham City, like Harley, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and even some good gals like Zatanna, Renee Montoya, and Batgirl are the prime focus.

13 Harley's Origin Story Came After Her TV Debut


As mentioned, when Harley was written into "Joker's Favor" on The Animated Series, she wasn't supposed to be on the hit cartoon ever again. What did Harley need with a backstory? It's a wonder that she even had a name. At the height of the popularity of the animated Batman show, Paul Dini took the reigns and wrote Harley an origin story. Since Dini had worked on The Animated Series, he was able to mimic the art style with 100 percent accuracy. It's no wonder then that the comic, named The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, won 1994's "Best Single Story" Eisner Award.

12 That Wasn't Her First Comic


DC Comics released a series of comics produced by Elseworlds, a company that existed solely to go outside of canon and come up with as many interesting re-brandings for your favorite DC characters as possible. In 1997 and 1998, Elseworlds artists Daniel Brereton and Howard V. Chaykin published Thrillkiller, which takes place in 1961 in a Gotham City overrun by crime. Bruce Wayne doesn't have his riches, but he is a detective who works with Jim Gordon. He's also still somehow Batman. Robin and Batgirl are the vigilante heroes. The Joker is a woman named Bianca Steeplechase and Harley is just Harley, although her name is Hayley Fitzpatrick in this book. She's also a student and not a psychiatrist.

11 She Was Set to Have Her Live Action Movie Debut in the 1990s


It's no secret that after Batman Returns, the Batman live action films were put in different hands. Tim Burton let Joel Schumacher take over, and Michael Keaton gave up the cowl, which Val Kilmer then wore (and later George Clooney, shudder). What resulted was 1994's Batman Forever with Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey, which was panned for being too campy but wasn't a total franchise killer. That honor is bestowed upon 1997's Batman and Robin, where Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped in as Mr. Freeze.

10 She Tries to Play on the Good Side... Sometimes


Harley will be the first to admit that she's crazy, but compared to many of the villains roaming Gotham City, she seems relatively well-adjusted. She doesn't have some giant chip on her shoulder and she isn't out to destroy the world. She's just in love with Joker and will pretty much follow his footsteps verbatim to win his affections and stay on his good side. Unsurprisingly then, comic book writers have flirted with the idea of Harley becoming a good girl for quite a while now. In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman actually helps her get parole when he sees that she's ready to give up the life of crime.

9 Harley Quinn Is Immune to Toxins


Plant mistress Poison Ivy possesses the power of pheromones and plant toxins, which she can use to make men bend to her will. Of course, she can kill as well, which she's sometimes been known to do. However, Ivy's not the only woman in Gotham City who is immune to any kind of toxins or acids. The relationship between Harley and Ivy is a pretty cute one. Although barely outright confirmed by DC, the two villains have shared a relationship that's a lot more than platonic. Whatever they are, Ivy is a grounded voice of reason, which is definitely what Harley needs more than anything after spending years with the Joker.

8 She's Good with Weapons


When you think of Harley, the first weapon that comes to mind is probably her oversized wooden mallet, right? After all, she practically never leaves home without it. While the hammer is certainly partially for comical effect, she also knows how to whack her opponents with it and leave them bloodied and battered. However, the mallet is far from the only offense that Harley has. She's also been known to carry around a pistol that has a cork stuffed in it, so when she shoots it the cork comes flying at you.

7 Her Existence Is Based on Arleen Sorkin


While aspects of Harley's character seem obvious enough (Harley Quinn = harlequin, hence the gear), she wasn't created completely out of thin air. Paul Dini, one of the producers for Batman: The Animated Series, actually based dear Harley off a close friend of his, actor Arleen Sorkin. Dini checked out Sorkin on her sitcom Days of Our Lives. During one flashback scene, Sorkin's character Calliope Jones plays a clown and wears a sparkly pink and purple suit and white face makeup. Sound familiar yet?

6 Margot Robbie Won't Be the First Live Action Harley Actor


Next year, Suicide Squad will rock movie theaters nationwide. The film, an adaption of the insanely popular comic series, stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as the Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc. With some Joker/Harley drama promised, there's a lot that this movie has to offer. However, while Robbie will be the first actor to portray Harley on the big screen, she's not the first who has done a live action adaption of the character.

5 She Was Once an Amazon


In the current New 52 reboot, Harley has her own series where she lives in Brooklyn, New York, working as a psychiatrist in a nursing home (which is a far cry from Arkham Asylum), participating in a roller derby team, and managing tenants that are human, animal, and everything in between at her own Coney Island apartment. However, this isn't the first attempt DC has made at a life for Harley outside of the Joker's evil grasp.

4 She Was Once a... Folk Singer?

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Don't worry. If you stick solely to canon, you likely missed Harley's short-term stint as a folk singer with her lady love Poison Ivy. Yet another Elseworlds masterpiece, Elseworlds 80-Page Giant is chock full of weird iterations of your favorite DC heroes and villains. One of them, by Anibal Rodriguez, Greg Luzniak, and Bronwyn Carlton called "Rockumentary" is at least a little more lighthearted in pages full of stories of spooky Batman and Superman moving to space because he can't get a watch to stop going off.

3 Harley Was Once Really, Really Dark


We just talked about how differently Elseworlds pictures the DC Universe. Bruce Timm and the company are working on a movie called Justice League: Gods and Monsters, where Batman is a vampire. There is one particular short called Twisted, which just so happens to be Harley's darkest appearance yet. Despite her familiar and sweet voice, her face paint makes her look positively deranged and her outfit is unsettling too (she's wearing little more than a corset, white panties, and tights). She also has one hell of a secret layer.

2 She Tried to Make a Mini Joker


You remember that scene in Batman: Arkham Knight where Harley is obsessed with the few victims of the Titan formula because they have taken on Joker's appearance and mannerisms, right? Well that's not the first time that her overwhelming passion for Mistah J has gotten very, very creepy. After Batman: The Animated Series wrapped up and Batman Beyond took its place, there was a 2000 feature-length movie that never hit theaters called Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

1 Harley Has a Daughter


The life of a superhero doesn't really have much room for children. The same can be said of being a bad guy. However, that hasn't stopped comic book writers from toying with the idea of our favorite couples having offspring before. While there's Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, there's also Lucy Quinn. Yes. Believe it or not, Harley actually has a daughter, and the baby daddy is-who else?-the Joker.

Revealed in the comic book series Injustice: Gods Among Us, which is based off the best-selling game, Harley is fighting with Black Canary when the hero has to stop because she's having a bout of morning sickness. Harley puts two and two together and then sits down, having forgotten about the fight. In a tearjerker moment, she describes her daughter Lucy, who lives with Harley's sister and thinks it's only right to put ballerina tutus on toy cars. She also mentions that the Joker has no idea that the child exists.



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15 Things You Didn't Know About Harley Quinn