Harley Quinn is back on the big screen in Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad. Margot Robbie, who played Harley Quinn in the movie, is back as well. In comic books, there are enough stories about the Clown Princess of Crime to keep even Harley’s pet hyenas fed.
Batman: The Animated Series creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm were inspired by a scene from an episode of Days of Our Lives that featured Arleen Sorkin in a costume that looks a little like Harley’s original one. They didn’t expect the character to become so popular. But she did. First, she went from animation to comic books, then to the silver screen, and even to the name of a celebrity child.
This is a good time to look back at Harley Quinn’s best comic book stories because of her long history and new comic book series.
1. Power Outage
‘Power Outage’ features the situational comedy that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have made a trademark of Harley Quinn during their time with her, but with a greater focus on superheroics than their previous arc. Power Girl is a big part of this volume, and over time, she becomes one of Harley’s best friends.
To make fun of superhero comic books in general, Conner and Palmiotti use Harley’s role in the DCU. They make fun of Marvel’s Thanos or Power Girl’s outfit. That Harley-Quinn as Ambush Bug vibe isn’t for everyone. But it’s clear that DC knew how good Harley could be.
2. Hot in the City
A new series called “Hot in the City” by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti is what set them apart from the original creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. It shows how they want to portray Harley Quinn in a new way.
This is like Lobo in the ’90s or Deadpool in the ’00s. Harley Quinn is being set up for a “humor first, superheroes second” approach. Some of Harley’s slapstick parts were meant to be made older by this.
When Conner was writing the script, he was able to balance the comedy with Harley’s rise as a comic book sex symbol. This led the book to have a sexy Looney Tunes tone that has stayed with the character.
3. Mightier than the Sword
So many people have been able to play around in the world of Batman: The Animated Series because of the comic book tie-ins. Ty Templeton’s “Mightier Than the Sword” from Batman: Gotham Adventures #10 is such a fun riff on the show.
It looks like Harley is out of Arkham with a clean bill of health. She is going to write a tell-all memoir about her time with the Joker. Because of that, Robin and Nightwing have to help Harley.
Unlike the Dini/Timm stories, this one doesn’t have as much weight. But it does a good job of playing with the humor that comes from a character like Harley.
4. Harley’s Little Black Book
On the list, this might be one of the more silly ones, but Harley is one of the most fun characters in DC Comics. Harley’s Little Black Book shows her having a lot of weird adventures with a lot of DC heroes, like Wonder Woman, Lobo, and Zatanna.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have definitely pushed Harley to the limit as a character during their time with her. They team up with a lot of different artists for this series of one-shots, like Neal Adams and Simon Bisley, Billy Tucci, and many more. The end result is a story experiment that has low stakes but shows Harley’s range.
5. Kiss Kiss Bang Stab
‘Kiss Kiss Bang Stab’ is a series of one-shots that are all in one place. With time, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti learned how much people care about Harley as a person, not just what she was doing in the larger world.
It includes two annuals, a Valentine’s Day special, and three issues of the main series. All of them focus on Harley’s desire to help even if her methods mean that she isn’t always on the side of light, even though she wants to help. These issues don’t have a lot of story, but they show how Conner and Palmiotti have used sex and puns to make the character more fun and interesting.
6. Breaking Glass
Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh’s interpretation of Harley Quinn’s origin is a little out of the ordinary for the character. In Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, they manage to give the character a real-world background that adds depth to the character.
As the work tries to fit a lot of well-known characters into a high school setting, some people might not like it. In Breaking Glass, when Tamaki is able to avoid the usual superhero comic book tropes and talk about things that people deal with every day, the book is thoughtful and relatable in a way that many superhero comics can’t be.
7. Batman: Harley Quinn
Harley was an instant hit when she first came out. When Harley made her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series, it was clear that fans wanted more. It wasn’t enough to just publish Mad Love or make Harley the latest Batman villain in a running series, though.
Batman: Harley Quinn was made to keep Quinn fans happy. It’s not the first time that Dini has been called in to cover his vision of how she came to be and make it official in the comic book world. This time, Harley is in Gotham with other current characters and meets Poison Ivy, who is surprised to see her new friend hurt and abandoned by her Puddin’. It’s thought to be the beginning of Harley Quinn, and it’s one of the best comics ever made.
8. Gotham City Sirens
Many DC fans know that Harley Quinn is the Joker’s right-hand woman. When Quinn isn’t going along with her boyfriend’s every request, she’s most likely hanging out with Poison Ivy and Catwoman, too.
One of Paul Dini’s other comics, Gotham City Sirens, has Harley and Ivy working together and making friendships – and sometimes more than just friendships, like with Harley and Ivy. From 2009 to 2011, there were 26 issues in the series. It continued to look at a Harley Quinn story without the Joker, like the Birds of Prey movie did.
9. The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
This isn’t Harley’s first comic appearance, but it is one of the first. It’s based on her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series.
Mad Love is a must-read for anyone who likes Harls, who is over the top, cartoonish, Brooklyn-accented, and loves Puddin’. There is more time and depth in her Batman:TAS story line because of this. Harley thinks back to the good old days, when she first met the Joker and fell in love. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies for them right now, but they still love each other. Our Harley girl, who is the Joker’s number one fan, has to kill Batman to get the real attention of the man she loves.