Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, M.D.) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. The character was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, and first appeared on Batman: The Animated Series in September 1992. She later appeared in DC Comics’ Batman comic books, with her first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures #12 (Sept. 1993). Harley Quinn is depicted as having a very pronounced New York accent.
The character is a frequent accomplice and lover of the Joker, and ally to the supervillain Poison Ivy from whom she gained an immunity to poisons and toxins. Harley Quinn’s origin story relates that she met the Joker while working as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, where the Joker was a patient. Her name is a play on the name “Harlequin”, a character which originated in thecommedia dell’arte.
Harley Quinn was originally voiced by Arleen Sorkin in various tie-ins to the DC animated universe, and has also been voiced by Hynden Walch and Tara Strong in either DC Animated Showcases or in various video games. In the Birds of Prey television series, she was portrayed by actress Mia Sara. The character will be making her live-action cinematic debut in the upcoming 2016 film Suicide Squad portrayed by Australian actress Margot Robbie.
IGN’s 2009 list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranked Harley Quinn as #45. She was ranked 16th in Comics Buyer’s Guide’s 2011 “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list.
After Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, Harley makes several other animated appearances. She appears as one of the four main female characters of the web cartoon Gotham Girls. She also made guest appearances in other cartoons in the DC animated universe, appearing in the Justice League episode “Wild Cards” (alongside the Joker) and the Static Shock episode “Hard as Nails” (alongside Poison Ivy).
She appeared in World’s Finest: The Batman/Superman Movie as a rival and foil for Lex Luthor’s assistant Mercy Graves; each takes an immediate dislike for the other, at one point fighting brutally with each other as Lex Luthor and the Joker have a business meeting. In the film’s climax, Harley tied Graves as a human shield to a combat robot set to confront Superman and Batman, but Graves is rescued by the two heroes without suffering any harm (other than the damage Harley had inflicted on her beforehand).
The animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker takes place in the future, long after the events in Batman: The Animated Series. It includes a flashback scene with Harley falling down a deep pit during a battle with Batgirl. At the end of the movie, a pair of twin girls who model themselves on the Joker are released on bail to their grandmother, who angrily berates them—to which they answer: “Oh, shut up, Nana Harley!”
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