Paul Dini

Batman and Harley Quinn – Quick Movie Take

Ian and Rae of Costume Couture hit up the Fathom event for Batman and Harley Quinn, a new animated movie focusing on the Dark Knight, Harley, Nightwing, and Poison Ivy. The movie includes legendary Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy and Harley Quinn newcomer Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory). The story is by Bruce Timm too!

We’ve got their spoiler-free Quick Movie Take below, so check it out and then see the movie yourself on Blu-Ray August 29th.

Here’s the description from the Fathom One Night Only Event held on August 14th:

From an original story by animation icon Bruce Timm, comes an all-new DC Universe animated movie. Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.

Batman and Harley Quinn features a stellar voice cast led by Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series) reprising his role as the Dark Knight, alongside Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) making her debut as the irrepressible Harley Quinn. Loren Lester, the voice of Robin in Batman: The Animated Series, returns as Nightwing.

Does this sound like a movie you’d enjoy? Did you see it already? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Facebook and Twitter!

Batman and Harley Quinn – Quick Movie Take

Psycho Killers and the Women Who Love Them: Harley Quinn, Abuse, and Cosplay Pt 1

Suicide Squad is the most successful August movie in history and it brought many characters unfamiliar to non-comic audiences to the front of pop culture conversation. In the wake of all the buzz, more people than ever are asking “who is Harley Quinn?” Almost anyone with a little geek knowledge can tell you she’s the Joker’s moll, but it’s a much more complicated question than that, fraught with questions of morality, violence, romanticization, sexualization, and perhaps most of all, love. We took the time out to really analyze these issues by viewing them through the lens of what turned out to be a surprisingly large section of comics audiences: Harley Quinn fans who also identified as victims of abuse.

Few characters capture the imagination of on-screen and comic audiences quite like the Joker. He is the longest-standing comic villain and has the most iterations of any of Batman’s rogue gallery, from the big screen to the small. Since the popularity of Batman: The Animated Series, fans have found pleasure in pairing the Clown Prince of Crime with a partner: Harley Quinn. Originally intended to be a one-off henchwoman, Harley was written by Paul Dini and designed by Bruce Timm in 1992. Quinn only appeared in nine episodes to her beau’s 15, but her iconic appearance, personality, and voice has lived on for over 20 years. Quinn has found herself the star of multiple spin-off comics and found further success in the New 52. For comic fans, Harley may be DC’s brightest star. For cosplayers, the Joker and Harley Quinn have found themselves to be two of the most-imitated characters in the Batverse. This success, however, isn’t without it’s critics.

The characters do not have what anyone in their right mind would call a healthy relationship. Harleen Quinzel became Harley Quinn to appease the man she loved, a love most would agree is built around Joker’s manipulation and Harley’s attraction to the psychologically extreme. In 1994’s “Mad Love”, their relationship was explored and given both a back story and a bottom line: love is not always kind, or sane. Harley was a young, capable doctor with no history of crime or mental issues prior to meeting Mr. J. Joker throws Harley out a window, and all it takes is a note attached to some flowers sent to her hospital room to take Harley from “never again” to “whenever he wants.”

Harley Quinn I1

Harley’s standalone comics have seen her pairing up (read: sometimes shacking up) with other DC characters, with Poison Ivy often stepping in to fill the clown’s squeaky shoes. Ivy occasionally perpetuates her own brand of manipulation, but she is definitely more of a straight shooter, and is shown to both outwardly care for and reciprocate the feelings of Quinn. In other words, since her inception, Harley has been familiar with abuse, mental, emotional, and physical.

Harley Quinn I2

That isn’t to say that Harley doesn’t do her own share of violent things to the ones she cares for. Joker may often take the prize at “most manipulative,” but Harley was a gymnast, and has shown herself to be a capable foe physically. She is also  powered up by Ivy in both the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Harley and Ivy” and during “No Man’s Land”, gaining extra strength and agility as well as an immunity to poisons. When the Joker sets her off, it isn’t the Dark Knight she is taking out her aggression on.

Harley Quinn I3

So, who would find these two appealing? Apparently, a lot of DC’s audience. Harley and Joker as a pair are some of the most sought after DC collectibles, and Alex Ross’ recent work, titled “Mind If I Cut In?” depicts the couple seconds after the Caped Crusader steps in on their now-classic pose. The print goes for upwards of $900 dollars and fans seem willing to spend it. Retail stores like Hot Topic sell merchandise of both “Mad Love” and Alex Ross’ work, as well as other products that depict the particularly toxic duo’s relationship as something to be admired.

Harley Quinn I4

This depiction, as well as countless works of fan art and fiction, has drawn criticism from those who feel that the relationship and it’s romanticization is a detriment to readers. Opposing remarks can be found about couples who cosplay as the grinning lovers. Detractors say that romanticizing the two is a detriment to those who have had abusive relationships, and that cosplay is idolization of a dangerous, problematic pairing. Some have went as far as to say that, if you do not have a history of abuse, you can’t enjoy them.

Harley Quinn I5

Negative representations of relationships skewed to be romantic aren’t new. Romeo and Juliet have been criticized for pushing dangerous versions of love since long before New York accents and definitely prior to Paul Dini giving one to a girl dressed like a harlequin. “There is tons of violence in Shakespeare, there is nothing wrong with enjoying/appreciating it because it is  just art. Just like comics are art,” said Andrew Arkham Cosplay.

So, who are these fans? How do these people deal with the idea that their beloved couple might be a poor example for relationships? We spoke to Joker and Harley cosplayers about their interest in the characters, their history with relationships, and if, and where, the two meet. Trigger warning for anyone reading who might find discussions of abuse, both mental and physical difficult, as this is a discussion with abuse victims about their experience and the ways in which they have found to deal with their past.

Next week, we continue our series of interviews with cosplayers and dive into the world of fictional abuse and it’s significance in real world affinity for characterization. Tune in Monday for more.

Psycho Killers and the Women Who Love Them: Harley Quinn, Abuse, and Cosplay Pt 1

The Evolution of Harley Quinn

Hello everyone and happy birthday to the clown princess of crime herself, Harley Quinn! Yes, in honor of Harley’s first debut in Batman: The Animated Series I am going to be doing a look back and review some of her most iconic looks through various animated TV appearances, comics, video games, and live action media. Now obviously I can’t hit on all of these looks so I will just be touching on those that are the major ones throughout the years. So sit back and rev up your Harley’s because here we go!

Harley Quinn Animated Incarnations

Well we first can’t talk about Harley Quinn without first seeing her before The Joker twisted her mind and made her into the lovable clown we all know. We first get to see Harley Quinn as Dr. Harleen Quinzel of Arkham Asylum. Here she has a simple white lab coat, her blonde hair in a bun, thick black rimmed glasses, and a red shirt and black tie. (Classic Harley colors) A simple doctors outfit but still keeping to the color scheme of what the classic Harley look would be with the red and black colors. Very simple and classy.

Dr. Harleen Quinzel - Harley Quinn

Now of course after The Joker twists her mind she ditches the doctors garb along with her real name and takes on the new name of Harley Quinn along with an appropriate matching outfit. This outfit harkens back to the renaissance days with a court jester feel with diamond patters all over the costume. This costume is the classic red and black jester outfit that artist Bruce Timm created in 1992 and that most if not all of the Harley fans have come to know and love. It has the red and black alternating colors along with the white collar and wrist cuffs, red and black gloves, a simple black domino mask, white clown makeup with black lipstick, and red and black diamonds placed on her legs and arms. Her red and black jester hood is accented with two white balls on the ends of them, and one red shoe and one black shoe to alternate. This is what many fans refer to as “the classic look.” This is also one of the most cosplayed and beloved versions of the character out there. This is how many fans were introduced to this now very popular DC character. To me this just screams Harley Quinn…not booty shorts, stockings, a corse,t and mini cape… (I’m looking at you New 52!) She kept that classic look for most of her animated appearances in the original Batman series, Justice League cartoons, and various cartoon spinoffs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Harley Quinn

Now jump ahead to the mid 2000’s and we have a new Batman animated series. With all new character designs and look to the series it was natural for Harley to get a new look to fit the tone and look of this new animated series. Season 4 introduced us to the new Harley Quinn. This marked the first time in an animated series that Harley looked and sounded different. Her outfit kept the red and black color scheme but drastically altered the head piece, mask, and body suit. Her jester hood was now much larger and seemed to swoop back and then come out to the sides. Also attached were one red ball and one black on corresponding ends. Her mask also concealed her eyes fully so we couldn’t see her blue eyes anymore, just big white circles and had a thin black rim around the mask. Her white collar was lengthened so it would droop down to her chest, and taken from three points to just two. Also noticeable were the lack of diamonds anywhere on her body and finger-less gloves. Her form was slimmed down a lot and the suit seemed to be one big piece, instead of several pieces like before. For a reboot of the character I actually enjoyed this look. It was the first time anyone had seen a different animated Harley and fans reacted strongly with positive praise for the design. Sadly the show only lasted one more season after they introduced her so we didn’t get to see all that much of Harley after that. But what we did get to see I liked.

Harley Quinn Jester

 

Jump ahead four more years and we have yet another Batman animated series titled Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Harley Quinn only appeared once in this series towards the end of its run with a drastic change to her appearance. She became black and white! Her design for this series harkened back to the silent film days with her not being in color and wearing a black flapper dress and pearls. Honestly my least favorite look of hers in any of the animated series. Not too sure what the creative team were doing for this look but it just didn’t hit any of the classic Harley looks or feels to me. But since it was such a drastic change I thought i’d at least give it a small mention.

Harley Quinn - Brave and the Bold

Her most recent animated appearance would be in the 2014 animated feature Batman: Assault on Arkham. A movie tie-in to the Arkham game franchise. Here Harley has her black and red jester outfit yet again but this time she bares a mid drift (like most of her outfits in the Arkham games). She has one black arm sleeve, combat boots, and instead of a white collar it’s in all black along with the two white balls on her jester cap changed to black as well. This outfit is a mix between her classic and the Arkhamverse outfits. I can see why they didn’t go with the full classic look as it wouldn’t have fit in the universe and would have looked off. This also proves that you can still retain a good portion of Harley’s original look and have her be in the Suicide Squad and not look like a slutted up clown. (Can ya tell which outfit I hate the most yet?)

Harley Quinn - Assault on Arkham

 

Harley Quinn Video Game Incarnations

Harley has appeared in many Batman and DC video games. Most of them consisted of her in her classic look or a look from a different animated series. That is until the 2009 game Batman: Arkham Asylum. This was the first time fans have seen a design of Harley Quinn that was this drastic and a complete 180 of what she normally looks like. I am of course talking about her nurses outfit! In this game Harley wears nurses attire while helping The Joker take over Arkham and make Batman’s night a living hell. In this any hint of her jesters outfit or original look are out the window. She has free flowing blonde pigtails, a purple domino mask, a nurses hat, a white nurses shirt with an exposed red and purple bra, a corset that is cinched down tight to show off her figure, a red and purple color scheme instead of red and black, a white mini skirt that is stained with blood, fishnets, and knee high red and purple boots. This was the first time we ever saw Harley in any thing like this, and for fans of the classic look this came to a complete shock to us. Even with the original voice actress Arleen Sorkin coming back to voice her, this didn’t seem like Harley at all. However this outfit grew on me and I came to realize that perhaps its one of her main themed outfits, as in, her and The Joker pull off many crimes and some have themes so she would dress of the part. So thats how I see this as she is dressing for the part of the asylum nurse.

Harley Quinn - Arkham Asylum

 

2011 marked the release to the sequel to Arkham Asylum titled Batman: Arkham City.

In this game Harley’s red and black look are back but fully reimagined and revamped in the form of a leather ensemble. Her blonde hair is now dipped with red and black tips, she looses the domino mask in favor of heavy dark smokey eyes, bright red lips, red and black arm sleeves, her bra shows again behind a red and black sleeveless shirt, silver and black wrist bands with studs, fingerless gloves with a diamond design, tattoos on her left arm and right hip, the same corset from the first game just red and black now, red and black leather pants with diamonds on them and the same boots as well from the first game but just changed to fir the red and black colors. In the DLC Harley’s Revenge her outfit changes yet again. After mourning the death of The Joker (whoops, spoilers) her outfit changes to primarily black with a black veil, black hair, darkened lips and makeup, and white ruffles on her wrist cuffs. Both of these outfits saw a drastic change in Harley with her taking on more responsibilities in the gang as Joker got sicker and eventually leading Jokers men after his death. Both of these outfits are considered the darkest out of the series because of those reasons. She still retains the classic Harley mannerisms and personality from before, but these outfits are considered more militant than her themed outfit from Arkham Asylum.

Harley Quinn - Arkham City

 

In 2013 the game Injustice: Gods among Us was released with critical praise. This game was developed by the team behind Mortal Kombat. So naturally certain characters would look totally different. As was the case for Harley Quinn. Her look was very in that “Mortal Kombat” style of thinking, with a red and purple color scheme and red and purple dyed hair with a green streak added assuming in honor of the Joker, she had one of those looks that made fans go huh? Luckily she had another costume called the Insurgency costume that fans took to liking more than her base outfit. Also released for DLC were costume packs that showcased some of Harley’s looks through other games or comics. Released were her classic look, the Arkham City outfit, and her look in the Ame-Comi comic series. 2013 also debuted Harley’s first time in a video game as Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the game Batman: Arkham Origins. Though in there briefly she does have her classic look from the Animated Series when she was a doctor. A nice nod to Harley fans to put in the game, just with a little Christmas twist.Harley Quinn - Injustice: Gods Among Us

 

2015 debuted the presumably final time we would see Harley in the Arkham games with the release of Arkham Knight. In this she keeps her red and black dyed hair and makeup from Arkham City but yet again the outfit changes. Her outfit is comprised of what look’s like a french maid skirt, a white blouse that is reminiscent from the first game, a black corset that covers her mid drift from the previous two games, her red and black bra shows with harness straps that go around her waist and chest and up to a connecting piece on a neck collar, red and black sleeves with white lace around the wrists, red and black leather pants with the diamonds on the thighs, and red and black boots with metal studs in the back of them. This outfit seems to take a little piece from the first two games and combine them into one thing. They also seemed to have added some unused concept art from previous games and incorporated it into her final design. I actually really do like this outfit. It is cute but not overly sexed up like the previous ones. She is covering up her waist and seems to be a little bit more conservative with this look seeing as how she is the full leader of Jokers gang. In a recent DLC released for the game she is finally shown in her classic jester look as her and Joker kidnap the commissioner and Batgirl and Robin must go and save him.

Arkham Knight - Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn Comic Book Incarnations

In the comics Harley has had many outfits, most keep to the traditional outfit from the 90’s or variations on them, but none more drastic and changing than in  2011’s debut with the New 52’s version of The Suicide Squad. This look has gotten the most controversy with Harley fans and DC fans alike. In this universe Harley has permanently dyed red and blue hair and chalk white skin. Curtesy of The Joker throwing her into the same vat of chemicals he was thrown into during his fight with Batman. She wears an extremely tight red and blue corset that shows off her waist and pushes up her breasts and makes them look fuller. The corset also has a set of throwing knives on each side, a mini cape that is attached to a white victorian era collar, red and blue arm gauntlets with diamond patterns on them, black eye makeup that makes her look like a member of the band KISS, red and blue booty shorts, and red and blue knee high stockings and boots to match. When I first saw this outfit I was flabbergasted and confused. I kept asking where the harlequin style came into play. After all thats what her name is, a play on word of harlequin. That’s who she was, Harley Quinn dressed as a harlequin. This outfit got rid of it all, the playfulness of it, the cute, the funny. This made her look ruthless, very slutty, and like a cold blooded killer. I was so angry for what they did to my favorite character out of the whole DC universe, not only with her outfit but her personality and backstory as well I stopped reading The Suicide Squad after her new origin story debut. I just couldn’t read anymore, or look at what they did to her.

Haryley Quinn - New 52 Suicide Squad

After her stint in The Suicide Squad Harley got her own series in 2013. In this she looses the red and blue colors and reverts to the red and black colors. Her skin is still bleached and hair dyed. But she no longer wears her getup from the Suicide Squad comics. On the debut cover she is wearing a roller derby outfit. Red and black color scheme with diamonds, cute roller skates, dark eye makeup (not nearly as drastic as the Suicide Squad style), and various knee and elbow pads. Now to be fair I haven’t really read a whole lot of her new series. I have heard mixed reviews. but what I have heard is that its a nice departure from the Suicide Squad stuff and it gets to showcase Harley on her own and doing what she does best. Be Harley Quinn. I have seen a few outfits from the series and what I’ve seen I’ve liked a hell of a lot better that the stuff before. Now is it perfect and what I truly wanna see? Of course not. But for now its better than nothing I guess.

 

Harley Quinn Solo Comic Series

Harley Quinn Live Action Incarnations

Now as for live action stuff. Harley Quinn as only ever appeared in two forms of live action media. One being the short lived show in 2002 called The Birds of Prey where she was played by Mia Sara, and in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad played by Margot Robbie. In the TV show Birds of Prey we don’t actually get to see Harley Quinn in all her glory until the final episode of the series. Here she is shown to have a long sleeved red sweater with black diamonds cut out on the chest, red gloves, a black skirt and red and black shoes. Absent are her mask, clown makeup, and jester hood. For her first live action debut I wish they would have done a little more to her, but it was an OK outfit for the first time on a campy TV show like that.

Birds of Prey - Harley Quinn

Now on to the new Suicide Squad movie. This is the first time we get to see Harley Quinn on the big screen so of course they choose to do the Suicide Squad version of her. In this she has the red and blue colors back yet again (although her hair is dyed pink and blue for the tips) booty shorts, a red and blue jacket, fishnets, high heel sneakers, tattoos everywhere, a t-shirt, and “puddin” choker. This version seems to borrow little bits and pieces from many of the previous looks that Harley has had in the past. Now rumors did surface online that she would be getting multiple costumes in the film and from the recent trailer that dropped that rumor seems to be confirmed. People have asked me if I am still going to see the film. Of course I am! It’s Harley’s first big screen debut!! I may not like the look as a whole, but I love the actress Margot Robbie and I think she will do a fantastic job as Harley Quinn. And I am sure as with a majority of her outfits this one will grown on me too. Just gotta give it time is all.

Suicide Squad - Harley Quinn

 

So which version of Harley Quinn do you like the most or least? Was there an outfit or look I missed that should have been mentioned? Sound off on the comments below and let us know which Harley you absolutely love.

Harley Quinn - Batman: The Animated Series

The Evolution of Harley Quinn