Along myself to introduce… myself…
No, wait. Sorry, Austin Powers, that’s your line.
Allow me to introduce you to the Harley Quinn comics that came out at the beginning of the 21st century. While the character has been known to us since the early 1990’s, she didn’t really get a start in comics until the late 1990’s (1997 or so). Serving as a great girlfriend and moll to The Joker on the cartoon, she also worked in the comic arena once she got into Batman issues and specials. In time, she would also prove to work well as her own solo character.
She would also have a great comic book series, which lasted for a good 4-5 years.
With the Suicide Squad craze that’s going on at the moment, I got to check out some Harley Quinn comics from 2000-2oo4. There are 39 issues in total, and I’m not done with them yet, but it brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings. I’ve always been a fan of Harley Quinn since I was a kid watching Batman: The Animated Series, and she’s one of my favorite characters (along with The Joker, of course).
Harley Quinn had gone through a lot of changes over the years. We’ve seen her switch out of her original jester outfit to her video game nurse look, and recently, she’s dyed her pigtails while growing them out, wearing bright eyeliners and roller derby style clothing. While her newest look has grown on me (at first, I jokingly referred to the style as “Emo Harley), I’ll always remember the classic Harley Quinn and look to her as my preferred version.
Classic scene between Bruce Wayne and Harley Quinn
This comic is great. Most of the comics I’ve read from it so far are in the series’ beginning, written by the team you see in the picture above. Kesel is a great writer who seemed to tap into creator Paul Dini’s original Harley Quinn character. He understands her humor, her insecurities, her obsessions…no, obsession (JOKER), and her insanity. The artists captures the character with skill as well- the Dodsons and Craig Rousseau get the athleticism and acrobatic aspects of Harley Quinn (which were missing from the Suicide Squad movie, unfortunately). She is a spinning, somersaulting fighting machine in so many issues, tackling classic DC characters from The Riddler, Superman, and Bizarro to Robin, Batgirl, and Nightwing.
This is Harley as I remember her- spunky, fun, sexy without a flash of skin in her costume. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a puritan, and I like the newer Harley Quinn, too. Still, it’s great to go back to the original, and it’s cool to see the first Harley Quinn’s story expand beyond The Animated Series. In this series, fed up with being abused and neglected by The Joker, she goes solo. Harley Quinn builds her own clan of goons, the Quinntets, and goes on a rampage throughout Gotham. From the missions they go on to the characters that they interact with (a chance meeting between Bruce Wayne and Harley Quinn is now one of my favorite moments in DC comics) are incredibly funny.
Yes. As she should be, this classic comic book Harley Quinn is hilarious. It’s been a while since I laughed so loud while reading a comic book. The dialogue, the situations she gets herself into, everything is so spot on. It’s as if Kesel and Dodson know Harley Quinn as well as Paul Dini and Timm Bruce. She’s true to the original concept of Harley Quinn, strong with convincing vulnerabilities. She struggles with her unhealthy infatuation with the Joker, and her insanity, while being relatable and empathetic. In this comic, she shines more as anti-hero than villainess, and we root for her every step of the way, even when she’s committing crimes.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Emo! She’s not OK, I promise.
The newer versions of Harley Quinn have been in the comics. “Emo Harley” had a number of issues in her own series, which also featured a character who is an obvious parody of Glenn Danzig (Big Tony). I’ve read a few of these issues, and I actually enjoyed them: funny, witty, cute. Still, Classic Harl is for me. I recommend this comic to anyone who is looking for more Harl outside of the cartoon and this recent movie.
Alright, I’m going to go listen to some My Chemical Romance now.