September 11 will always be a day to remember and honor, but it's also a date that marks the birth of one of comicdom's most beloved female villains ever... Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn! That's right, DC Comics own lovable Batman villain and The Joker's girlfriend celebrates her 20th Birthday this month, and to commemorate the occasion we look back at her decorated and insane history!
First appearing in the episode "Joker's Favor" from Batman: The Animated Series, the character of Harley Quinn was created by the duo of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, both writers and producers of the show who sought to give a devoted and humorous sidekick to The Joker. Right from the bat (literally), Harley became an instant fan-favorite, and she became a recurring villain who eventually transitioned to mainstream comics and got integrated into the regular Batman series canon. Her origin story was fleshed out in the graphic novel "The Batman Adventures: Mad Love", depicting her as an psychiatric intern in Arkham Asylum who becomes obsessed and falls madly in love with The Joker at first sight. Dedicated to pleasing "her puddin'", Harleen adopts the identity of "Harley Quinn" (a spin off the term 'harlequin') and sets to work together with her darling "Mr. J" to win his affections.
Since her first appearance, Harley has almost always been voiced by Arleen Sorkin, who's been with the character since BTAS all the way to her appearance in the video game "Batman: Arkham Asylum".
She didn't reprise the role for "Batman: Arkham City" unfortunately (Tara Strong was her replacement instead), but she returned once again for DC Universe Online.
Harley's appearance has also undergone several costume changes through the years. Her jester look remains the most iconic and loved among the fanbase. She's also gotten a nurse outfit in Batman: Arkham Asylum, as well as a dominatrix look that compliments her rebellious demeanor in Arkham City. The new costume she sports for the DC The New 52 universe is similar to her latter appearance.
No matter how you've gotten known her, the character of Harley Quinn has touched more comic book fans hearts in a manner that's beloved and twisted at the same time. She's literally the perfect excuse to go crazy if you're looking for some mad love, and she's provided that kind of service to DC Comics and Batman readers for over 20 years now.
Fans the world over have even dressed up as her, including our very own cosplayers from Justice PH and Gotham Madness!
It's fun to know that Mr. J's gal and Poison Ivy's best pal is still around, and we'll always remember her for her wacky and lovable antics.
Happy Birthday Harley Quinn!