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The indomitable Harley Quinn

Initially appearing as a short-lived character in "Batman: The Animated Series", Harley Quinn has been able to evolve and create her own universe. Emancipated from the Joker, to whom she was bound by a toxic relationship of dependency, she has become a complex character, evolving from super-villain to super-heroine.

Just the Joker's girlfriend?

In 1992, the eighth episode of "Batman: The Animated Series" saw the appearance of Harley Quinn, a clownish woman serving as the Joker's assistant, much as Robin served as Batman's assistant. The character appealed so much to viewers that series writers Paul Dini and Bruce Timm decided to bring her back several times.

DC Comics even decided to build her a real character with the one-shot album "Batman: Harley Quinn", published in 1999. In it, we discover her early origins as Harleen Quinzel, a brilliant psychologist working at Arkham Asylum who falls under the Joker's spell and falls madly in love with him. The character was given Arleen Sorkin's voice, and many of her acting mannerisms.

In the beginning, Harley Quinn was meant to be used to further build up the Joker's character: to show his insensitive, selfish, manipulative side, incapable of love. Then she was able to develop, becoming best friends with Poison Ivy, one of the Dark Knight's worst enemies.

The emancipation of Harley Quinn

At the turn of the 21st century, DC Comics decided to give Harley Quinn a life of her own, making her a super-villain on a par with Poison Ivy and Catwoman. The aim was to find an equivalent of Wonder Woman in the villain camp.

A series of albums was published, recounting Harley Quinn's emancipation, leaving the Joker to live out her own adventures. Initially rather zany in tone, the series then took a much darker turn, but had to end in 2003 due to lack of commercial success. Other series followed.

Fortunately, Arnold was not discouraged by the audiovisual world; he would eventually find roles that suited him.

A series of albums has caught our attention: 'Gotham City Sirens'. Here the 'sirens' are actually the three super-villains, Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy. They form a league of "three sirens", a sort of equivalent of the Justice League, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman... Our three sirens are above all complicated, tortured characters, torn between good and evil. Finally, Harley Quinn attempts to eliminate the Joker, but decides instead to conquer Arkham Asylum with him, before being defeated by Batman and Catwoman. The three ladies end the series by going their separate ways.

The Suicide Squad

In 2011, Harley Quinn joined the Suicide Squad, a complex series of albums published over several eras. The success of the series led to the release of the first Suicide Squad film in 2016. Harley Quinn is part of a special group of super-villains, Task Force X, created by Amanda Waller to carry out a mission considered suicidal. The villains are motivated by a reduced sentence and the threat of a bomb. But Harley Quinn has to contend with the Joker, who is still after her.

Played by actress Margot Robie, Harley Quinn is making a huge impact on the screen and will be getting her own film in 2020: "Birds of Prey". In the fabulous story of Birds of Prey, she completes her emancipation from the Joker. Then she returns in 2021 in the sequel to Suicide Squad.

A veritable fashionable (anti-)heroine, Harley Quinn can be found both on the big screen and on our many accessories. Not to mention her appearances in video games from the DC Comics franchise. Whether she appears as a clown or with a rebellious teenage outfit and colourful hair, she adapts to the codes of the time and the expectations of the public. She's still a fan of the giant hammer, but also wields firearms, not forgetting her physical prowess as an accomplished gymnast! But let's not forget her great intelligence... and her frightening unpredictability that terrorises all her enemies, or her friends for that matter.

In the range of products available in our geek shop, you'll find figurines bearing her likeness, and all sorts of accessories. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for the "clown" version or the "teen rebel" version.

And in 2024, she'll be back on the big screen, in the company of the Joker, in the sequel to the film starring Joaquin Phoenix. This time, she'll be played by Lady Gaga herself... that's a promise!