Despite Social Media Weirdo Claims, Harley Quinn Is Not A Victim

If you were like me and watched Harley Quinn’s first appearance in the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series titled “Joker’s Favor” when she first debuted, you were excited.

The Joker had always been a lone act with twisted logic and chaos reigning down on Gotham City. Sure, he had the occasional thug to help him, but that person would almost always be killed either in the commission of the crime, because he laughed out of turn, or just because. With Harley Quinn, we got something different and voice actress Arleen Sorkin brought her to life. No one else has come close.

Bruce Timm and Paul Dini crafted Dr. Harlene Quinzel to be a foil for the Joker. Someone who could laugh at his jokes and stroke his ego, but would also stand out on her own. Clearly, their relationship is incredibly toxic. What do you expect from two villains? That being said, Quinn was no wilting flower.

Dini said that she would be a “funny counterpart to the Joker to maybe work up a little Punch and Judy attitude between them.” As the show progressed, you saw her obsession with the Joker and even though his evil nature would even affect her negatively, she would stay by his side and participate in some of his most heinous acts. “It’s just a joke,” she tells Batman in “Harlequinade” when asked about the Joker’s crimes. When the Dark Knight retorts, “I hope you’ll still be laughing when it’s your turn.” She responds by sticking her tongue out at him. This was done in defiance of Batman, showing she is doing this of her own free will.

This episode further compounds this. During the climax, Quinn threatens the Joker with a gun and he mocks her, saying she does not have the guts. She pulls the trigger in a rage, though the gun turns out to be a fake. Quinn, at first, is concerned with how the Joker will react before he exclaims, “Baby, you’re the greatest!” This puzzles Batman and Robin who look on in confusion as the couple embrace one another.

Somewhere between there and her transition to comics, a new narrative was formed. When DC Comics saw Marvel Comics’ anti-hero Deadpool rise in popularity thanks to Ryan Reynolds and Will Friedle, they wanted something comparable. Instead of turning to already existing characters like the Question or the Creeper who have similar vibes, Harley Quinn was chosen to be their version of the Merc with a Mouth.

The only issue is, Deadpool was introduced as this chaotic person from the start. He would sometimes be a hero, villain, zombie, mercenary, or simply a comedian. He was a victim of his circumstances and the heroes of the Marvel Universe would have to go along to get along.

Not so with Harley Quinn. In her television origins and even her earliest comic book appearances, she was a villainess solely dedicated to the Joker and voluntarily joined in his mass murders. To accommodate this, she was rewritten. Instead of being a “tough love” foil for the Joker, she became a victim of brainwashing and “empowered” enough to leave him. She was also given a new sexual orientation. Her partnership with fellow villain Poison Ivy morphed into something romantic to appease pervs who exist online.

They did not stop at changing her origin and her motivations. She now had to get a new costume because the “Harlequin” version represented her abuse at the hands of the Joker. Never mind that she had picked it out and designed it herself. With that logic, she should change her name because the Joker gave it to her. That aside, the classic costume had to go.

Despite real Batman fans’ protests, this new version gained steam thanks to video games, TV shows, and comic books with weirdos on social media. There is nothing a DC Comics editor likes more than a like on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Not even money. Following this, the Deadpool knock-off Harley Quinn has become the norm and she has become so “empowered,” that she is allowed to lecture Batman.

Never mind that she is a murderer who Batman stopped several times, but during the “Joker War” arc, Harley literally lectures the Dark Knight on how he handles the Joker. Same with the animated alleged comedy Harley Quinn. Quinn enters Batman’s mind and lectures him on his privilege and how his Batman persona is an unhealthy way to cope with his parents’ deaths. This is before Batman almost caused a zombie apocalypse.

If you think that sounds creatively bankrupt, you would be correct.

The truth is before Harley Quinn was considered a “victim,” she was a better character. Sure, she had an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend, but they are both villains. Making her a knock-off anti-hero with a complex is not empowering. Most of her arc since the narrative shift has focused on her getting away from the Joker and trying to be her own person, yet she constantly runs into him. How is that empowering?

Making her a villain and willing participant in the Joker’s schemes shows how capable she is as a villain. Batman even notes that she got “closer” than the Joker did in killing the hero in the episode “Mad Love.” She was already empowered as a villain and did not require or need a faux redemption arc to empower her. I would argue the opposite based on how modern writers are handling it.

It is a shame that this thought has become so mainstream that even her co-creators are pandering to this narrative just to get likes on social media from weirdos.

Classic Harley Quinn was the archetype of a villainess with a romantic motive and that made her dangerous to everyone, including the Batman. I hope that more readers and future fans will find the source material and her early comic book appearances because it is far richer than the pandering fluff modern readers are finding.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out these Top 10 Voice Actors For Batman: Caped Crusader. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

Connect with me on social media. You can support StudioJake on Locals.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.