Nobody’s Fool: The Many Faces of Harley Quinn
Hey, here’s a joke- What’s black and white and red all over? Why, it’s Gotham’s very own Maid of Mischief, Harley Quinn!
Along with her partner in crime The Joker, Harley Quinn is known for her colorful costumes and striking looks. Across DC films, comics, television cartoons, and even video games, her famous features have created some iconic appearances, beginning with her original debut in Batman: The Animated Series.
She’s a master of makeup, letting her inner beauty shine through her outer crazy. Enough clowning around- Let’s take a look at the many faces of Harley Quinn!
Batman: The Animated Series
Originally created for the classic cartoon series, Harley Quinn debuted in her red and black jester’s costume with white face makeup in an episode called “Joker’s Favor”. She also wore her classic black domino mask.
The character was originally intended to be a small role, not nearly as featured as she is nowadays. Thanks to her popularity in the show, she was soon included in the comics, including the fan-favorite “Mad Love” by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm.
After Harley made the leap from animation to comics, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm put out an origin story for the fooling femme fatale. Before she was Harley Quinn, Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel worked at Arkham Asylum as a psychologist who was assigned to The Joker‘s case. She dressed professionally in white medical coats, although her red and black motif could still be seen, hinting at the madness to come.
The Arkham Games
Appearing in the hit Arkham video game series, Harley Quinn sports many different looks as the landscape of crime in Gotham changes. In Arkham Asylum, the first of the franchise, she dresses as a deranged nurse as she helps The Joker torment Batman throughout the prison.
In Arkham Knight, Harley has a more playful ensemble, featuring a corset and stylized lace skirt in her signature color scheme. Dip-dyed blonde pigtails replace her iconic jester’s cap, but throughout each Arkham game, she keeps her face painted and ready to laugh in the face of sanity.
New 52/Roller Derby
When DC presented the New 52, Harley Quinn got a whole new look. She swapped the fool’s fittings for a corset top and shorts in her trademark red and black. In this Harley’s origin, The Joker pushed her into a vat of chemicals that bleached her skin, and she ditched the blonde to dye her hair half-red and half-black. She also joined a roller derby team, and so a helmet and skates became a part of her revamped look.
Making her movie debut in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Harley took on yet another look, perhaps the most distinct from her original appearance. Played by Margot Robbie, the live-action Harley sports the red and blue makeup and clothing of her comic book Suicide Squad counterpart, as well as the dyed pigtails in accompanying colors.
Noted for her shirt which reads “Daddy’s Lil Monster,” in reference to her partnership with The Joker, the DCEU’s Harley Quinn mixes origins and inspiration from a number of her previous appearances.
Based originally on the pin-up artwork and statue designs by Ant Lucia, DC Bombshells Harley imagines the jaunty jester against the historical backdrop of World War II.
This line of artwork was also partially inspired by rockabilly culture, and Harley wears a bomber jacket and goggles in place of her clownish costume and domino mask. While not exactly a pilot herself, Harley is often hijacking planes to get across the European countryside.
While Harley Quinn wears many maniacal faces, underneath all the makeup she’s still the vibrant DC villainess we all know and love. Which of Harley’s legendary looks is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to keep an eye out for news about the Harley Quinn Premium Format Figure that will be previewing soon. If you tuned in to Sideshow Live this week, you may have seen a tease of her already! Based on her cinematic appearance in Suicide Squad, she’s ready to team up with your collection and tear up the town. Look out for our Online Comic Con for all the latest news.