Origin of Harley Quinn
Mad Love for Harleen
Harley Quinn the Animated Series
Guys, I finally started watching Harley Quinn The Animated Series – It’s fantastic. Girl’s gone back to her roots. It got me thinking about my favourite Harley Quinn comics. So today we are going to talk about them. Namely Mad Love & Harleen. Also, can I just say that I discovered my copy of Mad Love has flown the coop & I am one ticked-off panda about it.
First & foremost, Comics are literature.
I said it. I will not take it back. You can go ahead & fight me.
Batman the Animated Series Joker’s Favour Harley Quinn First Appearance
First up, a bit of a history lesson :
Harley Quinn was created back in 1992 by writer Paul Dini & artist Bruce Timm. Harley had been created for an episode of Batman – The Animated Series, titled Joker’s Favour. That’s right friends, our dear Harley was a cartoon character first. Originally she was only meant for that one episode. Dini, more so than Timm, had wanted her in more episodes. Timm thought Harley would cramp the Joker’s style, but in the end, Dini got his way.
Harley Quinn became canon in 1999
Harleen Francis Quinzell didn’t officially become canon until 1999 with the release of Harley Quinn #1
Up until then Harley lived on the out skirts of the DC Universe.
Side note : Navigating the world of Comics is just as frustrating as navigating the world of Star Wars. Sometimes, I just want to pull my hair out.
The Batman Adventures Mad Love
Both of my favourite Harley Quinn comics technically are not canon. Although, one of them is generally accepted as gospel. First up, Mad Love. Quinn’s creators Dini and Timm brought us her origin story in the comic The Batman Adventures – Mad Love in 1994. It came out as a one-and-done stand-alone comic taking place in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series.
Mad Love was my favourite Harley Quinn comic for twenty-five years. It’s beautiful, it’s insane and it’s a must-read. Not just for fans of Quinn, but for fans of The Crime Prince too. Mad Love is the story of Harley Quinn as told from the perspective of an already insane Quinn. Ultimately, her origin can be reduced down to a handful of panels.
Where Mad Love is a love letter from Harley, Harleen is a love letter from the Dr. herself.
Harleen by Stjepan Sejic
Harleen is a DC Black Label graphic novel released in 2019. Much like Mad Love, it doesn’t take place within the main continuity of the DC Universe. Written and drawn by the amazing artist, Stjepan Sejic, Harleen is Mad Love for adults. It is both truly tragic and painfully beautiful. Harleen was released in three volumes, equalling one spectacular masterpiece. We spend all but a few pages as Harleen, witnessing her slow descent into madness. & what a descent it is. Sejic’s take on Harley’s origin is a much deeper & darker one than we see in Mad Love. It’s real, it’s raw and it’s powerful. It’s entirely focused on the insanity that is Dr. Harleen Quinzell.
Harleen is superior to Mad Love in just about everyway except the nostalgia feels.
Harleen is the better origin story.
I don’t think anyone could have predicted the massive hit that Harley Quinn would become, especially in recent years. Personally, I prefer my girl, Ivy. Then again, I am obsessed with fictional red-heads. A fictional red-headed earth lover? Sign me up.
So there you have it friends, Harleen & Mad Love, my favourite and most recommended Harley Quinn comics. Really just in general, I recommend both of these comics a lot. I’m also going to go ahead and recommend everyone watch Harley Quinn The Animated Series too. Just, not with kids around…