When Paul Dini & Bruce Timm created Harley Quinn in 1992 for Batman: the Animated Series, she was just a one-off sidekick with a tragic story. Fan response to her was so strong, however, that she became a semi-regular on the show and in 1999 made her crossover into the DC Comics canon. Since then she’s had a rocky career between artists and writers who didn’t seem to understand what to do with her. To complicate matters, the Joker had become so evil and so abusive that the team had to be split up, leaving Harley dangling without direction–until 2014 when Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti rescued Harley with a new solo series (Vol. 2).
While I appreciate getting Harley out of a homicidal relationship (she’s no role-model for girls, that’s for sure), I worried she’d be no fun without the Joker. But her new book is wildly popular and a huge step in the right direction: smartly written with a Harley as an antihero who is whole and interesting all by herself. Eventually she’s going to have to deal with the Joker again (they have such history and none of it’s resolved). I originally thought their relationship was unconscionably awful. Now I miss their Punch & Judy antics and wish they were back together. Alas, in this current climate of hyper-sensitive illusions of perfect feminism, it’s not likely ever going to happen (sigh).
But about the doll: just as the Joker has a lot of purple (and green), Harley’s costumes contain more than their share of red and black. There have been a few different variations on her Harlequin outfit (which she no longer wears), but, like with the Joker, I’ll just pick the most divergent styles.
Otherwise, Harley has a good-sized wardrobe to draw from over the last 16 years. She wears a “uniform costume” like other comic book characters, but also sports civilian clothes in a large percentage of her stories.
I’ll be drawing heavily from her current series, but also occasionally dipping into her past in no particular order. Harley is making her big-screen live-action debut in Suicide Squad with Jared Leto’s Joker in 2016 (she’ll be played by Margot Robbie). Let’s just say I am mostly reserving judgment about the design decisions they have made with the movie version. Have to see the film before I know whether I’ll be making costumes from it.