It has been a 25-year-long climb to fame for the character Harley Quinn. Ever since her first appearance in the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series, fans have latched onto her fun, bubbly personality, witty charm and, of course, insane relationship with Batman's archenemy, The Joker. But what is it exactly that makes this character such a fan favorite among DC fans? Well, TV's animated Batman might know why.
During an interview with Hey U Guys, Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy explains that Harley Quinn has become popular among fans because she works well with The Joker in a way that #Batman never could, saying that she is someone that can go along with Joker for the crazy ride. He added by saying that her popularity is largely thanks to the fanbase's love for The Joker.
"Before Harley Quinn, the only foil for The Joker was Batman. The Joker defines Batman and Batman defines The Joker. Mark and I have often approached the roles as the yin and yang of each other but I’m like the dark grounding for Joker, he had no one to really go crazy with and Harley Quinn gave him that. She got to be this crazy reflection of the Joker, so I think the better Mark was, the better Harley Quinn was. A lot of her popularity grows out of people’s love for The Joker. They love Mark as The Joker. She gets reflected glory from that character but Arleen Sorkin, Tara Strong and now Melissa then took that and made it this crazy, gum chewing, wise cracking New Jersey broad who’s just crazy, crazy evil and so much fun. So, I think the birth of it was Joker and his popularity but then each of those actresses just took it and ran with it."
Conroy continued to say that the studios are noticing a new female audience in #superheroes and animation and want to create characters that appeal to them. He even goes as far as saying #HarleyQuinn is more interesting than many traditional comic book characters, including Wonder Woman.
"There’s also a big new female audience in animation and they’re looking for more interesting characters for them. Wonder Woman is a wonderful superhero but she’s not very multidimensional whereas Harley Quinn is just nuts and just has so many different qualities that it’s fun for the female audience."
Conroy may have a point — while Harley Quinn started out as a sidekick for the Clown Prince of Crime back in 1992, she has blossomed over the years as an interesting, complex and even sympathetic character. Transforming her relationship with her "puddin'" into something more violent and disturbing behind closed doors is both real and relatable.
The character has had many story arcs throughout the years, including developing a friendship with Green Arrow and Black Canary in Injustice and becoming an antihero with Poison Ivy in recent stories. Harley Quinn is a character that people enjoy watching goof around with Joker and fighting with Batman. At the same time, fans root for her to do the right thing — to leave her abusive relationship with #TheJoker and move on to do better things.
Even in the new animated film, Batman and Harley Quinn — while the romance with Nightwing is still somewhat divisive — fans seem to enjoy the offbeat and fun Harley Quinn teaming up with someone as deadpan and serious as Batman. It's easy to see why this character has left an impression on us over the years and it'll be interesting to see what DC does with her in the future.
Why do you think Harley Quinn has gained so much popularity over the years?