Cosplayer Miranda Roper a.k.a. "Miramay Cosplay" takes her role as Harley Quinn, The Joker’s sidekick-turned-love interest, seriously.
“I remember being a kid watching Batman: The Animated Series and loving Harley. There was just something about her. When you’re a kid, you don’t pick up on the subtleties of characters all the time, but I knew for her to be with The Joker, and for him to tolerate her, there was something special going on.”
After Harley Quinn’s debut in The Animated Series in 1992, her popularity quickly grew, leading to her introduction into the mainstream comics and, in time, the greater DC universe. Her presence in countless figures, video games, and animated features makes it hard to deny: Yes, there’s just something about Harley.
“I think her popularity in part stems from her relatability. She doesn’t have any ‘super’ powers, and she is driven largely by her own ambitions, and her love for The Joker. She was smart and savvy enough to land a job at Arkham, and resilient enough to keep pace with one of the greatest (or THE greatest) supervillains of all-time.”
Miranda began creating her Harley costume in December of 2014, while recovering from a broken leg.
“I had totally shattered my femur, and was going crazy being cooped up in the house. Making the costume was a huge part of keeping me sane during that time, and motivated me to get better and get back to walking again.”
To support her, her boyfriend Charles House (Pulp Added Cosplay) eagerly agreed to be her Joker.
“It was something we’d both wanted to try, before we even met, but we never had the support or courage to do. Lots of people cosplay Harley and Joker, and we wanted to really to stand out, and get it right! Cosplaying with someone else who was also a huge fan made it a lot more fun.”
The costumes took roughly a month to finish, and two more weeks on top of that that to complete Miranda’s biggest prop: the Harley Hammer. But this is no ordinary hammer. Her mallet measures roughly three feet in diameter on either end, four feet tall from one end to the other, and seven feet tall standing from end to end. In total, it weighs about 40 lbs. “There were definitely temper tantrums involved,” she laughs.
Other props prepared by the duo included a handmade replica of Harley’s pop gun from the Mad Love comic, a “laughing fish” (which plays audio from the 1989 Batman film when squeezed), a rubber crowbar, a fake Tommy gun, a long pistol (also from the 1989 movie), a “Bang!” gun, chattering teeth, buzzers and finally, an actually smoking flower for The Joker. The two watched the earlier movies, ‘66 Batman series, and the animated show nonstop, even practicing reading lines from comics back and forth, in their best Harley and Joker impressions, in preparation to finally debut the costume.
“The first con I took the costume to was MAGfest 2015,” she tells us. “I was so nervous. I had loved the character so much, and for so long, I was afraid to disappoint other fans. And to top it off, my leg was still very broken. I had had surgery, but struggled to walk. I had crutches waiting in the car, just in case.”
However, the costume proved to be a huge hit. “I was so overwhelmed with the positive comments I received at the convention,” Roper remembers. “Everyone loved seeing the classic Harley costume, and of course, the big hammer! It’s definitely not something you see every day.”
“I loved wearing Harley, and I’ve worn the costume a few times since, at Katsucon 2015 and this past weekend at AwesomeCon. Every time I dress up, I feel like I’m ‘getting into character’ - I try and pull out the voice, and the mannerisms, and give it my all! Pardon the pun, but I can’t resist: I’m really not clowning around!”
"Harley really means a lot to me, and I can relate to her on a lot of levels. I've worked hard to get somewhere for something I really wanted. I've been in bad relationships. I've been in very loving ones. My best friend is even like Ivy -- I even call her that sometimes! It's hard to imagine a time when I'll not want to cosplay her. I may move on to other projects, but I'll still be pulling out my suit all the time."
Miranda has been working on more Harley costumes, including a recently completed 'Killing Joke' Joker & Swimsuit Harley Quinn, and an in-progress Sailor Harley Quinn (a la Sailor Moon) with “Tuxedo Red Hood,” a mash-up between Tuxedo Mask, and the Joker’s Red Hood origins in 'The Killing Joke.'
You can follow her work at Miramay Cosplay on Facebook, and “literallytouko” on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. You can get your own handmade Harley collars and wrist cuffs, and other cute stuff, on her Etsy store. You can get updates on Charles's Joker costumes at Pulp Added Cosplay.