Harleen Frances Quinzel was born in ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ as Joker’s evil love interest and sidekick. We all know her story: She became a psychiatrist and began working at Arkham Asylum, fell in love with the Joker after being his therapist for months, thus deciding to become a criminal and live her darkest desires and dreams with Joker. She balanced love with work in her dysfunctional relationship with him until she became more independent, ultimately deciding to go her own way. She has a fun personality riddled with quirks, and which is just appearance; she hides an obsessive and dangerous mind.
After the Arkham games and the New 52 solo run, she gained more fame, but with 2016’s smash hit ‘Suicide Squad’, Harley Quinn has reached a whole new level of popularity. She had become so popular to the point where a few writers called her “The Fourth Pillar Of DC”, along with the likes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Her characterization has been through some changes that some people love, and some other people hate, that lead her to be more than a sidekick in an abusive relationship, but also an independent woman.
Now, her popularity seems and may be well deserved; but among comic readers, not everyone thinks that she deserves so much spotlight, and I’m going to explain the point of view of the comic readers who think that.
The first reason may be modern Harley’s characterization, which is not so likable. It’s very different from the classic Quinn’s personality, that many of her fans love. In the New 52, especially in the ‘Suicide Squad’ comic series, she was made into someone who would say something extremely stupid in almost every panel, a crazy chick who was sexually attracted to anyone around her, and moreover, she was written as some bloodthirsty psychopath; she’s mean and evil, but not some ferocious beast! Anyways, in her New 52 solo run she also officially became Poison Ivy’s girlfriend (Another great and extremely villainous character that Harley’s existence is ruining) who seemed to come from a fan fiction and who was out of character: too sweet, too kind, meanwhile in the past she was easily annoyed, especially around Harley, and even if Ivy cared for her, their relationship still wasn’t healthy; Ivy is a very cold-hearted character.
These changes seemed to be incoherent with other “developments” and“demolitions”, that later suddenly made her into an anti-hero. Maybe because Harley’s adorable appearance makes her look like a good hearted person, just a little confused, when in reality the cute little jester had no problem with murder, kidnapping, robbing or harming innocents (crimes can’t be justified with as confused, can they?). Throughout the years they kept on writing her as an anti-hero for two probable reasons, which are the misinterpretation of her character and fanservice.
And in this way, people forgot about her past as villain, when her stories were actually good. Moreover, in most of her modern stories (and what stories!) she’s always over Joker, yet they always bring him back; this detail might be confusing, considering that if the current writers want to take away her obsession and love for him, that was meant to be the fundament of her characterization, then at least don’t bring Joker back in her stories every time to beat a dead horse (she usually ends up hitting him and leaving).
Second reason: she’s everywhere. In 2016-2017, Harley Quinn appeared (As lead role or as co-protagonist) or was announced to be in many comics, such as:
– ’Her ‘Rebirth’ solo series.
-’Suicide Squad Rebirth.’
-’Justice League vs Suicide Squad.’
-’Injustice Ground Zero: Year 2.’
-In the crossover with Archie Comics, ‘Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica.’
She also makes other random appearances from time to time.It gets tiring to find her in every comic you pick up.
Third reason: The overexposure by DC’s marketing team. The official DC Twitter page often tweets randomly about Harley, like one particular tweet that caused a negative reaction by fans, a post in which they named five characters she managed to overthrow in a fight: Batman, Joker, Deathstroke, Wonder Woman, Superman.
Is there really any need of explaining why comic readers didn’t like that post? We know that Harley beating them is NOT what really happened in those comics issues, the pictures in the short video being taken out of context, but what is right to criticize is the post, who tries too hard to make her look like she’s limitless.
Neither did many fans like a post about her being scarier than Joker, Scarecrow (the Master of Fear) and any other Batman villain.
DC makes her out to be an anti-hero, yet posts about how she’s worse than any other criminal in Gotham.
Harley Quinn used to be such a funny, strong, and well-written character, with an interesting characterization and a fascinating dynamic when it comes to the people she loves (Joker, Ivy, etc) and her feelings. But to put her in every story even when she’s not needed, to make her deal with characters that she normally shouldn’t be able to harm at all, overusing her character, overdoing her abilities, overall making her whole presence in the universe oversaturated (And it gets worth when you remember the way they’re destroying her character). DC has way more interesting and deep characters that deserve solos, other teams that deserve new stories; it would just be the best for them to focus on other great characters instead of using always the same ones and Harley Quinn in particular.
Written by Lolita, @jokesvsriddles