Super-Villain Sunday this week honours the Mistress of Mayhem herself: Harleen Quinzel better known to her adoring (and terrified) fans as Harley Quinn. Harley’s creation was different to most other comic-book characters in that her first appearance was not in comics but in the seminal Batman: the animated series, specifically episode #8 – Joker’s Favour in 1992. She proved wildly popular with the fans and was introduced into comic book lore in the 1994 graphic novel Mad Love which gives us her origin story as Dr Harleen Quinzel, a psychologist working in Arkham Asylum and treating the Joker, whom she falls madly in love with and ends up joining as his crazy sidekick and on/off love interest Harley Quinn.
The story was a huge success and received Eisner and Harvey awards for best overall story in 1994, Harley proved so popular that she has been one of DC Comic’s most loved female characters since. She had her first solo series in 2001 which ran through to 2003, a fantastic 38 issue run which set the standard for the characters quirky, dangerous but loveable personality. She has also been a member of several Super-Villain teams including – The Secret Six alongside characters such as Deadshot and Catman and is an on/off member of the Government run Suicide Squad, which is currently being made into a big screen film by Warner Bros, actress Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) is rumoured to be playing Harley.
This won’t be the first live action version of Harley Quinn though as she was originally portrayed by actress Mia Sara in the Birds of Prey television series in 2002. She has also proved hugely popular with video-game fans having starred in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City and Injustice: Gods Among Us. In fact her gaming appearances go all the way back to the 16 bit era, where she had cameos in The Adventures of Batman and Robin on Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo, she can also be found in MMO – DC Universe Online. Harley’s best friends (apart from her puddin’ Mr J) are fellow Gothamites Poison Ivy and Catwoman, who she regularly meets up with to cause Mirth and Mayhem, you can catch their adventures in the Gotham City Sirens series. So let’s hear it for the Queen of chaos, Harley Quinn … long may she reign!
Super-Villain Rating: 5 comedy mallets out of 5
Has it really been 25 years since the release of the stupendous Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth? Hard to believe it has been so long since this outstanding piece of Batman lore was delivered to us by master storyteller Grant Morrison and comic artist supreme Dave McKean.
This classic tale is considered one of the greatest comic books of all time, garnering many awards at the time for both its dark storyline and the amazingly twisted art. It is also Grant Morrison’s first ever Batman tale, after this Morrison would go on to be one of the most prolific writers of the Caped Crusader’s adventures down the years.
It is April fools day and the insane inmates of Arkham have taken control of the asylum, in exchange for the hostages they want … the Batman, and so the Dark Knight must traverse a nightmarish journey into the twisted minds of some of Arkham’s most dangerous denizens including Poison Ivy, Two Face, the Scarecrow and of course the clown prince of crime himself … the Joker in full on demented mode. This is one of the darkest and most disturbing of all of the Batman’s adventures, taking you on a carnival ride of horror and dark wonder. Dave McKean’s artwork on this is sublime, really drawing you into the unhinged and disturbing world of maniacal Supervillains and murderers with its strange and dreamlike visual quality. Also of note is the lettering of the book by Gaspar Saladino, with each of the different characters having their very own font style, this was the very first comic to really do this and it has become a popular trait of the comics medium since.
The anniversary edition is available right now in both hardcover and softcover versions, weighing in at 216 pages in length.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 degenerate Supervillains out of 5
Welcome once again to new comics Wednesday folks, and if you have any money left over this month after buying all those amazing Futures End 3D motion comics, why not take a look at this fantastic (and a little gruesome) Death of the Family mask and book set.
Death of the Family was a 23 issue story released in 2012 which spanned across several Bat-titles including – Batgirl, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, Suicide Squad and Nightwing. Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jock and several other writers and artists worked on the epic saga, which saw the return of the Joker to Arkham Asylum after being captured by the Batman.
Unbeknownst to the Caped Crusader it was all part of Joker’s plan to meet up with the villain known as the Dollmaker, who surgically removes Joker’s face as a sign of his rebirth. Upon his inevitable escape from Arkham (they’d may as well replace the cell doors with curtains considering the ease that the inmates have at escaping this ‘maximum security’ asylum), the Joker goes on his usual murderous rampage but this time he’s even more deranged and deadly than before!
The collector’s Edition of this epic storyline includes the reproduction of the Joker’s removed face in all its gory glory as well as the softcover version of the graphic novel itself. This limited edition is available in your local comic book emporium right now Bat-fans.