Harley Quinn's Costume Evolution

On today’s episode of ‘Yellow Spandex,’ Kya Quinn finally gets to gush about her favorite comic character of all time: Harley Quinn. After the success of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn has become a household name. Harley Quinn costumes and Harley Quinn cosplay have taken the world by storm, but the origin of Harley Quinn goes back 25 years. Harley Quinn got her start in Batman: The Animated Series, created by Paul Dini. Animated Harley Quinn was based on an old friend of Paul Dini, Arleen Sorkin. Harley Quinn started out as a one-shot henchwoman, but soon she became an essential aspect of the character of the Joker. Harley Quinn and The Joker have one of the deepest, darkest and most toxic relationships in any form of literature, but it doesn’t define the character of Harley Quinn. Joker might be the man behind her madness, but that doesn’t mean Harley Quinn can’t look cool in her original Harley Quinn costume. The traditional jester Harley Quinn costume is an essential part of Harley Quinn history and it stuck with her for years, throughout the various incarnations of Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, and her first appearances in Harley Quinn comics for DC. It would take an occasion as important as a video game for Harley Quinn to get her first real makeover. 2009’s video game Batman: Arkham Asylum gave us the first changes to the Harley Quinn costume, and the evolution of Harley Quinn continued beyond Arkham Asylum. Harley Quinn also appeared in Batman: Arkham City. Harley Quinn made her final appearance in the Arkham series in Batman: Arkham Knight. Harley Quinn’s more revealing Gothic Lolita appearance was controversial, but it was also a huge success, and soon the Harley Quinn comics copied the look in the DC New 52 Harley Quinn comics. Her Harley Quinn costume got even skimpier, and she dumped the Harley Quinn makeup after Joker dumped her in a chemical vat. Still, Harley Quinn fans continued to grow in number, and Harley Quinn’s popularity only increased. When in the hands of artists like Amanda Conner, Harley Quinn looked less like a pin-up and more like a tough, fun loving roller derby athlete. With the release of the Margot Robbie Harley Quinn Suicide Squad movie, the DC comics Harley Quinn changed to look even more like her live-action counterpart, which is surprising considering that it wasn’t the first appearance of a live action Harley Quinn. Before the 2017 Batman and Harley Quinn movie, Batman was going to meet Harleen Quinzel in the sequel to Batman and Robin, Batman Unchained or Batman Triumphant. Can you imagine a Madonna Harley Quinn or a Courtney Love Harley Quinn? Well, we never got to see that, but a Harley Quinn live action debut occurred in the TV show Birds of Prey. Harley Quinn was actually the main villain of the show, even though she’s more of a criminal mastermind than a deranged lovelorn lunatic. Another show that almost got Harley Quinn? Arrow. The Arrow Harley Quinn easter egg was sadly the only time we’d see her in the show, but for an Arrow easter egg, Harley Quinn was a great choice. Finally, before we get to the Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, Margot Robbie and her baseball bat’s star performance, we should address whether Barbara Keane is a Gotham Harley Quinn. Will the show ever really feature Harley Quinn? Gotham creators have said no, but who knows? Finally, we’ve come to the 2016 Suicide Squad movie, starring a Jared Leto Joker and a Margot Robbie Harley Quinn. This is the Harley Quinn / Joker pair that has captured the world’s imagination, and even if the Suicide Squad movie wasn’t so great, it did introduce the masses to Harley Quinn. Who knows? Will we see a Harley Quinn Gotham City Series? Or a Joker and Harley Quinn movie? Or maybe she’ll get a standalone Harley Quinn movie in the DCEU. Harley Quinn is an amazing character regardless, with an amazing Harley Quinn costume.

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