If you’ve been on the internet the past two days, chances are you’ve seen the official images of the cast for David Ayer’s upcoming Suicide Squad.  Long a supporter of the “don’t judge a movie by it’s promo image”, I think my patience has about run out with this DC Comics film.

Margo Robbie on set as Harley Quinn, photo from JustJared
Margot Robbie on set as Harley Quinn, photo from JustJared

You can see more images of the rest of the cast here on ComicBookMovie.com as well as other sites around the internet.

I should say it started with the beginning of the end of my relationship with DC, the launch of the New 52.  Cautiously, I tried, TRIED to support the company branching out and relaunching characters and storylines I’ve known by heart almost my entire life (Batman, Superman, JLA).  They REALLY crossed my hardline when the revamp of Batman universe character Harley Quinn happened.  DC even changed her origin story.  She went from making the choice to change her life and follow The Joker into her being tossed into a vat of chemicals so she became a pale skinned creature like him.


These are the two covers for Harley Quinn #0:


Specifically, I didn’t have issues with the Roller Derby look.  It works for Harley, her normal crazypants self would TOTALLY get into roller derby, and she would be GOOD.  The other image however…..red and blue and ugly.


Let’s backtrack-  Harley Quinn was a character that was introduced to the Batman universe during the original airing of Batman- The Animated Series, which remains arguably one of the most popular and well loved versions of a Batman narrative to air on television or film.  The character of Harley first shows up in “Joker’s Favor”, and was never meant to stick around past this episode.  Arleen Sorkin’s voicework helped propel the Joker’s galpal to almost overnight acceptance, and the character was adapted into the official lexicon with the 1994 graphic novel “Mad Love”.


Other than the short-lived CW series Birds Of Prey, and a tiny stint on the CW’s “Arrow”, Harley has not been used in a live action role.


She has gone from a PHD holding psychiatrist working with the most dangerous patient known to Gotham to a silly character in a jumpsuit and horned cowl to whatever the hell they think she is now.  Part of her appeal as a character for many a young lady was the fact that she had her own life, her own achievements before becoming the sidekick.  She was strong, she was a professional, and then she fell in love.  Or, suffered some severe odd version of Stockholm Syndrome, however you want to view it.  The point being, she was not SO broken that she had to sleep with every anti-hero DC could throw at her, nor dress like an attention seeking whore.  No, I never romanticized the highly abusive relationship between Harley and the Joker, but I did find a kinship in how she moved on with her life after he tried to kill her.  As a someone who went through some seriously messed up shit, Harley was a reminder that it can get better with the right friends, with the right motivation.


Don’t forget that issue of the ‘new’ Harley that had a scratch-n-sniff cover that smelled of cannabis.  Let’s just say most of the diehard fan community is morally and vocally against 90% of the changes DC’s “New 52″ has brought her.  WHO THE HELL THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?  The assumption that any girl who has gone through traumatic life events has to turn to drugs and dress in such a manor is ridiculous and wrong.  Her constantly throwing herself at the men on the Suicide Squad team is….ridiculous and insulting.


Know what ELSE they do to Harley in the new 52 comics?  They have a storyline where Harley had a child with Joker, and they chalk up some of her instabilities to that.


As far as her involvement in Ayer’s film, we should remember that in Harley’s new 52 comics, there is no Joker.  Harley believes him to be dead, and lives her life without his presence. He comes back, and royally messes up whatever peace she had.


Needless to say, there are things a comicbook company can do to completely push away their diehard fans, and DC has done just about all of them to my beloved character.  I said it last year when this film was announced, and it sure seems like I was right; that Ayers will be following the new 52 storyline.  This means next to zero interest on my part to see it, and maybe someday we’ll get the Harley we deserve.

ABOUT >> Mary Anne Butler
  • BIO >> Mary Anne Butler (Mab) is a reporter and photographer from San Francisco California. She is a lifelong geek, huge music nerd, occasionally cosplays at conventions, does Renaissance Faires, and in general lives the life of a True Believer. She may be short, but she makes up for it with a loud voice.
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7 thoughts on “Harley Quinn: Why Fans Are Upset

  1. While I agree that pre-52 Harley is better than post-52 Harley, the character has never been more popular and I’m glad to see her soar, especially since she is a strong female character and we need more of those.

    What bothered me about your article is the lack of thorough research. The panel you claim was a new 52 storyline of the character having a baby with Joker is completely wrong. That’s from a non-cannon, completely separate story-line spun off from the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game and has no connection to the New 52 version of Harley. I know it worked for your article but its false when you claim that as “something ELSE” they did to her.

    1. Isn’t the outraged California woman routine becoming a bit cliche?

      1. Yes, they updated her look to a sexy Harley from cartoon pajama Harley.

      2. The “new” origin is a take it or leave it vs. the old. Either works fine for the character.

      3. She’s legitimately crazy and seeks approval in the worst ways from men in her life. Just because she freed herself of the Joker doesn’t mean she would instantly start making good relationship decisions. She’s a work in progress.

      4. “Your Harley” would be utterly ridiculous on screen. It’s hard enough for them to get a classic hero costume even close, never mind finding an actress that can roller skate through a whole film and fight, or the silly jester pajamas I already mentioned.

      Sadly, I think your knee-jerk reaction to save women everywhere has clouded your judgement. Is this outfit perfect? Not even close. Is your idea of perfect possible to translate to the big screen? Again, not even close.

  2. You lost me when you called the new Harley an attention seeking whore. Booty shorts or not, you can’t speak about the empowerment of women while tearing them down. Bad form.

  3. I think the part where Harley had a kid wasn’t from the New 52, it was from the Injustice: Gods Among Us tie in comic. Harley was never friendly with Black Canary in the New 52 but was in the Injustice comic

  4. Personally, I was always drawn to how unique and cute Harley was. I don’t mind the skin bearing characters, but I liked her most for being totally different and set apart from that, plus red and black is an awesome color scheme. It’s a matter of preference. Not to mention, I simply don’t like the way she is written, now is better than pre-new 52, but it’s still not my kind of character. I feel like I’ve wasted my money on the first 4 or so issues of Harley Quinn. To me, she’s just eye candy, something to collect as a statue. Well, she was, now I don’t care either way.

  5. I agree partially here with the author. Everyone chalking Harley out to be so cool for women independence and blah blah are idiots. She has been sculpted into an mindless slutty diluted character for teenies. The choices of her stories and attire is ridulcous and I do respect her being on her own but not this way. She is like that celebrity out there that has been wasted away… They are all out there.