Welcome to the four hundred and ninetieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and eighty-nine. This week, how did a scene in a soap opera give us Harley Quinn? Did Captain America creator Joe Simon also play a role in the creation of Superman? And finally, what was NBC's problem with Firestar's ass?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There's a little "next" button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Paul Dini was inspired to create Harley Quinn based on an old episode of Days of Our Lives.
Reader Steve B. wrote in asking about whether Harley Quinn was really based on an old episode of the soap opera Days of Our Lives. The answer does appear to be yes, Steve.
Actress Arleen Sorkin was on Days of Our Lives as the popular wacky character Calliope Jones. Here's a scene from Sorkin as Calliope...
Sorkin had been friends with writer Paul Dini since college. When Dini was working on Batman the Animated Series, he came up with the idea of the Joker having a female sidekick. Dini has said that he was specifically influenced by an episode of Days of Our Lives featuring a dream sequence where Sorkin dressed up as a court jester. Awesomely enough, a YouTube user actually found the precise episode in question (along with the clip of the scene is a clip from Dini telling Kevin Smith on Smith's podcst about how the scene inspired Harley Quinn)...
Sorkin was then cast as Harley Quinn's voice and her personality played a huge role in the development of Harley's personality...
A SLIGHT issue I have with the whole story is that Sorkin left Days of Our Lives in 1990. She did do a return stint in 1992, but I am pretty sure that the dream sequence in question took place during her initial stint on the show, so when Dini says that he was home watching the episode while working on the script for Batman, that doesn't really work, time-wise. More likely, Dini just happened to recall the earlier sequence (he was, after all, friends with Sorkin and such a sequence must have been quite memorable, as it was so out of place compared to the standard soap opera fare).
Thanks to Steve for the question and thanks to Dini, Kevin Smith and Arleen Sorkin (who have all repeated the story a few times) for the answer!
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Did Black Widow really almost beat Iron Man to the big screen? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
On the next page, did Joe Simon really help with the development of Superman?