It has to be a strange feeling to meet the fictional character you helped create in the flesh. Yet, that’s pretty much what happened to Paul Dini at the premiere of the “Suicide Squad” movie when the writer was introduced to the film’s leading actress Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn.
Co-created by Dini with artist Bruce Timm, Harley first appeared on “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992, Harley Quinn was an instant hit with viewers. She eventually became one of the few characters created specifically for the animated series deemed popular enough to make the jump to mainstream comic books.
The character was originally conceived as a one-off comedic role, but the response to Harley was strong enough that her character was developed further. Dini would go on to write “The Batman Adventures: Mad Love,” a standalone graphic novel set in the world of the animated series that recounts Harley’s origins as a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, Harleen Frances Quinzel, who falls for the Joker. The graphic novel was so well-received — it won an Eisner award for Best Single Story — that it was eventually adapted into an episode for the animated series.
Harley Quinn would go onto to star in her own comic series, sans Dini, from 2001 to 2003. She periodically appeared in comics and video games until 2011’s The New 52 relaunched DC Comics’ longest running series. A newly redesigned Harley found herself at odds with the Joker, and a costly, lethal rampage led to her induction into the “Suicide Squad.”
Now, Harley is gearing up for a renewed spot in the limelight after “Suicide Squad.” Who knows what’s next for the Clown Princess of Crime, but with any luck, both Dini and Robbie will be involved.
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