WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Harley Loves Joker #1, by Paul Dini and Bret Blevins, in stores now.
Bud and Lou have been a part of the Batman mythos for quite a long time. What's that? You're wondering who the heck Bud and Lou are? Oh, chances are you know them. Or at least, you have seen them many ties before. Perhaps you didn't know their names. Or perhaps you did. They are two spotted pet hyenas that belong to Harley Quinn, and they are both her friends and muscle. Bud and Lou were created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, and they appeared alongside Harley and her precious puddin' in Batman: The Animated Series, before eventually making the jump to comics in Dini and Timm's The Batman Adventures: Mad Love #1.
The pets have made various on and off appearances in many comic books since, as well as in other animated fares like The Batman cartoon series, and they even appeared in video games such as Batman: Arkham City and Injustice 2. They are signature partners to Harley Quinn, and have become recognizable throughout the years. But here's the thing about Bud and Lou: yes, they've always been around, a part of Joker and Harley's little crime syndicate -- but we never knew where they came from. That is, until today.
In Harley Loves Joker #1, Paul Dini returns to one of his most famous creations by penning a new Harley Quinn and Joker tale set outside of the current continuity of DC Rebirth. If anything, along with Bret Blevins' beautiful artwork, this story almost reads like a lost episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The book sees Harley go up against her new rival and nemesis The Grison, a weasel-themed vixen who just happens to have a connection to Harley's past. During a flashback sequence, we learn the origin of The Grison, aka Gabriela Matias.
It just so happens that back when Harley was known as Harleen Quinzel, back when she was still studying to become a psychiatrist at Gotham University, both Harleen and Gabriela worked a part time job in animal research at S.T.A.R. Labs. The laboratory the two students worked at housed many different kinds of animals, from lizards and ferrets to monkeys and, you guessed it, a duo of hyena cubs.
But even back then, Gabriela had nefarious plans to become a supervillain. She was conducting experiments on the laboratory animals, and when Harley caught her in the act, she smacked her co-worker. It didn't take long for the two to engage in a fight in the middle of the lab, Harley fighting to protect the animals from the cruel experiments of Gabriela. The confrontation knocked over the cage of the hyena pups and, since Harley was the one nice to them, they started working at her side, attacking Gabriela. With their help, Harley won the fight, and the pups have presumably been by her side since.
Decades after being introduced on Batman: The Animated Series, Bud and Lou's origin is finally revealed. They met Harley when they were babies, and their first team-up created an unbreakable bond that, to this day, is still as strong as ever.