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Evolution Of Harley Quinn From The Comics To The Movie Screen

Author Gonzalo / Posts / Published: 16/2/2020

Ever thought about the evolution of Harley Quinn? Well did you know that some of the best cartoon characters and superheroes are at least 75 years old? There’s Batman, Wonder Woman and Catwoman for starters, but then there’s also Harley Quinn who has clocked up more than 25 years as a Batman arch-villain!

Who is Harley Quinn?

Harley Quinn was created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for an episode of Batman – The Animated Series in 1992 and was supposed to be a one-off character, acting as the sidekick for the Joker. Harley Quinn however, quickly became a favourite on the shows and the rest is history!

Harley Quinn is a former psychiatrist who was employed at Arkham Asylum but was seduced by the Joker when he was a patient at the asylum and became his on and off lover and partner in crime. She’s funny in a scary, crazy kind of way, but is also manipulative and dysfunctional, particularly in her relationship with the Joker. She also teams up with fellow villains, Catwoman and Poison Ivy, and the three of them together are called the Gotham City Sirens.


So if someone asks you – who is Harley Quinn – you have all the answers!

gotham city sirens
margot robbie

Who plays Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad 2?

Harley Quinn was played by Margot Robbie in the 2016 Suicide Squad movie. She also played the character in the completed, but yet to be released - Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (due out in 2020), and takes up the character again in the movie Suicide Squad 2 that’s currently in production. There’s also rumours of a Gotham City Sirens movie in the works starring Harley Quinn.

bop harley quinn
mad love comic book

Evolution of Harley Quinn from comics to the big screen

First appearing in the animated TV series episode as noted above, Harley Quinn became so popular that she segued into the world of Batman comics. Her origins are recounted in the graphic novel – The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, winning the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. It was so good that it became an episode in the New Batman Adventures on TV.


She became such a popular character that she made other animated appearances in the Gotham Girls cartoon, one of the Justice League episodes and the Static Shock episodes of the DC animated universe series. At this point, Harley Quinn moved into movies, starring in the Wold’s Finest: The Batman/Superman Movie, the animated movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and then jumped into the Suicide Squad movies – Suicide Squad 1 and Suicide Squad 2.

Evolution of the Harley Quinn costume

Portrayed as a jester in the early Batman – The Animated Series, Harley Quinn wore a one-piece, black and red motley costume with white face makeup and a black domino mask. As Dr Harleen Quinzel, she has blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin and usually wears glasses and a white lab coat!

The basic Harley Quinn costume started to change during 2011, moving from the black and red motley outfit to a more updated costume with a sleeveless top, elbow and knee pads, tight shorts and boots, but still staying with the red and black colour scheme.

In 2016, all this changed and she was portrayed as a much more modern version of herself with blonde hair and blue and pink tips. She now has two outfits – one with tight red and blue shorts, a ripped t-shirt, fingerless gloves, satin jacket, studded belt, lace-up boots and fishnet stockings. The other costume is still black and red but is more up-market with a long-sleeved top, tight shorts, thick white stockings, garter belt and boots. Red and black nail varnish also make an appearance every now and again.

harley quinn comic 2

How to make your own DIY Harley Quinn costume

Basically, you have three options for your Harley Quinn outfit – the early motley suit or one of the two later styles mentioned above. Let’s have a look at each of three designs, giving you ideas for pulling together your own DIY Harley Quinn costume.

1. Harley Quinn Motley costume

To create your own Harley Quinn motley costume, you need some craft skills, particularly in the sewing machine category. The easiest way to make one of these costumes is to find a pair of red and a pair of back leotards and stitch them together to give you one red leg and one black leg. Match this with a red and black long-sleeved t-shirt (do the same with a red t-shirt and a black t-shirt, so one half is red and the other black), ensuring that these colours are opposite to the leggings.

One red glove and one black glove, and then a white frill around the neck, matched with a motley jokers hat (we sell a headband you can use for this hat), white face paint and you are good to go! Of course, if all this seems to tom much of an effort to you, you could always check out the CostumeBox vaults and select a fabulous Harley Quinn costume in the Gotham style for yourself – much easier!

2. Harley Quinn Suicide Squad – 1st costume

For this costume, you will need a pair of tight red and blue shorts, a ripped t-shirt, fingerless gloves, satin jacket, studded belt, lace-up boots and fishnet stockings. Most of this you can probably find in your local charity shop (except for the ripped t-shirt!), so you shouldn’t have any problems pulling it together. Don’t forget the blonde wig with the pink and blue tips or the pale facial makeup and bright red lips and you have a fabulous and easy DIY Harley Quinn costume!

3. Harley Quinn Suicide Squad – 2nd costume

The second option for your Harley Quinn costume needs a long-sleeved top, tight shorts, white stockings, garter belt and boots, not forgetting the red and black colour scheme. You can keep the same hair, makeup and even add red or black nail polish as well.

CostumeBox Harley Quinn Outfits

Now you know about the evolution of Harley Quinn and her role in Suicide Squad 1, Suicide Squad 2 and the other movies and animated series, it’s time to pull your own costume together! If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, CostumeBox has lots of options from full Harley Quinn costumes to Harley Quinn corsets, leggings, wigs and masks. Enjoy!

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