Where would Harley Quinn be without the Joker? Quinn’s first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series shows her as a sidekick to one of the most notorious villains in comic book history. This one episode, with a runtime of 22 minutes, established a foundation for a character that is loved and seen at conventions, as fans adorn her various attires to cosplay.
Dr. Harleen Quinzel, “a promising psychiatrist assigned to Arkham Asylum, Gotham’s home for the criminally insane,” undoubtedly has a high level of intellect after becoming a doctor at a young age. It is her obsession with the “Clown Prince of Crime,” and her deeply manifested love for him, which allows her to become entirely focused on his wants, allowing him to direct her to do his evil bidding.
As the 25th anniversary of Harley Quinn approaches, what would life be like for this character without the love she feels and the subsequent influence he projects?
A possible lead into this premise, following the Harley Quinn and Batman comic or Batman & Harley Quinn animated film, where the caped crusader and Quinn team up, could be a much larger trigger point for Quinn against her love – an opportunity to truly fly solo. Perhaps after listening to sage advice from the Dark Knight, or even Alfred, Harley Quinn could come to the realization that there’s only one way to rid herself of her dangerous infatuation – and she kills the Joker.
Although there will be critics for killing off such a character, this does not have to be a permanent end for the Joker, but it could be a permanent fixture in this character’s life that would allow her to fully develop on her own, without any lingering strings tying her to him. The story could begin at the Joker’s end, providing proof that, in fact, he’s gone, so there isn’t any second guessing, and the ramifications of this action could lead toward Harley Quinn’s future. What would her path be? Will she seek counsel herself or will she become a Jessica Jones-like figure, where she copes with her own misery by leading a solitary life?
As storylines go, readers could follow along as Quinn tries to find her own way. The possibilities of this path are fascinating and one I would love to follow (and write), and witness the beaming potential on comic book pages, the small screen, film, or all of them. Quinn’s popularity seems to prove her credibility as a dominant character, and breaking free from the Joker with his death will add a level of certainty to knowing she will never be forced to make decisions around this manifested fantasy.
The title of this project should emphasize Harley Quinn, and not something like, “Harley Kills…” or “Harley Without…” or anything suggestive of the Joker’s presence. The action alone will prove a new life, moving forward on her own, as fans witness her struggles, perceived self-worth, and how her psyche deals with the fact that the best decision of her life involves killing another person.
Will she continue her mischievous ways, or does she want to move forward, regaining her ability to help others as a doctor or pursuing some other form of goodwill?
Eager to be answered, the question still stands: Where would Harley Quinn be without the Joker? Let’s end his story, by her hands, and find out, please.