September 2017 marked the amazing 25th anniversary (or birthday) of the DC Comics character #HarleyQuinn. It's kinda bonkers to think that it's been two and half decades since Harley's debut on TV's Batman: The Animated Series back in 1992 — and that she's since become one of biggest and most beloved characters in the nerdiverse. From TV screens and toy store isles to comic books, video games and movies, Harley Quinn has proven to be a conquering queen of hearts.
In fact, besides long-established icons like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and Catwoman, there hasn't been another female character on DC's dense roster of heroes and villains that has made as much of an impact on popular culture as Harley. Such a fan of hers is director Kevin Smith that he named his firstborn baby girl "Harley Quinn Smith." And this past September, in honor of the character's 25th, #Batman Day (Sept 23rd) was appropriately redubbed "Harley Day."
Harley's meteoric rise from the Joker's lovestruck sidekick to one of DC's franchise players just goes show that a little bit of crazy (and a "lotta bit" of sexy) goes a long, long way.
Fanning the Flames
Considering her widespread popularity, it should come as no surprise that on the convention floor of geek gatherings across the country, Harley's image is worn by countless crafty cosplayers. This became even more so the case after Margot Robbie’s crowd-pleasing portrayal of Gotham's second-most loco in Suicide Squad. But maybe nowhere else is our fondness for Harley Quinn more fanatically displayed than in the fantabulous world of #fanart.
Long before the trashy extreme makeover she was given for the big screen — a red-hot look consisting of jailhouse tats, red and blue booty shorts, fishnets, a baseball bat (to replace her wooden mallet) and a dingy t-shirt with "Daddy's Lil' Monster" scripted across its front — Harley Quinn was a favored subject for freelance and amateur artists alike. But her style's gutter-chic remix quite justifiably turned the levels on creative stimulus up to eleven.
With the aforementioned in mind, it should also be said that the task of selecting just five pieces of Harley Quinn fan art from the massive body of works strewn across the internet is almost enough to drive one...batty. But the works gathered here gorgeously capture the arresting (and criminal) nature of Harley Quinn.
5. John Keaveney
There's a wicked sense of irony in this piece by UK-based artist John Keaveney. Bad girl Harley is rendered in the style of good girl pin-up art made famous by the likes of George Petty, Gil Elvgren and others in the 1930s and '40s. Here her old-fashioned harlequin garb plays the role of a two-toned second skin on her petite hourglass shape. Harley's hands and feet are appropriately adorned with mismatched gloves and killer heels, and the accessorized mallet sends out a warning that Daddy's Lil' Gotham Girl will wreck your entire world.
4. Felipe Kimio
In the 2016 film Suicide Squad, Harley goes window-shopping in the literal sense. After putting her baseball bat through a department store widow, she palms a purse that caught her discerning eye and turns to see the other members of her team looking on in disbelief. "We're bad guys!" she yells, "That's what we do!" And what this fan art by the Brazil-based artist Felipe Kimio does is offer a colorful new perspective on the scene, rendering Harley in a style that is wonderfully reminiscent of a vintage John K. (Ren & Stimpy) cartoon.
3. SourAcid (Karl Liversidge)
Everything about Harley's titillating pose and facial expression in this piece by SourAcid is belting out the chorus of a Britney Spears song: "I'm not that innocent!" She's not innocent at all, quite frankly, and this piece beautifully captures the sugar, spikes, and little to no nice that we love about this Gotham bad girl. SourAcid's work also offers the reminder that because love is blind, one should always trust their instincts: It's gut instincts that will warn when you're about to walk right into a "booby" trap (like the one above).
2. Yinxuan Dezarmenien
If fans have ever wondered what a CG animated 'toon devoted to the crazy exploits of Harley Quinn could look like, the senses shattering work of France-based artist Yinxuan Dezarmenien is the answer. His CG illustrations are so amazingly realized that only things missing are motion and the voice of actress Arleen Sorkin yellin' out: "Okay, Mista J!" Then again, Margot Robbie could provide the voice for the CG version of the character. There are so many super cool possibilities, and Dezarmenien's fan art gives us an absolutely gorgeous glimpse.
1. Bob Q
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue! Although nobody's getting married here, this work by Bob Q sticks to classic conventions. Harley wears a modified version of the harlequin outfit here that remixes the look to reflect the blue notes of her Suicide Squad makeover. She looks delightfully impish with that old school cork gun that borrows its green and purple colors from the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime, and her "puddin." It's fan art that very nicely captures the spirit of why — now 25 years since her debut — we still have nothin' but "mad love" for Harley Quinn.
Are you crazy about all things Harley Quinn, from comics to cosplay to fan art? Let us know in the box below!