Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was the breakout star of Suicide Squad, and while that film got mixed to poor reception the new spin-off, Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey, as it has been renamed, is stunning both fans and critics alike. In the grand scheme of comics history, Harley Quinn is a fairly new character. Despite that, she has wormed her way into the hearts of fans, quickly becoming a favorite. The character was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for Batman: The Animated Series. However, she quickly made the jump to the page and the rest is history.
Like any comic book character written by multiple people, Harley has had different iterations over the years. But fans looking to see the Harley they fell in love with on-screen look no further than these comics. Without further ado, here are the top seven comics Harley Quinn fans should read after seeing Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey.
Harley Quinn Vol. 1 Hot in the City
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey takes a majority of its inspiration from Harley Quinn Vol. 1 Hot in the City. This series, part of the New 52 relaunch, separated Harley from the Joker and allowed her to be a strong and interesting character all on her own. If you loved Margot’s version of Harley including all of her quicks, like the beaver pet, then Harley Quinn Vol. 1 Hot in the City, from creative team Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti, is a must-read.
Harley Quinn: The Rebirth
The follow-up to Harley Quinn’s New 52 reboot, Harley Quinn: The Rebirth takes place after the DC Rebirth event. Also from Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti, the series takes place after Harley leaves Gotham and takes up residence in Brooklyn’s Coney Island. Free of the Joker, Harley Quinn teams up throughout the series with other freaks, strays, and unstable vigilante antihero-types including Poison Ivy. However, when Mister J returns, she finds herself on a whirlwind adventure.
Gotham City Sirens
The Gotham City Sirens follows Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman as they set out on their own and cause mayhem all over Gotham. This comic is a wild girls trip in the same vein as Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey. These fierce ladies take on their rivals and former lovers in the action-packed series from Paul Dini, the creator of Harley Quinn, and Guillem March.
Written by Jody Houser, with pencils from Adriana Melo, inks by Mark Morales, colors by Hi-Fi, and letters by Gabriela Downie, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy was a six-issue mini-series that followed the escapades of best friends and sometimes girlfriends Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Harley Quinn works best with other characters around her and no one works better with Harley than Ivy. In the mini-series, following the events of Heroes in Crisis, the two take a road trip across the DC Universe and cause all sorts of trouble.
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is an original YA graphic novel from DC Ink, an imprint of DC Comics. The book, from writer Mariko Tamaki, with art by Steve Pugh, and letters by Carlos M. Mangual, follows Harleen before she was the supervillain we know now. In this origin story, Harley Quinn is a teenager trying to navigate life on her own in Gotham City following the death of her grandmother. After being taken in by a drag queen named Mama, Harleen fights for her neighborhood but she must decide to either join Ivy, who’s campaigning to make the neighborhood a better place to live, or The Joker, who plans to take down Gotham one corporation at a time.
The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
This comic marks Harley Quinn’s debut on the panels. From Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, this Batman one-shot reveals the origins of Harley Quinn as she proves her love to the Joker by trying to eliminate the Dark Knight on her own. Set in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman Adventures: Mad Love won an Eisner Award for “Best Single Story” in 1994 and was later adapted as an episode of the animated series The New Batman Adventures. This is one of the few books on the list that features Harley romantically involved with the Joker through its entire run. However, since this is Harley’s first official appearance, it is a must-read.
Harleen #1, part of DC Comics’ mature imprint Black Label, is a retelling of Harley Quinn’s origin and how she fell in love with the Joker while working at Arkham Asylum. The book, from writer and artist Stejpan Šejić with letterer Gabriela Downie, is gritty, haunting, and at times, very sexy. The series elevates Harley’s original origin, giving it a fresh and darker feel. The series also expertly explores Harley’s inner demons, psychological turmoil, and toxic relationship.
Harley Quinn is a beloved and classic character with years of history on the panels. Is there a particular run you think we missed? Let us know on Twitter.