Before Margot Robbie was all pink and cheery as Barbie, she was goth and witty as Harley Quinn. A character synonymous with a certain inescapable darkness, Quinn has garnered a massive fanbase since she was first featured in Batman: The Animated Series. Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, the character was never meant to grow as she did, both in popularity and in terms of character development. Another avatar of Harley Quinn will be seen in the sequel of Joker, played by Lady Gaga.

Bruce Timm Talks about Harley Quinn’s Growing Popularity

Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn

The animated world of DC would have been in shambles without Bruce Timm. A visionary showrunner, he created the animated series for both Batman and Superman along with a few iterations of the Justice League stories. Timm brought on newer perspectives for both DC superheroes and surprised audiences with their unique identities. We first see Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series as a henchwoman for the Joker.

Also Read: “I was always a huge Jack Kirby fan”: Bruce Timm Had to Rely on The Godfather of Comics to Solve a Major Issue in Superman After Batman: The Animated Series

Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn

However, she goes on to become one of the most popular villains in the DC world. Quinn is funny in a darker way and also exhibits violent tendencies. When Timm witnessed how swiftly Quinn was becoming famous and a fan-favorite in the fandom, he was surprised to see women and even men cosplaying as Quinn with bright outfits and goth makeup. In an interview with Den of Geek, Timm shared,

“It’s always gratifying when something you’ve done gets that much traction. Sometimes it kind of surprises me. I always thought the character was cool and appealing, but to have the kind of popularity that she has constantly surprises me. Like when I go to conventions and see the amount of girls sometimes guys dressed up as Harley. When we first created her she was meant to be a one-off character, and then she got so popular. And still rising.”

Perhaps it is her streak of menace and a bizarre quality to her personality that feels attractive to the masses. Viewers try to understand and peel the layers of the complex villain to comprehend her motives better. Such intricate characters often leave a lasting impact on the fans.

Inspirations behind Creating Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn

Paul Dini and Bruce Timm went the simpler way while creating Harley Quinn. As the latter shares in the interview, Quinn was a simple female character in red and black who looked cute on the surface but hid a palpable darkness underneath. Timm is incredibly happy to see Quinn get the deserved love from the fans, but he feels conflicted by the appeal. He added,

“It’s weird to me because, on one hand, she’s appealing, but you look at her and she’s not exactly a good role model for girls. And in the past, we have definitely explored some of the darker edges of her story. She was kind of in an ongoing abusive relationship with the Joker. So it is weird but maybe a lot of her appeal, at least recently, is because they have separated her from the Joker in comics. She’s become her own standalone character and definitely not in an abusive relationship with the Joker anymore. I guess that is somewhat empowering and people can relate to it.”

Also Read: “He’s just been around for so damn long”: Bruce Timm’s Vocal Dislike for Superman Made The Animated Series Much More Better in Hindsight

The confusion is understandable since creators never want people to learn from the actions of villains and negative characters. They have their motives for being that way, but such behavior is never encouraged. However, the stand-out quality in Quinn is her confidence to achieve anything. She keeps her head held high and goes into every situation with a mindset of coming out stronger. In the end, Timm reveals that there is no secret to creating a character as iconic as Quinn because otherwise, he would have created more like her.

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