The Suicide Squad: 10 Harley Quinn Comic Stories To Read Before The Movie
Harley Quinn returns in The Suicide Squad and to prepare for the movie, these comic book stories are ideal to read.
The Suicide Squad will see the return of Harley Quinn with a new group of villains and anti-heroes in the James Gunn reboot of the franchise. While the movie won’t exclusively focus on Harley, some fans may want to learn more about her. A number of key comic book storylines over the years provide a great place for fans old and new to start.
Harley Quinn has one of the richest histories in comics, beginning as a side character in some of the most important episodes of the iconic Batman: The Animated Series. She then moved to the comics, growing and evolving over the last thirty years into one of the most popular – and most important – characters in all of DC Comics.
10 Mad Love
The best place to start with Harley in the comics is perhaps where she did. After her debut in the animated series in the ’90s, Harley’s popularity carried her over into the comics with Mad Love.
This one-shot comic provides the origin of the character, establishing Harleen Quinzel as the former psychiatrist of the Joker turned into a supervillain. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Bruce Timm, her creators on the television series, this is a great story that provides the foundation for the future.
9 Harley & Ivy
One of the most important relationships in Harley’s life is with Poison Ivy and one of the most important comics to read in their journey is the appropriately titled Harley And Ivy. Batman: Harley & Ivy is a 2014 limited series also by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm rendered in the classic animated style.
Harley and Poison Ivy break out of Arkham Asylum and go on a crime spree that provides a springboard for their endearing friendship.
8 Batman: Harley Quinn
Most of Harley Quinn’s early comic book stories revolved around her relationship with the Joker. One of the best was Batman: Harley Quinn. This story also serves as her introduction into actual DC Comics continuity.
Writer Paul Dini returns to merge her into the comics with updated details about her past and complicated connection to the Joker. Though continuity would change in the comics a few times in the years since with major events like DC Rebirth, this story is a great place to begin for readers.
7 Preludes and Knock Knock Jokes
Another great place to start is Harley Quinn’s first solo series in DC Comics as a member of the actual comic universe. The first storyline in the series, “Preludes and Knock Knock Jokes,” provides a key building block in her journey by exploring her life outside of the Joker.
Harley growing beyond the Joker would become a key part of her story in the comics and other media in the years after, making this comic story by writer Karl Kesel with artist team Terry and Rachel Dodson a must-read.
6 Kiss Kiss Bang Stab
An important collection of stories from the early 2010s is “Kiss Kiss, Bang Stab,” a series of one-shots that continues Harley’s evolution in the comics. Not only has her visual style changed with the times, but these stories by writer Amanda Conner and artist Jimmy Palmiotti all serve to gradually move Harley away from a traditional villain to more of the anti-hero she is today.
The Valentine’s Day Special sees Harley make an unlikely connection to Batman over their mutual care and respect for animals.
5 Harley’s Little Black Book
For a time, Harley would become something of a meta-character not unlike Deadpool from Marvel Comics. Though she never quite has broken the fourth wall as he has, Harley’s Little Black Book is a series of comic book adventures that show she’s in on the fun of being in comics.
The series, which ran between 2016 and 2017, features whacky run-ins with Wonder Woman, Batman, and others. It also features one of the strangest romances in DC Comics, with a brief kiss between two alternate versions of Harley.
4 Breaking Glass
Not all of Harley Quinn’s comic stories have been silly. Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is a graphic novel by writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Steve Pugh that frames Harley’s origin in very realistic terms.
Confronting challenging issues of abuse and mental health, the series goes a long way toward continuing to grow the character in the context of the comics. It’s easy to see how Harley arrives at the place she does in the movies and in the HBO Max animated series after reading comics like Breaking Glass.
Harley Quinn was certainly a villain in Hush, an epic twelve-issue storyline in the early 2000s. This storyline brought together nearly all of Batman’s greatest villains as he investigated the mystery of the villain Hush, who turned out to be Jason Todd returned from the dead.
Harley Quinn gets some of her best early comics moments in this 2003 series, including a violent confrontation with Catwoman that ends with her shooting Selina Kyle.
2 Kill Anything
In 2011, Harley joined the Suicide Squad alongside some of the most obscure – and most laughable – Batman villains of all time. This kicked off a new era for the team, and one of the best stories in this run is “Kill Anything.”
It features Harley and the other members of the team, including Deadshot, as they are all finally released from prison. It’s not the end though as they all become targets of the person who freed them from prison in the first place.
1 Injustice: Year Zero
Fans of Harley Quinn and Ivy looking for more comic book stories about them will want to read Injustice: Year Zero. Though this comic series generally takes place in one of the darkest Justice League timelines in which Superman has turned evil, it features one of the brightest spots in recent DC Comics history: the wedding of Harley and Ivy.
Though it’s an alternate timeline and not really part of the main DC Comics continuity, it nevertheless is a major moment for the couple and for all of comic book history.