Show: Batman: The Animated Series
Air Date: September 11th, 1992
Episode Title: Joker’s Favor
Appearance: First appearance, ever.
On September 11th, 1992, Bat Fans tuned in for the B:TAS episode “Joker’s Favor”, ready to see the Caped Crusader battle it out yet again with the Clown Prince of Crime. Little did anyone realize, they were also meeting one of the most popular characters of recent years for the very first time.
We first see her sitting beside the Joker on his desk as he tosses darts at a photo of Commissioner Gordon. Her first words?
“It is to laugh, huh Mr. J?”
In this first episode, Harley is fairly integral to the Joker’s plans. Dressed as a policewoman, she pulls a large cake into the party for Commissioner Gordon.
“Here’s to Gotham’s Commissioner G.!
You lock up the weirdos, the crooks and the geeks
Yer a hero to all of the boys in blue –
But this time, baby, the joke’s on YOU!”
The Harley Quinn we are introduced to is strong, capable, and intelligent. She’s also loyal to Mr. J, and supportive of his schemes. Despite her adoration of the Joker, Harley can stand out on her own.
This red and black, jester-like hench girl was only supposed to be a one-shot character, serving her purpose in the episode. But her creators – Paul Dini (writer) and Bruce Timm (artist) – kept bringing her back. The more they developed her, the more she grew in popularity, until she became a proper character next to the rest of Batman’s rogues.