The wrong kind of laughter

Note to any aspiring super-villains out there: Don't let your costume be designed by someone with the express intent of appearing as a character in a radio-only drama, because the Promotions Department might just pull a gag on you like they did on poor Molly Maynne, aka "The Harlequin":

harlequin

You might ask why you need a costume for a radio-only drama, but maybe that's just how they rolled in the Forties. And granted, a Harlequin is supposed to be an entertainer, but ye gods! Seeing some poor deranged woman staggering drunkenly up to me sporting a dunce cap, striped leggings, curled-toe shoes, and Queen Elizabeth's neck ruffle around her waist would probably inspire more pity than fear.

But then again, since her power is in her super-hypnotizing glasses, maybe the whole point of the outfit is to be so horrifically bad that onlookers are momentarily stunned, giving her a chance to slap the ol' googly-eyes on 'em. If so, it was brilliant, because I frankly can't look away. Just keep telling yourself that the feeling bubbling up inside is joyful laughter and not incipient nausea, and no one gets hurt except your keyboard.

(Image and character © DC Comics, Inc.)

26 Responses to The wrong kind of laughter

  1. What is really cool about her is that she is Alan Scot’s (Green Lantern)2nd Wife. His 1st being Rose Canton(The Thorn). In the modern day books, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy work a lot together, Wonder if this was in mind when they were created.

  2. I really liked they Harley Quinn character design from the “Batman Animated Series”. She was a lot of fun.

  3. She started out as a Green Lantern fangirl. That’s why she joined the Injustice Society of the World. Black Canary I was also a member.

  4. She is great to draw, she is one of my favorite characters.Her and Poison Ivy.

  5. @Little Barda: That’s one of the weird things about the Golden Age issue I am reading now, there were so many things that to modern ears sound just insane. There’s this one sequence where the heroes are in the jungle surrounded by a hostile tribe of headhunters and it’s all “The white man will not allow himself to be subjected by the savages!” and I just kind of stare at the screen in astonishment…

  6. That was back before everyone had to make an issue out of everything. Back when church and school were allowed to be in the same place. Man I really miss those days.

  7. Wow! I have never seen Harley Quinn in that costume.

  8. she looks FABULOUS. Great enough to be featured in a Spongebob episode. =)

  9. @Matt: That’s not actually Harley Quinn, it’s the original incarnation of the character Harlequin by the name of Molly Maynne, from the original “Green Lantern” comics back in the Forties and Fifties. As others have said, her schtick was that she was a co-worker of Green Lantern’s alter-ego, and was in love with the hero himself. So she wore the costume and committed capers to get close to him, refusing to hurt him in hopes he’d fall for her.

    Eventually it worked — they got married. Let that be a lesson to you single ladies out there looking for a man … I have no clue WHAT lesson that should be, but I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson somewhere. Maybe to wear tights? Or Elizabethan collars as pants? I dunno.

  10. I’d like to see all the elements of Harlequin’s costume available on HM3. Especially the tutu-waist-ruffle thing. That’s just Dyn-O-Mite!

  11. @John: Seriously, can you imagine her trying to get through a revolving door in that thing? It’s ridonkulous!

  12. Who decides to fight crime dressed like this? I mean, there are some silly hero and villain costumes, but this is just completely unacceptable. At least Harley’s is streamlined! This lady’s got too many frills, each of which look bad enough without putting them together.

  13. @RSC5: Technically she’s really out there more to nab her man than to commit crimes. Which raises the equally troubling question of “Who decides to try and get a man dressed like this?”

  14. ….No, just no.

  15. As long as her enemies are doubled over with hysterical laughter, they are powerless to oppose her! They can’t fight back because they’re laughing too hard! It’s diabolically brilliant! She is . . . LAUGHINGSTOCK!

  16. I think it’s the dunce cap more than anything that just kills me. The rest you can — sort of — pass on as being “period costume” but not that hat. You cannot tell me any actual harlequin in history wore a hat like that, at least not without getting drawn and quartered.

  17. She also seems to be balding.

  18. Danny Beaty

    It could be worse. Imagine a man in that outfit.

  19. Oh my goodness, she *is* balding. And *that’s* the hat she chose to cover it up with…

  20. I’ll point out that no one has addressed the idea that technically, as Jeff pointed out, she dresses like this to “nab her man.” Let’s face it: any chick who goes to the extreme of wearing some dumbass outfit like that *in public* in order to chase an MRS degree stinks of psycho desperation. Like, “keep the hell away from me, you raging nutjob” desperation. Like, “I’m going to ‘accidentally’ drop a safe on your head just to keep you away from me, you banana-headed loon” desperation. Like, well, you get the idea…

    Of course, it also says *volumes* about the prism through which Golden Age writers saw male/female relationship dynamics, don’t it? Oy vey!

  21. Green Lanterns have a way of attracting psychotic fangirls. Alan Scott’s first wife had multiple personalities. Star Sapphire is a twist on the mutilple personalities plot-device.

  22. I agree with you Jeff! this costume is a don’t for any clown-themed villian!

  23. omg! I love the cirus/jester type of look :L hence my Firecracker character 😀

    but seriously, i could design a better costume for Harlequin then they did :

  24. Call me old and crazy, but i like the outfit. I guess you had to be a kid back then to like the old comics for what they were. Every since the 80’s came a long the world has went to sh*t in a hand basket. Before that kids had to be able to have an imagination. To dream up what they wanted to see in the world. Now all you have to do is turn on a computer game and it is already there for you no thinking needed. Man I miss the days when a wash machine box could be anything from a secret fort to a space ship.

  25. This is not the best costume ever. But you should see Air Wave I or Red Tornado I.

  26. Look, it’s obvious what happened. The glasses are hypnotic, right? So, it goes to reason that, when she first discovered their power, Harlequin accidentally used them on herself, and the costume is simply a result of the thought processes that followed while she was in a trance.