Sometimes in the world of comic book collecting, you may find a debate on what constitutes a characters true ‘first appearance’. In the case of DC Comics fan favorite bad girl Harley Quinn, I found such a debate completely by accident. All because of a comic book that I don’t actually have, and the frustrations that came with it.
For those that may not know, Harley Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ in 1992. Originally a one shot character, she debuted in the Season 1 episode, ‘Joker’s Favor’. Later, she began a recurring role as the Joker’s sidekick and eventual love interest. Hey we all need love in our lives right?
The animated series was a massive success and also had a comic book adaptation of it’s own. Set in the animated series world, ”The Batman Adventures’ series debuted the same year as the cartoon in 1992.
One year later in 1993 (and a year after her debut on the show), Harley made her first appearance in the comics with issue #12. Or was it her first comic appearance? More on that in a minute.
I loved the show and being a young kid at the time, I was thrilled to see the comics! I bought them when they came out, and loved reading the stories they contained. They were like cool bonus stories you didn’t see on TV. Feeling nostalgic, I recently decided to go through my childhood collection to see what I had.
I knew that the first Harley Quinn in #12 of the comics was a grail for collector’s, and was pretty excited to find my comics and see what shape mine was in. Finding the box they were in, I saw they were in great shape! I started to count them… 1, 2, 3… till I got to issue #10. That was it, as apparently as a kid I stopped at #10. For reasons I don’t remember, my younger self couldn’t collect for 2 more months at the time, and screwed older me of having a grail in my collection lol! But no seriously, I want to go back in time and yell at myself!
I recently joined a comic book collector’s group on Facebook, and shared my sad little story about younger me. The comments were positive, helpful, and I wasn’t the only ‘former kid’ who had done this (one guy stopped at #11 lol). But something interesting did come up that I wasn’t expecting… Was issue #12 of The Batman Adventures really Quinn’s first appearance?
In 1999 DC released ‘Batman: Harley Quinn’, officially bringing her into the cannon of the DCU. The word cannon being the word that caused the divide and debate amongst fans and collectors. Was Harley’s first appearance only the cannon one? Or was it the non-cannon world of the animated series comics 6 years prior?
Getting to read everyone’s opinions and viewpoints was fun, and in the end it seemed pretty evenly split. As for me, I consider her 1993 animated comic world debut, as her first true appearance in comic book form. Cannon or not. I’d be curious to see what all of you have to say about this (comment below).
Now as for my new problem, I want to complete the set of 36 comics in the series and that of course includes #12. The price for an OG copy in good condition is very expensive! However as you can see in the above image, this issue has variants. Lots of them! The price range on the variants and reprints range quite a bit, but I may snag a cheap reprint just to use as a placeholder until I can someday afford the real deal.
There is a (very very slim) chance I did actually buy this comic as a kid, and it’s in one of the many boxes I have in storage. Who knows, I could be sitting on a grail. For now though I will assume I need to get one, and I am going to ComicCon next month. Maybe I will find something there. 🙂
Till Next time, be good to each other and Game On!
Each blog post will end with a random Music Video, because TMG ❤’s MvM