The Time Fans Revolted Over Harley Quinn Being Too Sexy
When Harley Quinn first debuted in Batman: The Animated Series, she wore a full-length jester costume. She was pretty much as sexual a character as you could get away with on a Fox Kids cartoon, but clothing covered her from top to toe. Then came the transition to comics. When she got her own series in 2000, she wore that very same jester costume, though drawn a little less cartoony and a little more muscly.
Later, DC pushed a huge reboot of all their characters. Harley entered this New 52 relaunch through an issue of Suicide Squad, where she wore a new costume. She now had a red and blue corset, which meant (depending on which illustration you were looking at) showing off a little more skin or showing off a lot more skin.
“This will be a big hit among comic readers, who want their women posing all sexy-like!” we imagine some DC overseer saying with a big smile. In fact, going solely by the backlash you hear from fans every time a character is desexualized in a new depiction, fans would have loved the redesign.
But no: Every change is sure to upset to some fans of the original, and that definitely went for Harley’s new look. The writer behind those Suicide Squad comic books, Adam Glass, received threats over the change (whether or not he was the one who came up with it). It was the number one topic among all the feedback he received, with people sending him videos saying stuff like “I'd better never see you at a convention.” Sure nice when people care deeply about your work, eh? “I totally love that they're that passionate about this character,” was how Glass described it.
The 2016 Suicide Squad movie was going to have an Easter egg where Harley pulls this New 52 corset out of storage before switching to her movie costume. This footage actually made it into a trailer, before the filmmakers decided, “Wait, are people really going to enjoy seeing this? They all complained about the corset, right?” So they reshot the scene, now having Margot Robbie instead pull out and look nostalgically upon the original Harley jester costume.
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