I’m not sure why it is, but people sure love their goofy ultra-violent psychopaths in red and black onesies. Ok, this statement needs a little bit of explanation: in the last few years on the geek scene, Harley Quinn and Deadpool have exploded in popularity. At every comic convention or comic shop there will inevitably be a flood of black and red, the prefered color choices of these dysfunctionally delightful anti-heroes. And in the next year, the two characters will each be making their way to the silver screen.
Though this will technically not be Deadpool’s first appearance on screen (Ryan Reynolds played a version of Deadpool in 2009’s “X-men Origins: Wolverine”), it will be Harley Quinn’s. Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini in the early 90s for “The Batman Animated Series,” Harley Quinn (aka Dr. Harleen Quinzel) is a fan favorite and one of the most well-known characters in the DC universe, if not in the entire comic scene. This may be because she’s the Joker’s female counterpart, but also because she’s a funny, fun, quirky character who is not afraid to explore her dark side. Despite also being evil and crazy, Harley’s main quality is her sense of humor. Unlike other villains, the reader feels more compelled to root for Harley than to root against her.
Though she originated as the Joker’s sidekick, Harley has been off having adventures since 2013 in her own series written by Amanda Conner. The 2016 Suicide Squad Harley version more closely resembles the 2013 version of Harley in the comics and the “Arkham Batman” games, rather than the fan-favorite version — specifically, the character from the 1994 comic “Mad Love Harley.” Fan criticisms about the Harley featured in the upcoming film range from her costume to supposed changes to her origin story.
I personally don’t mind the changes to her costumes — I’ve seen worse versions of Harley wandering around San Diego Comic Con wearing a ratty blonde wig and a black and red Hot Topic corset. Still, I acknowledge there have been major adjustments to her origin story. As far as I can tell from the trailer, it seems the directors decided on the new 52 Harley Origin story rather than the 1992 Timm and Dini version. The newer version gets rid of the character’s agency; the original version involves the transformation of Dr. Harleen Quinzel into Harley Quinn through her insane love for her patient and eventual boyfriend, the Joker. The new origin story involves her falling into a vat of Joker serum and transforming into Harley. This unfortunate event replaces the bright energetic psychopath we all know and love with a bubbly, murderous pair of ponytails.
Fans seem to be more content with Deadpool’s film than they have been with Harley’s. Deadpool technically made his debut on the screen in 2009. However, this particular version of Rob Liefeld and Fabian Niceiza’s character was far from the “merc with a mouth” that fans have come to love. That version was a strange, shirtless, mouthless Ryan Reynolds equipped with laser vision and katanas known as Weapon XI. The only things this version got right were the katanas and the guns.
The new Deadpool standalone film, which came out Feb. 12, is part of 20th century Fox’s X-Men franchise. This film’s Deadpool is faithful to the comics — some credit can be given to Reynolds (who plays Wade Wilson/Deadpool), since he is a fan himself.
Like Deadpool, I’m going to break the fourth wall now and address my audience directly. So, if you haven’t seen Deadpool yet, I have one question to ask: Why haven’t you? The film’s violence, a Deadpool-broken fourth wall, obsession with butts and dirty jokes upon dirty jokes are straight out of the comics. The film appeals to fans of the comics, fans of superhero movies and fans of close-ups of Ryan Reynold’s butt.
Maybe it’s the humor of these characters and how they balance that humor with violence, but for some reason Harley Quinn and Deadpool are impossible to escape nowadays. Or maybe people just love black and red onesies.