removed by request of the artist

Batgirl, Joker, and Harley Quinn are © DC Comics Inc. Posted by the Web-Ed on 12/18/2009

The Joker, Clown Prince of Crime makes his first appearance in our galleries in this, the eighth installment of our series "Batgirl Hits Bottom," while Harley Quinn was introduced last time. Here we see them in a rather dysfunctional-looking family setting, with Batgirl as their "daughter". While we don't care much for the infantilizing stuff (bonnet, diaper, bib, and baby food none-too-lovingly spoon-fed to BG by Harley), there is a sense in which it is entirely appropriate (about which more below), and anyway, the bare-bottomed hairbrush spanking more than makes up for it.

We mentioned last time that Harley Quinn was originally created (by writer Paul Dini and producer Bruce Timm) for Batman The Animated Series in 1992, where her apparently dysfunctional relationship with the Joker was somewhat downplayed because the show, as good as it was, had to confine itself to material appropriate for a young audience. But it was clear that the Joker basically walked all over Harley, which is one reason we remarked that we couldn't see Harley as anything but submissive (indeed, we have seen one or two Joker-spanks-Harley drawings, and in one episode to which we will refer again below, Poison Ivy tells her she's such a doormat that "If you had a middle name, it would be 'Welcome'."). She was later transplanted into the comic books, where greater suggestiveness as to the exact nature of her relationship with the Joker would have been allowed (we can't say whether this was done because by then we had stopped following comics). Of course, in the earlier comics from the 70's and 80's, the Joker was portrayed as a dangerous homicidal maniac, so had he taken up with a moll in those days, "dysfunctional" would not have begun to describe the relationship.

We have gone into so much detail about these characters in order to place this drawing by [redacted] into some kind of context. Infantilizing Batgirl is exactly the kind of thing you would expect from the Joker-Harley duo (animated versions, anyway), and in fact a very similar idea taken to extremes fueled the plot of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, which ended up being so grim that parts of it had to be severely edited for its run on the Cartoon Network. [redacted] however manages to keep this piece light-humored with such details as the Joker's pipe (blowing soap bubbles) and regular tie (in place of his usual string tie) to give him more of a conventional dad, Ward Cleaver-type look - a fine comedic touch. The facial expressions are also perfect for these characters in this situation, and taken together with the other elements we have pointed out fully justify our estimation of [redacted] as "the master of the superhero spanking".

One more word about Batman The Animated Series - there was an episode entitled "Harley and Ivy" in which spanking was actually mentioned! A car containing three teen-age guys pulls up next to Harley and Ivy at an intersection, and after some preliminary banter and a few wolf-whistles, the youths taunt the two female criminals: "What are you gonna do? Spank us?" Whereupon Harley replies, "That's right, pigs, and here's the paddle!" pulling out a gun and blowing up their car, thus metaphorically spanking them. The creative team, including Dini and Timm, later admitted they were lucky to get away with this, and indeed they were - had the reference to spanking teen-age boys by the two villainesses been taken at all literally, there's no way they would have gotten this scene past Standards and Practices.

bad boys in car harley with gun
"What're you gonna do - spank us?" "That's right, pigs, and here's the paddle!"
© Warner Home Video Inc. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy © DC Comics Inc.

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