Harley Quinn – Patient Record

Art by Jojo Seames

Art by JoJo Seames

By David Lebovitz, with additional writing by Dylan Roth

Patient Record

Full name: Harleen Francis Quinzel
Sex: Female
Age: (left blank)
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 140 lbs
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

Harleen Quinzel (henceforth referred to as “patient” or “she”), alias Harley Quinn, is a wanted criminal in twelve states. She has been tried in court, convicted, and incarcerated on many instances, for crimes ranging from grand theft auto to conspiracy to commit murder. Each time she has escaped, dodged the law, or been otherwise freed to continue her criminal activities. The patient is well-educated, having received a PhD in psychology from Gotham State University. There is no recorded history of mental illness in her family, though their cooperation in her treatment has been less than forthcoming.

The patient is naturally enthusiastic, energetic, and impulsive, frequently volunteering to take on new challenges, as if she has something to prove, but then slingshots into depression when she fails to complete them. Despite her outgoing nature, the patient demonstrates abysmal self esteem, likely due to a lack of parental support in her youth. She is quick to trust and easy to manipulate, which has put her time and again into dangerous, sometimes deadly situations in the service of her on-again, off-again employer and lover, the Joker.

Her object of affection, who she usually refers to as “Mr. J,” or the pet name “Puddin,'” first caught the attention of the patient while she was serving as an associate therapist at Arkham Asylum. The patient had come to work at Arkham in the hopes of writing a tell-all book about a famous patient, and Joker made himself available, all the while feeding her lies to win her sympathy. His time with her was ultimately little more than an elaborate escape attempt, but for some unknown reason, Joker kept the patient in his employ for years since.

The Joker has shown little-to-no reciprocity of the patient’s affections, except when he requires her services as accomplice. The Joker shows no interest in sex, companionship, or any form of romantic connection and whenever he does show affection, he does it with the clear intention of manipulating the patient. Though he acts as if he is loyal, he can and has betrayed her without notice to move his schemes forward. On at least one documented occasion, he provided information on her whereabouts to the authorities in exchange for half of a ham sandwich. Despite this, she is still attached to him and keeps returning to him.

The Joker abuses her in many ways, often hitting her, calling her names, physically throwing her out of his residence, and otherwise humiliating her. He often does this in full view of others. The most dramatic known example of his abuse resulted in a month-long stay at Gotham General Hospital, after the Joker allegedly pushed her out of a third-story window. The patient, while initially swearing off the Joker after the incident, reversed her position and recanted all testimony only three days after being admitted to the hospital.

Study of the patient raises some interesting questions about the cycle of abusive relationships. If she had never encountered the Joker, would she have still ended up in a crushing, toxic romantic relationship, albeit with a less theatrical tormentor for a partner? Is there something about the nature of this individual, something that was always there, that leads her to define herself through others, to accept blame for the mistakes of others, to constantly compare herself to others? Or was this something that was programmed into her by master manipulator the Joker?

A final note: the patient currently speaks in a high-pitched voice, with a thick, exaggerated Long Island accent, the kind you’d typically hear in stage performances of Guys and Dolls. The affectation is most closely associated with the character of Adelaide, the long-suffering fiancée of Nathan Detroit, a glib, dismissive wannabe gangster, who eventually gives up his life of petty crime to settle down with Adelaide and start a family.

By all accounts, the patient didn’t speak with any such affect before first donning her costume and persona, and there’s no evidence that she was coached by the Joker into using it. The lovesick gun moll persona is something she chose. Could it be that, for some sick reason that she can’t control, she wants or even needs to play this role? Does she believe that eventually the Joker will retire from crime and give her a comfortable life in which he finally repays her love and respect? In the play, Nathan and Adelaide’s engagement lasts fourteen years. How long will the patient wait before her happy ending? Worse, does she believe that she’s living that happy ending now?

Despite all appeals to reason, the patient continues to insist that she be returned to the Joker, that he’s worried sick about her, that if she’s not released, he’ll tear the building apart, brick by brick. Asylum security reports that there have been no break-in or escape attempts in sixteen days, which is practically a record here at Arkham. Still, she insists, throughout every therapy session and on every scrap of paper she’s been handed, with the exception of one doctor’s notepad, which went missing in the patient’s cell after a brief struggle with an orderly.

The patient’s relapse into her life of crime, of abuse, of misery, seems inevitable. She will likely spend the rest of her life either in her cell, or in the service of the monster whose love she so desperately craves. There is no end in sight to this cycle, as long as she refuses to accept her condition, which she shows no signs of doing. If she’s even aware of her obsession or her delusions, she seems unable to admit it to anyone but herself.

It’s this doctor’s recommendation that she be released into the Joker’s custody immediately.

Doctor’s Signature: Dr. Harleen Quinzel

JoJo Seames is an Illustrator, comic book artist and painter. Her projects include The Abettor’s Letters, Monster Plus and The Makeshift Man. You can follow her on Twitter, tumblr and DeviantArt.

Click HERE for more on A Long Halloween, our month-long series of Batman essays and art.

Post By David Lebovitz (48 Posts)

Pronounced Lee-BO-its. Basically a Rick Moranis character without the glasses. Imaginary late night talk show host. Has a degree in something called "communications."

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