Kevin Conroy, who played Batman on Batman: The Animated Series, says he understands the popularity of Harley Quinn, the surprising breakout character from the show who has gone on to be a 25-year-strong phenomenon.
Conroy, one of the most popular Batman actors of all time with the fans, told Hey U Guys that her popularity is in part due to the way she complements The Joker in a completely different way than Batman does.
"Before Harley Quinn, the only foil for The Joker was Batman. The Joker defines Batman and Batman defines The Joker," explained Conroy, who has voiced the Dark Knight in countless projects since 1992, opposite Star Wars icon Mark Hamill's Joker. "Mark and I have often approached the roles as the yin and yang of each other but I'm like the dark grounding for Joker, he had no one to really go crazy with and Harley Quinn gave him that. She got to be this crazy reflection of the Joker, so I think the better Mark was, the better Harley Quinn was. A lot of her popularity grows out of people's love for The Joker. They love Mark as The Joker. She gets reflected glory from that character but Arleen Sorkin, Tara Strong and now Melissa then took that and made it this crazy, gum chewing, wise cracking New Jersey broad who's just crazy, crazy evil and so much fun. So, I think the birth of it was Joker and his popularity but then each of those actresses just took it and ran with it."
Besides being a great foil for The Joker, of course, Harley has to be compelling in her own right, and Conroy suggests some of that appeal comes from the fact that she is more complex than more traditional comic book characters.
"There's also a big new female audience in animation and they're looking for more interesting characters for them," Conroy said, adding, "Wonder Woman is a wonderful superhero but she's not very multidimensional whereas Harley Quinn is just nuts and just has so many different qualities that it's fun for the female audience."
Conroy's latest work, Batman and Harley Quinn, is out on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital tomorrow, August 29.
Spawned from an original story by animation icon Bruce Timm, Batman and Harley Quinn brings legendary voice actor Kevin Conroy back to his most famous role. Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet—and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley's BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman's patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.