Rhymes With Witches: Partners in Crime, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn

featured image from animationtidbits.tumblr.com

To be honest y’all I’m not much of a comic book geek. I don’t purposefully skip the graphic novels section in bookstores. It’s not that I dislike them or find them boring. I’ve read a couple here and there but I’m not engrossed into that world as much as other people who deserve to be called fans. With that being said, there’s just something about Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. They are just so cool and so badass that even though I don’t know anything about the DC world, I still wanted to talk about them!! And to be honest, they are the only reason I have even considered visiting my local comic book store.

If you don’t know about these two iconic villains/BFFs, don’t sweat. I didn’t for the longest time but I am so glad I do now and am psyched to be the first to tell you!


via animationtidbits.tumblr.com

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite eco-terrorist (after Ellen Page in The East, of course) Poison Ivy. I first met this red-headed beauty when Uma Thurman played her in the 1997 box office flop, Batman & Robin. But I was 5 years old at the time and had no concept of what a bad movie was, I thought she was awesome. I envied her luscious red locks that rivaled those of Ariel and her fluorescent green jumpsuits that seemed insulting to nature. But long before Uma, Poison Ivy first appeared in the Batman comic in 1966. Apparently creator Robert Kanigher modeled Ivy after Bettie Page, so obviously now I’m hooked. While there’s a ton of back-story as to how she gained her “green” powers or why she’s “evil,” all you need to know is that she’s obsessed with plants and botany and is obsessed with protecting the environment. Oh yeah did I mention she produces pheromones that allow her to use mind control on her enemies. And it goes without being said that she has a kiss that could LITERALLY kill you. She just embodies everything I want to be as a person.


via animationtidbits.tumblr.com

Then there’s her Ride or Die, Harley Quinn. She first appeared in the Batman world in 1992 in Batman: The Animated Series. Though her backstory is never discussed in the series, in a later graphic novel, Mad Love, she is originally Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzell, M.D., a psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum who falls for The Joker and becomes his sidekick/on and off girlfriend. There are other back-stories, but in all she goes loony for The Joker (I guess she’s a sucker for a guy in a nice purple suit?) and becomes a world class thief while donning a jester outfit and heavy face make up. Again all this make up is just making my femme dreams of super heroes come true. And I’m not the only one. She was so popular in the animated series she was added on to the comic book universe and has become one of the most well known female villains in comic history.

While these two gals are great by themselves, they are absolutely awesome when they bond together to create the greatest and most deadly friendship just EVER. They become instant friends when they meet in the animated series while robbing from the same museum. Ever since then, they are inseparable, and there’s hardly a moment one is seen without the other. While I find most villain alliances a little forced and often leading to one or both being double-crossed, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn seem to actually enjoy each other’s company. Whether they’re getting away with something illegal or taunting Batman, they are always laughing and having a good time. While their plans are sometimes foiled, the two are pretty much unstoppable and I think the only reason they don’t get rid of Batman is because they have too much fun making his life miserable.

via animationtidbits.tumblr.com

via animationtidbits.tumblr.com

Also, I guess because they are so inseparable, they are perfect options for fan fiction. Just look at them!! You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. When I think of these two, I envision them as the cutest queer couple that is into feminism and sharing an eco-friendly Subaru.

But even if they’re not romantically entangled, you know these two have each other’s backs forever. Even though they are animated, they represent female friendship better than most live movies or TV shows. Never catty or jealous, they truly care for each, especially seen when Poison Ivy constantly tries to save Harley Quinn from her abusive relationship with the Joker. They always look after each other, especially when there’s police involved.

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Born in the small island of Puerto Rico, Nina currently lives in Athens, GA with her phantom corgi, Potato.You can find her work in BUST Magazine, HelloGiggles, Thought Catalogue and Portable.tv. She spends most of her time daydreaming about what it would be like to hand out with Taylor Swift and writing in her blog, http://femme-nist.blogspot.com

Nina has written 21 articles for us.


  1. Thanks for the journey back in time when I used to watch the show, as well into my deep subconscious at the time. ;) They are adorbs and would make a dreamy couple.

    • Notwithstanding their psychoses of course. I prefer to focus on their status as outsiders.

  2. Oh man, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn have always been the shit. Batman: The Animated Series was my favorite show as a kid. It’s what got me interested in reading DC comics. The Ivy/Harley friendship is one of my favorite relationships. Some would say their friendship boarders on subtext sometimes depending on who writes them. Young Ivy is going to be on the new Gotham series, as well as sometime friend Catwoman, and I hope they find a way to work young Harley into the cast at some point as well. I’m so amped for that show.

    • i completely agree, i love this series too. I’ve two reasons why i love this article, one because i couldn’t remember what this particular series was called because there are so many bloody batman cartoons and because the women in this series including ivy and quinn were awesome.

  3. These guys are some of my favourite comic characters ever, and their relationship is just… aaaah. The Harley & Ivy mini series was one of the first comics I actively tracked down as they were released, and they were my first femmeship. Memories!

  4. oh man oh man oh man I love these two so much. I’m a Marvel girl through and through but I collect everything Harley and am so glad she got her own series! I am admittedly bad at buying comics and taking months to get around to reading them but the Harley/Ivy is so adorable and AUGH MY HEART.

    Thank you so much for doing this RWW! Even casual
    fans count as fans, you are totally one of us :D

  5. I’m similar, in that I’m not really a comic book geek, but I love comic book culture… so I feel like I missed out on the integral part of that world growing up, even though I obsessed over everything else (movies, tv shows, etc).

    Anyway, that being said, I enjoy these two – Harley Quinn especially – so loved reading this! At some point I *will* actually do more than catch clips on tumblr and will read something.

  6. Ahhh, HarleyxIvy one of my core OTPs. Great article, really took me back to my lesbian fan-girl days… :D (I used to go by Sapphicspencil and did alooot of fanart of this couple lol)

    Here’s a fanvid I made… ooh, bout 5 years ago now. Its got every possible interaction between them from the animated series. I was really proud of this, still am :D Done to Pink’s “Please Don’t Leave Me”.


  7. I hate to be the fan who rains on your parade, but Harley has double crossed and backstabbed Ivy for the Joker. They do have cute chemistry and a strong friendship, though. At one point, Ivy breaks out of Arkham and leaves Harley behind (it was Harley’s fault they were caught and Ivy is mad), and Harley catches up as Ivy is leaving on a ship. The following dialogue ensues:
    Harley: I figured you’d wanna get another one of them plant thingies, so here I am to help ya!
    Ivy: Harley – don’t you realize I hate your GUTS?!!
    Harley: Well, gee, yeah! But you’re still my best friend! And I figured that despite everything, I was your best friend too! That’s right, ain’t it, Red?
    Ivy turns away
    Harley: Red? *sniff*
    Ivy: Oy! *Ivy throws the life preserver to Harley*

    Of course, there is also a part in Gotham City Sirens where Harley explicitly calls Harley out for loving her, and chooses the Joker over Harley.

    • Perfectly valid opinion, but I think one has to take into account the fact that Harley is not completely sane and has been in a physically/emotionally abusive relationship with the Joker… for some time. I think its a really complicated situation. Allaine on ff.net did some greeeeaaat fics on the subject.

  8. Guh, now I need to go rewatch the entire Batman: The Animated Series. I was just a kid when I watched it but I remember how sexy and curvy they drew the ladies!

  9. I’m watching TAS at the moment because my 4 yo son is really into Batman. Actually love that show! I’m also happy that Autostraddle always seems to provide queer ways of looking at my favourite things :D

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