Harley Quinn creator Paul Dini was nice enough to answer some questions for my website. Thanks again, Paul!
Phil: How long did it take you to create/complete Harley Quinn's character?
Paul Dini: I created Harley in the space of the ten days or so it took me to write the Batman Animated episode "Joker's Favor". Her character slowly evolved over the next couple of months, helped along by discussions with co-producers Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm. Once Bruce and I sat down to create the "Mad Love" one-shot comic, we pretty much had Harley's personality all completed.
P: It has been rumored that you were originally going to give Harley the alias Columbine. Is this true?
PD: That was one of the many names running through my head when I was creating Harley. I leaned more toward Harley Quinn because Collie would have sounded too weird.
P: How old is Harley supposed to be?
PD: On the series and in comics, I always think of her as about 28, pretty much the same age as Poison Ivy. In the flashback scene in "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" I imagine her (as well as the other characters) about three to five years older. He doesn't say it directly in years, but Joker indicates that he, Batman and Harley have been doing their "little run-around" for some time and they are all getting older. So, Harley's anywhere between 28 and 33. Seven years younger than Batman at any rate, whom I always imagine at about 35.
P: Is Harley your favorite female character ever?
PD: Of the one's I've created, Harley is definitely up there, though Jingle Belle tends to give her a run for her money, especially at this time of year. I also think Zatanna is rather swell.
P: What is your personal favorite Harley episode?
PD: "Mad Love".
P: What about Harley comic?
PD: See above.
P: Are you still working on the Harley and Ivy mini-series with Bruce Timm?
PD: I finished the scripts five years ago. It's up to the inking and the coloring now.
P: Do you have any idea why people started spelling her real name Harlene Quinzelle instead of Harleen Quinzel? Gosh, that bugs me...
PD: Yeah, it bugs me, too. I guess people spell it phonetically. Like the name Arleen, you can spell Harleen any number of ways. I borrowed the name Quinsel from a college teacher of mine, though I changed the s to a z for reasons that escape me now. Just wanted to be different, I guess.
Do you ever regret bringing Harley into the mainstream comic continuity since you don't get to write for her much anymore?
PD: Enh. It was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm just happy I got to kick things off by doing that special one-shot. Besides, Alex gave me his original cover painting! Woo-hoo!
P: If Harley was supposed to be in a new Batman film and you could choose anyone to play her, who would you pick?
PD: Hard to say as I can't think of anyone except Arleen Sorkin doing those lines. Then again, Joey Lauren Adams comes mighty close, look, attitude and voice-wise.