Mad Love (comic)

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Mad Love was a single-issue graphic novel written by Paul Dini, writer on Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, and Bruce Timm, executive producer on The New Batman Superman Adventures and the co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series. It was set in the continuity of The Batman Animated Series. It won an Eisner Award for "Best Single Story" in 1994. It was later adapted (with minor alterations for pacing) as an episode of the animated series The New Batman Adventures


Plot summary

The story revolves around the Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn. She was once psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel, but fell head over heels in love with the maniacal Joker after spending just 15 minutes inside Arkham Asylum. She develops an obsession with him, and turns to crime to win his love.

Quinn decides that the only way to make the Joker love her is to kill the Batman, which she attempts to do by feeding him to a school of piranhas. She nearly succeeds, but Batman distracts her by manipulating her to believe that the Joker's tales about his unhappy childhood were lies and tricks her into calling the Joker so that he will know she accomplished her goal (as otherwise, the piranhas would leave no evidence). The Joker, upon arrival, doubts Harley's methods as he doesn't see the "joke". Harley explains it to him, but the Joker goes into a violent rage (saying, "If you have to explain a joke, there is no joke!" and nearly kills Quinn, but she is saved by Batman. Batman then confronts the Joker, taunting him, "I have to admit she came a lot closer [to killing me] than you ever did... puddin'." Joker attacks him, but after a vicious fight, he sends Joker plunging to his (apparent) death.

Once again in Arkham, Quinn realizes that the Joker had merely been using her, and renounces him forever — until she receives a "get well" bouquet of flowers from him, suggesting he survived his fall, and promptly falls in love again.

Critical reaction

IGN Comics said that "Mad Love is everything a comic book should be" and called it "one Batman book everyone should read." The website ranked Mad Love #12 on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels.

Adaptation for television

The episode, also titled "Mad Love", originally aired on January 16, 1999 a part of The New Batman Adventures. The script was written by Paul Dini, and the episode was directed by Butch Lukic.


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