Harley Quinn seems to be everywhere at this year's Comic-Con. If you walk the show floor for even a few minutes, you're pretty much guaranteed to pass a Quinn cosplayer — probably dressed in Margot Robbie's tattered Suicide Squad-style getup.
Quinn may be having a resurgence thanks to Suicide Squad, but one group here at Comic-Con has been celebrating the character for years. It's an informal gathering of cosplayers who meet at each convention for an event called Harleypalooza, which involves getting as many Quinns together as possible and taking a bunch of menacing and goofy group photos.
For attendees, Harleypalooza is basically an excuse to get together and talk about a character they all love. "I think it's her freedom and her love of fun," says DesiRée Preston, who's dressed as Quinn from the DC Animated Universe and organized this year's meetup. "I think that speaks to a lot of girls and guys. Something about her is pure and innocent, even though she's a psychopathic clown."
It's easy to imagine Quinn's popularity peaking around Suicide Squad, but Preston says there are plenty of reasons the character's popularity has been growing, including her New 52 series from a few years back and the Arkham games.
"People ask, 'Do you hate seeing other Harleys?'" Preston says. "No, it's amazing. No matter what version, we all have something in common."
Photography and captions by Vjeran Pavic.
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- Even though there are a lot of Suicide Squad iterations of Harley Quinn this year, DesiRée Preston (stage name Enasni Volz) is a big fan of Arleen Sorkin’s Quinn and has been cosplaying as her for eight years now. Preston is also the organizer of the cosplay meet-up.
- Inspired by the animated series when she was just a kid, Justine Roth started cosplaying as Harley Quinn about five years ago, but is very excited to see the new Suicide Squared-inspired version of Harley Quinn. (From left to right: Molly Compton, Megan McHolland, and Justine Roth.)
- About nine years ago, Danielle Bates started a Batman villain cosplay group with her friends. After she got pregnant, she took a break from costuming for a few years, but once her daughter Riley was old enough, they started cosplaying together.
- At first Riley was Batgirl, but once she saw Harley Quinn, she wanted to be a villain like her mom.
- Three years ago, for his second time at Comic-Con, Daniel Herman wanted to have a unique costume, so he decided to change Harley Quinn to a man. The response he got was fantastic, which made him stick with the design. Each year he would work on his costume to improve it; this year he's wearing pajamas he got for his birthday, made by his friend who's also a cosplayer.
- Amanda Olah decided to go with Harley Quinn this year simply because she has blonde hair and gets an excuse to wear pigtails.
- The entire Harleypalooza group of 2016.