The Batman Adventures: Mad Love

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The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
Cover of The Batman Adventures: Mad Love (1994)
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
Publication dateFebruary 1994
No. of issues1
Main character(s)Harley Quinn
Creative team
Created byPaul Dini
Bruce Timm
Written byPaul Dini
Bruce Timm
Penciller(s)Bruce Timm
Glen Murakami
Inker(s)Bruce Timm
Letterer(s)Tim Harkins
Colorist(s)Bruce Timm
Rick Taylor
Editor(s)Scott Peterson
Darren Vincenzo
Collected editions
Batman: Mad Love and Other StoriesISBN 978-1-4012-2245-1

The Batman Adventures: Mad Love is a one-shot comic book 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). Set in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series, it won an Eisner Award for "Best Single Story" in 1994.[1] It was later adapted (with minor alterations for pacing) as an episode of the animated series The New Batman Adventures.

Plot summary[edit]

After having his latest plan to kill Commissioner Gordon foiled by Batman, The Joker retreats to one of his hideouts to plan his next move, but is being annoyed by his lovestruck sidekick Harley Quinn and kicks her out of their hideout. As Harley sits outside, she remembers how she met Joker, back when she was the psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel and spending her internship at Arkham Asylum. Harleen interviewed Joker and learned that he was abused as a child by his alcoholic father. After more interviews, Harleen determined that Batman was the source of Joker's anger, but also that she was falling in love with him. Harleen became Joker's partner in escaping from the asylum in hopes that she could win his love.

Harley decides that the only way to make the Joker love her is to kill Batman, which she attempts to do by feeding him to a school of piranhas. Batman distracts her by telling her that the Joker had been using her from the start, and that Joker's stories of an unhappy childhood were lies. When she tearfully insists that Joker really loves her, Batman convinces her to call Joker so that he will know she accomplished her goal (as the piranhas would leave no convincing evidence, other than bones and a tattered costume which anyone can fabricate). When Joker arrives, however, he is infuriated that Harley would try to kill Batman herself and knocks her out a window, where she is found by nearby police officers. Joker then decides nonetheless to use the opportunity to finally kill Batman, which escalates into a wild chase ending atop a moving subway train. Batman taunts Joker by saying that Harley came closer to killing him than he ever did. Joker attacks him in rage, but Batman sends him plunging into a burning smokestack.

Back in Arkham Asylum, a severely injured Harley Quinn renounces The Joker forever, wanting nothing more than to heal and leave Arkham for good. A moment later, however, Harley finds flowers sent by her clownish beau with a "get well soon" card and falls in love with him again.


Mad Love was reprinted as a graphic novella in 1998 (ISBN 1563892448), and in 2009 the story was collected – alongside a number of others by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini – in a hardcover collection titled Batman: Mad Love and Other Stories (ISBN 9781401222451).[2]

Critical reaction[edit]

IGN Comics said that "Mad Love is everything a comic book should be" and called it "one Batman book everyone should read".[3] The website ranked Mad Love #12 on a list of the 25 greatest Batman graphic novels.[4]


  • 1994:
    • Won "Best Single Issue" Eisner Award[1]
    • Bruce Timm was nominated for "Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller-Inker Team" Eisner Award, for his work on Mad Love[1]

Other media[edit]

An animated adaptation of the issue, nearly identical in script and design to the original comic, originally aired on the WB Network on January 16, 1999, as a part of The New Batman Adventures. The script was written by Paul Dini, and the episode was directed by Butch Lukic. Perhaps the only contrasts to the comic over the episode were the revamped character designs and the removal of minor scenes for pacing and time concerns.

In 2008, Warner Premiere Digital adapted Mad Love as part of DC Comics' motion comics line, available for download through digital outlets such as iTunes and Xbox Live. Subscribers can download each chapter separately from Xbox Live, but iTunes groups the seven chapters into three downloads (Chapters 1 & 2, Chapters 3, 4, & 5, and Chapters 6 & 7).

Batman: Arkham Asylum, also penned by Dini, lifts much of its dialogue from Harley Quinn's patient interviews from Mad Love.[5] Batman: Arkham Origins, the prequel to Asylum, also uses much of Mad Love's plot in retelling Harley Quinn's first encounter with the Joker.

Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan wrote a novel adaptation of the former's original story under the title, Harley Quinn: Mad Love, released on November 13, 2018 by Titan Books.[6]


  1. ^ a b c 1994 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners, Comic Book Awards Almanac
  2. ^ "BATMAN: MAD LOVE AND OTHER STORIES". Graphic Novels. DC Comics. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  3. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (May 24, 2005). "The Batman Adventures: Mad Love Review". IGN. Los Angeles, California: j2 Global. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  4. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (June 13, 2005). "The 25 Greatest Batman Graphic Novels". IGN. Los Angeles, California: j2 Global. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  5. ^ Batman: Arham Asylum at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Holub, Christian. "Iconic DC comics, like The Killing Joke, are getting novelizations". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 October 2018.