An incredibly accomplished and talented woman takes on a job in her profession that brings her into contact with one of the most famous and mysterious men in the world. The job becomes an obsession which in turn leads her into a life as a costumed criminal so she can become closer to the legendary object of that obsession. While that's a brief version of the infamous origin story of Harley Quinn, it's also an accurate description of the origin of Golden Age DC Comics character Harlequin. There's a high-grade copy of the first appearance of recurring Green Lantern nemesis Harlequin in All-American Comics #89 (DC, 1947) CGC VF 8.0 Off-white to white pages available in this week's 2021 June 27-28 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122126 session at Heritage Auctions.
Since DC Comics characters Harley Quinn and Harlequin both have the Harlequin of the Italian commedia dell'arte at their core, it's hardly a surprise that they should be somewhat similar — they are clever tricksters who pursue their passion with zeal, among many other complicated things. Interestingly, Harley Quinn creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini drew upon a number of other influences for the character, including the Golden Age Daredevil for the look of her original costume.
As for Harlequin's origin moment in All-American Comics #89 by Robert Kanigher and Irwin Hasen, she is Molly Mayne, Green Lantern alter ego Alan Scott's assistant at WXYZ radio in this story. Helping with a promotion involving Green Lantern for one of the radio station's sponsors, she becomes obsessed with the hero and decides to assume the role of the Harlequin for real so she can get Green Lantern's attention. In the context of the story, the Harlequin character had been created to be Green Lantern's villain in the radio promotion.
There are only 34 entries for All-American Comics #89 on the CGC Census as of this writing, with only 5 of those above CGC 8.0. There's a high-grade copy of All-American Comics #89 (DC, 1947) CGC VF 8.0 Off-white to white pages available in this week's 2021 June 27-28 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122126 session at Heritage Auctions, as well as All-American Comics #91, #93 and #94 also featuring Harlequin.
All-American Comics #89 (DC, 1947) CGC VF 8.0 Off-white to white pages. Origin and first appearance of Harlequin. Black Pirate story with art by Everett Raymond Kinstler. Overstreet 2020 VF 8.0 value = $1,753. CGC census 6/21: 3 in 8.0, 5 higher.