Harley Quinn is running for Mayor of New York, a sign of just how far the former sidekick of The Joker has come in the last few years (mostly at the hands of Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and their art teams). Since making Brooklyn her home and getting to know the community there, she's decided it's time to make that borough, and NYC as a whole, a better place to live.
The reveal came in today's Harley Quinn #28 by Palmiotii and Conner (with art by Tom Derenick and John Timms). It's not much of a spoiler, either, since it's literally on the cover of the issue, which kicks off a storyline called "Vote Harley." But the way she's going about launching her campaign -- by teaming up with Poison Ivy and Harlem Harley (with a timely assist from Red Tool) to take down an illegal auto theft/trafficking ring -- is certainly unique.
When finally announcing her Mayoral run, she did so alongside the incorruptible police chief and considerably angered the incumbent in the process.
Why does Harley think she can be Mayor? Well, for one, she's a little bit crazy, and most politicians are, right? In today's political landscape, a former actual supervillain who teamed up with and loved the Joker is probably no worse than anyone else that could run or win, after all.
There's also a history of characters in comics, both superhero and supervillain, running for office -- and winning. Here's a brief selection of some notable examples.
Howard The Duck
Okay, okay, Howard the Duck didn't actually win, but he did run for president in 1976. His slogan? "Get Down, America!" It's a clever pun. We'll wait. Ready? "Get Down" is a synonym for "Duck." Get it now? The cover of this issue also declared via newspaper headline, "Carter Yells Fowl," so "Get Down, America" was not the worst pun involved in this story.
Oliver Queen ran for, and won, Mayor of Star City in a 2006 story. In it, he decided that the only way to truly save his city was through above-board public service (with some night time vigilantism on the side, of course). The story went about a year and a half, and it worked well enough that Arrow adapted it for their TV series.
Lex Luthor has been once, twice, three times the President of the United States. The first time, he traded on goodwill for him helping to restore Gotham City after the rest of the country abandoned it as a No Man's Land.
Justice League the animated series in the Timmverse did a Luthor-as-President storyline as well, where Superman vaporized him with heat vision to stop his plans - yeah, it wasn't our version, it was the Justice Lords Earth, don't worry.
Finally, in Superman: Red Son, an Elseworlds story where Superman landed in Ukraine and was raised as a communist hero of the USSR, Lex Luthor was President of the United States and stood up to Superman and his Stalinist ideals.
The lead character of Ex Machina became Mayor of New York not in spite of but specifically because of his life as a superhero. As the Great Machine, Mitchell saved the second tower of the World Trade Center in one of the best and most potentially controversial last-page-of-a-first-issue twists in history. From there it was a pretty fast track to political power. If only there hadn't been strange machinations of aliens and supervillains ahead of him, he might have achieved more.
Yes, way back in 1943, in the pages of Wonder Woman #7, Diana ran for President and won (thanks to a weird twist with Steve Trevor). But the story is way more notable for another reason: in order for it to be a believable story at all, the story was "an imaginary story" and placed 1,000 years in the future. Yes, who will believe a woman, even a superhero, could be president unless we set it 1,000 years in the future? Maybe they were just trying to get around Constitutional law and the fact she's an immigrant.