DC Comics femme fatale CATWOMAN is celebrating an 80th Anniversary of causing the Caped Crusader’s heart to race and walking a fine line between the light and darkness, while always keeping 9 lives ahead of the competition.
Meow! That simply singular sound has been used in all manner of inflection to introduce Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer left movie theater audiences gasping when she uttered the word to introduce the character In the 1992 big screen blockbuster Batman Returns. It was followed by a massive explosion that gives chase to her first confrontation with Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader across the rooftops of Tim Burton’s elaborately sculpted Gotham City, an ode to art deco angles and muscular masculinity, suddenly whipped to its knees.
The conflicted anti-hero of Burton’s follow-up to the über successful Batman (1990) was perhaps an undeniable stand-out amidst the contraption of the sequel. Burton and Pfeiffer layered Selina Kyle (Catwoman’s alter-ego) with a series personality traits that made her deliciously interesting, far-beyond the scope but none-the-less paralleling the course of the crafty jewel thief first introduced on the page in the premiere issue of Batman #1 (1940). In a story penned by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane, “The Cat” (as she was known then) sank her claws in!
Jim Lee's contemporary look of The Catwoman from "Hush" has emerged among the most influencial takes on the anti-hero.
From the minute Catwoman first crossed paths with Gotham’s Dark Knight Detective, she left an indelible impression on the Batman. From her cunning as a criminal to her elevation to one of his deadliest adversaries, Selina Kyle has proven herself formidable at every corner. In the Golden Age, Selina would emerge as a great love interest, and she and an enamored Bruce Wayne would give rise to the next generation of heroes. On Earth-2, Helena Wayne is born and becomes the best of both worlds in her parents’ eyes: the agile Huntress!
Even after the crucial events of the contemporary era’s most defining comic book maxi-series, the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, the Huntress’ legacy couldn’t be erased, but would instead be shifted to fit into a “prime” continuity (at least until the multiverse would be revitalized). As for Selina Kyle, the Modern Era’s Catwoman would continue to revolutionize her historic canon, and in an eventuality slash her own myth as an urban legend on the scourge of Gotham’s underworld.
Year One and 9 Lives Later
In re-establishing the legend of the Batman, Catwoman would join her counterpart — she remained an adversary in the beginning, but one that stole from the crookedly rich and gave to the underprivileged and victimized, though she would fill her coffers with the shiniest and brightest. Eventually, Selina would ascend from the alleys of Gotham’s seediest streets and into the upper-echelon of high society where she would catch the eye of billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne. Their affair would often have them fighting on the same side, though sometimes…
The Catwoman would wiggle her way into the heart of The Batman, though he would sometimes find himself at the mercy of her sharp claws. In one of the modern era’s most intricate tales Hush written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, Selina finds herself mesmerized and used as a pawn of the temptress Poison Ivy, in a scheme that unravels around the entire legacy of the Batman and his closest friends and foes. Catwoman is an able ally and The Batman and is an agent eventually finding herself inducted into the “good side”.
Of all of Batman’s adversary, none have been able to rival the charisma and fierce presence of his shadowed iconography, but Catwoman comes close, whether sporting her knee-high boots and cat-o-nine weapon of choice, or leaping over the cityscapes of Gotham City in her combat boots and specialized goggles; poured into liquid black latex or sporting skin-tight purple leather, Catwoman is undoubtedly one of the popular culture’s most enduring archetypes, an able, agile defender of the weak with a flair for taking wild risks, and a killer smile that beguiles her wit.
Check out DC’s Twelve most Defining Moments in Catwoman’s History here at dcomics.com.
DC Daily interviews Joëlle Jones | Celebrating 80 Years of Catwoman!
The CATWOMAN 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 | is a prestige format comic book available soon from DC Comics | $9.99.