CCI: Comic Character Investigation #211 mai 2012
[ENGLISH] This month: Catwoman – Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.
Catwoman: Gotham’s Mysterious Temptress
One thing is certain. Everyone who has ever heard of Batman has heard of Catwoman. She has prowled through the pages of comics, mainly in Gotham City, since the Golden Age when she was created. Quite fittingly she made her first appearance in none other than Batman #1 when after the success of Detective Comics featuring Batman had become so popular he demanded his own title. (Today of course we know that it was always his title.) It was going to take an important supervillain (or supervillainess) to be the Bat’s first challenge in the new launch.
In that issue she was simply called The Cat but we know better now what to call her because like all characters who withstand the test of time, some changes are always made to the myth. And we have seen “The Cat” in all of her nine different lives and the different ways she appeared
in them: on film, in animation, and in comics and even video games. She has had black costumes and purple costumes but underneath them all lurked the lovely Selena Kyle. Thief. Temptress.
And a woman with a soft spot for Gotham’s Dark Knight, as well as a ready roundhouse kick in the face when he would let his guard down. She is a coquette to be sure, running hot and cold through Gotham’s nights and Batman’s brain and we cannot ever get enough of her.
She was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger who collectively put together most of the Batman mythos and the villains he faced. But with Catwoman they struck a golden vein of character creation, the motherload of femme fatale in all its dangerous glory. And the very first of two immortal villains he would deal with, the other being The Joker.
In some small way fans cannot help but be in love with Catwoman as a character. She demands attention not only from Batman but from us and if we think we will be able to look away, then we have not really realized she is everywhere.
She is sexy and purple in the video game Motal Kombat Versus DC Heroes and she is just as sexy in black in a much more recent game called Batman: Arkham City. And her importance? Well, in that game she has her own storyline weaved in with the main Batman story. How’s that for the ranking of DC’s possibly hottest supervillainess? She’s the cat’s meow (yes I said it) and we will let her keep that place because she is so tempting, so mysterious and even so skillful she can, at times, outmaneuver even Batman. She may be able to do this using the wiles of women, the one thing even the caped crusader cannot resist but still, we cannot blame her for using the weapons at her disposal.
Catwoman has been portrayed by many on film over the years: Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriweather all played her, in turn, on the 1960’s Batman series. Michelle Feiffer played her in the 90’s movie Batman Returns and later Halle Berry played her in the movie bearing
Catwoman’s name. Ann Hathaway will have been the latest to portray the fatal beauty in the third installment of the latest Batman movies, The Dark Knight Rises.
Catwoman learned her trade after running away from home and becoming a petty thief, eventually ending up at a martial arts academy where the instructor noticed her potential. She became quite efficient at the academy which explains why she has often been able to take on Batman. While committing a theft a security guard tried to stop her and called her “Catwoman” due to the outfit she had made for herself in black after seeing how it worked for Batman and she welcomed the moniker. It stuck ever since both for her and for us.
Catwoman is a sensual temptress in whatever medium we see her in, a feline invitation to pleasure which will more likely end up in pain if one gets too close. For female readers, she is a wonderful walk on the wild side and for male readers she is their favorite dangerous intrigue. No man can help but want to get close to the sultry thief of Gotham City. She’s stolen our hearts while she’s been stealing everything else and if we get too close we might just get to experience that roundhouse kick in the face for ourselves.
James Parducci (www.jparducci.blogspot.com) is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.