Posts Tagged ‘Bill Finger’

The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Twelve: Duplicates, Designs, and Death Traps

July 24, 2017


My new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale is available now in bookstores and online in an assortment of formats, and I’ve been celebrating the book’s release by posting key moment from her history on Tumblr. It’s a random assortment of comic book panels and film stills that spans her entire history, showcasing serious, significant, and/or silly pieces of her past while offering a sneak peek inside the book.

We’re nearing the end of this Catwoman fun, so this week we dialed things back to once a week. The five moments that we looked at included:

And finally, my favourite moment of the week was from Detective Comics #318 in January 1963, written by Bill Finger with art by Jim Mooney, Sheldon Moldoff, and Mike Esposito. Catwoman had been benched for nine years at this point, exiled largely due to her association with Fredric Wertham’s accusations of homoerotic subtext between Batman and Robin. So with Catwoman sidelined, DC introduced Cat-Man instead. His first appearance made only passing reference to the feline fatale whose shtick he was stealing, and subsequent stories were little more than rehashes of cold Catwoman tales. Look at these panels from Cat-Man’s 1963 appearance:


It’s the same mash up of The Cask of Amontillado and the Cheshire cat that Catwoman used in Batman #42 sixteen years before in August 1947, right down to the dialogue:


Not only was it lazy on Bill Finger’s part, it took one of Catwoman’s best stories and gave it to some dude. What’s more, this issue featured Batwoman going undercover as a new Cat-Woman, without any mention that there’d been a Catwoman previously! When Catwoman was on the outs, she was REALLY on the outs. It took another few years for her to finally return to the comics for real, thanks to her popularity on the Batman television show.

You can catch up on all of the previous Catwoman moments here, and follow along for more fun! The Many Lives of Catwoman is also available online in a variety of formats, including print, ebook, and audio, so check it out and learn all about this fascinating character!


The Many Lives of Catwoman is Officially Out TOMORROW!

June 30, 2017

Catwoman Cover 1

While The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale is available online from several retailers and in a bunch of shops already, the official release date for my brand new book is tomorrow, July 1. Up here, July 1 is a holiday, and everywhere else it’s a Saturday, so let’s chat about the book today before all of the celebration and relaxation takes over tomorrow. Yesterday on Twitter I ran through twelve interesting and weird facts about The Many Lives of Catwoman, and here’s that list in a more expanded form:

  1. It covers EVERYTHING. Comics, television, movies, video games, animation, unfilmed scripts, online videos, and more. If Catwoman was there, it’s discussed. It’s all within a larger, chronological framework that explains the broader evolution of the character, though, so it’s detailed but also organized and accessible.
  2. All of the chapter titles are cat-related puns. This was hard than I thought it would be; half of them came together pretty quickly, and the rest were like pulling teeth. “A Conspicuous Pause” is probably my favourite of them all because I really wanted to get “paws” in there. I was hoping to make something work with “bastion” but I just couldn’t figure anything out.
  3. The book opens with a ten page take down of Bob Kane that becomes a celebration of Bill Finger. Bob Kane often gets sole credit for Batman and the larger Bat-mythos, but Bill Finger was a far more important figure who Kane actively screwed over for decades while hoarding all of the money and fame for himself.
  4. Catwoman disappeared for TWELVE YEARS, from 1954 to 1966. The timing suggests that it was entirely the fault of Fredric Wertham and his contention in Seduction of the Innocent that there were homoerotic undertones to Batman and Robin’s adventures. Catwoman was called out in this portion of Wertham’s book as a “vicious” woman who, when it came to dating Bruce, would “have no chance against Dick.” Seduction of the Innocent was published in 1954, and Catwoman was benched immediately afterward.
  5. The chapter on the 1960s Batman television program has more quotes from the show than is probably necessary, but they’re all amazing. It’s all just too much fun. The dialogue in that show is so specific, and I find that when I read it I can hear the campy cadence with which it was delivered in my head. So I quoted the great lines as much as possible.
  6. Selina dated Bruce Wayne in the 1980s, then turned into a stalker when he started dating Vicki Vale, then dated Batman. It’s all very bizarre, an eight year soap opera that made Catwoman a fixture in both ongoing Bat-books for most of the decade. I do a deep dive into it all, of course. It’s a fascinating era on several levels.
  7. The chapter about Frank Miller’s various takes on Catwoman is… not complimentary. From The Dark Knight Returns to Batman: Year One to All Star Batman to Holy Terror (a non-DC book that features a Catwoman analogue), Miller sexualizes and brutalizes Catwoman again and again, often in the same ways. His misogynistic tendencies become very pronounced once you take a closer look at the patterns in his work.
  8. On the other hand, the chapter about Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on Catwoman is… extremely complimentary! Because she is the BEST. Daniel Waters and Tim Burton deserve some credit for Batman Returns, of course, but the effort and dedication Pfeiffer brought to the role was considerable, with fantastic results. She’s so good that she steals the entire movie.
  9. My discussion on Catwoman in the 1990s includes a section about Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, and god help us all. Jim Balent’s hyper sexualized art dominated this era and was often at odds with the interesting stories in the book, and looking at Balent’s next project, Tarot, offers interesting insights into his approach to Catwoman. Balent’s intentions were good with Catwoman, but his execution remains rather divisive for Catwoman fans.
  10. Halle Berry’s horrible Catwoman gets a full chapter. The film’s awfulness is inversely proportional to how fun it is to write about; it’s so bad that you can revel in how fascinatingly terrible it turned out to be. Watching the movie several times while I wrote the chapter wasn’t a blast, but it’s a sacrifice I made for you, dear readers, in service of what I think turned into a fun and compelling chapter.
  11. The Gotham section is half praise for Camren Bicondova, who is GREAT, and half side eying everything else about the show. Bicondova really is a wonderful Selina, but the show around her is a bit of a mess. When I watched it all for the book, I ended up skipping every scene that Selina wasn’t in, and I 100% recommend watching the show that way. When it’s just the Selina show, it’s pretty good.
  12. The New 52 chapter has some serious side eye as well, but only for the first three years of the relaunch. After that, Genevieve Valentine and Garry Brown launched Selina’s mob boss era, which was AWESOME. It’s a real shame that it only lasted a year; creatively, it was something fun and new for Selina that made for great stories, and commercially it brought a new stability to the book after it had tumbled down the charts over the three years previous. DC were fools to end it.

So yeah, Catwoman is amazing, the book was so much fun to write, and I hope that you’ll all check it out! I love sharing the fascinating histories of these great comic book heroines, and a strong reception for The Many Lives of Catwoman will hopefully lead to further historical showcases for the wonderful women of superhero comic books. I definitely have lots more I’d love to cover! But for right now, I hope you all enjoy this one and have a good time learning all about the unique history and evolution of Catwoman!

The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Five: Songs, Bells, and Sworn Enemies

June 5, 2017


With my new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale officially out on July 1 and already hitting some stores and online retailers now, I’ve been posting fun and important moments from Catwoman’s history on Tumblr. The pictures are randomly assorted, comic book panels and film stills from her many appearances across various media over the decades. Some are serious, some are silly, and some are a bit of both, and they offer a look inside all of the fun incarnations of Catwoman that the book covers.

Last week, the moments we looked at included:

And finally, for my favourite moment of the week we turn to the 1940s again. In Detective Comics #122 from April 1947, written by Bill Finger with art by Bob Kane (supposedly) and Charles Paris, Batman got injured during an encounter with Catwoman. She later captured Robin, and her first question was about Batman’s health and whether he’d been badly hurt. Robin thought that Catwoman was harbouring a crush for the Caped Crusader, though she adamantly denied it and declared, “Of course not! We’re sworn enemies!” But her earlier concerns clearly showcased her true feelings. As much as Catwoman was an unrepentant villain who was wholly dedicated to clever, elaborate heists, she had a soft spot for Batman. She wanted to best him at every turn, she just didn’t want him to get hurt in the process.

You can check out all of the Catwoman moments here and follow along for more Catwoman fun! This week, since we’re so close to the book’s official release, we’re moving to two Catwoman moments a day! And you can order the book now too,And you can order the book now too, and dive into her fascinating history in depth!

The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Four: Disguises, Escapes, and Heartbreaks

May 29, 2017


My new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale is officially out on July 1 (though it looks like Amazon and other retailers may be shipping them out already, so you can go nab one now!), and in advance of the book’s release I’ve been posting moments from Catwoman’s history on Tumblr. It’s a random assortment of important and amusing snippets of Catwoman’s past that offer a look inside the book and the myriad depictions of Catwoman throughout the decades that are discussed in it.

Last week, the moments we looked at included:

And finally, my favourite moment of the week, which comes courtesy of Batman #1 way back in the spring of 1940. Written by Bill Finger with art by Bob Kane, the debut of Catwoman, then known as the Cat, ends in a memorable way that coloured her relationship with Batman for the next eight decades. After she was captured for trying to steal a diamond necklace, the Cat boldly suggested she and Batman team up to become the king and queen of crime. Batman didn’t go for it, but he was clearly intrigued by her, so much so that he let her escape. He took her to shore by Bat-boat instead of leaving her at the scene of the crime, then impeded Robin when the Cat inevitably made her escape. When Robin called him out on it, Batman denied it all, but he was clearly infatuated with her. This affection would be a constant throughout all of her subsequent appearances, always giving Catwoman a leg up on Batman because she was the one criminal he had a soft spot for.

You can check out all of the Catwoman moments here, and follow along for more Catwoman fun in the weeks to come! And you can order the book as well and enjoy an in depth look at everyone’s favourite villainess!

The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Two: Reformation, Crises, and Bombshells

May 15, 2017


My new book, The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale, is coming out on July 1, and I’ve been posting peeks at the key moments in Catwoman’s history over on Tumblr. There’s one a day, Monday to Friday, all randomly assorted; in this second week of Catwoman moments we went from 1951 to 1989 to 1948 to 1985 to 2016! Each post discussed a different era of Catwoman, delving into her bizarre and intriguing past and offering a little snippet of what you’ll get when the book comes out in July.

Last week, the five moments we looked at included:

And finally, my favourite moment of the week! The image at the top of the post is classic 1940s supervillain Catwoman. It’s from Batman #47, published in June/July 1948, written by Bill Finger with art that’s allegedly by Bob Kane but probably drawn by Lew Schwartz. We see Catwoman lounging in a chaise with her cat Hecate by her side, casually smoking as she discusses her latest elaborate plan to rob the wealthy citizens of Gotham. In this outing, she posed as a fashion magazine editor in order to throw a soiree that would bring all of the rich women of the city together for an easy thieving opportunity. Catwoman was forever coming up with clever schemes throughout the decade, with Batman always on her tail.

You can check out all of the posts here, and follow along for more Catwoman fun in the weeks to come! And The Many Lives of Catwoman is coming soon, so be sure to pre-order it now!

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