Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Wayne’

Remembering Len Wein, and his Reinvention of Catwoman

September 11, 2017

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Legendary comic book creator Len Wein passed away yesterday at the age of 69. “Legendary” is no exaggeration either; the man co-created Wolverine, one of the most famous superheroes of all time. And if that wasn’t enough, he also co-created the bulk of the new X-Men that revitalized the franchise in the 1970s, including Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Storm. Plus he co-created Swamp Thing, edited Alan Moore’s brilliant run on the book. He then edited Moore again on Watchmen, the most famous superhero graphic novel of all time. Over the course of his career, Wein wrote or edited nearly every major superhero at both DC and Marvel, leaving his mark on all of them. He was a fan made good, who used to tour the DC offices as a teen in the 1960s before finally landing a writing job there, and his love for the genre led to decades of great stories.

Wein is also remembered for one dark moment in the Batman universe. In the late 1980s, as an editor he okayed the shooting of Barbara Gordon, formerly Batgirl, in an attack that left her paralyzed in Batman: The Killing Joke. However, most fans are unaware of his important role in revitalizing a different female character in the Bat-mythos, Catwoman. Throughout the 1970s, Catwoman was adrift at DC Comics. Her popular turn on the Batman television show in the 1960s had ended a decade-long hiatus for the character, but no one at DC was able to figure out what to do with her after that. Her depictions varied wildly, different costumes were used, and she had no sustained runs.

Then Len Wein brought her back in Batman #308 in 1979. He was the regular writer on the book, and reintroduced the character via her alter ego, Selina Kyle. She’d gone straight, leaving her criminal past behind, and she wanted Bruce Wayne’s help with her investments:

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Bruce was suspicious and had his business manager Lucius Fox, another character created by Wein, investigate her. Selina found out and was angry, but Bruce apologized and soon the two began dating.

Selina became a regular part of the book for the next year or so. Her relationship with Bruce seemed doomed from the beginning, though; in a bit of foreshadowing, the duo dressed as Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon on one of their earliest dates:

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When Selina started acting erratically, Bruce got suspicious, especially when someone in a cat costume stole valuable items from the Gotham Museum. He even came after her as Batman, and refused to believe her as Bruce when she said she wasn’t involved. It turned out her behavior was due to a mysterious illness and that the real thief was Cat-Man. She’d been telling the truth the whole time. Selina donned her Catwoman outfit again to help Batman nab Cat-Man, but afterward she broke up with Bruce because he didn’t trust her, then left Gotham City:

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It was an excellent arc, one that successfully reintegrated Catwoman into Batman’s world while, in a clever twist, making Batman/Bruce the villain of the piece. His inability to believe in her reformation doomed their relationship, though Wein made sure not to end it too badly that she would never return.

And return she did. Over the next several years, new writers brought back Catwoman again and again. While some of the stories weren’t as good, with one even turning her into a crazed stalker when Bruce started dating Vicki Vale, she nonetheless remained a regular presence across the Batman line, raising her profile considerably. The changes in continuity following Crisis on Infinite Earths and Batman: Year One resulted in a new take on Catwoman in the late 1980s, and a solo series followed after Michelle Pfeiffer’s wildly popular take on Catwoman in Batman Returns in 1992. But I think it’s fair to say all of this might not have happened without Wein bringing Catwoman back into the fold. She was pretty near forgotten over the course of the 1970s, and her prominence in the early 1980s played a key role in setting her up for her future successes.

Wein will be remembered for his splashier additions to the superhero world. I mean, the guy co-created Wolverine. That’s a big deal. But for me, as soon as I heard about Wein’s passing I remembered the way he reintroduced a character that I love dearly, captured her proper ferocity and spirit, and made her relevant again. It’s a small thing in the lengthy list of his many achievements. However, after such a prolific career, I’m sure there are innumerable small moments being remembered fondly today, though with a tinge of sadness.

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The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Seven: Family, Friends, and Foes

June 19, 2017

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My new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale is officially out on June 1 (though some stores and online retailers have it available already!) and in advance of its release I’ve been posting key moments from Catwoman’s history on Tumblr. The posts go up twice a day, showcasing random scenes from her unique past across comics, movies, television, and more. Some are silly, some are significant, and several of them are both. Every post is a sneak peek inside all of the fun that the book covers in depth.

Last week, the ten moments that we looked at included:

And finally, my favourite Catwoman moment of the week from Detective Comics #521 in December 1982, written by Gerry Conway with art by Irv Novick and Sal Trapani. Catwoman became a major player in the Bat-books in the 1980s, first dating Bruce Wayne and later dating Batman (all while remaining in the dark that they were one and the same). But their relationship was a tumultuous one with many breakups, and during one of these separations Bruce began to date Vicki Vale. This did not go over well with Catwoman. She made threatening phone calls to Vicki, and in this issue she showed up at her house, yelled at her, and hit her with her whip. The stalking continued after this; soon after, Catwoman ran Bruce and Vicki off the road when they were out for a romantic drive. It was a bizarre period for Catwoman, and not one of her proudest moments. While it was nice to see Catwoman in such a prominent role, the various writers who handled her over this decade sometimes failed to do her justice, like in this arc when they engaged in gendered stereotypes and turned her into a jealous, unhinged ex-girlfriend.

You can check out all of the Catwoman moments here, and follow along for more Catwoman fun twice a day! You can order the book now as well, and explore the fascinating history of Catwoman with this fun, in depth book!

First Image Of Gal Gadot As Diana Prince In Batman v Superman, Plus A Wonder Woman Barbie

July 2, 2015

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The image above is the cover to the new Entertainment Weekly, their special Comic-Con 2015 preview issue. It’s a good look at the Wonder Woman costume in colour instead of muted browns like the shot we got a year ago, and also Gal Gadot in it. We’ve seen some shots of the costume on a mannequin recently, but not on Gadot. The costume continues to grow on me, especially the more I see it in colour. It’s got the red, blue, and gold like a classic Wonder Woman outfit, plus the lasso and the bracelet. I don’t like that she’s carrying a sword in every picture we’ve seen of her, including promotional artwork, and that tiara is still the worst. Seriously, imagine that costume with the classic red starred tiara. It would look fantastic! This tiara is holding back the whole outfit for me.

But we’ve also got a new image of her without the tiara! It’s Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, hanging out at a fancy party with some guy named Bruce Wayne:

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Entertainment Weekly‘s description of the image reads:

Batman and Wonder Woman have a meeting of alter-egos as Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince parry and flirt at a high-society function. “I love the fact that there was this Thomas Crowne Affair, Bond-y sexy scene that they wrote about two people who are pretending to be two different people who each know the secrets of the other person,” says Ben Affleck.

It’s cool that Diana and Bruce know each other’s secrets; I’m intrigued about their past, and whether they’ve worked together before. The flirting will be fun for Diana and Bruce shippers, of which there are a great many, thanks to the Justice League cartoon. I’d rather have a movie where the only female superhero wasn’t getting up to romantic hijinks with one of the dudes, but the superhero film industry doesn’t seem to have figured out how to do that yet. Anyway, Diana looks lovely here, and the dress looks pretty classy. They’re clearly going with a secret identity instead of some sort of Diana as a Themysciran ambassador situation, but I doubt she’s going to be a military secretary. Her presence at this fancy soiree, and a few on-set shots we’ve seen, suggest a more well-to-do lifestyle for Diana.

There are some other Batman v Superman images at Entertainment Weekly, but this is the only one that matters.

Along with these pictures, we got a first look at a new Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman Barbie, and it’s pretty cool:

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I absolutely want one. It’ll be my first Barbie! Though I do have a big Captain Picard doll that’s about Barbie-sized. The costume looks great here, I love the bright colours, and I really like that she’s smiling. Again, I could do without the sword and the ugly tiara, but that hair is super fierce. I hope all of the Barbies’ hair comes pre-styled all rad like that because there’s no way I’ll ever be able to make mine look like that.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out next March, and it’s probably going to be not great because Zack Snyder, but fingers crossed that Wonder Woman is cool at least. There will be some Wonder Woman Barbies available next weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, but they won’t be in stores until early next year as the movie merchandise starts to roll out. I hope they make a Lois Lane too. I like my toys to have a friend. Well, she can hang out with Captain Picard at least.


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