Posts Tagged ‘The Many Lives of Catwoman’

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

July 24, 2017

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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:

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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:

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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 Moments, Week Eleven: Pals, Plunder, and Punches

July 17, 2017

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With my new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale available now in bookstores and online in a variety of formats, I’ve been showcasing key moments from Catwoman’s history on Tumblr. They’re a random, fun assortment of comic book panels and film stills drawn from her nearly eight decades of unique incarnations. Some are lighthearted, some are heavier, and they all offer a peek inside the book and highlight Catwoman’s fascinating history.

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

And finally, my favourite Catwoman moment of the week is courtesy of Catwoman #54 from February 1998, written by Devin Grayson with art by Jim Balent and John Stanisci. This era of Catwoman is best remembered for Balent’s art; he drew an exaggeratedly curvaceous Catwoman in a skin tight costume, and did his damnedest to showcase her figure in every issue. However, his hyper-sexualization of Catwoman was often at odds with the book’s strong, clever writing, and this issue was case in point. It was a one-shot story in which Catwoman stole a diamond from a museum and, displeased with the museum’s security system, returned it. After they upgraded their security, Catwoman stole it again with ease and returned it once more, beginning a cycle of thefts, returns, and upgrades. The exasperated museum curator eventually decided to pull one over on Catwoman and purchased a ludicrously expensive insurance policy for when Catwoman finally kept the diamond for good, but Catwoman found him out. She then decided to leave the diamond in his care, where he’d be forced to pay for both the policy and the latest in his lengthy series of new security systems. It’s a funny, enjoyable issue that perfectly captures the chaotic fun of Catwoman and is a real standout from this divisive era.

You can catch up on all of the previous Catwoman moments here, and follow along for more fun! With the book out now, we’re shifting down to once a day as we run out the remaining moments over the next few weeks. The Many Lives of Catwoman is available for purchase in a variety of formats, so pick it up and dig into her captivating history!

The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Ten: Manipulation, Inspiration, and Animation

July 10, 2017

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My newest book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale is now officially available in bookstores and online across a variety of formats, and I’ve been celebrating its release for several weeks now by sharing key moments from Catwoman’s history on Tumblr. It’s a random assortment of comic book panels and film stills that span her many incarnations across nearly eight decades of entertainment. Some are silly, some are serious, many are both, and they all showcase what is great and fascinating about the character while offering sneak peeks inside the book.

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

And finally, my favourite Catwoman moment of the week is Gina Gershon’s take on the character in the animated series The Batman from 2004. Now, The Batman is no Batman: The Animated Series and Gershon’s Catwoman pales in comparison to Adrienne Barbeau’s brilliant take on the character. But that doesn’t change the fact that The Batman is a great, underrated show with unique versions of Gotham City and its villains, including Catwoman. She was a villain, but she was in the game just for the thrill of the heist. Catwoman saved Batman multiple times, flirted with him shamelessly, and was far more interested in the fun of the adventure than getting away with an item. She appeared in a handful of episodes during the show’s first three seasons, and they’re all delightful.

You can catch up on all of the previous Catwoman moments here, and follow along for more fun twice a day! The Many Lives of Catwoman is available for purchase in various formats, so check it out and learn all about her fascinating history!

The Many Lives of Catwoman Moments, Week Nine: Distress, DĂ©colletage, and Dinner

July 3, 2017

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My new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale is now officially available across various formats, including paper, ebook, and audiobook, and I’ve been highlighting key moments from Catwoman’s history on Tumblr for several weeks to celebrate its release. Even though the book is out now, the online Catwoman fun will continue for a few more weeks yet as I continue to showcase randomly assorted panels and film stills from her fascinating career across a variety of media. It’s a mix of fun and informative moments that offer a sneak peek at what’s covered in The Many Lives of Catwoman and showcase what makes Catwoman such a great character.

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

And finally, my favourite Catwoman moment of the week is from Batman: Dark Victory #2 by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, published in 2000. Loeb and Sale’s major Batman stories, Long Halloween and Dark Victory, featured a massive cast of Gotham’s citizens, and while the mysteries were sometimes a bit convoluted, they were gorgeous, enjoyable tales. The books are especially great because they include a delightful take on Catwoman, who romanced Bruce Wayne in her civilian identity while toying with the Dark Knight on her nocturnal outings. She was always flirtatious and fun, and so much more than a standard, simple love interest. Selina knew what she wanted and went after it, and this scene captured that very well. At this point in the story, there was a lot of emotional distance between Bruce and Selina, which was represented by them enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner at opposite ends of a lengthy table. Selina bridged this distance literally and metaphorically, dragging her chair down to Bruce’s end to share his plate and cozy up to her beau. It’s a cute scene from a wonderful series that did wonders in changing how Catwoman was depicted in comics moving forward.

You can catch up on all of the previous Catwoman moments here, and follow along for more fun twice a day! The Many Lives of Catwoman is available for purchase in a variety of formats now as well, so be sure to check it out and read up on this fascinating feline fatale!

The Many Lives of Catwoman is Officially Out TOMORROW!

June 30, 2017

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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 Eight: The Widow, the Mayor, and the Urchin

June 26, 2017

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In advance of my new book The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale officially coming out on July 1 (though it’s available at some stores and online retailers now!), I’ve been posting key moments from Catwoman’s fascinating history on Tumblr. It’s a random assortment of panels and film stills from her incarnations across various media, and they go up twice a day to offer a peek inside all of the fun things that are covered in the book. Some moments are serious, some are silly, and they all showcase what a brilliant and enjoyable character Catwoman is.

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

And finally, my favourite Catwoman moment of the week is Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle in Gotham. I’ll be honest with you all: I think that Gotham is a straight up terrible show. It was so bad that I had to stop watching it. While researching the book, I fast forwarded through every scene that Selina wasn’t in and frankly, I think that’s  the best way to watch the show. Bicondova’s Selina is the one enjoyable thing about the program. She’s clever, she’s funny, she’s a bad ass, and while she definitely lives outside the law, she’s the only character with a real moral code. Everyone else is willing to cross various lines and betray the values they hold dear, but Selina is steady. Her friends come first and she protects them, and that’s how she rolls. While Gotham is a relentlessly bleak program, Selina is a bright spot and Bicondova captures the spirit of Catwoman wonderfully each week.

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 too, and dive into the entertaining and fascinating history of Catwoman. It’s the perfect book to enjoy during the upcoming holiday weekend!

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!


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