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The Halle Berry movie never happened. Shut your bat mouth.
June 3, 2011 11:27 AM   Subscribe

What's Catwoman's deal, anyway? dr_von_fangirl has a fantastic, exhaustive answer, cobbling a coherent, newbie-friendly origin story together from a variety of comic sources.
posted by cortex (48 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
The catsuit. /boyzone
posted by dhartung at 11:31 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


DAMMIT, I HAVE TO GET DRESSED AND GO TO WORK AND YOU POST THIS NOW?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Boyzone?
posted by Nomyte at 11:48 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does all this hard work get undone in the (latest) reboot of the universe?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:52 AM on June 3, 2011


Suicide mother in bathtub found by young daughter. How shall we draw that? I know! Big breasts!

Stay classy, superhero comics.
posted by DU at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2011 [23 favorites]


What I love about this is the fact that dr_von_fangirl went to the trouble of adding her own issue citation's to the scanned panels. Editors used to add these captions to help new readers pick up threads of a pre-existing plot or character piece. Not anymore. Editor captions haven't been common in comics (in my experience) in a decade. Its funny that major comic publishers are afraid of making new readers feel "overwhelmed by massive amounts of backstory". And yet most of their output caters directly to their long-time fans love of continuity and nostalgia, while jettisoning one of the few tools that makes navigating these murky narrative depths manageable.

Having said all of that. dr_von_fangirl may find herself revising all of this come September.
posted by lilnemo at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought Michelle Pfeiffer's version was canon?
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2011


I thought Michelle Pfeiffer's version was canon?

Heh. The folks over at Comics Alliance just got done savaging the first Burton Batman (1, 2), I think they'll have a thing or two to say about that.
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does all this hard work get undone in the (latest) reboot of the universe?

Editors used to add these captions to help new readers pick up threads of a pre-existing plot or character piece.

Ed: flip back to thread #104098 to see the egg-heads opine on this issue!
posted by GuyZero at 12:07 PM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


They probably quit printing the captions because they were sick of kids writing in to ask "Who's Ed?"
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:08 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Genius or madness. An exhaustive survey of the canon filtered through carefully chosen rules of evidence. I can only assume that dr-von-fangirl's secret identity is working as a professional historian.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:23 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Spider-Man has lots of Ed. notes... and at least one version of the X-Men does something similar with the captioning...though a more updated (kinda lamer) version.

As for the post at hand... insanely detailed and fairly awesome... but also head-hurty. Canon reviews/debates are for the young-in-a-way-that-I'm-no-longer.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:33 PM on June 3, 2011


I actually really like the little caption summary notes in Uncanny X-Men - Faction and Gillen do a good job with those.

As someone said, the first few episodes of Game of Thrones could have done with those.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on June 3, 2011


DU: "How shall we draw that? I know! Big breasts!"

Of course, that seems to apply to everything Catwoman-related ever.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:39 PM on June 3, 2011


I thought Michelle Pfeiffer's version was canon ?

No, there can be only one: Julie Newmar.
posted by y2karl at 1:04 PM on June 3, 2011


hmmm, dr_von_fangirl has found out and stolen my secret identity, which I carefully cryptogrammed. I must get quickly away to the slacker cave and take a nap. wait am I typing this aloud? shit!!
posted by not_on_display at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought Michelle Pfeiffer's version was canon ?

No, there can be only one: Julie Newmar.


Correction: Ertha Kitt makes two.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:15 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's really pretty great. Maybe next, she can do the canonical reconciliation of the Gospels?
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:20 PM on June 3, 2011


I feel I could seduce a bucket of ink.

Eartha Kitt....and Eartha Kitt.
me-yow

IMO, the sexiest person to play catwoman and the best.

BONUS!

Now Halle Berry. IMO, 3rd most beautiful woman alive.

I feel I could seduce a bucket of ink.
posted by clavdivs at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2011


DOH!
posted by clavdivs at 1:30 PM on June 3, 2011


HOPE YOU HAD FUN WRITING OUT ALL THIS CANON
JUST IN TIME FOR THE CANON-DESTROYING REBOOT
LOVE, DC
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:37 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


so, the joker is not an itinerant palmist.
posted by clavdivs at 1:48 PM on June 3, 2011


Goddamn it cortex I was gonna post this.


Oh sweet now I have an origin story. YOU SHALL RUE THE DAY.
posted by The Whelk at 1:53 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Great piece of work here. I agree with one of the commenters that Dr. von Fangirl has obviously curated a more coherent, compelling history for Selina Kyle than any single one the original writers or artists did. That's the way great comic book characters are created, though: you throw a hundred writers and a hundred artists at character; the good bits stick, and are repeated and amplified by others, and the bad bits are ignored and forgotten until they can plausibly be denied.

Can't help but think of Roy Batty's "tears in rain" speech now, as all these moments -- decades worth of beautifully evolving history -- are about to be obliterated by DC's absurd reboot. Wake up, Selina. Time to die.
posted by Missiles K. Monster at 1:55 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Correction: Ertha Kitt makes two.

Eartha Kitt got the job when Newmar became pregnant during the final season of Batman. Newmar was the firstest and bestest Catwoman.
posted by y2karl at 2:48 PM on June 3, 2011


I've never really been into super hero comics, and only recently have started reading any comics at all, but I love reading about super hero comics for some reason. This is really neat.
posted by brundlefly at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


but I love reading about super hero comics for some reason

Isn't that weird? The wikipedia entries on the Flash are somehow transfixing.
posted by device55 at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


karl has a point, though eartha was the hottest and coolest.
posted by clavdivs at 3:42 PM on June 3, 2011


This is great.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:48 PM on June 3, 2011


And it's Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar in a battle royale over who is the bestest catwoman evar! I'll...I'll be in my bunk.
posted by gamera at 5:07 PM on June 3, 2011


There was a recent tumblr/fanart fad which involved pictures of Tim Drake as Catlad. They were pretty fabulous despite non-canonicity.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:16 PM on June 3, 2011


Lee Meriweather preceeded both Julie and Eartha in the television Catwoman role. And Julie was the hottest.
posted by John Smallberries at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2011


This is a great resource. Just started reading it, but there's already a lot I didn't know about Catwoman.
posted by dragonplayer at 6:18 PM on June 3, 2011


I'll...I'll be in my bunk.

And we know what that means...
posted by y2karl at 6:19 PM on June 3, 2011


I really don't get why people are all in a tizzy over the reboot. Yeah, they're rewriting years of continuity and backstory and trying to clear up the canonical disputes, and sure that bothers some people. They're not going to Farenheit 451 all of the old stories, just start writing new ones. You can still go to your five hundred issue backlog of Superman stories and pick up any issue you want, and ignore any issue you don't.

There are two kinds of narrative pleasure in viewing a comic book character in their collected entirety: lateral (array) pleasure, and linear (classical narrative) pleasure. I've always thought this was the beauty part of comics as a medium, and the folly of so many comic book fans and producers(including our friend here) is that they only ever latch onto the latter. They have a drive to create one singular linear timeline from all of these different stories, but they themselves know that just as much pleasure comes in navigating the array, to see the different instances that one has to 'resolve' to attempt a linear narrative, to see the different takes artists and writers have on these archetypal characters.

Moreover, they've done this before: Crisis on Infinite Earths. Crisis was DC's first attempt at a solution to this problem-that-wasn't-a-problem. It tries to linearize a narrative that needs no linearity. It tried to clean up these 'glitches in the continuity,' when they didn't really need to clean them up, just seen in a more relative way. No one story supercedes the other, and every reader is The Monitor, a narrative time-traveler and master of every story simultaneously. DC did it to make it 'easier' for writers and new fans, but writers and new fans are the ones that are willing to deal with this array quality of comic book stories. Single runs always have internal continuity, and that's what your casual readers will understand.

But anyway, Crisis ended up generating and rejuvenating a ton of really great comic stories/characters and readership, and the same thing was true then as is now: they're not taking your back issues. Creation of meaning in serial and cross-media texts is fundamentally social. The fans did and will continue to decide what the true Selina Kyle/Bruce Wayne/Kal-El/&c. is and what attributes they each hold. So don't sweat the reboot.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really like this. I'm about three-fifths through it, if the scroll bar is any indication.
I'm one of those people who knows a lot about comic book characters without having actually read a whole lot of them. Huh. That sounds weird. But it's true. I absorbed most of what I know by reading some comics, playing the games, watching the cartoons and the movies, and then going on Wikipedia binges when I ask myself a stupid question like, "Hey, Joe Chill. What is up with that dude?" Two hours later and Matches Malone has wormed his way into my memory banks.
Anyway, I know exactly nothing about Catwoman, but this is a good read. And I love the scholarly aspect of it.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:35 PM on June 3, 2011


Does all this hard work get undone in the (latest) reboot of the universe?

Of course not, silly. Cats have nine lives...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:04 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lee Meriweather, yes!
posted by clavdivs at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2011


She's going to be playable in Arkham City. warning: objectification

I didn't mind the Halle Berry film. It was like the female version of Spider-Man style wish fulfillment.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:16 AM on June 4, 2011


The redrawn Batman: Year One pages are like listening to karaoke.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:48 AM on June 4, 2011


(Homer Simpson Voice) MMMMMmmmm, objectification. The perfect topping for donuts.
posted by localroger at 2:00 PM on June 5, 2011


Heh.

Chris: You know what would make this movie a hundred times better?

David: A good script?

Chris: Besides that.

David: Only one villain?

Chris: Well, yes, but: If you watch it with the idea that "Selina Kyle" in this movie is actually Elvira Hancock, Michelle Pfeiffer's character from Scarface, having entered the Witness Protection Program. She's so nervous because she's actively trying to repress her gangster instincts, and when Christopher Walken tries to kill her, she snaps and becomes the female Tony Montana.

David: Now I want to see a video of Michael Bolton playing Catwoman. Damn you, Lonely Island. I've also never seen Scarface, which I hate to admit.

Chris: My theory basically hinges on the fact that she and Tony own a pet tiger.

posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and in case you were wondering, they do indeed consider the Michelle Pfeiffer orgin "without question, the dumbest origin story of all time".
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on June 6, 2011


Harsh. There have to be worse origin stories out there.
posted by GuyZero at 3:28 PM on June 6, 2011


Well, as they point out, it was basically "fell out of window, licked back to life by cats".
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on June 6, 2011


Hm. A little googleing bring up Ultra Boy but yeah, maybe even that's better than "licked to life by alley cats".
posted by GuyZero at 3:53 PM on June 6, 2011


Batman Returns largely survives on its production design and performances and costumes but MAN what production design, performances and costumes! Like I don't care that Selena Kyle was brought back to life via kittens, I care that her manic costume-making sequence and breathy voice and pure sangfroid suggested a tightly wound clock that had gone off its gears. Her costume half-ripped, with a huge frizz of blond hair mumbling "maybe I'll save one for next Christmas", it's pretty much where I like my Batman stories, which is halfway between silent movies and Opera. I like my Gotham Cities big and gray and Hugh Ferris and always snowing.
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like I don't care that Selena Kyle was brought back to life via kittens

Oh god, I totally forgot about that. What were they thinking?
posted by Theta States at 7:47 AM on June 9, 2011


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