The Origin of… Catwoman (1940/2004)


Selina Kyle.

That off again, on again, sometimes lover, sometimes not, sometimes ally, sometimes villain. One of the only women in Batman’s life that he knows as Bruce and as The Bat.
She goes way back with him. Being created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane all the way back in Batman #1, 1940.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any origin stories, to my knowledge of Catwoman outside of Year One. There are a few early stories, but no other origin specific books. In Year One she was portrayed as a prostitute and a thief. But there was one other thing that people often gloss over. She was also a caring parental figure to Holly Robinson, who she rescued and trained and who later took on the role of Catwoman for a time.

imageSo she’s not all bad. Yeah, she’s greedy, and willing to break laws and bylaws, but she’s not bad. She doesn’t kill, she doesn’t lead a crime guild. She just wants what she thinks she deserves. She’s a catburgler, and for the most part, she’s good at it.

Her first appearance she is a straight-up villain and doesn’t really appear until the end of a story that mainly featured Dick Grayson as the hero. She isn’t even Catwoman, she’s just The Cat. In the book, Robin goes undercover onboard a party yacht that has a rich old lady protecting a famous necklace. Many groups of thugs try to take it, but all are too late as it is stolen before any action takes place. In the end Batman and Robin discover that the jewels had been taken by The Cat, a woman poison as the rich owner of the necklace. This is where her and Batman’s back and forth begin. They chase her and she flirts with Batman a little, trying to convince him to go into business with her, to which he says no. In an interesting turn of events, he “clumsily” blocks Robin from pursuing her, and let’s her get away. The love stricken Batman has nothing to say when Robin calls him on it. Hilarious.image
The funniest part of the issue though is when “by stroke of luck” a letter that was meant to be thrown off of the boat to Catwoman floats back. Most people would right that off as the typical brand of 40’s cheese. But that’s not a stroke of luck, that actually happens all the time in real life! (Eg. Gob Bluth mailing the letter.)imagegob-letter-throw
Another great story set in the early days of Catwoman is actually a sequel/ side story to The Long Halloween called Catwoman: When In Rome. Also by Jeff Loeb and Tim Sale, it explains why she is always trying to rob Carmine Falcone, and explores a potential familial relation. It’s not quite as good as The Halloween, but it’s better than any of the other number of books the two have done together.

imageIt is a great Catwoman story, dealing with her fears, attractions and other thoughts of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. There are great moments between her and The Riddler, whom she has brought along because she thinks he is the only one who can answer the riddle of who is Batman. On top of being one of the best uses of Catwoman outside of other Loeb books it is also the best use of The Riddler I’ve ever read. It’s simply a great story, one of the few Batman stories that actually works phenomenally without Batman. If you haven’t read it yet you should check it out.

Thanks for reading.

Images from the Internet. They are not mine (I wrote this one on my iPhone and don’t know how to copy and paste web addresses)


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