Catwoman is one of the Batman series most popular characters. Initially a villain, the feline-themed thief has had a long history serving as a romantic foil to the Dark Knight, flirting with him even as he hands her over to the authorities.
Over the years, Catwoman has moved more towards heroism, protecting and looking after the down-and-outs of Gotham, but still keeping her eyes out for anything shiny she can get her paws on.
Catwoman has been an integral part of the Batman mythos outside of comics as well, appearing in movies, TV shows, animated series and video games alongside the Bat. Now it seems she’ll be starring alongside Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in the upcoming Gotham City Sirens movie as well.
However, Selina Kyle hasn’t always had such an illustrious career and there are certainly a fair share of moments that DC have tried to brush under the carpet, from dumb origins to forgotten characters…
10. She Had A Sidekick
Kitrina Falcone was the youngest member of the Falcone crime family. Her Uncle Mario (having given up on his once promising plumbing career) made use her natural skills in agility and escape artistry as a mapmaker, noting down weak points in buildings for heists.
Eventually Mario decided that Kitty knew too much and tried to have her killed. She was saved by Catwoman though, who decided to train Kitrina to be a hero.
Kitrina only had a brief career as Catgirl. She tried to help Catwoman take down the crazed murderer The Reaper, but her rebellious nature and impulsiveness caused her to constantly get in the way, doing more harm than good.
Selina tried to convince Katrina that she should give up as Catgirl and go live a normal life instead. At first Kitty refused and ran off with her costume. However, when an attempt to take down her uncle caused her to get shot, she decided to hang up the mantle.
Kitrina left Gotham to go to boarding school, but promised to one day return to being Catgirl. Despite that, she hasn’t been seen since.
9. That Sex Scene
When Catwoman got her own series following the New 52 reboot, DC wanted to start things off with a bang, and boy did they.
In an attempt to appear “mature”, Catwoman #1 threw out character development in favour of gratuitous shots of Selina Kyle in her underwear. In the issue’s climax (heh), Batman and Catwoman get jiggy on the floor of her apartment, whilst still wearing their costumes. It’s an uncomfortable scene, literally, both characters seem to be in some pretty severe spinal discomfort and the detailed artwork only serves to make things more awkward.
The issue was incredibly controversial, not just for the excessive fan service, but for the way that Catwoman seemingly forces herself on Batman, raising eyebrows over the dubious consent of the scene.
When asked about it by Newsarama, writer Judd Winick gave a pretty classic non-answer of “This is a Catwoman for 2011, and my approach to her character and actions reflect someone who lives in our times. And wears a cat suit. And steals. It’s a tale that is part crime story, part mystery and part romance. In that, you will find action, suspense and passion. Each of those qualities, at times, play to their extremes”.
8. She Had Her Mind Wiped
In another earlier attempt by DC to tell darker stories, the miniseries ‘Identity Crisis’ revealed that the villain Dr Light had assaulted Sue Dibny, the wife of Elongated Man. In response, the Justice League had the magician Zatanna wipe his mind and turn him into an ineffectual moron.
In a later story, Catwoman found out that she had undergone a similar process. At the time, Selina had more or less fully reformed and was in a committed relationship with Batman. However, she found out that her turn towards heroism was actually the result of Zatanna wiping her mind years ago at the behest of the Justice League.
The revelation and the doubt over whether she could trust her own emotions caused Catwoman to have a breakdown and she slid back towards villainy. In retaliation, she taped shut Zatanna’s mouth and threw her out a window (she survived the fall).
This return to more brutal methods meant that when the Black Mask later threatened Selina’s sister (who, on a previous occasion, he had forced to eat her own husband’s eyes), Catwoman shot him in the head, killing him.
The story seems to have been abandoned in the New 52 though, with Selina acting as an antihero again of her own free will.
7. She Got Her Butt Kicked By Elektra
In 1996, Marvel and DC both came together to publish DC vs. Marvel Comics (alternatively Marvel vs. DC). The series revolved around two godlike beings from each universe choosing heroes to fight in one-on-one battles to decide whose universe was best (you’ll recognise the plot from “every playground argument ever”).
The issues contained a mixture of predetermined battles, like Aquaman dropping a whale on Namor, and fights decided by reader vote, like Storm realising she can just electrocute Wonder Woman from miles away.
One of the predetermined battles was a face-off between antiheroes Elektra and Catwoman. Now you might think that the outcome of a fight between a kleptomaniac and a lady who kills at least eight people before breakfast would be obvious, and you’d be right. Elektra handily trounced Catwoman, slicing Selina’s whip in half with a sai as she dangled off a building. Catwoman survived the fall by landing in a dumpster full of sand, but was tragically too unconscious to realise the obvious kitty litter joke.
The series led to the creation of the Amalgam Universe, where DC and Marvel heroes were combined. Catwoman and Elektra were merged into Catsai, a master assassin.
6. Her Dumb Origin