The woman with nine lives who goes by the name of Catwoman has always fascinated readers and audiences. She works for herself and no-one else, which has made Catwoman one of the most popular comic book characters. For over 70 years she has evolved and adapted to new surroundings and below you will find out what writers really had in store for our favourite feline.
Since her inception in the 1940s, Catwoman has always had a regular slot in the Batman comics, but writers never dreamed she would become as elaborate as the version that we know and love today.
From the very beginning she was known simply as The Cat; never given a name, motive, cause or back story. However, denying Catwoman these characteristics gave writers all the room they needed to develop her story. It was her third appearance when we saw The Cat wearing a mask and causing mischief as a jewel thief, and so Catwoman was born.
As the comics kept on publishing, her antics increased and a relationship between Catwoman and Batman was beginning to grow, with the cheeky crusader even threatening to spank her.
This was until the 50s when Catwoman changed her outlook on life and was portrayed lending a helping hand to the Batman and Robin duo. It was even suggested that Catwoman had married the Dark Knight and had Bruce Wayne’s daughter. However, this reformation was short lived as Catwoman returned to her normal tricks in 1954. In hindsight this was a wrong move for the cat as she soon fell off the radar once she had rejoined forces with known allies Joker, Scarface and Riddler.
It wasn’t until 1966 when Catwoman was once again gracing the pages of DC Comics thanks to Julie Newmar becoming the first Catwoman to have graced our screens in a costume that she designed herself.
FACT: Next in line to play the feline was Lee Meriwether in the 1966 Batman film and then Eartha Kitt in 1967.
However, Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli had different ideas for Catwoman and introduced readers to a re-imagined Selina Kyle in Batman: Year One. This version of the feline criminal was a sleezy one, not like the shy secretary we saw Michelle Pfeiffer portray. Instead, Catwoman was a prostitute in a disguise inspired by Batman’s actions. Possessing skills in martial arts, Catwoman took to the roof tops to become a feline Robin Hood. Her back story was then expanded in Catwoman: My Sister’s Keeper, which provided readers with an insight into her juvenile years as an orphan.
It was 1992 when we saw Catwoman come to the cinema portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. The success of her character in the film sparked an ongoing series the following year, but the book’s sales dropped and it was cancelled in 2001. This however, did not prevent film makers from telling her story.
Don’t worry we won’t mention the horrific Halle Berry Catwoman film; instead, in the latest instalment of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Anne Hathaway stole the show and represents yet another evolving Catwoman; she has of course got nine lives. Nolan said: “We needed to find the balance between the classic image of the character and a believable person you care about. Casting Anne Hathaway in the role was the key to that.”
Audiences have always had a fascination with Catwoman and her alter-ego Selina. She has always adapted well to new surroundings using her skills either in martial arts, sewing (to create her costume) or getting to grips with some new gadgets. The bond that she has with Batman also helps her out, no matter how many times she gets him into trouble.
We predict that this won’t be the last we see of Catwoman.
The history of Catwoman – The evolution of our favourite feline from the 1940s to today has been written by the popular fancy dress costume retailer AFD, who offer customers with a large collection of Catwoman costumes, among many others.
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