“For me, Catwoman has always been fun to write. I think it’s because she actually likes her self and enjoys life. That’s so rare in a modern comic book character.”
– Chuck Dixon, Poplitiko
The statement will probably confuse the modern Catwoman fan. Selina fun? A winner who likes herself and enjoys her life? How can this be?
Cat-Tales fans are not confused, and Cat Tales fans can rejoice for that fun, winning, sexy, resourceful Selina that we never gave up is (finally!)making a comeback! Coming this September, DC is releasing the first volume in the collected edition of Jim Balent’s 1990’s Catwoman series. It will include issue 1-14 written by Mary Jo Duffy and issue #0 by Doug Moench who simply the gold standard of Bronze Age Bat/Cat.
Jim Balent remains “the epitome of Catwoman artists” (Amazon), delivering an unapologetically voluptuous feline fatale whose look fits her brazen personal style. Consider the episode from the first story arc, “Life Lines,” which Chris Dee cites in her 2011 Blogtalk interv;ew: Selina infiltrates a wealthy man’s apartment during a party, posing in the dark as his wife fresh from the shower and wrapped in a towel. She gets away with the goodies and gets back into costume just as quickly as she had come (so much for it being impractical) but Chris’s point was the daring nature of the move, the fun – this Catwoman’s essence and appeal is the fun of being bad (and getting away with it). Though before we close the bok on practicality, it’s worth noting that this costume defined it for those who know the meaning of the word rather than using it as code: it was noted that while the rest of Gotham fought a fully-functioning Batman, Selina only had to contend with 1/5th of him.
Writer Jo Duffy catches Selina’s voice perfectly. She catches her good and bad sides, her tenderness and cattiness (and another feature that Cat Tales fans know about, her utter contempt for Azrael, the man who took Bruce’s place – in his view, anyway – when Bane broke his back).
If you’re tired of a Trinity cosplayer with Snoopy goggles being presented as Catwoman, tired of “complexity” (i.e. short hair and small boobs passed off as characterization), or just want to see what was so special about the era when Selina was sexy, sassy, confident and the world’s best cat burglar that fans refused to give her up despite a full court press from her publisher that went on for a decade and a half, you can pre-order here on Amazon, or visit your local comic shop who are apparently unable to preorder for several months yet. Make sure they (and DC) know that we want this.
One final note on what may be a renaissance for the smoking hot, purple kitty: Brazilian pop culture company, Iron Studios, is going to release a gorgeous statue of the stunningly beautiful, purple clad, long haired Selina based on the artwork of long time DC artist, Ivan Reis (famous for his Aquaman run with writer, Geoff Johns).
Models and maquettes have come a long way since Denny O’neil’s day when depictions of the Balent Catwoman were marred by unattractive snarls and poses as if by editorial mandate, but nothing – nothing like this – has been seen for the absolute love that has gone into every angle and detail. This hand-painted, 1/10 scale, 18cm model is simply the sexiest tribute to the purple Selina you can find, and rivals the Tweeterhead Julie Newmar maquettes in my opinion.
Iron Studios full photo album is here. (Unfortunately, how you could go about buying one, I have no idea.)
So… whether it’s actually a sexy, purple, long-haired, cat-burglar Catwoman renaissance, a test balloon or simply a very lucky coincidence, the time is now. Break out your wallets. Vote with your wallets. You know how Selina gets when you make her do it herself.