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#CoughDidItFirst

October 4, 2017

A Batman/Catwoman Cat-Tales/DC Comics Infographic

Everyone is excited about Bruce’s proposal in Batman 24 and Selina’s answer hitting the comic shops today in Batman 32.  As HQ for what I’m fairly sure is the longest-running Batman/Catwoman series on the web, we here at Cat-Tales are also quite spectacularly excited…   Though it should be noted while others are exclaiming “It’s about damn time,” Cat-Tales readers (and its creator) are more apt to be heard murmuring “Well yes, of course, but… what took you so long?”

Infographic-DC-Comics-CatTales-Batman-Catwoman-Timeline

 

If you’d like to share but don’t like the long, narrow format, there is a landscape version. Enjoy.

Infographic DC-Comics-CatTales-Batman-Catwoman-Timeline (wide)

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Cat-Tales: Mrs. Wayne Will Conclude at a Later Date

June 3, 2020

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Cat-Tales readers are aware the current chapter of Mrs. Wayne began with a flash forward to Gotham burning and hints of civil unrest. The astute may have connected these glimpses to the Joker plot teased in the tale’s opening, the chapter on the GCPD, or to the upcoming trial of Gus Payne captured in a slow-speed chase that evoked O.J. Simpsons and the racial tension of Los Angeles in the ‘90s.

The events of the past week in so many American cities make it monstrously inappropriate to continue where this story is going, not at this time. Better days will come and it will conclude at some point.

In the meantime, we’ll have something new. Perhaps something set before A Girl’s Gotta Protect Her Reputation, perhaps more Untold Tales from Book 2 or 3, maybe an alternate universe.

In the meantime, we have 75 stories that I hope can provide a respite from the challenges we’re all living through.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay sane, and remember, times like these are why we tell stories of heroes.

– Chris Dee

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The Thing to Remember about Bruce Is He’s Trompe L’oeil…

February 13, 2020
“The thing to remember about Bruce,” said one of Bruce Wayne’s oldest friends at a Park Avenue dinner party, “is that he’s trompe l’oeil, his life is crafted to deceive the eye. He created a character that he plays, and the press laps it up.” – Bradford Dormont, Mayfair Magazine

To the world, Bruce and Selina Wayne have been on their honeymoon and now bringing them home requires a protocol.  The kind of protocol Bruce has engineered a thousand times in protecting his identity… but it’s been a while since he did it while Bradford Dormont was in town, eagerly chronicling the lifestyle of Gotham’s elite.  The eerily insightful society scribe has already noticed things about Bruce that Bruce would rather he didn’t.   Will the Dark Knight roll the dice one time too many?  Only time will tell.

A happy by-product of the great Bat-scheme is its showing off Bruce’s killer beach bod.  This aspect of the story returns Cat-Tale to its roots incorporating and commenting upon aspects of the official comic, which appear as tabloid media in the Cat-Tales world, most often the Gotham Post.

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Tom King’s Batman run–which centered on Bruce and Selina’s relationship as much as Cat-Tales–catered to the female gaze more than once, but issues 78 and 79 drawn by Clay Mann (with colors by Tomeu Morey) went above and beyond, leading to a full out media blitz in non-comics publications like Screenrant, Entertainment Weekly and elsewhere.

“It seemed rude not to mention it,” says Cat-Tales author Chris Dee, and then amends: “No, not quite true.  The fact is, if you’re someone like me with a fairly animated Selina in your head, and after 18 odd years, DC actually has someone writing some a batcat romance, and those stories cater to the female gaze to the point where outside media are writing articles about Bruce’s spectacular beach bod, a scene with her reaction has to be written.  Has to.  The Selina in your head will be going friggin’ nuts and that has to be shared with the world.  Also it’s the only way to shut her up.”

Mrs. Wayne Part 4: Trompe L’oeil is available on the main Cat-Tales website at catwoman-cattales.com and the mobile-friendly mirror Cat-Tales.mobi.

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Halloween Reading List #TrickorTreat

October 31, 2019

There’s a lot of Halloween in Gotham, all Gothams, and Cat-Tales is no exception.   We have a lot of doors to knock on, so let’s get started…

halloween-reading-list

The first, Trick or Treat, is an early tale, short and lighthearted as the early stories are–but like the early stories, what often passed unnoticed as a bit of fluff became exponentially significant later on.  Bruce and Selina have not been dating that long in Trick or Treat, and discoveries are still being made–such as Bruce’s devotion to Sherlock Holmes.  The Folklore Museum is having a costume party on Halloween night, but of course so is Jonathan Crane.

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The Gorey-inspired cover by Lady Dien is said to be Chris Dee’s favorite.

Far more macabre, from guest writer Wanders Nowhere is the Batman v. Dracula like no other – and with a significantly higher body count – Capes and Bats.

Is it over?  Whew!  Less blood in this one.  The New Black is not set over Halloween, contains no monsters or deaths by excessive blood loss.  It did drop on October 31, 2006 however, and since it keeps getting passed over for On this day tweets, we wanted to include it.  Bruce Wayne is dating Selina Kyle, Claudia Muffington is with Harvey Dent, beware debutantes at the Iceberg, rogues are becoming the new black.

Finally, Spontaneous Generation, the suspense tale that may cross into horror when Poison Ivy, “going through changes” that seemed like a character arc, stumbled into magic gone sideways in the previous tale and suddenly, inexplicably, found herself transformed.

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Eppur Si Muove

September 21, 2019

The Boat, the Street and What Batman Rebirth Is Really About

(Contains spoilers for Batman 79)

It’s Batman Day, an event I often ignore in the spirit of hard drinkers sitting out New Years Eve, but this year, in light of Batman 79, I am going to break a rule and speak publicly about what Tom King is doing before he’s finished doing it.  Specifically the “We met on a boat”/“We met on the street” debate that’s been inserted into every major event in King’s batcat romance: First Bruce references the boat from the first Catwoman appearance in Batman #1 in 1940, Selina responds with the street, alluding to the 1986 reboot Year One.  Year One is known for introducing a darker, grittier continuity but fewer people grasp the cynical and corrosive nature of its approach which was mistaken for sophisticated mature content at the time.  (That’s not an off-topic aside. Put a pin in it; it will be important later.)

First, as mother said, if you can’t say something nice…  I can be genuinely complimentary about one aspect of this debate’s resolution in Batman 79: The Meta.  Tom King nails meta like a mind honed in counterintelligence; it’s absolutely masterful.  Batman 78, featuring the boat on the opening page, came out first chronologically, in the real world, before 79, just as the 1940’s boat meeting came out decades before Year One.

EppurSiMuove-we-met-on-a-boat-we-met-on-the-street

The Batman/Catwoman first meetings championed by Bruce and Selina are featured on the first pages of Batman 78 and 79, and there’s a rather nifty bit of meta.

Batman 79, out a week later and featuring the street, contains an editor’s note above the street-related conversation, informing readers that this issue occurred before the events of Batman 77, i.e. like Year One it comes out later than other stories chronologically, in the real world, and writers are flicking on Editorial God Mode to say “No, no, it really happened before other things that you’ve already read, ‘cause we can do that.”  That’s rather a nice bit of meta lawyering bullshit to make everybody right “from a certain point of view,” as Obi Wan says.  It is bullshit, but it’s clever bullshit.  So well done, Mr. King.

The resolution of this squabble is also quite brilliant on a meta level.  Bruce acknowledges that the street happened first and explains that’s exactly why it doesn’t count: he was not yet Batman, she was not Catwoman. It wasn’t until the boat when “my truth met your truth.”  Very nice, but that’s not the ultimate destination.  He goes on: “Maybe I’m more (than that truth)…Maybe we can meet again.  Here.  Now.”  And they agree “We met on the beach.”

And that, folks, is what we call Rebirth.  The first meeting in Batman #1, dead.  The Bruce and Selina of Year One, dead.  And “After what’s happened” as Bruce says, rising from the ashes of those dead continuities, something new is born.  This is the new Batman, the new Catwoman and a new “batcat.”  Welcome to 2019.

That concludes the “something nice.”  Now let’s talk about the problem.  This is some beautiful, elegant meta, but an awful lot of people who read comic books cannot see past the crudest and most literal reading of the biggest picture on the page.  What they see is Miller’s appalling vision of Selina on Page 1 as the price of admission to this issue.  You shall not pass into the beautiful episode that contains the consummation of the new batcat partnership without acknowledging/accepting the abomination.  The meta introduces that creature to reject it, but the people in most need of that message are able to see it validated.

And that is a problem because “rebirth” literally means Renaissance.  Do you know why Christopher Nolan’s Bruce and Selina end up in Florence, Italy at the end of The Dark Knight Rises?

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Christopher Nolan’s Bruce and Selina are last seen in Florence, Italy, the cradle of the Renaissance.

Because it’s the cradle of the Renaissance, the Age of LIGHT that follows the Dark Ages.  That’s where you take a Bruce Wayne that has finally evolved past the Gothic nightmare existence he’s been trapped in: a Batman “as sick as the villains he fights,” a Batman operating out of psychosis instead of selflessness, motivated solely by anger and hate not because he wants to prevent other people suffering the way he did, a Batman who fights because he hates the criminal in front of him not because he loves the city behind him, and the mother of all Simon-simple, you-cannot-believe-these-people-thought-they-were-writing-sophisticated-stories-for-adults ideas: “Bruce Wayne is the mask.”  Them’s the Dark Ages, folks.  “Heroes are sick and not noble” is a medieval mind at the cellular level, and calling the reboot REBIRTH says you are moving on from that.

It says you’re moving on from ‘Might makes right’ and ‘Hope is a lie,’ everyone is born in sin, corrupt and corruptible; tomorrow will be no better than today and there is nothing we can do to make it better.  People are no damn good, life is shit and then we die.  In the rain.

And that appears to be exactly what Tom King is setting up.  Batman’s rebirth is bathed in sunlight…

EppurSiMuove-bathed-in-sunlight

…And the Gotham described in these pages and what we’ve seen of the City of Bane encapsulates the Batman universe built on the rock of Frank Miller: “Everyone” sees Gotham as “a flood of chaos,” “a cesspit,” “endless crime waves,” or to use my own phrase: Mordor with street lights.  An absurd level of violence and cruelty for cruelty’s sake that shatters suspension of disbelief in its ludicrous extremes.  And the I-got-mine view of humanity DC has espoused since the Crisis reboot: “So what if people die, if villains ruin their lives. What if they’re all slaves kept in fear… No one gives a damn.”

EppurSiMuove-millersgothamiswhatwefight

… Well, nobody gives a damn except for Green-Shirt Guy, the bat-badass fanboy we all know who thinks it’s awesome that Batman is now a completely homicidal sadistic psychopath.  This is what has taken over Gotham and what Rebirth Bat/Cat are going to fight and reclaim their city from.

Holy shit.

(I mean that. Holy shit.  Tom, if you see this, it would be an honor to buy you a steak dinner and a very, very good scotch for what you’ve laid out here.)

But back to the problem: Rebirth Selina is still stuck with being that creature from the street in her past, and the problem with that is you cannot bring Dark Ages ignorance with you into the Renaissance.  Either you accept that the Earth revolves around the sun—you accept that the Church was wrong, you were taught wrong and everybody you know and admire and wanted to be when you grew up was fucking wrong— or you don’t.  And if you don’t, eppur si muove, it doesn’t change the reality that the Earth does in fact move around the sun and those cynical, fear-based I-got-mine values that have taken over a lot more than Gotham really aren’t working out too well.

The batcat-loving world isn’t going to care, of course.  They got their Bruce/Selina relationship back on track and a maxi series where King’s romance will hold center stage in January 2020.  If they perceive an ideological price, I doubt they’ll give a damn.  Writing Cat-Tales I scratched the itch years ago, so I have some Bat-braincells relatively unaffected by these beautiful pages.  I see what I see.

And I’m truly sorry it’s not a completely unqualified rave, because I believe Tom King is a tremendous writer who takes bold risks and sees them through and shares aspects of himself that few artists dare, and most of the time he does it for an audience that has no idea what’s going on.  King is an extraordinary person and an extraordinary writer. He’s brought that talent and sensibility to Batcat, and that’s unspeakably wonderful.  These two issues are fucking beautiful, and the motifs and melodies of this love song he is composing is, I believe, going to be epoch-making when he’s done.

Happy Batman Day, Tom King, Clay Mann, Jamie Rich and DC Comics.  You’re doing a big thing, maybe not perfectly but you’re doing it damn well.  It takes courage your Bat would be proud of.

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Interesting Times

September 6, 2019

A serial killer is terrorizing Gotham, and when Mrs. Wayne left off, Gordon thought there was finally a break in the case, thanks to Oracle.   As the FBI, GCPD and Batman close in on their prey…

mrs wayne by chris dee part 3 interesting times

Oswald Cobblepot has things to do.  The focus shifts from the manhunt to a simple nightclub owner trying to manage his business while the city is scared stiff.

Mrs. Wayne Part 3: Interesting Times is now available on the main Cat-Tales website and mobile-friendly mirror Cat-Tales.mobi

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The View from One Police Plaza

July 2, 2019

“We got our wedding bells. Now we have to pay for them…
the universe bites back.”

“The Wedding happened. Everyone rejoice. But this is the Bat+Cat wedding.
All hell has to break loose somewhere…”

“Turning a Chaos God sane for the duration was going to have consequences.”

Bruce and Selina began their married life together in chapter 1 of Mrs. Wayne in a uniquely Bat-honeymoon contrived to protect Batman’s identity.  Remaining in Gotham undercover as the jetsetting thieves Tommy Pearl and Colette while Bruce and Selina are off the grid in some remote Scottish castle, Batman is still able to patrol–which is lucky, for in the last moments of the chapter, a dead body appeared and the killings are only beginning.

In Chapter 2, the focus shifts to the 14th Floor of One Police Plaza–i.e. Commissioner Gordon’s office–as we begin a day in the life of Gotham’s Finest which is about to become a lot more.

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Mrs. Wayne Chapter 2: One-PP is now available on the Cat-Tales website and mobile-friendly mirror Cat-Tales.mobi.

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Sorry, Gotham Times, It Was Very Much Meant to Be

June 18, 2019

Cat-Tales readers were rightly confident that when the advertised wedding tale Ever Fixed echoed the ominous New York Times headline that spoiled Tom King’s headfake on a batcat wedding, history would not repeat itself.  The day the Times story broke, Chris Dee tweeted a message that she’d never broken faith with her readers

and that 17 years buys some leeway.  The wedding did come off without too many hitches, but the mystery of that headline was not explained.

The first chapter of the new tale finds the World’s Greatest Detective delving into the case, but he’ll only get so far before a deadlier mystery presents itself.

The murders are only beginning, and Chapter 2 is coming soon.

Cat-Tales 76 Mrs. Wayne

Bruce and Selina begin their married life together, but a killer stalks Gotham in the first post-wedding tale: Cat-Tale 76: Mrs. Wayne

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