Posts Tagged ‘batman returns’

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“Maybe we’re entangled particles” Celebrating Couples that Are Meant To Be in the Cat-Tales Gallery

June 25, 2017

“Marry me.”  With those two words on the last panel of Batman 24, Tom King electrified social media as even non-niche publications like USA Today and The Daily Beast carried the story: Batman had at long last proposed to Catwoman.  Most comic shops reported the issue was sold out before it officially went on sale, guaranteeing a second printing which was released last Wednesday.

Cat-Tales, whose Bruce Wayne had delivered that same two-word proposal in Wayne Rises, wanted to salute the occasion and produced a new work reproducing the image with our own characters for the Cat-Tales gallery.*

Marry Me - Batman Proposes to Catwoman

“Marry me”

A Long Time Coming: Batman’s Proposal to Catwoman Makes It Official: This Is DC Comics’ Greatest Relationship proclaimed The Daily Beast, whose Ira Madison III began by quoting Selina in Batman Returns “I would love to live with you in your castle… forever, just like in a fairy tale.”

Batman Returns: Kiss by Romano Molenaar

“Selina… Catwoman is the reason why Tim Burton’s 1992 masterpiece works so well. “

And Cat-Tales is thrilled to announce two pieces by the incomparable Romano Molenaar:  The finished Batman Returns: Kiss seen above, and Catnip, the penciled version that first caught our eye.

In a stunningly romantic touch, King has Bruce propose with the diamond ring Selina tried to steal at their first meeting back in Batman #1. While she wasn’t wearing her classic Golden Age threads at that encounter (she was in disguise, after all,) we know it is the spirit of that true, original Catwoman that captured his heart on day one. Thus, we present DC’s Power Couple by Elena Casagrande:

Batman and Catwoman: Power Couple by Elena Casagrande for Blastoff Comics

Batman and Catwoman: Power Couple by Elena Casagrande

Golden age, Bronze Age, the Batmania of the 1960s, Elseworld after Elseworld and Era after Era, it is always Bruce and Selina.  That was the message in String Theory, where the universal constant is the crucial element unraveling a cosmic crisis.

Bruce and Selina in the batcave "Maybe we're entangled particles"

“Maybe we’re entangled quantum particles”

Tom King’s story continues in The War of Jokes and Riddles, and while we at Cat-Tales do not read the Gotham Post, we will be observing it with Jokes and Riddles Week. 

Riddler and Game Theory at the Iceberg Lounge

Riddler and Game Theory at the Iceberg Lounge

Bruce and Selina may be DC Comics’s ultimate Power Couple, they may be the entangled particles that are meant to be, but they aren’t the only soulmates in Gotham. The lady who began her career as Cognitive Dissonance has certainly won Eddie’s heart and it’s high time she took her rightful place in the gallery.

Jokes and Riddles Week begins Monday, June 26.

*Please note that Chris has received multiple requests for “Marry Me” to be released in the full array of wallpaper sizes and ratios, but it is only available in the one size at this time. Making the full slate of wallpapers is a huge undertaking and if we pursue it, may be weeks or months before anything ready.

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Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas is… Wait, does Barbie come with a latex catsuit?

September 1, 2011

catwoman-selina-kyle-anne-hathaway-princess-little-girls-castles-when-i-grow-up-i-want-to-be-2Goggles aside, Catwoman fans and Cat-Tales fans in particular have three very good reasons to be excited about Anne Hathaway playing Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises. We can’t know what’s in the script, naturally, but there were two recent episodes that lead me to believe that, as far as the actress is concerned, this is a Catwoman we can get behind.

Most of us made the acquaintance of the beautiful 28-year-old actress waaay back in 2001 when she starred opposite Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries. At the time, Anne told Access Hollywood, “a lot of questions that I used to get asked were, ‘So, every girl when she grows up wants to be a princess, did you want to be a princess when you grew you?’ And I so wish I’d said what I felt back then, because the truth was, ‘No, I wanted to be Catwoman!’ And now I am… That dream came true, for sure.”

That’s it. Game. Set. Match.

She wanted to be Catwoman. The way some little girls dream of fairy tale castles, handsome princes, white weddings and My Little Pony (not necessarily in that order), some of us dreamed of being Catwoman. When modern comics have gone off the rails, it’s because they forgot that core truth: we want to be these characters. Look, up in the sky, it’s Superman! You’re a kid, you’re small, you’re weak. Imagine being able to fly! Imagine being strong enough to pick up a train and hurl it like a javelin! We grow up wanting to be these characters.

Ms. Hathaway has clearly not forgotten. “That dream came true, for sure.” So far, so good.

Now obviously there is only so much an actress can do if the material misses the mark. Back when Tim Burton was making Batman Returns, Sean Young was clearly in touch with her childhood dream to be Catwoman. Her stunts to get Burton’s attention got her a ‘crazy actress’ label and no role, but there is perhaps a better insight into the desire we girls have to become that powerful and sexy feline fatale than there is in what actually hit the screen. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Burton’s movies at the time, but his Gotham is, by his own admission “a freak show” and his Batman and Catwoman are the very much product of that era’s comics: damaged freaks that no sane person would want to be. His Catwoman’s power, like so much what comes out of the comics origins, is not a natural part of the woman animal. Selina isn’t simply beautiful and sexy and smart and strong because she is born that way. As if beautiful, witty and savvy women don’t occur in nature, her amazing power to make the Dark Knight… rise must be explained with an origin. It is, invariably, a reaction against oppression, exploitation, or abuse.

We’re getting back to Anne in a minute, I promise.

How exactly does a smart, sexy, witty and talented woman react when she’s been misrepresented in the press? When she is not a damaged psycho that can only snarl and hiss, when she has a sense of humor and a playful instinct for mischief? In Cat-Tales, Selina uses her celebrity as Catwoman to mount an off-Broadway show and uses that spotlight to call out the tabloids about the lies they tell about Batman, about Catwoman, and what really goes on in Gotham after dark.

It’s not exactly the same, but Anne Hathaway recently appeared on Conan and vented her frustrations with the paparazzi – seriously – in a rap in the style of Lil’ Wayne.

anne-hathaway-catwoman-selina-kyle-rapping-paparazzi-on-conanThat’s… Selina!

That’s my Selina. I don’t know what Messers Nolan, Nolan, and Goyer have written for her, but that woman could play the Selina Kyle of Cat-Tales without bothering to act.

Back when the casting was first announced, Christopher Nolan said when we see the movie in 2112, we will understand why Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are perf…

Oh wait, I said three reasons, didn’t I?

Sexy. DC Comics is relaunching their universe today and the writer of their new Catwoman comic apparently used the word “sexy” 40 times in an interview. That shouldn’t surprise anyone outside of the comics world. Catwoman = sexy. Everybody knows that. And let’s face it, what we’ve seen of the zip-up biker chick outfit isn’t. But everything we have seen of Ms Hathaway exudes that confidence and good humor, that energy and vivacity that is the essence of sex appeal. I don’t know about still photos, but seeing her interviews of the past few weeks, I think the lady can be sexy wearing sack cloth.

So, Christopher Nolan said when we see the movie in 2112, we will understand why Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are perfect casting as Catwoman and Bane. In the former case, he is 11 months ahead of schedule.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

catwoman-selina-kyle-anne-hathaway-princess-little-girls-castles-when-i-grow-up-i-want-to-be

Article first published as Santa, All I Want for Christmas is… Wait, does Barbie come with a latex catsuit? on Blogcritics.

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Catwoman and Cleopatra: Inkblots of an Age

April 25, 2011

After Practical Cats, a reader asked me to summarize my Cleopatra theory as it pertains to Catwoman.  With shooting under way onCatwoman Inkblot The Dark Knight Rises, and Batman circles abuzz with speculation on what Christopher Nolan’s take will be, it seemed the perfect time.

Briefly: Cleopatra lived and died over 2,000 years ago, and what’s known about her life hasn’t changed.  There is the sensational Roman account, juicy but questionable material dating from a propaganda war with Augustus Caesar, and a drier but more flattering picture of her political accomplishments recorded by the historian Flavius Josephus.  That’s it.  It’s not like any new unauthorized biographies were unearthed in the 1300s, 1500s, or 1800s to account for the drastically differing images of her.  There is only one set of facts from which different ages have formed completely different Cleopatras: from “The Nile Slut” to a childlike innocent, from a murderous man-eater to a savvy politician, from a devoted mother to a tragic “slave to love.”   Obviously, they can’t all be right.  Obviously, what each era chooses to focus on—and what it chooses to ignore—says more about them than it does the real Cleopatra.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s fascinating Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions does a remarkable job analyzing each of these incarnations and what they reveal about the eras which romanticized and vilified her.  Not surprisingly, it is the spin each age puts on the sexual aspects of her story that is most telling about their attitudes about women in general, and women’s sexuality in particular.   

Cleopatra and CatwomanLike Cleopatra, Catwoman is a sex symbol who has spanned many generations and gone through many incarnations.  From her first appearance in Batman #1, the draw between male and female has always been the distinguishing feature of Bat/Cat encounters.  Tame and subtextual under the early comics code: Batman saw through Catwoman’s disguise in that first appearance by noticing her shapely legs. Amusingly brazen by the time Julie Newmar donned her claws and Adam West’s Batman declared “You give me curious stirrings in my utility belt.”   Of course there is more to Catwoman’s appeal that the physical.  You can’t throw a batarang in mainstream comics without hitting a beautiful and voluptuous woman.  What made Catwoman particularly well-suited to the role as the Batman’s romantic foil was her playful free-spirited disposition.  In an era that was finally acknowledging that sex is fun, the Bat/Cat titillation reached its zenith in Batman #324 when Selina awoke naked in the Batcave after her costume had been torn to pieces.  Batman tosses her a replacement saying she was lucky he’d kept one of her old costumes in his trophy room, and she responds—just barely covering herself with the sheet—that she “got lucky in more ways than one.”

Approved by the Comics Code.  And that’s probably what made it so much fun: the tingle of being bad, of getting away with something a little naughty.  It is the appeal of Catwoman, and in scenes like that, the reader got a taste.

And therein lies one of the essential elements of a successful Catwoman portrayal that has often eluded DC Comics.  A simple comparison of the merchandise dating from Denny O’Neil’s day as Bat editor, where it seemed to be a mandate that her features be distorted by a hostile snarl, to the turning point when a Japanese company, Yamoto Toys, released a limited edition figurine based on manga artist Kia Asamiya’s design.  The sexy come hither pose and naughty grin sold out in days in many U.S. comic shops and was voted The Sexiest Batman-related Action Figure by Wizard’s ToyFare Magazine.  After a second equally successful figurine from Yamoto, again featuring the Jim Balent costume with an appealing pose and smile, DC appears to have got the message.  Recent offerings of the Balent costume from DC Direct have certainly featured an attractive pose and naughty grin.

Catwoman Merchandise, Action Figures and Figurines

But the detour into snarling hostility illustrates how, like Cleopatra, Catwoman has undergone reinvention after reinvention reflecting the insights, fetishes or fears of those doing the re-imaging.  Consider her Bob Kane origin from “The Secret Life of Catwoman,” an airline stewardess who suffered amnesia after a plane crash.  (Yes, amnesia. It’s a comic book.)  In the 1940s and 50s, stewardesses were incredibly glamorous figures.  Beautiful, svelt single girls, traveling the world, meeting exciting people and working side-by-side with pilots!  It is in this story that Catwoman’s real name is revealed to be Selina Kyle.  Selina meaning “daughter of the moon.”  Kane clearly gave his Catwoman a glamorous and romantic cache befitting her status as the Queen of the Night in Batman’s world.  This Catwoman, despite her criminal activities, was far from evil.  She bargained away loot to save Robin from Joker, and on regaining her memory, worked with Batman to bring down a crime boss and ultimately her own criminal brother.

The next origin revealed that the amnesia story was a lie.  Selina Kyle had been married to a rich man who beat her.  When she left him, he tried to ruin her.  Her first robbery was stealing back the jewelry he’d given her and, titillated by the thrill, she continued.  The attitudes expressed by this version of Catwoman are not at all difficult to decode, for the author puts it right in the text: Selina tells Batman she made up the amnesia story to get out of the life of crime because  “I was thirty years old and I didn’t want to die without love… without children.”  That Selina does marry Bruce Wayne and has a child with him: Helena Wayne.  While modern sensibilities may kneejerk at the notion that every woman must pang for motherhood, I submit that the root idea that all humans, both men and women, want love is a timeless and valid one.

Things took a bit of a turn when the in-your-face feminism of the Sixties sent the comics boys into a tizzy.  Consider the mentality of a writer who had the Green Lantern’s girlfriend become evil Star Sapphire for 5 days each month.  How does such a man respond to images on the news of women shouting for equality and burning their bras?  Well, Catwoman donned go-go boots and snarled about “The Battle of the Sexes” and how “No man would ever tame her,” and that same writer gave Batman a new enemy/love interest, a submissive Asian who “was good company even when she was quiet.

Yeah.  Seriously.  Amazing, isn’t it?

The Catwoman of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns is of a period that lost the most fundamental “Look, up in the sky” aspect of superhero comics: the wish fulfillment of a child, the adventures of characters we would all want to be if we could.  To fly, to be strong, to swing across the city on a silken Batline, to have exciting adventures in a world of larger than life color…  In the spirit of remaking all the known characters as damaged human beings that no sane person would ever want to be, Selina was a meek, repressed, overworked secretary whose boss killed her.  All of her ‘empowerment’ was a reaction to oppression and victimization, but it should be noted that this is not really a gender attitude.  The men in Burton’s world fare no better.

Of Frank Miller’s Year One and subsequent comics based on its Catwoman origin, all that any enlightened reader need do is look at the body of Miller’s work.  The sheer number of prostitutes, rapes and castrations paint a vivid portrait of the man doing the writing and his attitudes, but just in case anyone doubts, Rob Bricken has taken the trouble to map it all out in 6 Hints that Frank Miller Might Have Issues with Women.   What all this says about Miller is – well, it’s Miller.  It doesn’t have to represent the rest of us.  We don’t have to be the generation that was so terrified of women’s sexuality they had to demonize it.  It was DC who let this guy with obvious issues about women’s sexuality define a woman’s icon.  It is DC Comics who refuses to remedy or even admit that error.  It falls to other media to do so.

Mr. Nolan, I’m looking at you.  The 21st Century is eagerly waiting to see what “Our” Catwoman will be.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com

Article first published as Catwoman and Cleopatra: Inkblots of an Age on Blogcritics.

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