Posts Tagged ‘costume’


Oh Photoshop, is there nothing you can’t do?

April 11, 2012

So, my good friends over at Gotham Trending were the first to post this semi-yummy new promo pic of The Dark Knight Rises Catwoman.  the-dark-knight-rises-catwoman

Unlike last year’s set photos, this is a “Promo Pic,” a provocative pose, nice lighting on the tush, lots of detail on the costume, and as they pointed out over at GT, it seems intended for all of us to get busy making up our own artwork.

Rather than simply plop it against a Gotham backdrop, I decided… Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Last year, while Anne Hathaway’s stunt double was on a motorcycle playing chicken with an IMAX camera that should have known better, some of us who weren’t wincing for the poor camera man noticed she was wearing the Jim Balent thigh boots.  Since we see now that she’s got the long gloves to match, there really was just one thing missing to make her a proper Catwoman fit to make The Dark Knight, er, rise.


The Dark Knight Rises Catwoman - New and Improved



Selina Kyle the Fashionista Returns, this time on the set of The Dark Knight Rises, and the Final Word on the Catwoman Costume Controversy from none other than Christian Bale

September 14, 2011

Selina Kyle: Fashionista Under the Mask has to be one of the most surprise-popular entries in this blog.  I only made that particular fashion spread because there was some disappointment with Selina dressed so casually on the cover of A Girl’s Gotta Protect Her Reputation (although to be fair, backstage and out of costume is a place for t-shirt and jeans… maybe one of these days I’ll add her show jacket.)  Anyway, looking at the popularity of those pictures and the upsurge in readers on stories mentioned where Selina’s wearing Chanel or the Dior Red Goddess #6*, it’s obvious there is a real desire for the classy Selina Kyle, who has been missing from non-Cat-Tales Catwoman appearances for far too long.

Which brings us to The Dark Knight Rises and these wonderful pictures of Anne Hathaway’s Selina, dressed to the nines for day and evening.

Selina Kyle, Fashionista, Sexy and Classy in The Dark Knight RisesSelina Kyle, Fashionista, Displaying her very sexy legs in The Dark Knight RisesSelina Kyle, Fashionista, Sexy and Classy in The Dark Knight Rises

In the words of the gal who sent me these, and believe me she speaks for all women :  I WANT THAT SUIT!  I know you guys will be more interested in that hailing a taxi long-shot that shows off Selina’s famously sexy legs, but I really wanted to include that OOC shot with the jacket off so you could see the beautiful lines of the sleeveless dress underneath.

Of course for evening, you want something more formal.

Selina Kyle, Fasionista, Elegant and classy in an evening gown, The Dark Knight Rises


The Catwoman Costume Controversy is ended thanks to Christian Bale, Batman and Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises. "Cape is not practical."Now, before we leave the set of The Dark Knight Rises and the subject of how Selina Kyle is dressed, I have some sad news for the goggles-are-practical crowd.  It is, quite simply, the final word on the Catwoman Costume Controversy, and it comes from none other than the Batman himself, starring as Bruce Wayne in all three Chris Nolan Dark Knight epics, Academy Award winner and my favorite human: Christian Bale.

“Let me say whichever superhero first came up with the idea of wearing a cape, he wasn’t really onto anything good. The number of times I’m treading on that damn thing or I throw a punch and it ends up covering my whole head. It’s really not practical.

That’s it, guys. Game over.  Either you must now get rid of Batman’s cape, or you have to come with some other reason you want Catwoman to wear Snoopy the Dog’s goggles, subverting the whole notion of what a mask is and how it works, while making her look like a bee.  Good luck with that.

The rest of you get some art:

The Catwoman Costume Question has been settled thanks to Christian Bale, Batman/Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises.   "The Cape is not practical."

Click for full-size (i.e. legible) image

And finally, for anyone who is still taking the whole thing too seriously, despite the send-up of Selina ranting against the Post-goggles in the last tale, you can now revisit the classic Clayface-as-Selina scene in print or ebook form.  Cat-Tales: Comedy of Errors is now available for download in print-quality PDF, Kindle/Mobi, and Epub the universal ebook format.  Enjoy.

*No, seriously, more people are currently asking which tales have the fashion plot points than which stories contain the suggestive Batman-Catwoman stuff.  *looks around, concerned* This is still the internet, isn’t it?

Chris Dee


The Dressing of Cats is a serious matter…

January 21, 2011

So it’s to be Catwoman and Bane in Dark Knight Rises… Meow!The Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes #1 Anne Hathaway

I haven’t put forth any opinion on Anne Hathaway simply because I know enough about actors to know what I don’t know. If it’s a bad actor (Katie Holmes) you can see a train wreck coming without knowing any particulars of the role. In all other cases, none of us out here have seen enough of most actors to know what they are capable of. You watch Mr. Mom, you would never dream Michael Keaton could play Bruce Wayne. You watch The Doors, you would never that dream Val Kilmer couldn’t. So good luck, Anne! I have already mentioned the je nes se qua of Selina, as I see her, is best seen in Jennifer Ehle’s Eliza Bennet. She is about 120% more alive than the rest of us, there is a core of fun, joy, and good humor that makes a perfect foil to the dour intensity of Mr. Darcy…

Now, performance aside, there has been a certain concern raised about her “Complexity” – non comics folks, let me explain. There is a particular idiocy among a certain subset of comics readers that think cup size is inversely proportional to a complex and sophisticated portrayal of the character. A curvy and bouncy Catwoman that men enjoy looking at can’t possibly be a serious, realistic and complex treatment of the character, because of course, big breasted women don’t exist in nature. Fear not, fellas. What you saw in The Devil Wear’s Prada is creative costuming. Anne Hathaway is plenty lacking in complexity.

So, that’s Anne. The first thing most of my male friends and readers brought up immediately after hearing the casting was – no surprise here– the costume. I can certainly appreciate the desire to start forming that mental picture asap, and since it’s going to be quite a while until we learn anything about the production, let’s have a little survey of Catwoman’s looks over the years.

As all Cat Fans know, Selina made her debut way back in Batman #1 as an uncostumed jewel thief known as The Cat. She was modeled after sex-goddess of the day, Hedy Lamarr, looked smashing in an evening gown, and the first thing Batman noticed was her very shapely legs. Her first “costume”consisted only of a full face furry cat-mask, which wasn’t exactly flattering.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - The Cat

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - ClassicAlmost immediately she moved to the Classic Skirted Costume which is most familiar to modern fans from The Brave and the Bold cartoon. It is easily her most enduring look, having been the original costume in the 40s, returning in the 70s and remaining unchanged right up until Crisis on Infinite Earths, returning in numerous Elseworlds and other comic appearances since, and now in the Brave and the Bold and its related games and merchandise.

Now that’s the 4-color world. Up until Batman Returns in 1992, her best known look to non-comics fans was certainly Julie Newmar’s from the 1966 series, which the comics promptly copied, changing only the color.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Julie Newmar

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Go Go BootsIn comics, the “Go Go Boots” look came next. It seems to be universally known as the Go Go Boots Catwoman despite the fact that the ’60s hair and domino mask version is actually wearing the low ankle boot more often associated with the Classic Skirted Costume. Go figure. In any case, like all bad hair and clothing choices of that period, it was quickly changed and forgotten – a lesson the present comics could learn from, god knows. Admit it was the quaaludes, change it back, and move on.

But back to Julie. I always say that a lot of boys became men watching her in that black catsuit, and in 1992 history repeated itself with Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. The influence of the ’66 look can easily be seen, and the ’92 was in turn inspiration for Dolce and Gabbana interpretation in Vogue.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Iconic Body

That bring us, at long last, to the Jim Balent, the iconic look released on the cover of Catwoman #1. This costume drew upon the Classic Skirted Original, obviously, updating it for a more modern flavor while retaining all that connected Catwoman to her Bob Kane, Batman #1 roots.

Definitive History of Catwoman - Jim Balent

Batman the Animated Series wisely adapted it, opting (foolishly, IMO) to recolor for their Gotham palette which erred on the side of black.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Jim LeeThat brings us up to a present rife with mistakes. The less said of the Halle Berry disaster, the better. The movie was a mistake from start to finish, but more than a few industry watchers have observed that the multi-million dollar fustercluck could have been avoided if DC had admitted the disaster of their Volume II comic. If you put Catwoman on the cover – or the title of a movie – and you do not deliver a Catwoman story or the true Catwoman character within, then you will fail. The Darwyn Cooke goggled costume is a warning sign (Arkham City game designers, take note!) It means “This ain’t Catwoman.” It means you have been taking notes from the comics division which failed because it rejected, ignored, or tried to rewrite the DNA of the character and failed accordingly. Goggles mean you have probably got it wrong. You’re starting with two strikes against you. Even if the look were feline and attractive, you would not want that.

But it’s not feline. It’s based on Aviator Snoopy. I like Charlie Brown, don’t get me wrong. And I like his dog. But Snoopy the dog has nothing to do with Catwoman. So there’s that.

There is also the fact that they look markedly unattractive and bee-like. Jim Lee is the only artist on record who can make them kinda-sorta not nauseating, and he a) had scenes like this to work with, b) got them off her face every chance he could and c) is Jim Lee. Let’s face it, most of you aren’t. Nuff said about the goggles.

What the Nolan movie will do? We’ll have to wait and see, but there is a rich history to draw from. It should be fun seeing what they come up with.

Oops, almost forgot the Cat-Tales news!  A new tale has begun! Trophies from the Latin tropaeum, a prize, memento, or monument to an enemy’s defeat. Of course in the Batcave, it might mean something else.   We’re also just days away from a lifting that “Beta” tag on the iPhone front end, and making the catverse much more accessible to mobile readers (Yes, that means you Android and Windows Phone people too.)

Chris Dee

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.


Cupsize is not Characterization

November 15, 2010

I’m pretty sure the most popular entry in this blog is the one from late April: Women Lacking Complexity—For SCIENCE! about blogger Jen McCreight’s initiative Boob Quake.  Wow, who would have thought it?  The most popular blog was about tits.

Yes, there are two big issues looming when it comes to women and comics. Seriously, that’s not a rhetorical flourish, there are two. Let’s deal with the D-cups first, because there is a reason they go on the cover: Men like breasts.  A couple months ago, Warner Bros posted screencaps to Arkham City, the sequel to the Arkham Asylum computer game.

The gullible souls who bought into the Brubaker/Cooke scam and continue to believe that flat-chested and short hair are the hallmarks of a dynamic empowered woman started frothing at the mouth: Look at those breasts!  How can it be!  It is the goggle-whore costume we have all been trained to defend as practical no matter how nonsensical the word is as applied to any costume in any comic including the one this displaced.  It is black and not purple, she has no long flowing hair cascading luxuriously out the back of her cowl, how can she have breasts that can be seen without special lenses?! It does not compute.  The horror, the horror!  How dare they defame the good name of Catwoman by giving her a body men will enjoy looking at!

I really had hoped the Iranian cleric that started the whole Boob Quake thing would have woken those silly women up. Because if you buy into the idea that boobs are bad and there is something wrong with men who like them, then you’re standing with Fahas Ahardtime Acceptinghalfthehumanrace-majad.  That doesn’t strike me as very enlightened or feminist, ladies, but hey, you don’t see the problem with the whore/stripper/ambiguous street trash origin, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

For those who aren’t irrevocably committed to the doctrine of Men Suck, let’s briefly revisit why the male of the species like the breasts. I’m sorry Notting Hill fans, there is an actual reason and it’s not “because they’re stupid.” It’s because we’re primates. For a long, long, long, long time, the male approaching a female for mating purposes is looking at a rump. Now fast forward a few million years.  We’re all walking upright. What in the general vicinity of the new eyelevel looks like that? There’s nothing perverse about it. Men are hardwired to notice cleavage. Put it on the cover, they’ll notice your cover. That’s not an automatic sale, but it gets their attention. What you do then is up to you.

Which brings us to the second issue when it comes to women in comics: who they are as opposed to how they look.  Let’s start with a quote from a creative writing forum, which was sent to me after the recent blog on Fridging:

“As it was explained to me by a comics professional years ago at a convention panel on the topic, the vast majority of comic writers are men who simply don’t understand women. Since they don’t understand women (and earn more by churning out stories as quickly as possible), they save time by reducing women to cliched roles as either the girlfriend or the victim.”

I include the elaborate provenance – that this is something told to a reader in a con/panel situation—because there is always the possibility that it is simply not true. That it was given in the context of “Look, we don’t serve up all these rapes and murders because we’re sad little trolls who can only feel like men by bringing down women.”  If that was the tone of the panel, then this could have been presented as a simple expedient.  Rather than debating if there is any palpable difference between murder of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis and the murder of Duncan in the Scottish play, the above quote diffuses the situation quickly without controversy by playing into the widely held preconception of comics writers as arrested adolescents.

The irony is if that’s true and not an invented excuse, it’s completely unacceptable.  Women are 53% of the population.  You can’t be a professional writer in any medium and “simply not understand” half the human race. You’re going to embarrass yourself, embarrass the idiots who hired you, and you’re going to fail—over and over and over.  So let’s cut these guys a break and reveal the key to writing the kind of female characters that the entire audience will love.  Then everybody will be able do it and that removes “I don’t understand lumpy people” as an excuse.  The following has been said elsewhere, but never as well as by the late Harold Ashman:

“In every classic musical, one of the first three songs belongs to the heroine.  She comes downstage, often sits on a convenient planter or bale of hay, and sings about what she wants from her life.  And the audience falls in love with her… and they spend the next three acts rooting for her to get it.”

It is, honest to god, that simple.  And that complex.  Start with what she wants.  If Cattitude succeeds where other Catwoman origins have failed, it is because it is grounded in what Selina wants from stealing: a restoration of the love and safety she felt as a child, which she came to associate with the wealth and comfort she knew in her parents’ home.  I cannot accept that the ability to pee standing up somehow short-circuits the ability to understand that simple human motivation.  What we want is seldom a function of gender.  The best art and jewel thief in the world comes from privilege and not poverty because the root associations make sense.  If any man wants to step up and explain what in his anatomy screws up his comprehension of something that shampoo simple, I would be fascinated to hear it.

Food, shelter, love, freedom, a sense of self-worth.  None of them have anything to do with reproductive plumbing.  If you “simply don’t’ understand” women, then you simply don’t understand people and if that’s the case, you have no business writing at all.

Now, if you don’t get a particular subset, join the club!  Twilight fans, the gals who take the Sex and the City bus tour, the Real Housewives of anywhere… Don’t ask me, fellas, I’m as confused as you are.

Chris Dee

Originally posted with the title ( . )( . ) for humor.  Edited to the descriptive headline for happier indexing.  Sorry, Google.


A Tale of Two Press Releases

July 6, 2010

Last week saw some big news from both comics giants. Let’s compare, shall we?

Marvel is forming a TV division to develop its properties into live action and animated offerings for that enormous television audience. They named Uncle Jeph (that’s Jeph Smallville-Lost-Heroes-The Long Halloween-Hush Loeb to the uninitiated) to head it. Back when Disney first bought Marvel, I said “Now we got us a fair fight.” I meant that Disney had the synergy of a multi-national corporation that has its fingers in many, many pies, a depth and breadth that Marvel lacked, and a knack for getting all those diverse operations working together to make the most of their properties. I know some of us wrinkle our noses when we hear our beloved characters described as “assets” or “properties,” but honestly, as a fan as well as a stockholder, I am all in favor of Disney’s efforts to get every dime they can out of every character they own. A higher ROI for me as a stockholder means MORE STUFF for me as a fan. It really is a win-win if the company knows what it’s doing.

And this is where I planned a contrast with Time Warner, which has that diversity in terms of the divisions listed in its balance sheet: there’s a movie studio and television as well as music and publishing, even if some are on life support.  But they’ve never been able to get it all working together very effectively. Even after Martha Stewart gave them a humiliating billion dollar tutorial on the process, they just don’t get the click going: strip the old science fiction series that had a cult following, build a new audience for new merch and a season-by-season DVD release, soundtrack, new novels, games, and then potentially a new series or feature film. As I said, that’s the compare and contrast I had planned, until *koff* the Amazon made her appearance. Thursday, DC announced their plan to give Wonder Woman a new origin and costume. They announced in the mainstream media, which is usually an indicator that they know their readership is long gone and they have to venture out into the world beyond Wizard, CBR and IGN to get a message through. (c.f. previous week’s Superman article in USA Today.)

It’s not the nature of the Diana news that interests me, however. Like West Wing’s Bruno Gianelli, I only have so much RAM in my head. I have to prioritize. I have to throw some things overboard. One of the things I’ve chosen not to care about is whether or not Diana of Themyscryra gets a new outfit. The thing about this episode that did get my attention was the contrast with Disney/Marvel’s announcement in, well… scope.  The latter is moving with a sure hand into new waters where movies, video games and even theme park attractions feed into each other, creating a capital-F Franchise that is more than the sum of its parts.  And the reactions to the news are a beautiful illustration of reaping what you sow: “OMG, he wrote Teen Wolf? I didn’t know that!” and “Wasn’t Heroes great! Remember those viewing parties we had? Did you know Tim Sale did the paintings for that show?” “Long Halloween was the best  comic I have ever read in my life. 10 years later, it’s not dated either.”

Meanwhile DC is creating this tempest tiara in a teapot, working a shrinking readerbase into a lather over a “controversial” new costume. The only people bothering to fight over this are that 1% of 1% of 1% that didn’t write this guys off by 2007. And in contrast to the Jeph news, reactions include the phrases “latest atrocity” “You read it for me, I’m afraid to look,” and “Oh good God, what are they doing now?” Says to me that 1% of 1% of 1% who haven’t jumped ship aren’t exactly enthusiastic. Is it possible the only reason they haven’t jumped is they don’t know how to swim?

Maybe it’s not a fair comparison. I would probably be the first taking the new regime to task if they tried moving forward without setting their house in order first. There are too many sins unadmitted and unatoned, so much so that if a typo slips into one of these articles: “Superman is Daily Planet reporter Bark Kent” everyone’s first assumption is that they’re replacing Clark in a new campaign to stick it to the old school fans. That is a problem that should probably be addressed before trying to weave the comics into the movies, cartoons, and gaming worlds where these characters thrive. But they better do it fast because Jeph is getting a head start, and history has shown us when he comes out of the gate strong, there’s no stopping him.

Chris Dee

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.



April 26, 2010

Forum regulars know I’m a big fan of The Daily Show. One of the most memorable incidents from the George W. Bush administration involved… well, you know what, a text description really cannot do it justice. Let’s go to the tape:

Childrens Do Learn

Now then…

Darwyn Cooke knew and admitted his Catwoman was crap


Chris Dee


The week in… Screw it. A love letter to Jim Lee

April 12, 2010

Two insanely busy weeks down, one to go. Yet despite a lot of real life demands, it was a gratifyingly productive week for Cat-Tales – for everything except the actual writing, that is. Construction is finished on the TBA, edits completed on several chapters of War of the Poses, and a number of those pesky support services that keep the web extras operating have all been attended to. As for the writing, well, officially, that resumes next week. My friend and client’s book release is Friday, so on paper at least, these next five days are on stand-by for him… That’s not to say writing does not occur. I don’t know how it is for other people, but the characters in my head tend to start without me sometimes. They have in this case. While I didn’t technically do any writing this past week, they did. It isn’t written down, but they have several story developments all arranged to their liking. We’ll just have to see if it’s workable or if it’s another one of Joker’s “Rainy Sunday Fun! All the hamsters out of the microwave” ideas.

In other news, not Cat-Tales specific but, well let’s call it Cat-Tales adjacent, Jim Lee got one of the first iPad off the assembly line. And just look at one of the first things he drew with it:

iPad quick sketches by *jimlee00 on deviantART
Yes, okay, I know, goggles. But hey, this is Jim Lee, as in the man behind the Hush rooftop clinch, the image immortalized in CT 28: Awkward Pauses, the image about which Selina, glorying in her Post doppleganger’s purple tint, stated “It’s not real, it’s Photoshop. That means if it’s purple, that’s because somebody made it purple.” Jim is the man who made it purple, and for that he will always have my love. Here,of course, it’s more than a vague “are my eyes deceiving me” tint. So, y’know, progress. That said, Jim, I love you. I love how you clearly love Selina. It comes out when you draw her. You can’t hide it. What I say now comes from that place of artist love: Lose the goggles. As Selina has also stated, it’s not just how they look, it’s what they mean. You make those awful things based on a goddamn cartoon DOG look as good as they can, but even you cannot make them look feline rather than bee-like. And even you, you wonderful man, cannot change what they represent.

That said, thank you for the purple, then and now.

Chris Dee

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.

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