Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale

This reprint anthology collects nine stories, each one from a different era with a different costume for the character. It’s a shallow way to structure a “best of”-type book, but it’s amusing to see how much clothes make the woman. It’s also interesting to note how her appearances clustered in the 60s, around the time of the TV show, and the 80s, around the time of the movie. Her costumes changed respectively to better match the portrayals in other media. (We should be thankful that Halle Barry’s slashed suit hasn’t been seen in the regular comic title!)

In-between the stories are pinups of the character done by such noted artists as Dave Stevens, Alan Davis, George Pérez, Adam Hughes, and Bruce Timm. It’s immediately obvious how much sexier the long purple dress is compared to the bodysuit, whether spandex or leather.

Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale cover
Catwoman: Nine Lives
of a Feline Fatale
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The stories start with her first appearance as “The Cat” in Batman #1. With crude art, unbelievable coincidences, and shaky lettering, this is of interest only for historical reasons. A 1954 story has the reformed Selina once again taking up a life of crime full of cat puns.

Her return in 1966 in the pages of Lois Lane follows. The Kurt Schaffenberger art is a treat, but the less said about the story, with Lois Lane hypnotized into thinking she’s Catwoman and Superman turned into a cat by magic, the better.

Other 60s stories have Catwoman catching crooks in order to challenge Batgirl for Batman’s attention and opening a “slenderizing salon” for crooks with names like “Sultry Sarah” and “Timid Trixie”. A jump to the 80s shows Batman and Catwoman trying to date — dinner, dancing, drinks — while stopping crime together. This lesser-known story (compared to many of the others included) was a treat to discover, demonstrating a more mature relationship between the two, one with a sense of humor and companionship.

The book concludes with a Jim Balent-drawn story from the cat burglar era; an Adventures-style tale about animal testing; and an example of the current approach reprinted from Catwoman Secret Files. Overall, this volume is an amusing romp through the history of a classic feminine archetype.

One Response to “Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale”

  1. Michael Denton Says:

    The purple dress/green cape Catwoman has always been my favorite costume – the one I grew up with (other than the also fabulous Eartha Kitt/Julie Newmar TV Catwoman). It’s campy, yet fun and sexy and a great counterpoint to Batman’s costume.




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