Low Point for Women in Comics Reprinted

Catwoman #1 (1993)

Coming this September, a collection of comics best known for big breasts and body paint costumes. Jim Balent’s run on Catwoman is being reprinted.

He started as artist on this series relaunch in 1993, inked by Dick Giordano (although Balent inked his own covers), then Ande Parks and others. The stories were written by Jo Duffy.

It’s kind of fascinating how this book is being promoted. The comic shop copy says:

Catwoman #1 (1993)

Gotham City’s Feline Fatale has turned a new leaf as she faces off with Bane, takes on thugs, and includes Knightquest, Knightsend, and Zero Hour crossovers!

Continuity is emphasized here. But look at what the Amazon blurb says:

Start your collection of Catwoman comics with the epitome of Catwoman artists, Jim Balent.

Jim Balent is the modern architect of Catwoman’s look all the way up until the New 52. His epic run on Catwoman from 1993 to 1999 defined Selina Kyle like never before and solidified her status in the DC Universe.

And, based on this image from issue #1, an early proponent of brokeback posing. That’s sad, to think that this balloon babe is considered an epitome of art.

By comparison, though, women didn’t have much choice for female-led comics. The same month this launched, the only other women-titled comics available from DC were the ever-present Wonder Woman, the second issue of a forgotten Zatanna relaunch, and a pretty good Black Canary comic written by Christopher Priest before he changed his name.

Here’s a few more examples of Balent’s covers in case skin-tight nudity by itself isn’t enough — you can also get kitty with a gun (held high enough to show off her breasts), or our hero scratched and ripped.

Catwoman #4Catwoman #2

Catwoman by Jim Balent Book 1 is $29.99 for the first 15 issues (#1-14, 0) of the series. It is due out September 6 and can be pre-ordered in comic shops with Diamond code JUN17 0399.


  • On top of everything else, calling Balent “the modern architect of Catwoman’s look all the way up until the New 52” is pretty insulting to Darwyn Cooke.

  • David Oakes

    What ever happened to Sarah Byam?

    (I just watched Jody Houser quote Devin Greyson on how breaking into comics is like breaking out of prison, and was realizing we aren’t that far from the day only one woman was allowed to work in comics at a time…)

  • For some context, for those who don’t have David’s memory, Sarah Byam also wrote Black Canary around that time, as well as a good graphic novel called Billi 99. While dragging that review up from the archives, it seems there was going to be a movie made around 2011, but no further word.

  • Jim Kosmicki

    I remember liking the story, but not the art. I eventually left the book because of the art and didn’t come back until the Selina’s Big Score era.

    That Zatanna book was just a mini – not an actual regular series, but it had really good art. I don’t really remember the story, but I remember the art. I also remember that at my LCS, about 3 people bought it, including me.

  • James Schee

    I remember this was one of the early books I liked because the art was different looking than other stuff at DC at the time. I didn’t realize at the time that different didn’t mean good though lol.

    The stories were actually decent to good, and the art finally hit home how creepy it was when they did the Catwoman/Vampierella oneshot and I didn’t feel comfortable reading it in the living room surrounded by family. :)

  • Heather

    I discovered this Catwoman series at the newsstand with #19 (immediately after the 4-issue Catfiles story arc, which is the only part of the series I recall ever getting the graphic novel treatment). I loved it then and I love it now. Balent’s art is beautiful and full of detail – his interior art was always as good as his covers, and you can’t say the same for a lot of comic artists.

    As for Selena’s figure, this series ran during the Bad Girl trend of the mid 90s – Lady Death, Vampirella, Avengelyne, Glory, Darkchylde, and a whole host of scantily-clad, large-breasted female characters filled comic store shelves. Her design reflects the very best work of that time and trend.

    The writing was also good, with adventures that ranged from more traditional confrontations with Batman and/or Robin and stealing shiny valuables to fighting new nemeses like the ninja Hellhound and Cybercat.

    I was never disappointed in a single issue of Balent’s “Catwoman” series, and I am completely delighted that this series is getting long-overdue graphic novel treatment. I will certainly be buying the graphic novel, even though I have the full original run of single issues.

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