espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Like all characters that exist for any extended length of time, Catwoman has undergone a number of changes over the years. I thought that it would be interesting to look at what Selina Kyle was like back in the day, in order to see what's changed about her and what's stayed the same.

Let's Begin.

The story begins with a newspaper article telling how a rich old lady was planning to take her thousands of dollars jewels with her on her cruise, with Dick and Bruce rightly pointing out that such a thing will have every crook for miles taking it as a cue to steal them. Bruce says he's got his own investigation to attend to, so he sends Dick in undercover to see what's what on the ship.

Snooping about, Dick discovers that Denny is constantly borrowing money from his aunt (probably for drugs, if the Room is any indication), and that Mrs Traver's brother Roger has lost a mint on the stock market.

Later, Dick sees Denny unsuccessfully try to throw a bit of paper unsuccessfully into the sea, only for it to blow back on board, where the teen detective quickly snatches it up. The note reads: "Keep your aunt away from her room. Will try then. - the Cat", and, sure enough, Mrs Travers discovers her jewels have been pinched.

She demands that they call the coastguard, who show up within moments. Surprisingly, the coastguard in fact turn out to be gangsters, who coincidentally showed up to rob Travers, who mockingly tells them that someone beat them to it. Not to be put out by this, they decide to just rob the other passengers instead. This leads to Dick getting thrown overboard while trying to tackle one of the robbers, which he uses as an opportunity to change into Robin gear before coming back aboard.

Shortly afterwards, Batman shows up and together he and Dick beat up the bad guys, Bruce giving the sage advice that without guns all crooks are cowards... which I'm sure never lead to any unfortunate incidents along the line. There is however, still the issue of the disappearing jewels. This brings the costumed duo back to the rick folk, who are attempting to hold a costume party to take their minds off the robbery. As you do.

But as soon as Batman gives back the stuff the robbers stole, the fire alarm goes off, and the guest rush to the lifeboats. But as they do so, Batman notices something odd...

And thus ends the first encounter between Selina and Bruce. Eventually Selina dropped the mistress of disguise routine and started wearing actual costumes, the first of which... yeah, wasn't that great.

Between her debut in 1940 and 1954, Catwoman appeared in roughly 19 different stories, not as many as some other Bat villains, but still profilic in her own way. But come 1954, it became almost a dozen years before Selina appeared once more, in 1966's Lois Lane #70 of all places. Why was this?

One blogger
has put forward the idea that it's because Catwoman ran afoul, like so many before her, of the Comics Code Authority. The basic idea behind the code was the fear that comics were somehow responsible for juvenile delinquency, so as a means to stop this the CCA implimented a number of rules regarding how criminals would be portrayed.

General Standards Part A:

1. Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
2. No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.
3. Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
4. If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
5. Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates the desire for emulation.
6. In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.

Naturally by her very nature Catwoman violated numbers 4 and 5 of those terms on a regular basis, which is kind of amusing as all this happened several years after 1950's Batman #62 established that Catwoman was, in fact, an air hostess who became a criminal due to banging her head and getting amnesia, thus making her not responsible for her actions. Yup.

Not really a fan of that retcon personally, as I'm more of a fan of her being a criminal because she's good at it, though at the same not not being a bad person, just having different priorities. Like how in Gotham and the post-Frank Miller comics she grew up poor, which is what fuelled her need to acquire wealth as she understands what it's like experience extreme poverty.

This wasn't really a thing back in the day, but I still like it when I see bits of the modern Selina back in her previous incarnations.

Date: 2015-11-22 04:56 pm (UTC)
reveen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reveen
It's always interesting to me how progressive the really early comics could be with female characters compared to the decades that came after them.

I mean, it's not surprising if you realize how liberal artistic communities really were at the time. It makes me wonder how much of the pressure leading to the Comics Code was also an attempt to quash liberal viewpoints.

Date: 2015-11-22 08:47 pm (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99
Yea, the McCarthy era was not fun.

Date: 2015-11-22 05:32 pm (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (catwoman (sixties))
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
So Robin was the first to tackle Catwoman! :)

Also, Batman letting a crook get away? Nice legs there, Catwoman! ;)

Date: 2015-11-22 06:34 pm (UTC)
xammax: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xammax
Cause that's not happening at all now.

Date: 2015-11-22 06:15 pm (UTC)
mister_terrific: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mister_terrific
Back in BRAVE AND THE BOLD #197, which starred the Earth-2 Batman teaming up with Catwoman to defeat the Scarecrow (and of course falling in love with her), Selena reveals that she went with the whole amnesia ploy to try and escape her past for a new life and clean slate. It's one of my favorite classic Earth-2 stories.

Date: 2015-11-22 10:17 pm (UTC)
dustbunny105: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dustbunny105
Oh, I was about to ask if anyone knew what story that was! Thanks :D

Date: 2015-11-22 09:49 pm (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
"Quiet or Papa spank!"

The Golden Age of Comics, ladies and gentlemen!

Date: 2015-11-23 12:50 am (UTC)
junipepper: (Default)
From: [personal profile] junipepper
"Papa spank." An all-time classic. Also gotta love, "Your offer tempts me." Bet it does, Brucie, I bet it does.

Date: 2015-11-22 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lego_joker
The thing I always remember about GA Catwoman was that she, in her own way, was *more* innocent than any version that came after. Can *you* imagine any modern incarnation of Catwoman begging the Joker to spare Robin's life (even offering to give him the loot!)?

Silver Age Catwoman - and especially '66 Catwoman - in contrast, might've been the most evil take on the character. The Comics Code doesn't take kindly to "moral ambiguity", y'see.

Date: 2015-11-23 04:26 am (UTC)
magus_69: (pic#370600)
From: [personal profile] magus_69
I think that the Timmverse had a similar problem with her. In BtAS, they had her skew way too Light Side, and in the later cartoons with Tim they had her go way too Dark Side. Catwoman is all about moral ambiguity; she's not exactly evil, she's not exactly good, she just walks the line.

For fun, I once thought about what I'd do if I ever got a chance to write Batman. I had a hard time coming up with stories that had Catwoman as the solo antagonist. She's a thief who is really good at what she does, and she usually works alone because she's just that skilled, so there's not a whole lot of reason for Batman to bump into her. I found that, for me, she generally works best as a wild card. She's kind of like Jack Sparrow in that regard: out for herself, switching sides based on her perceived self interest... unless somebody presses one of her buttons. She will let a score go to help someone if that person touches a chord within her. She will also let a score go if someone crosses her, and revenge becomes more important.


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