Understanding the Character: Catwoman


30 Days of Batman

With The Dark Knight Rises in theaters in just a few weeks I have been assigned to give you all a little back story on the character of Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman.

Selina Kyle was first introduced in 1940 with an alter ego known as “The Cat”. In her first appearance in the comic book, Selina is known as a high stake thief and Batman’s foe. Yet, Batman and Kyle carry on a love-hate relationship throughout the story.

Throughout the years so many changes have been made to the character of Selina Kyle. In 1986 Frank Miller revised the story of Catwoman in Batman: Year One and made Selina a more complex character. Miller’s Kyle works as a prostitute and wants to break away from her abusive pimp after she witnesses him commit many crimes. When her sister is abused, Selina is inspired to study self-defense and martial arts.

In 1989, a limited series of the Catwoman story, based off Miller’s Batman: Year One, was expanded by Mindy Newell. The story explores Selina’s life as a prostitute and the start of her career as Catwoman. The story picks up with her former pimp Stan abducting and abusing her sister. Selina gets her revenge, kills Stan and gets away with it.

From the few plotlines I’ve read about Catwoman, it seems as though the stories above will be incorporated into Nolan’s version of Catwoman.

In 1992, Tim Burton brought his own version of Selina Kyle/Catwoman to the big screen in Batman Returns. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Catwoman as a scorned woman. After being pushed out of a window to fall to her death by her slimy boss, she is brought back to life in a sort of supernatural way by a bunch of alley cats. In the film there’s never a true explanation as to why Selina survives the fall and why she becomes Catwoman. Regardless, Catwoman is out for vengeance. She only attacks those who hurt her and those who hurt other women. Her agenda is revenge and that’s exactly what she gets.

Catwoman is such an amazing character because she’s neither a villain nor a hero. She is a woman out for revenge in every version written about her character. She is a protector and proves that you don’t mess with any woman. I think she’s inspiring and an amazing character.

On July 20th Christopher Nolan will bring his version of Selina Kyle/Catwoman to life in the finale to his Batman series. With the beautiful Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman, the goal was to make sure her Catwoman was different from Michelle Pfieffer’s performance. With rumor that Hathaway’s character will be much like the comic book story above, I believe we will see a completely different version of Catwoman.  I still doubt the casting of Hathaway as Catwoman, but many are saying Nolan’s Catwoman is the best written character in his entire series and will blow audiences away. I’m excited to see whether she can pull off such a vengeful and mysterious character, but I have hope she can.