Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday CatBlogging: CATWOMAN

In the world of super-heroes, women often get the short end of the stick. For every Wonder Woman there are at least a dozen heroic muscle men. So, when a female character achieves major longevity, one has to bow down. While your *ahem* prone please lick the boots of Batman's vampy 'double' Selina Kyle. She demands it. Where Batman is a hero with a heart encased in darkness, his female counterpart and sparring partner in both love and war is a villain with a heart of gold. There aren't that many of them. I don't know enough about comic history to say for sure... but perhaps she was revolutionary at the time (?) A villain that just wasn't evil.

My earliest memory of Catwoman comes, not from comics, but from watching the ultra campy Batman on television in the 70s. To be honest I was as a little boy far more hooked on Batgirl. I suspect, though, that this preference was due to sheer childhood laziness or attention deficit disorder. You see, if I was not in a TV mood I would turn Batman off if the cutout Batgirl figure had not swung across the screen during the opening animated credits; that was our clue that she would be appearing in the flesh in that episode. No Batgirl in the opening credits meant no Batgirl in the next half hour. It also meant that Natty often ran outside to play. Consequently I'm sure that I missed some choice Catwoman moments.

Yet, despite my erratic viewing of Batman's three seasons I cherished any episode which did feature Catwoman, the slinkiest & kinkiest of Bruce Wayne's rogues gallery. I know that Eartha Kitt's growl justly had legions of fans but for wee little me?--I was all about Julie Newmar's purr.

Catwoman slipped from my consciousness until 1989 when Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton duked it out in Tim Burton's blockbuster revival of Batman. I loved the movie which was visually everywhere that summer... but for its entire running time I wondered when I'd get to see a modern take on my favorite female super-villain. To say that I was excited three years later when my favorite female movie star squeezed into black vinyl and learned how to crack. that. whip is an understatement. I was closer to orgasmic.

To twist a classic Pfeiffer-line from Batman Returns for my own wrap-up purposes here: 'I don't know about you kitten but (when I think of Catwoman) I feel so much yummier' .

purrrfectly pleasurable Catwoman-related links:
Catwoman Changes Her Spots ~a history of divine-feline wear.
Julie Newmar ~for your viewing pleasure. It is pleasurable.
Batman Goes Hollywood~from Comics 101's great 'histories of' series
Hell Here ~ a fansite.
Bio from the "Women of Gotham" site
Morticia's Morgue ~Batgirl & Catwoman, two of my earliest loves.


par3182 said...

i was a sporadic 'batman' watcher too and my most vivid memories are of julie newmar and that seemingly sprayed on costume. in later years, when people mentioned eartha kitt i didn't know what the hell they were talking about - i never saw any of her episodes. i always hope for a julie episode when i stumble across a repeat, but then usually get sidetracked by some fabulous guest star like ethel merman. the things that went over my head as a kid...

darkcypherlad said...


One can't clame you for initially liking Batgirl--Yvonne Craig was so damn cute in her sparkly superhero costume. :)

And as for female superheroes in general, yeah, males ourweighed their feminine counterparts 5-1. For every Black Canary or Invisible Girl, there were a dozen Hulks and Things lurking about. Some interesting "modern" female superheroes include Elektra (forget the horrible Jennifer Garner portrayal), Shadowcat (as I'm sure you know), fellow X-Women Storm, Rogue, and Psylocke, Lady Death, Vampirella, Jessica Jones, Witchblade, and many, many more.

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