- For other uses, see Catwoman (Disambiguation)
|Real name:||Selina Kyle|
|First Appearance:||Batman #1 (Spring 1940)|
|Created by:|| Bob Kane|
|Affiliations:|| Batman Family|
Justice League of America
Birds of Prey
Secret Society of Super Villains
|Abilities:|| Peak athlete|
Steel spring-loaded climbing pitons
Razor-sharp retractable claws
Wields an assortment of bullwhips and cat o' nine tails as gymnastic equipment
|Portrayed by:|| Julie Newmar|
Adrienne Barbeau (voice)
Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise and created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Currently portrayed as an orphan who learned to survive on Gotham City's streets, Selina took to thievery to survive... but determined to do it in style, she learned martial arts and trained extensively to perfect her skills in cat burglary. Her criminal activities are often tempered by a reluctant altruism, making her an inconstant villain and occasional ally to Batman. She regularly eludes capture by the Dark Knight and maintains a complicated, adversarial relationship with Batman that frequently turns flirtatious and occasionally, legitimately romantic. She's one of Batman's best known loves.
The original and most widely known Catwoman, Selina Kyle, first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) in which she was known as The Cat. As an adversary of Batman, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high stake thefts. Modern writers have attributed her activities and costumed identity as a response to a history of abuse.
Since the 1990s, Catwoman has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an anti-heroine rather than a supervillainess. The character has been one of Batman's most enduring love interests.
A popular figure, Catwoman has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992's popular film Batman Returns. Halle Berry starred in a stand-alone Catwoman film in 2004, though the film features a title character bearing little resemblance to the comic book character. Anne Hathaway portrayed the character in the third installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Catwoman is #51 on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list, #11 on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time" list, and #20 on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes".
There have been many versions of Catwoman's origins and back story seen in the comic books over the decades.
Golden and Silver Age versions
Batman #62 revealed that Catwoman (after a blow to the head jogged her memory) is an amnesiac flight attendant who had turned to crime after suffering a prior blow to the head during a plane crash she survived (although in the final issue of The Brave and the Bold, she admits that she made up the amnesia story because she wanted a way out of the past life of crime). She winds up reforming and stays on the straight and narrow for several years, helping out Batman in Batman #65 and #69, until Selina decides to return to a life of crime in Detective Comics #203. Selina appears again as a criminal in Batman #84 and Detective Comics #211, her final appearance for many years (until 1966).
In the 1970s comics, a series of stories taking place on Earth-Two (the parallel Earth that was retroactively declared as the home of DC's Golden Age characters) reveal that on that world, Selina reformed in the 1950s (after the events of Batman #69) and had married Bruce Wayne; soon afterwards, she gave birth to the couple's only child, Helena Wayne (the Huntress). In The Brave and the Bold #197, the Golden Age origin of Catwoman given in Batman #62 is elaborated on, after Selina revealed that she never actually had amnesia. It was revealed that Selina Kyle had been the wife of an abusive man, and eventually decided to leave her husband. However, her husband had kept her jewelry in his private vault, and she had to break into it to retrieve the jewelry. Selina enjoyed this experience so much she decided to become a professional costumed cat burglar, and thus began a career that would repeatedly lead to her encountering the Batman.The Earth-Two/Golden Age Selina Kyle eventually dies in the late 1970s after being blackmailed by a criminal into going into action again as Catwoman (as shown in DC Super-Stars #17).
Catwoman's first Silver Age appearance was in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #70 (November 1966); afterwards, she continued to make appearances across the various Batman comics.
Several stories in the 1970s featured Catwoman committing murder, something that neither the Earth-One or Earth-Two versions of her would ever do; this version of Catwoman was assigned to the alternate world of Earth-B, an alternate Earth that included stories that couldn't be considered canonical on Earth-One or Earth-Two.
Modern Age Version
A revision in Catwoman's origin, and the introduction of the modern version of the character, came in 1986 when writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli published Batman: Year One, a revision of Batman’s origin. In the course of the story, the origin of Catwoman was also re-envisioned. Selina Kyle is reintroduced as a cat-loving prostitute/dominatrix who is inspired to become a costumed cat burglar when she sees Batman in action. In this story, Holly Robinson is introduced as Selina's roommate, a young runaway and prostitute Kyle has taken in.
The 1989 Catwoman limited series (collected in trade paperback form as Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper) by writer Mindy Newell and artist J.J. Birch expanded on Miller's Year One origin. Her Sister's Keeper explores Selina's early life as a prostitute and the start of her career as Catwoman. This is a dark and tragic period which culminates with Selina's former pimp Stan abducting and violently abusing her sister Maggie. Selina kills Stan to save her sister, and is able to do so with impunity.
Catwoman also appears in the Knightfall saga, where she is approached by Bane's henchmen while robbing a house. Bane asks her to work for him, but she refuses, giving as her reason that Bane broke Batman. Later in the story, she boards a plane with Bruce Wayne to fly to Santa Prisca. She next appears in the KnightQuest saga.
Batman: Dark Victory, the sequel to The Long Halloween, implies that Catwoman suspects she is the long-lost illegitimate daughter of Carmine Falcone, although she finds no definitive proof of this. Selina's connection to the Falcone family is further explored in the miniseries Catwoman: When in Rome. Though more circumstantial evidence is added to the theory of Selina's Falcone heritage, no definitive proof is provided.
Portions of Her Sister's Keeper and the Year One origin conceived by Frank Miller remain canonical to Catwoman’s origin, while other portions have been dropped over the years. It has been implied that Her Sister's Keeper was rendered non-canonical by the events of Zero Hour, and subsequent writers have rejected Miller's choice to make the post-Crisis Catwoman a prostitute. In an attempt to harmonize the various versions, some writers have posited that Catwoman, early in her career, pretended to be a prostitute in order to scam lonely men and rob them. However, characters associated with Catwoman's past as a prostitute have remained a part of her supporting cast. Holly, from Batman: Year One, and her sister Maggie (from Her Sister's Keeper) have appeared regularly in the Catwoman series.
Selina is the older of two sisters (Maggie being the younger) born to Brian and Maria Kyle. Catwoman v.1 #0, which provides details about Selina's childhood, neglects Maggie's existence. Maria Kyle was a distant parent who preferred to spend her time with cats, and committed suicide when Selina was very young. Brian Kyle, a drunken layabout angry at his wife for killing herself, disliked Selina for resembling her mother and eventually drank himself to death.
Selina took to the streets for a time before being caught and sent first to an orphanage, then Juvenile Hall (Catwoman v.1 #0), "where Selina began to see how hard the world could really be" (Catwoman Secret Files and Origins). Maggie's fate at this point in the time-line is not alluded to. However, when Ed Brubaker re-introduced her into the comic, he implied that Maggie may have directly entered an orphanage and promptly been adopted.
When she was thirteen, Selina discovered that the Hall's administrator was embezzling funds and confronted her. In an attempt to cover up the illegal activities, the administrator put Selina in a bag and dropped her in a river to drown (like a cat). Selina was able to escape (Catwoman v.1 #0) and return to the orphanage where she stole documents exposing the administrator's corruption and sent them to the authorities. She also took the opportunity to steal enough money to live on before going back to the streets.
When the money she stole from the corrupt orphanage administrator ran out, Selina found herself in "Alleytown - a network of cobblestone streets that form a small borough between the East End and Old Gotham" (Catwoman v.2 #12). Selina was taken in by "Mama Fortuna", the elderly leader of a gang of young thieves, and was taught how to steal. Fortuna treated her students like slaves, keeping their earnings for herself. Selina eventually ran away, accompanied by her friend Sylvia. However, the two had difficulty surviving on their own, and in desperation tried to support themselves by working as child prostitutes. Sylvia attracted at least one client; Selina apparently never did. The two drifted apart afterwards, with Sylvia blaming Selina for her negative experiences; she hated Selina for not inquiring about what had happened to her at the hands of her abusive first client.
In the Catwoman: Year One story (Catwoman Annual #2, 1988), Selina (now an adult) achieved some success as a thief. Following a disastrous burglary, however, she accepted an offer to "lay low" by posing as a dominatrix in the employ of a pimp named Stan. Their plan was to trick men into divulging information that might be used in future crimes. According to this storyline, Selina trained under the Armless Master of Gotham, receiving education in martial arts and culture. During this time, Catwoman was given her trademark cat-o-nine tails whip by a client, which Selina kept as a trophy of her time posing as a hooker.
Catwoman, the series
In 1993, following the success of Batman Returns and Selina Kyle’s prominent role in that film, Catwoman was given her first ongoing comic book series. This series, written by an assortment of writers but primarily penciled by Jim Balent, generally depicted the character as an international thief (and occasional bounty hunter) with an ambiguous moral code.
Storylines included her adoption of teenage runaway, and erstwhile sidekick, Arizona; aiding the criminal Bane whom she later betrayed to Azrael; fighting and being hunted Christina Chiles (a.k.a. Cyber Cat); and a stint as a reluctant government operative. The series also fleshed out more of her origin, revealing her beginnings as a young thief, her difficult period in juvenile incarceration, and the training she received from superhero Ted (Wildcat) Grant.
Moving to New York, Selina becomes corporate vice president then CEO of Randolf Industries, a mafia-influenced company, through blackmail. Her plans to use this position to run for mayor are ruined when the Trickster inadvertently connected Kyle to her Catwoman alter ego.
Selina then returns to Gotham City, which at this time is in the midst of the No Man's Land storyline. As Catwoman, she assists Batman against Lex Luthor in the reconstruction of the city. After being arrested by Commissioner Gordon, she escapes from prison. Later that year during the Officer Down storyline in the Batman titles, Catwoman is initially the chief suspect. Although later cleared, she displays increasingly erratic behavior throughout the story. Soon afterwards she disappears and is believed to have been killed by the assassin Deathstroke the Terminator, ending her series at #94.
Catwoman then appears in a series of backup stories in Detective Comics #759 - #762. In a backup storyline Trail of the Catwoman, by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke, private detective Slam Bradley attempts to find out what really happened to Selina Kyle. This storyline leads in to the newest Catwoman series in late 2001 (written by Brubaker initially with Cooke, later joined by artist Cameron Stewart). In this series, Selina Kyle, joined by new supporting cast members Holly and Slam Bradley (a character from the early Golden Age DC Comics), becomes protector of the residents of Gotham’s East End, while still carrying out an ambitious career as a cat burglar. This series met with critical and fan acclaim, especially for its first 25 issues.
During the Hush storyline (Batman #608-#619), Batman and Catwoman briefly work together and had a romantic relationship, during which he reveals his true identity to her. At the end, he breaks off their relationship when he suspects it has been manipulated by the villain Hush. This was the second time that Batman's true identity was shown to be known to her. In an early 80's story line Selina and Bruce had developed a relationship. The concluding story featured a closing panel in which she refers to Batman as "Bruce." A change in editorial team at that point, however, brought a swift end to that story line and, apparently, all that transpired during the arc. When Catwoman appeared again, no mention whatsoever was ever made of the notion that she had apparently figured out who Batman actually is.
In the JLA story arc Crisis of Conscience, Catwoman fights alongside Batman and the League against the old Secret Society, of which she had once briefly been a member.
Catwoman appears in Gail Simone's "Sensei and Student" story-arc in Birds of Prey. She is part of a group sent to rescue a U.S. senator from the Eurasian assassin Cheshire; during the mission, she saves Lady Shiva, who was bound and gagged in the trunk of a car wired with explosives by Chesire.
Catwoman appears to be completely reformed, and her love for Batman true (although brash and unpredictable). However, she has learned her reformation was the result of a mindwipe by Zatanna, a procedure known to deeply affect and, in at least one case, physically incapacitate its victims. Zatanna gives no reason for her actions, but in a flashback it is shown that she had acted with the consent and aid of five of the seven JLA members who had helped her mindwipe Dr. Light and Batman. Catwoman's response to this revelation is unequivocal: she pitched Zatanna out a window (Zatanna survives the fall). Afterwards, she is seen covering her bed with past versions of her Catwoman costume.
Still unbalanced and uncertain of herself in issue #52 (the last issue before the jump to One Year Later), Selina is forced to decide whether to kill a supervillain. The Black Mask, in an attempt to "improve himself," threatens the most important people in Selina's life, from Slam Bradley to Holly. The criminal had learned Selina's identity through his earlier alliance with Selina's childhood friend Sylvia, who still harbored a grudge against Selina. Still thinking that Selina adheres to a strict no-kill rule, Black Mask is caught by surprise when Selina shoots him in the head.
One Year Later
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, the DC Universe jumps forward in time. "One Year Later" Selina Kyle is no longer Catwoman, has left the East End, and has given birth to a daughter named Helena (whose father is initially unknown). Holly Robinson takes over as the new Catwoman while Selina, living under the alias Irena Dubrovna, turns her attention to caring for her daughter (Selina's alias was inspired by the name of the main character in the 1942 film Cat People).
Though she takes her role as a new mother quite seriously, Selina dons the costume for a run through the East End some days after Helena's birth. Having understandably gained a few pounds, Selina finds that her costume is now a tighter fit. In addition, she is easily distracted by a common criminal. Although the situation is defused through Holly's opportune arrival, the sight of two Catwomen active simultaneously in the city is caught on video. Selina returns home from her adventure to find that the mysterious movie aficionado Film Freak has deduced her alias, joined with Angle Man, and grabbed Helena.
After rescuing her daughter, Selina convinces Zatanna to mind-wipe Film Freak and Angle Man (whom she had bound and gagged with duct tape after beating them brutally) in order to preserve her secret identity. Following the procedure, Angle Man turns himself in to the authorities; Film Freak, however, embarks upon a murderous rampage. Ted Grant informs Selina that Holly has been arrested for the murder of Black Mask; Selina infiltrates the police station and frees Holly. Finally defeating Film Freak, Selina returns home to find that Slam Bradley has deduced that Helena is the daughter of his son Sam Bradley Jr., and therefore his granddaughter.
Batman asks Catwoman to infiltrate the violent tribe of Bana Amazons during The Amazons Attack! crossover. Posing as a criminal, Selina gains the Bana's trust and thwarts a terror attack aimed at causing mass casualties in Gotham City.
Selina questions whether she should be raising a daughter when her life as Catwoman has already proven to be such a danger to the child. After enlisting Batman's help in faking the death of both herself and her daughter, Selina puts Helena up for adoption. A month after Helena is placed with a new family, Catwoman asks Zatanna to erase her memories of Helena and change her mind back to a criminal mentality. Zatanna refuses, judging for herself that such an act would be cruel to both mother and daughter. She tells Selina that she could never reverse Selina's mindset, since she was on the path to becoming a hero on her own. Believing she can no longer function as a criminal, Selina has since decided to become one of Batman's Outsiders. She quickly quit however and was replaced by Batgirl.
In Salvation Run #2, Catwoman was exiled to the Prison Planet by Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad.
Gotham City Sirens
During the events of Final Crisis, Batman is seemingly killed. He is replaced by Nightwing, Dick Grayson. When the new Batman takes back control of Gotham City, Catwoman remains despondent at the loss of Bruce Wayne. While contemplating her loss, and her unexplained physical weakness despite being fully recovered from her physical heart trauma, she rescues two bystanders from a new supervillain-wannabe who calls himself Boneblaster. However, her physical weakness becomes obvious when she fails to fight Boneblaster effectively. Before Boneblaster can cause her permanent harm, she is rescued by the sudden appearance of Poison Ivy. Concerned at how weak Catwoman had become, Ivy takes Selina to where she'd been staying, the home of the Riddler. Selina discovered that Ivy had apparently seduced and drugged the Riddler with her plant pheromones, keeping him in a vegetative state. She also discovered that Ivy had similarly taken Harley Quinn into her new sanctuary.
Selina then offered the idea that all three of them stay together to better survive in the new Gotham City. Before accepting Selina's idea, Ivy secretly paid a visit to Zatanna through her plants, to find out if she had anything to do with Selina's weakness. Zatanna suggested that the weakness was likely psychological in nature. But before Ivy and Selina can discuss the matter any further, Boneblaster returns and tries to once more make a name for himself by attacking Ivy, Harley and Selina. While Ivy and Harley distract him, Selina ends Boneblaster's threat by shorting out his gauntlets with a live electrical conduit, deducing that the villain had yet to get used to the technology, and had failed to properly insulate his gloves. As a result of the fight, Edward Nigma's apartment is wrecked.
Selina then obtains an abandoned animal shelter as their new home from a man calling himself The Broker. Ivy and Harley move in, but before Ivy makes a final acceptance of Selina's offer, she surprises Selina and drugs her with truth serum-like spores. While Selina falls into a stupor, Ivy says that she wants total honesty between all of them if they are to trust one another. She then asks Selina to reveal the identity of the original Batman.
Selina, using a mental discipline taught to her by Talia al Ghul, avoids the interrogation and gives Ivy and Harley a fabricated story about there being multiple Batmen over the years, and that she's had a personal relationship with more than one of them.
Ivy and Harley accept this answer for the moment, and Ivy tries to make amends by growing all manner of exotic fruits for Selina. Meanwhile, Harley goes shopping. Later, Selina receives a message on her phone from Edward Nigma (Riddler) which shows Harley posing with Bruce Wayne. Knowing that the real Bruce is dead, and that the man with Harley is really Thomas Elliot (Hush), Selina takes Ivy to the restaurant where the picture was taken. She is shocked to see a Harlequin doll at the table, its head stabbed through with a knife. Harley's phone is next to it. Together Selina and Ivy manage to rescue Harley from Elliot, but not before having to deal with an old associate of the Joker's who is posing as Joker trying to kill Harley for taking his place. Together the girls manage to stop the faux Joker and move in together.
Although Bruce is gone, Selina continues to keep close ties to his family, spending Christmas Eve with Dick Grayson and Alfred Pennyworth (and to a lesser extent Damian). Dick and Selina share a toast to their family who were not with them that year (Bruce, Tim, Holly, Helena, Ivy and Harley).
During the events of Blackest Night, Selina is attacked by Black Mask after he has been reborn as a member of the Black Lantern Corps. After he tells her that he plans on getting an emotional response before killing her, Selina steals a car and heads to the mental institution where Maggie Kyle is held, believing Black Mask is coming for her. Black Mask attacks the institution, and somehow awakens Maggie from her coma. Selina arrives in time to help her sister flee into the sewers. While on the run, Maggie angrily tells Selina that she ruined both of their lives the day she decided to become Catwoman. Devastated by her sister's statement, Selina fails to realize they have both been heading for a trap. Just as Black Mask is about to gouge Maggie's eyes out and shove them down Selina's throat, Harley and Ivy arrive and defeat the Black Lantern by trapping him in the stomach of a man-eating plant. Selina is helped to her feet by her friends, who tell her that Maggie has fled the scene. The next day, the staff members of the mental institution are shown discussing Maggie's escape, also mentioning that a nun that works at the hospital had been found beaten and stripped of her uniform. Maggie is then shown in the depths of the Gotham City sewers clad in the bloodied nun robes, muttering about her plan to kill Catwoman in order to free Selina's soul. Now calling herself Sister Zero, Maggie attempts to kill Selina, but ultimately flees after being defeated by the Sirens. She is last seen going over her options, now realizing that she cannot murder her own sister, and therefore must personally exorcise the "cat demon" from within Selina's body.
The Return of Bruce Wayne
In the follow-up to The Return of Bruce Wayne, the Sirens help Zatanna put out a massive fire at a local park near their home, only for them to be ambushed by a creature made of mud. After being dragged underneath the soil by the creature, Catwoman awakens tied up and gagged on the floor of a dark room, and is quickly forced into an illusion by her unseen captors. Back in reality, Talia reveals to the Sirens that just a few hours prior, an unknown benefactor had offered up a massive reward to whoever could kidnap and deliver Catwoman to him, with the hopes that he could penetrate her mind and learn Batman's secret identity. Before the knowledge can be ripped from her mind, Selina's captors (revealed to be Shrike and a new villain named Senpai), are eventually defeated by the other Sirens. Once Selina is freed, Talia orders Zatanna to wipe Bruce's identity from her memory, reasoning that her kidnapping has proved that the knowledge is too dangerous for her to handle. The two women initially restrain Selina and attempt to remove the knowledge from her, but Zatanna refuses at the last moment and ends up fighting Talia in order to protect Selina. Talia tries to kill Selina before vanishing, but she survives and ultimately reunites with Bruce, who had recently returned to the present.
After stealing the contents of a safe belonging to the Falcone crime family, Selina returns home to find Kitrina Falcone, a teenaged escape artist and Carmine Falcone's long lost daughter, breaking into her room. She attacks and subdues Kitrina, who tells Selina that she had unknowingly stolen a map that details the location of the new Black Mask's underground bunker. Realizing that she could use the map to capture Black Mask and claim the 50 million dollar bounty on his head, Selina leaves Kitrina bound in a locked room so that she can keep the map for herself. She later calls Batman to her house in order to turn the would-be thief over to the police, but discovers that Kitrina had managed to free herself and steal back the map. This impresses Selina, who mentions that she had tied up the child using an "inescapable" knot that Bruce had shown her years earlier. Following a massive battle with Black Mask and his henchmen (which ends with neither woman being able to claim the bounty), Selina agrees to take on Kitrina as her new sidekick, Catgirl. Once Bruce Wayne returns from his time in the past, he establishes Batman Incorporated, a global team of Batmen. Selina accompanies him on a mission to break into Doctor Sivana's armory, and later travels with him to Tokyo in order to recruit a Japanese representative for Batman Incorporated.
Powers and Abilities
Catwoman is a trained gymnast and athlete, as well as an expert hand-to-hand combatant. She is also highly skilled with her specialized whip, a bullwhip combined with "cat-o'-nine-tails", and capable of astonishing stealth. She puts these incredible skills to use as she pursues her obsession with stealing famous works and jewelry, at which she is especially adept. She is also drawn irresistibly to cat motifs, and seems to possess an empathy for feline species.
In the Pre-Crisis version, Catwoman was supported by different henchmen. The following henchmen are the only ones that were named.
- Craven - 
- Jim Jones - 
- Joe - 
- Lion-Mane - Lion-Mane was a human with feline features and heightened strength. He was initially a henchman of that world's Catwoman who betrayed him and buried the loot in the forest. Lion-Mane was captured after that. Years later, Lion-Mane orchestrated a prison riot and took the guards hostage. Huntress infiltrated the prison and challenged Lion-Mane into 1-on-1 fight. If she could win, Lion-Mane would release the hostages, or if Lion-Mane won, she would have to reveal the location of the treasure Catwoman buried in the forest. The fight was tough and almost a draw, but eventually Huntress was able to defeat Lion-Mane.
- Mousery Mager - 
- Mike - 
- Pete - 
- Slug - 
In other media
1966 Batman Film
Main article: Catwoman (Lee Meriwether)
Main article: Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer)
Main article: Catwoman (Halle Berry)
The Dark Knight Rises
Main article: The Cat (Anne Hathaway)
Batman: The Animated Series
Main article: Catwoman (Batman: The Animated Series)
Birds of Prey
Main article: Catwoman (Maggie Baird)
Main article: Catwoman (The Batman)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Main article: Catwoman (The Brave and the Bold)
Main article: Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova)
Catwoman (Game Boy Color)
In this 1999 side-scroller by Kemco, Catwoman is hired by Talia al Ghul to steal an ancient crystal skull from the Gotham City Museum. Talia's father Ra's al Ghul wants to use the skull to create a powerful weapon that will be capable of destroying an entire city.
LEGO Batman: The Videogame
- Main article: Catwoman (Lego Batman: The Videogame)
Batman: Arkham series
- Main article: Catwoman (Arkhamverse)
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Catwoman appears as a playable character in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
Catwoman is voiced by Kelly Huston in DC Universe Online.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Catwoman appears as a playable charcter in Injustice: Gods Among Us.