Michael Sangiacomo, The Plain Dealer
The Plain Dealer
on October 05, 2012 at 3:00 PM, updated October 05, 2012 at 3:01 PM
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Catwoman really does have nine lives.
Even before DC Comics started messing with backstories about their character — known as continuity — Catwoman’s origin has a series of contradictions since her introduction in 1940.
For the sake of my sanity, I will not include anything about the Catwoman character in the Batman cartoons, television show or movies. That’s an entire column.
Selina Kyle, the comic-book Catwoman’s character and origin, changes with the wind. At different times she was a bored socialite, a career criminal, a stripper, an abused wife or a nice lady who likes cats.
Things really went nuts in the 1980s when Batman writer Frank Miller revealed she was a prostitute whose clients had a penchant for women in cat outfits.
In several incarnations she had a sister, who either dies or becomes a nun.
And she also had at least three junior partners, a la Robin, in her hooker days, including one who takes up the mantle of Catwoman while Selina goes off to have a baby.
But everything that happened to Catwoman was contradicted in other stories.
Last month DC released a new origin “Issue Zero” with yet another new story about her past.
So now Catwoman was some kind of orphan, possibly Russian? And she has a brother, not a sister?
OK, I understand the zero issues are supposed to shed light on the new reality of its characters. And we know much has changed in the DC universe since The Flash screwed up time last year, but a whole new Catwoman?
Actually, this is not such a bad thing.
The only important thing to remember is she and Batman are lovers. And I don’t mean the chaste kiss-on-the-cheek type as seen in the old days. We’re talking rolling around half naked in bat and cat suits on the roof as seen in “Catwoman” No. 1.
As a reader, I will forget everything I know about Catwoman. I’ll forget she was a hooker, a jewel thief, an orphan, a socialite and the rest. She’s a clean slate, and we’ll pretend we’ve never seen her before.
Although I still can’t figure out how she will become part of the Justice League in the near future.
DRASTIC CHARACTER CHANGE
Still on the subject of DC rewrites, I absolutely hate what DC has done to Amanda Waller.
They made her pretty.
Waller was the exception among the gorgeous female characters of the comics universe. She was a tough woman. She was brilliant but unscrupulous, who headed up the Suicide Squad, a group of super-villains charged with doing the government’s dirty work in exchange for clemency. Some of her actions broke the law, but there was no doubt that she got the job done.
“The Wall,” as she was called by friends and foes, was a heavyset black woman in her mid-50s, one of the few in comics. She proved that a woman did not have to be a Victoria’s Secret model to be a force in the comics world.
Now, under the DC’s “New 52” reboot, Amanda Waller is (sigh) just another hot young thing. She is still tough, but it just doesn’t ring true anymore and her uniqueness is gone.
SUPERMAN AT HOPKINS
Beginning Thursday, Superman will welcome visitors to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
The next time you’re waiting for luggage in the baggage area, check out the display, complete with a larger-than-life statue of the Man of Steel. The project was put together by the Siegel and Shuster Society, which honors Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and the airport.
COMIC WRITER SPEAKS
Ever wonder how a comic book writer puts a book together?
The free event will be 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Case Western Reserve University’s Clark Hall, Room 206, at 11130 Bellflower Road.
KRYPTO IS BACK!
I must admit I’ve been running hot and cold about the new Superman. The “new” adventures have not been as interesting as the “old,” and certainly not as compelling.
Then came “Action Comics” No. 13, released this week, with stories that made me smile: Krypto the superdog is back.
As hinted a year ago, Krypto has been trapped in the Phantom Zone since before Krypton exploded. In stories in this issue written by Grant Morrison and Sholly Fisch, the K-dog is reunited with Superman. Fisch’s story in particular is downright wonderful, a real treat for dog lovers.
Things are looking up for Superman.