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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – A Bunch of Catwoman Firsts!

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we do a spotlight on Catwoman firsts!

Typically, I avoid featuring MAJOR firsts in this feature (like first Batman, first Superman, etc.) but I think that it gives context to the rest of these Catwoman firsts if I share her debut from 1940′s Batman #1 (written by Bill Finger, with art by Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson and George Roussos)…

It is interesting how much of the Batman/Catwoman dynamic was established right in her first appearance (well, not counting the spanking, of course).

Next issue, Batman #2, in a story by the same creative team, her name becomes Catwoman (alternatively Cat-Woman, and even there, she is still referred to occasionally as The Cat)…

Next issue, in Batman #3, in a story by the same creative team, Catwoman first adopts an actual costume…

While the dress becomes purple, that’s the basic look she used for the next four years.

In the same story, Batman and Catwoman share their first kiss….

The next major change for Catwoman comes in Batman #35 (after taking most of 1944 and all of 1945 off, she returns in 1946′s Batman #35), in a story by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Ray Burnley, as she adopts the classic Golden Age Catwoman costume, which is basically just the same outfit only without the giant cat mask…

Bob Kane and Charles Paris drew the outfit in a more traditional style a month later in Detective Comics #122…

Detective Comics #122 also debuts the…sigh…Kitty Car…

The next major milestone for Catwoman comes in 1950′s Batman #62, as Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Lew Schwartz and Charles Paris reveal Catwoman’s secret identity of Selina Kyle…

Do note that there’s an interesting aspect of Batman #62 that I’ll likely address in an Abandoned An’ Forsaked (possibly as early as this week), so please don’t discuss Batman #62′s plot in the comments section.

If you have a suggestion for a piece of comic lore that you’d like to see when it first occurred, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

26 Comments

Impractical as it is, the long-gowned outfit from Detective #122 is still my favorite Catwoman costume. But then it’s also the one she was wearing when I was first introduced to the character.

It’s impractical, but no more so that a cape. It’s my favorite also.

How horrifying would that cat-head mask be in real life?

Detective Comics #122 also debuts the…sigh…Kitty Car…

——————————————————————————–

Did you groan at someone driving around in a car with large wings on it?

I have to wonder how people can hold to the “just an urban legend” idea with such a tacky car roaming the street.

The Green Hornet’s Black Beauty sure stood as a tad more practical as just a regular outwardly designed car.

The Gotham City Chamber of Commerce probably has half a dozen fake Batmobiles driving around the city at any given time, to drum up tourism.

PB210 – While I agree that in THEORY a kitty car is no dumber than a Batmobile, in execution it’s just horrible, because they did it way too literally and lifelike. If the Batmobile had a realistic bat head attached along with appendages, legs, claws, fangs, lifelike eyes, it would look pretty terrible as well.

Man, Bob Kane was such a crappy artist.

So…when did she start using the whip and when did she first deduce that Batman was Wayne?

The Kitty Car is a cool looking vehicle, it’s just a stupid name.

Jeff Spaulding

August 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

Isn’t there another Catwoman costume in there somewhere that also has a giant cat-head mask, only the mask and the costume were black?

interesting always wondered when she finaly not only got called catwoman but also started to wear the mask that has become so much a part of the character. not to mention one can see that batman has some feeling for her from the begining with saying papa spank during their first meeting.

I favor the long dress too, and when i started reading, she was in spandex.
Yes, it’s interesting he admits her offer to team up tempts him. They’d never have him admit it today.

“Quiet or Papa spank”

That gave me a good laugh.

AverageJoeEveryman

August 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Didnt realize “Papa spank” came from this issue. Also Im pretty sure the sigh before Kitty Car comes more from the irritatingly “cute” name than the idea itself, which is also pretty redundant.

Yeah, honestly, it would be less stupid if she called it the Catmobile, and it looked the same. The “Kitty Car” sounds like something a chick who likes cats would annoyingly call her VW Bug with Hello Kitty stickers all over it.

At least once, on the 1960s TV show, Catwoman drove what she called a “Cat-illac”–which was just a stock ’67 or ’68 Cadillac convertible, in black.

I’m surprised no reference to the major reboot she got (post-Marvel Comics Black Cat, as is well-known) when she turned into the Cat-type we know and love today.

Darkhawk

August 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I’m surprised no reference to the major reboot she got (post-Marvel Comics Black Cat, as is well-known) when she turned into the Cat-type we know and love today.

The Black Cat is often mistaken as an homage to DC’s Catwoman, as her forename, Felicia, was shared by Catwoman’s sister in Brave and the Bold #176.

CBR: “When you created the Black Cat to be Spider-Man’s new girl friend, was it linked to a desire to write stuff about Catwoman or was it only an homage?”

Marv: I didn’t plan Black Cat to be in Spidey. I created her for Spider-Woman (look at the letter column of the first B.C. story and you’ll see). I then decided to leave Spider-Woman and moved her over. So, I never even thought of Catwoman when I did her. I got the idea for her from a Tex Avery cartoon, Bad Luck Blackie.

Felicia Hardy’s signature costume, cat burglar profession, and her steady relationship to Spider-Man predate Selina Kyle’s similar depiction in comics by almost a decade. Catwoman spent most of her comic life as a purple-dressed female super villain who used big cats to commit anything but subtle crimes. Selina Kyle’s current comic book incarnation as a black suited cat burglar with romantic ties to Batman didn’t occur until 1987 with Frank Miller’s classic Batman: Year One, although Batman did show a romantic interest in her during her first appearance in Batman #1 before she wore a costume and was known simply as “The Cat”. Catwoman’s depiction in 1966 on the Batman television series was the first time outside the comics that we saw Selina Kyle as a black catsuit-clad cat burglar seductress.

Batman showed romantic interest in her on multiple occasions back in the forties. Though it’s grown a lot stronger since.

@PB210 Isn’t she a “cat” burglar in her first appearances? Her dark purple outfits are also close enough to count as “black”. You even point out that in the 60′s TV series Catwoman was “a black catsuit-clad cat burglar seductress” which predates the Hardy Black Cat.

The kinds of crime Catwoman did varied from straight-up heists to elaborate cat-themed exploits, but in the late 1960s and 1970s, before the Black Cat was invented, Catwoman was always, always hitting on Batman whenever she showed up. She never let up. He didn’t give in and date her back then, though (except on Earth-2, where they were happily married).

I just read “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” because of a comment on the Alfred “Abandoned and Forsaked” two posts down from this. I was surprised to see every Catwoman costume from this post featured in her part of the story, including freaky giant-cat-head costume. FULL CIRCLE.

*Ahem* you’re quite welcome, TJ (I was the one that mentioned that cool story that Gaiman did re: Alfred in that story, and damn, forgot about the Catwoman every costume bit. Such a cool story!)

Admit it the reason you showed the debut, though typically avoiding such major firsts, was just to have a chance to show the “daddy spank” again.

Another problem I have with the Kitty Car, is that shouldn’t a villain particularly a cat burglar, want to make a stealthy escape. The Batmobile makes some sense as it can be part of Batman portraying an image and can help in the striking fear. Cops have distinctive vehicles, but you don’t often see real life criminals driving anything that can be readily identified. The Batmobile could be put in the same category as a police car, but you don’t see “criminal cars”. “She’s making her gettaway. Try to stay on her. Gee I lost that car with the realistic cat figure on it, in the sea of other cars. Well we see a cat shaped car further down the road, but we can’t be sure it’s the same one Catwoman was driving so call off the pursuit.”

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