The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

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The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-04-25 04:37am

Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the publication of Batman #1. Though Batman had previously appeared in Detective Comics, and the characters of Robin and Commissioner Gordon had been previously introduced, Batman #1 marked the first appearance of Catwoman and the Joker:

https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Batman_Vol_1_1

Happy Birthday Selina and Joe/Jack/Whatever the hell your name is:

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Couldn't find an original Catwoman pic, but picked this one.



PS: It kind of bugs me that the Joker is getting more attention than Catwoman today.
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2020-04-25 03:46pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-04-25 04:37am
Yesterday was the 80th anniversary of the publication of Batman #1. Though Batman had previously appeared in Detective Comics, and the characters of Robin and Commissioner Gordon had been previously introduced, Batman #1 marked the first appearance of Catwoman and the Joker:

PS: It kind of bugs me that the Joker is getting more attention than Catwoman today.
Joker is the iconic Batman villain symbolizing either chaos, the dark side of man, mental illness, evil etc.. Catwoman is a sexy thief character who is sometimes on Batman's side and is known for using a whip.

Joker's movie made bank and was critically beloved while also being controversial about tapping into what people view as the problems of today. Catwoman's movie was like a romcom meets a bad Matrix sequel, and tanked Halle Berry's film career and earned her a Razzie.

Other villains have a hard time filling into the Joker's shoes due to his iconic status. What is Catwoman's iconic place? Against Batman? With him? As a couple? As an enemy? It makes her harder to peg down.

I'm betting that Two Face will be just as remembered as Catwoman, one of the villains that fills a hole when needed in the Batman's rogues gallery.
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by Lord Revan » 2020-04-25 05:24pm

Indeed the reason why the Joker is remember and Catwoman is not has nothing to do with gender, but rather the Joker makes a good counterpart to Batman.

Catwoman on the other hand as really nothing that makes her stand out as much among Batman's Rogues Gallery, her most iconic status being as Batman's sort of love intrest and even there she's not unique.
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-04-26 07:44am

Lord Revan wrote:
2020-04-25 05:24pm
Indeed the reason why the Joker is remember and Catwoman is not has nothing to do with gender, but rather the Joker makes a good counterpart to Batman.
I never said it had anything to do with gender, even though some of it doubtless does because it always does. So why did you immediately jump to that?
Catwoman on the other hand as really nothing that makes her stand out as much among Batman's Rogues Gallery, her most iconic status being as Batman's sort of love intrest and even there she's not unique.
She is one of three Batman characters (besides Batman himself) big enough to star in their own major film- her, Joker, and Harley as of this year (Suicide Squad was more an ensemble movie). That the movie flopped is, I suspect, more down to the poor choices of the filmmakers than the inherent weakness of the character. She's also probably one of maybe a dozen comic book characters who's name is widely recognizable to the general public, even people who aren't into superhero stuff.

You're both right that the character has been used less than the Joker- which is kind of my point. There's nothing inherently more complex or interesting or "iconic" about Joker as a character- originally he was just another sadistic criminal in a weird outfit. He's just been given much more development and attention from both creators and fans over the years.
FaxModem1 wrote:
2020-04-25 03:46pm
Other villains have a hard time filling into the Joker's shoes due to his iconic status. What is Catwoman's iconic place? Against Batman? With him? As a couple? As an enemy? It makes her harder to peg down.

I'm betting that Two Face will be just as remembered as Catwoman, one of the villains that fills a hole when needed in the Batman's rogues gallery.
Catwoman these days is more an ally and love of Bruce than a member of the rogues gallery.

I would argue that the multiple different interpretations of Catwoman's character are actually a strength- while she may not have the same "iconic" status of the Joker, it shows a character who has evolved substantially over the years, and can fit different roles depending on the story.

Personally, I think the one that has the most potential today is the portrayal of Selina as someone without Bruce's wealth and privilege, someone originating from the 99%, if you will, and will challenge Bruce's assumptions accordingly. Someone who will see things from the perspective of the ordinary person who's turned to crime not because of some deep trauma or quest for vengeance or grandiose scheme, but because she needed to. Dark Knight Rises played with this a bit, but I think it could have gone further. At the same time, though, a big part of her character is generally that she actually enjoys doing this, or at least acts like she does- she's much less dour and serious than Batman. I'd see her then as having the potential to be a Robin Hood like figure, her robs from the rich assholes, but relies more on her wits and skill than on brutality, and does it all with a wink and a smile. She also can mirror Batman in a number of ways, serving as an excellent foil to the character:

-Humble origins to Bruce's Old Money.

-Took to crime because she had to, while he did so by choice in pursuit of a singular goal. At the same did, she did so consciously, not because she was driven to by madness like many of his rogues.

-While Bruce choice a life of crime in pursuit of his crusade, and probably deep down hates it, Selina became a criminal because she had to, and then found that she actually enjoyed it.

-As such, Selina is someone who can challenge Bruce, and also sometimes get him to lighten up. The Robins can do that too, of course, as can Alfred, but they are all ultimatly in a subservient role to Bruce. Catwoman isn't. Bruce isn't her teacher, and she isn't his servant. This creates a different dynamic, and means that she is a rare equal of sorts to Bruce who is not an antagonist, and can serve as a lighter foil to him (the other major one is Gordon).

Of course, this all is just my interpretation- but my point is you can tell interesting stories with Catwoman that you can't with just any member of the rogues' gallery.
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2020-04-26 10:47am

Forewarning, this is going to be a rant on Adventure stories, crime stories, and such, and gender:

I think the same argument about Catwoman, and her perspective, could be made with other Batman villains. Two-Face has played the redemption card too, several times. During the One Year Later storyline, Harvey Dent was the one acting as the protector of Gotham while Batman went on his quest with the Robins. Anarky is the poor, but brilliant kid motivated to help others because of the inequalities of society, and has issues due to how Batman is at times too much of an enforcer of the rich and the status quo. Riddler has worked as a legitimate Private Investigator and on the side of the good guys. Etc.

The Arkham series has it to where both Riddler and Anarky are fighting the bad guys their own ways, and Batman stops both of them. Riddler is pulling an Edward Snowden with all the corrupt officials of Gotham, and Anarky is bombing several corrupt offices while their empty on Christmas Eve.



Riddler is admittedly using the mafia as goons to protect his hijacked transmission towers until the plan goes through, but you'd think Batman should do something other than, "My way or the high way" when it comes to dealing with the corruption in Gotham.

Here's some audio from Arkham Origins, if you decide as Batman to tune into Anarky's radio station:


And here he is criticizing Batman's actions and methods:



Admittedly, this is after Batman stopped him from blowing up a bunch of empty buildings on Christmas Eve.

And in the Arkham series, what actions is Selina doing to save the world? She saves Batman's life. But the series has Catwoman stay as just a jewel thief, unlike her portrayal in comics where she does work as a vigilante. (Later in DC comics, it was retconned to be due to Martian Manhunter mindzapping her to become more good, but that's a whole other kettle of fish)

Riddler has gone legitimate at times and been showing up Batman as to who is the better detective, and was also someone who mostly just robbed banks, museums, rich people's houses, etc.

And we have seen the pop culture version of her act as a bit of a mad bomber because of her revenge against Shreck. Would this be tolerable if she were a man?

Catwoman has never really been a champion of the people unless it was due to outside influence. Her actions, if framed that way, was that it was okay for her to rob people and live the high life somewhere because Batman won't chase her down, while Anarky's fight for the people has been portrayed mostly as villainous, and Selina's robbing of the rich is portrayed as better than when Riddler is robbing from the rich who could afford it. Which at times, seems to be more because Batman was sexually attracted to Catwoman than the difference in how she operates compared to the other villains in the Rogues Gallery. It creates this weird idea that Riddler or Anarky could have been redeemed if Batman had been sexually interested in them, and spent more resources in getting them to redeem themselves than punching them in the face.

Can you imagine a comic where Batman and Riddler team up, Riddler saves Batman's life from the main bad guy, and then at the end, he gets away with the diamonds he stole from the bad guy, enjoying a nice hotel suite somewhere? No, because most of the time, such stories ends with Batman chasing him down, and punching him, for 'justice'. But that's how most of Catwoman's stories end, with her living the high life somewhere, after everything is over.

It leads to problems we have in our entertainment culture, that they've popped up as TVTropes pages:

Men are the Expendable Gender If a woman is onscreen, it will be more villainous if she is killed, isn't redeemed, whatever, but it's okay if the same actions happen to a man
High Heel Face Turn, If there are bad guys, and one of them is a woman, she'll be the candidate who will likely switch sides
And of course, the crown jewel here:
Dating Catwoman- This is the definitive contribution Catwoman has made to fiction, in that it's okay for the hero to date the villain.

That is Catwoman's legacy. As long as your gender is different, you're able to take advantage of it over the heroes, and get different standards in treatment than how someone like Edward Nygma or Lonnie Machin would be treated.

It's why, a moment of hilarity in Spider-man, during the Superior Spider-man run(Doc Ock is in Spider-man's body and is trying to be even more heroic than Spider-man), is Black Cat doing the Catwoman bit of stealing something, and playing the old Cat and Mouse game with him. Such a thing becomes kind of funny when she is treated just like any other criminal in the city, and the double standard that exists in comics. I think that's the iconic part of Catwoman's legacy to consider, and something that needs to be altered when viewing the character.

Why is it okay that Catwoman can bomb a building, but Anarky can't? Why is it okay that Catwoman can rob a museum or a rich guy, but Riddler can't? And if the answer is solely, because she's the love interest of the main character, then they need to rewrite the character.
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-04-26 11:06am

Your criticisms are certainly valid, to an extent- for some versions of the character. With a character that's been around 80 years, there are going to be many different versions, and some are going to be much more sympathetic than others.

I'm not talking about Catwoman who bombs buildings- or the original amoral burglar. Modern Selina is generally not portrayed as a supervillain to the best of my knowledge. I'm also drawing heavily on the DKR version of the character, and from that describing an interpretation of the character which would make her more relevant, sympathetic, and a stronger foil to Bruce. It is not the only interpretation in the character's 80 year history. So what?

And yes, other Batman villains have been redeemed on occassion. So why is it a problem (or, as you insinuate, a sexist double standard on my part) for Selina to go the same route?
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2020-04-26 12:28pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-04-26 11:06am
Your criticisms are certainly valid, to an extent- for some versions of the character. With a character that's been around 80 years, there are going to be many different versions, and some are going to be much more sympathetic than others.

I'm not talking about Catwoman who bombs buildings- or the original amoral burglar. Modern Selina is generally not portrayed as a supervillain to the best of my knowledge. I'm also drawing heavily on the DKR version of the character, and from that describing an interpretation of the character which would make her more relevant, sympathetic, and a stronger foil to Bruce. It is not the only interpretation in the character's 80 year history. So what?

And yes, other Batman villains have been redeemed on occassion. So why is it a problem (or, as you insinuate, a sexist double standard on my part) for Selina to go the same route?
You? No. I'm not attacking you.

I'm pointing out that Catwoman's legacy, as a character, is that attribute that is still in the industry to this day. One of the things that made 90s The Phantom movie so awful was that the female villain played by Catherine Zeta Jones, switched sides mid-movie for no reason at all in the film. It's a case of High Heel Face Turn, in that the woman in the group switches sides, so that the audience doesn't have to have her killed by the hero, or similarly killed off by the villains in a sudden but inevitable betrayal. Similarly, Catwoman works to undermine or kill Batman, and doesn't seem to have to pay for it.

That Selina, even though she's clearly being no better than a petty thief, is given the option to tour Europe while the rest of Gotham, including fellow criminals and/or starving people looking to survive in Gotham, and she gets the princess treatment, while everyone else among similar standards has to live in the aftermath. Even though she was a key component of putting this whole thing into place, of putting Gotham through their own hellish winter under siege, and she pretty much gets off scot-free.

Let's do a comparison here of her actions. In No Man's Land, the Penguin takes a bite of someone else's apple that he auctions before giving it to him, because the Penguin always gets his bite in his territory. Catwoman, in Dark Knight Rises, stops a mugging in her territory, and takes a bite of the apple as a tax for being in her territory. I wouldn't be surprised if this was lifted straight from the comic, but it's 'generous' when Selina does it, and a sign of 'greed' when Penguin does it. That's the issue. Only Penguin didn't cause the quake, while Catwoman helped put the siege in place by trapping Batman. If you want to lean on that interpretation of the character, you do have to deal with the fact that she gets treated better by the narrative because she's the sexy romance interest to the hero, who did in fact entrap and betray the hero and helped put millions into jeopardy.

The issue between her redemption, and other villain redemptions, is that hers is less costly, more permanent, and she gets more kid gloves from the heroes, because she is the hero's love interest. It brings a hypocrisy to the hero character of Batman, and needs to be fixed in the long run in how they portray the characters. Her scenes as Selina, where she's pointing out to Bruce about the gap between rich and poor are good, but she isn't alone in the tragic backstory or noble motivation department, even among the less extreme of the Batman bad guys. And this is mostly due to the fact that she IS Batman's romantic interest, and that gives her a one up on things over Nygma or other similarly harmless characters.

But, not just picking on Catwoman here, we also have Batman's treatment of other male vs female characters doing the same actions. Vigilante or Lockup's beating up and killing of criminals is treated as a threat to be dealt with by Batman, while Huntress is just told, "No more team ups until you clean up your act and stop murdering people." Why aren't they treated the same? Is the fact that Helena Bertinelli uses a crossbow instead of a gun to kill people, or because she's a woman? He's willing to work with Tarantula, even after she raped Nightwing, whereas if, say, Two-Face had done that to Batgirl, they wouldn't be able to get past it. That's the big issue there in portrayal, and Catwoman seems to embody it.
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Re: The Joker and Catwoman turn 80.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-04-26 12:55pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2020-04-26 12:28pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-04-26 11:06am
Your criticisms are certainly valid, to an extent- for some versions of the character. With a character that's been around 80 years, there are going to be many different versions, and some are going to be much more sympathetic than others.

I'm not talking about Catwoman who bombs buildings- or the original amoral burglar. Modern Selina is generally not portrayed as a supervillain to the best of my knowledge. I'm also drawing heavily on the DKR version of the character, and from that describing an interpretation of the character which would make her more relevant, sympathetic, and a stronger foil to Bruce. It is not the only interpretation in the character's 80 year history. So what?

And yes, other Batman villains have been redeemed on occassion. So why is it a problem (or, as you insinuate, a sexist double standard on my part) for Selina to go the same route?
You? No. I'm not attacking you.

I'm pointing out that Catwoman's legacy, as a character, is that attribute that is still in the industry to this day.
That's a part of her legacy, but my point is that over 80 years the character has grown beyond just that. I won't disagree about sexist double standards in the comics industry though.
One of the things that made 90s The Phantom movie so awful was that the female villain played by Catherine Zeta Jones, switched sides mid-movie for no reason at all in the film. It's a case of High Heel Face Turn, in that the woman in the group switches sides, so that the audience doesn't have to have her killed by the hero, or similarly killed off by the villains in a sudden but inevitable betrayal. Similarly, Catwoman works to undermine or kill Batman, and doesn't seem to have to pay for it.

That Selina, even though she's clearly being no better than a petty thief, is given the option to tour Europe while the rest of Gotham, including fellow criminals and/or starving people looking to survive in Gotham, and she gets the princess treatment, while everyone else among similar standards has to live in the aftermath. Even though she was a key component of putting this whole thing into place, of putting Gotham through their own hellish winter under siege, and she pretty much gets off scot-free.
I would point to the very first Catwoman story, where Batman literally lets her go (after threatening to spank her) because he thinks she's hot.
Let's do a comparison here of her actions. In No Man's Land, the Penguin takes a bite of someone else's apple that he auctions before giving it to him, because the Penguin always gets his bite in his territory. Catwoman, in Dark Knight Rises, stops a mugging in her territory, and takes a bite of the apple as a tax for being in her territory. I wouldn't be surprised if this was lifted straight from the comic, but it's 'generous' when Selina does it, and a sign of 'greed' when Penguin does it. That's the issue. Only Penguin didn't cause the quake, while Catwoman helped put the siege in place by trapping Batman. If you want to lean on that interpretation of the character, you do have to deal with the fact that she gets treated better by the narrative because she's the sexy romance interest to the hero, who did in fact entrap and betray the hero and helped put millions into jeopardy.
Or because she switched sides and actively worked to try to correct her mistakes, even if for arguably selfish reasons. Realistically, its a bit of both.

Talia was also a sexy love interest in that film, and she is portrayed as irredeemably evil/mad and unceremoniously killed off in the final act, even though her backstory is if anything considerably more sympathetic than what we get for Selina. Granted, that could just be a case of killing off the rival ship, which is also a pretty sexist trope, but its not as simple as "Selina got treated better because she's a hot woman."

Comparing the Penguin scene to the Selina counterpart, the Penguin auctions off food to desperate people, then takes a bite of the shit he already sold them. Selina meanwhile rescues a kid from some thugs he just robbed, takes a bite of the apple, then gives the rest to him. Very different context.
The issue between her redemption, and other villain redemptions, is that hers is less costly, more permanent, and she gets more kid gloves from the heroes, because she is the hero's love interest. It brings a hypocrisy to the hero character of Batman, and needs to be fixed in the long run in how they portray the characters. Her scenes as Selina, where she's pointing out to Bruce about the gap between rich and poor are good, but she isn't alone in the tragic backstory or noble motivation department, even among the less extreme of the Batman bad guys. And this is mostly due to the fact that she IS Batman's romantic interest, and that gives her a one up on things over Nygma or other similarly harmless characters.
Again, the extent to which this is true depends on the version. But I agree that if a story portrays Selina as a villain, then her redemption has to be earned.

I don't think the fact that she's a thief, in and of itself, makes her less sympathetic or deserving of sympathy than Batman himself, who commits multiple felonies on a more or less daily basis.
But, not just picking on Catwoman here, we also have Batman's treatment of other male vs female characters doing the same actions. Vigilante or Lockup's beating up and killing of criminals is treated as a threat to be dealt with by Batman, while Huntress is just told, "No more team ups until you clean up your act and stop murdering people." Why aren't they treated the same? Is the fact that Helena Bertinelli uses a crossbow instead of a gun to kill people, or because she's a woman? He's willing to work with Tarantula, even after she raped Nightwing, whereas if, say, Two-Face had done that to Batgirl, they wouldn't be able to get past it. That's the big issue there in portrayal, and Catwoman seems to embody it.
You missed the biggest fucking example, which is Harley Quinn- the Joker's right hand woman who is still routinely portrayed as a sympathetic anti-hero. Admittedly in that case its partly because she's clearly a brainwashed domestic abuse victim, but does that give her a pass on being a murderer/an accomplice to murder?
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"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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