Exploring the intertwined childhoods of Selina and Bruce in a Batman/Catwoman Special #1 preview

Batman/Catwoman Special #1 excerpt by John Paul Leon
Batman/Catwoman Special #1 excerpt by John Paul Leon (Image credit: DC)

Some of comics' great artists are stepping in to finish Batman/Catwoman Special #1, the last known project of the late John Paul Leon before his untimely passing.

The first 14 pages were completely drawn by Leon before his passing, with the next six roughed out. Those six pages will be finished by his artistic colleagues Bernard Chang and Shawn Crystal, with Mitch Gerads stepping in to draw (and color) the remaining 18 pages. Dave Stewart has colored Leon's, Chang's, and Crystal's pages.

"With the blessing of Tommy Lee Edwards, Bernard Chang, and DC, it is my immense honor to announce my next project is the back half of the Batman/Catwoman Special #1 that the late great John Paul Leon was working on right up to his passing," Gerads tweeted (opens in new tab). "Honored doesn’t begin to cut it…

"I've only gotten to hang out with [John Paul Leon] in real life a couple times, but we chatted online a lot as well," the artist continued. "As an artist he meant the absolute world to me, and as a coworker/friend: he was unmatched. A true comic GREAT. "

Kurt Busiek, who worked with Leon on Batman: Creature of the Night (opens in new tab), has written an essay to be included in this special, along with a second essay by Milestone Media co-founder Michael Davis.

The special will also include a line-up of artists providing pin-ups, including:

  • Lee Bermejo
  • Denys Cowan & Chris Sotomayor
  • Becky Cloonan
  • Klaus Janson & Dave Stewart
  • Rick Leonardi & Dave Stewart
  • Chris Batista
  • Dani & Tamra Bonvillain
  • Ibrahim Moustafa
  • Clay Mann & Seth Mann
  • Vanesa Del Rey
  • Dave Johnson
  • Joëlle Jones
  • Shawn Martinbrough & Chris Sotomayor
  • Khary Randolph & Emilio Lopez
  • Tula Lotay
  • Dave Gibbons
  • Walter Simonson & Laura Martin
  • Jon Bogdanove & Sian Mandrake

With these revised plans now in place to finish the issue, DC has scheduled Batman/Catwoman Special #1 to go on sale on January 25.

Batman/Catwoman Special #1 was originally planned to be released in the late summer 2021, as a special standalone addition to the main 12-issue Batman/Catwoman series by King, Clay Mann, and Liam Sharp

Here are three of Leon's pages from Batman/Catwoman Special #1, including newly colored images. 

Batman/Catwoman (and by extension, Batman/Catwoman Special #1) takes place in an alternate universe slightly disconnected from DC's main universe but coming tangentially off Tom King's recent Batman run. In this Elseworlds-like story, Bruce and Selina reunited after she left him at the altar - going on to eventually get married (and have a kid even).

According to limited information shared by DC, the Batman/Catwoman Special was to be a flashback that explores previously unknown deeper connections between Bruce and Selina as children and teenagers, before they even became vigilantes.

Leon illustrated the primary cover to Batman/Catwoman Special #1, with variant covers by Lee Weeks and Bill Sienkiewicz. Check them out here:

Keep track of this and all the new Batman comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond. 

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)