The 80th anniversary of Catwoman's debut will be celebrated June 2 in a 100-page anthology from DC. An all-star list of Catwoman alumnus including Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, and Adam Hughes will take part, as well as writer Ram V and artist Federico Blanco - who will be taking over Catwoman's ongoing series later this year.
For the occasion, Newsarama is looking back across Selina Kyle's 80-year history to pick-and-choose the best Catwoman stories - much like a jewel thief would with a free moment at a jewelry store. And just like a jewelry store, there are some real diamonds - as well as some diamonds in the rough that not every fan may recall.
10. Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper
First released as a four-issue limited series in 1989, Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper was Selina Kyle's first solo book - long overdue by that time if you ask us.
Written by Mindy Newell and illustrated by J.J Birch, the title was a spin-off of Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli's seminal "Year One" arc of Batman two years prior. In this version, readers witness the events of "Batman: Year One" through Selina’s eyes. Just as "Year One" reestablished Bruce Wayne’s origins post-Crisis, Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper does the same for Selina Kyle in this gritty retelling.
9. Catwoman: The Catfile
Catwoman's burglary skills get a bit of seasoning with an international escapade in Catwoman: The Catfile - but not by Selina's choice.
Selina Kyle is kidnapped and blackmailed by a secret organization out to steal an ancient European artifact, but Catwoman is no damsel in distress as she uses her wits and skills to flip the script on her captors.
The Catfile brought together long-time Batman scribe Chuck Dixon with an artist who would become one of the character's most recognizable artists, Jim Balent.
8. Catwoman: The Replacements
Selina Kyle might be synonymous with the identity Catwoman, but she's not the only one who's worn the catsuit.
In 2006's storyline "The Replacements," Selina took time off as an expectant mother and passed the mantle to a long-time ally, Holly Robinson.
Robinson had a long history with Catwoman, first meeting her as a 13-year-old runaway in need of rescue back in Batman's "Year One" arc. Over the years, she was trained by Wildcat and Selina herself to be a costumed adventurer (and yes, with some thievery), and "The Replacements" saw her finally accept that destiny - even if only for a brief time.
7. Batman #308-326 (1979-1980)
One of Catwoman’s most defining characteristics is her role as an anti-hero. She’s not a bad person per se, but at the same time loves to break the rules for the sake of a good score.
This Bronze Age storyline which ran in Batman #308-326 muddles the line Catwoman walks between good and evil, as her iconic romantic relationship with Batman begins to fully blossom, with their pursuit becoming much more than a simple game of cat and mouse.
6. Batman: Year One
The 1987 "Year One" arc of Batman not only explores Bruce Wayne’s origins as the Caped Crusader, but concurrently tells the story of how Selina Kyle goes from sex worker to renowned cat burglar.
Selina starts her career as Catwoman by stealing money from the rich of Gotham to help provide for both Holly Robinson and herself. This eventually leads her to taking on mobster Carmine Falcone, with Batman crashing the party – marking the first of many Post-Crisis team ups between Selina and Bruce Wayne.
5. Batman #37 (2017)
It’s date night at the Gotham County Fair with two of DC’s most iconic couples - Catwoman/Batman and Superman/Lois Lane.
At the heart of writer Tom King’s recent Batman run was Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne’s romance. Throughout his 70+ issues, King broke down their relationship to build it back up, culminating in a heartbreaking moment with ramifications still playing out in the DC Universe.
Despite this inherent drama, the Clay Mann-drawn Batman #37 showcases a brighter side from the couple on a lighthearted date with friends. It also cements Batman and Superman’s bond, while finding ground to create a new friendship between Lois and Selina.
4. Selina’s Big Score
Selina’s Big Score is a colorful, noir styled adventure, written and drawn by the late Darwyn Cooke, with Selina doing what she does best – finding the next big score (it’s right there in the title!).
In this storyline, Catwoman has hit rock bottom - presumed dead with no fortune to her name, which leads her to a mob train full of unmarked cash ready for the taking. Instead of Selina’s classic cat burglar persona, Cooke fully leans into the noir genre with Catwoman taking the role of a femme fatale anti-hero.
The color palette and refreshing take on the character helped Selina’s Big Score stand out from the rest of the pack, visually redefining Catwoman in a way that’s stuck ever since.
3. Catwoman: Relentless
As a cat burglar, Selina is rarely on the offense, but when she crosses one of Gotham’s most ruthless bad guys, Black Mask, this all changes.
In the third arc of Ed Brubaker's seminal run on Catwoman, the introduction of Black Mask into the story - and his one-by-one culling of the people Selina's holds most dear - makes this a breakneck story that capitalizes on everything built up in the 11 previous issues.
And it's these issues in which artist Cameron Stewart breaks from the immense shadow cast by the series' original artist Darwyn Cooke to define himself and his take on the cat burglar.
2. Batman: Hush
Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee's "Hush" arc of Batman is a critical darling that is still one of DC's biggest-selling stories - not to mention the inspiration for a recent animated feature film adaptation.
It all kicks off with the introduction of Thomas Elliot - a previously-unknown childhood friend of Bruce Wayne that Bruce hasn't seen in decades. This return brings more questions than answers, and leads Batman into exploring his past - crossing paths with some of the Dark Knight's greatest villains and allies and everyone in-between.
While the series excels at re-examining Batman's relationships with his many villains, "Hush" also digs into the romantic tension between Dark Knight and Catwoman for the first time in significant way in the 21st Century. After Batman reveals his romantic feelings for Selina - and in an act of trust reveals his secret identity as Bruce Wayne, the two engage in a whirlwind full-on romance.
This new facet to their relationship falls on the rocks however by Batman's continued trust issues with Catwoman, especially after he learns that their coupling was instigated by outside means - a magic spell. Selina tries to assuage Bruce by telling him to "hush" and leaning in for a kiss, but his mistrust of it all leads him to push back - sending her away.
1. Catwoman: Anodyne
Leave it to Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke for the risky decision of relaunching DC's Catwoman title with her death. But don't worry - these are comic books, there's more to that story.
Selina Kyle survives - and thrives - in this storyline, which revitalized the character in name, story, and costume. Cooke's Mrs. Peel-inspired catsuit quickly became the character's defacto costume across comics, TV, film, and games, from then on.
This four-issue arc gives Selina a new beginning as she searches for redemption helping victims instead of taking on selfish cash grabs - a story that truly highlights her anti-hero roots, re-connects her with Holly Robinson, and begins the slow path to her even eventually joining the Justice League and operating alongside Batman in Gotham for a time.