If you're only familiar with the post-Crisis, TV or movie incarnation of Catwoman you're probably asking, "why is she wearing a dress?" Well she's been dressing like this a lot longer than she's been into skintight catsuits. This is pretty close to the outfit she wore when she first appeared back in the Golden Age. Over time the double slit in the skirt lengthened so by the seventies and eighties she was regularly showing a generous amount of leg. She didn't always stick to this ensemble, during the sixties and seventies she sometimes sported a miniskirted version. Also while the original TV series was on the air she switched to a dark blue leotard with light blue leggings and a red mask. But she always returned to this outfit, at least until Crisis on Infinite Earths rewrote history and Batman : Year 1 established that she'd been in a catsuit from day one. A pity as this outfit isn't without its charms. Impractical you say? Not at all, Batman never steps on his cape so why should Catwoman get tangled in her skirt? Before the pictures a little background. Back in 1980 Selina Kyle decided to turn over a new life and give up both her life of crime and her Catwoman identity. Released on parole from Gotham Prison she kept her vow and over the next few months became romantically linked to Bruce Wayne. She returned to her costumed identity after contracting one of those rare incurable fatal diseases where you still look great right until you die. Someone was committing cat orientated crimes and Selina didn't feel like spending her last few weeks in jail. The real culprit turned out to be Catman. Rather than a male carbon copy this guy had one big difference from Selina (two if you count no attraction to Batman), a magic cape that gave him nine lives. By this point a lot of miraculous escapes had used up eight of them and Selina figured she could use the ninth to save her life. Briefly Catman was apparently boiled by a geyser but Selina ripped a piece off his cape first and after collapsing went into remission. Having cleared her name Selina put her costume away again but that didn't last long. "The Lazarus Affair" ran in Batman 332-335, the picture at the page's top is from the cover of part 3, Batman 334. A minor milestone as the first solo catwoman story ran in Batman 332 as part of the Lazurus storyline. To simplify a millionaire named Falstaff had just tried to ruin Bruce Wayne. He'd failed and died mysteriously leaving a lot of weird high tech equipment behind. Talia, the late Ra's Al Ghul's daughter, reappeared promising Batman she would lead him to the answers. Robin walked out figuring Talia was clouding Batman's judgement and decided run his own investigation. But he needed some help so he wound up asking Selina. Since she was curious who had tried to ruin Bruce, the origins of the weird creatures she had run into in her solo story and concerned on hearing Batman and Talia were working as partners (somewhere between the panels she had figured out that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same) she agreed and found herself very comfortable to be back in costume. Anyway the trail lead to an opium den in Hong Kong where Selina's contact betrayed her. Though Robin really should have known better than to drink the drugged tea in Batman #333 (March 1981). Script by Marv Wolfman, art by Irv Novick & John Celardo.
Doesn't look good for Catwoman and the disguised Dick Grayson/Robin does it? Appearances deceive as we found out in Batman #334 (April 1981). I really love the fact that even though her identity is no secret and she's visiting Chin as Selina Kyle she's wearing a mask of her face over her cat cowl.
To make a long story short it turned out Ra's Al Ghul wasn't really dead and that Talia was also centuries old and sustained by her father's power. Batman, Catwoman and Robin met up on Infinity Island which exploded taking Ra's with it (yeah, right). Talia faded out of Batman's life, having lost her immortality she wanted to learn to live again. Which got rid of the other woman though Selina wasn't sure of her own feelings having seen Batman and Talia a bit too close for comfort. A few months later (in a slightly ridiculous story concerning an Egyptologist who believed he was a reincarnated Pharaoh and Selina was his queen) they got back together to try and resolve their relationship. Unfortunately all too soon things fell apart as in the next issue, Detective Comics 509, Selina had an uninvited visitor. Script by Gerry Conway, Art by Don Newton & Dan Adkins
The intruder was Catman who had survived being boiled. Unfortunately as his cape had been torn he hadn't escaped unscarred. Kidnapping Selina he forced her to tell him where the cape fragment was being examined. Running into Batman enroute and thinking he'd killed him Catman returned to his marine hideout and tried to heal his scars. Too bad for him whatever power it held had been exhausted curing Selina.
Batman took out Catman easily enough and freed Selina but the incident had rattled her. Afraid that more enemies she had made might come after her and, ironically, trying to protect Bruce she left Gotham looking to find some sort of peace. But she hadn't got too far before fate intervined and she decided Catwoman was back.
This way for The Further Adventures of Catwoman
Back to the D.C. Main Page