It's Cover!Wednesday again! Today, we're going to do something a tad bit different than the usual 'post pretty pictures' thing, because I've noticed something.
Looking at the covers I've posted thus far of Selina's 90's series--the ones that I consider to be the coolest from an aesthetic viewpoint--it's interesting to note that the covers suffer from the same visual character development/derailment that the old Nancy Drew novel covers did. In the earliest covers, the main character is always doing something active--something badass--and always confident. For example:
Later, she's still active but scared/startled/apprehensive while in action:
Then she's falling off things...a lot. Or otherwise 'in danger':
Now, there are several instances of Catwoman being confident/badass after and in between these issues, but it's still an interesting trend to consider. In fact, this progression from active to active-but-scared to menaced eventually goes all the way to victim.
This progression inevitably leads to what our cover theme is for the day: The Damsel in Distress.
I find it interesting to note that, while in her solo series from the nineties and in various Bat-family titles she's often
portrayed as the damsel in distress, whereas in her second solo series she's almost never portrayed as such. In fact, there are only three instances that I can find:
Let's compare, actually, by the numbers, her 90's series versus her '01 series. But just to make sure we've got things nice and even handed here, the criteria for being 'in distress' is as follows:
1.) Unconsciousness OR
2.) Being bound OR
3.) Falling off things
4.) No apparent means of escape
5.) Not visibly fighting back
Starting with the 90's series:
Issues #15, 20, 34, 42, 48, 49, 56, 57, 60, 63, 70, 74, 80 & 82
Issues #16, 24 & 45
That's fourteen vs. three, for those of you playing along at home.
Something else that I find interesting is that--overall--the same number of issues with DiD covers in series one were penned by both men and women. So it's clearly not a gender bias.DAMSEL IN DISTRESS COVERS BY (MAJOR) SERIES AUTHORS:Series One
Jo Duffy: 0
Chuck Dixon: 3
Doug Moench: 3
Devin Grayson: 5
John Ostrander: 1
Bronwyn Carlton: 2Series Two
Ed Brubaker: 2
Will Pfieffer: 1
In fact, stories written by a woman (Devin Grayson) are the worst offenders by sheer volume, it would seem.
Now, comics writers generally don't have much say over which cover goes on their comic-of-the-month. That's up to an editor to decide, based on the story's content. Does this mean that those stories themselves cast Selina as a damsel instead of a protagonist? Not necessarily, but it's interesting to note, nonetheless.
Of course, there is one instance of the Damsel in Distress trope being turned on its head, from Brubaker's run:
I'm not particularly fond of the art--I find it a bit on the grotesque side, actually--but it's nice to see this sort of thing happening. Rather than being cast as the victim collapsed in the hero's arms, Selina is cast in the hero's role.
Selina as Savior has always been more interesting to me than just
Selina for Self. At least, it's always been more interesting since I've been a grown-up who no longer harbors the desire to be a pretty, pretty princess with a castle closet full of flouncy dresses and a treasury full of precious gems.
So, my Fellow Feline Fatale Fans, what do you make of this?Edited to Add:
It's no longer Off-Topic!Tuesday, but this tidbit is too good to just sit on for a week:
The New York Post (which is a bit of a scandal rag, I know) reports that a woman dressed as Catwoman recently robbed a shoe store in New York City
The thief browsed in the store--in a cat mask!--for an hour and then made off with a whopping eighty-six dollars.
Well...points for cajones and execution, at the very least.