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So in my travels, I've picked up a fair bit of Batman-related swag of the disposable, forgettable kind. Coloring and activity books, riddle books, puzzles, that sort of thing. This merchandise is generally pretty unremarkable and isn't very highly sought after, and since it's 'kid stuff' and considered unworthy of being collected, not much of it survives long enough to make it online. The Super Dictionary is one of the exceptions, but there's a lot of fun stuff out there if you know where to look.

One of my favorite coloring/activity books I've come across in the past few years has a handful of Catwoman pages that tell their own little stories, just in the space of a few images. It's pretty easy to add your own captions, or build a simplistic story around them using your imaaaaginaaaation.

Today, I bring you three of them, depicting a fun little Harley Quinn/Catwoman team-up:

Interestingly, Poison Ivy, the other best known Gotham Femme Fatale, doesn't make a single appearance in the book. Also, Harley Quinn makes more appearances than Catwoman--and Catwoman shows up something like twelve times, so that's nothing to sneeze at. Especially if you take into account that Harley Quinn is barely two decades old, hasn't made an appearance in any of the Batman films and seems to be relatively unknown character outside of people who read comics or are intimately familiar with Batman: The Animated Series, whereas Catwoman has been part of the pop culture landscape in one highly visible fashion or another since the nineteen sixties. I find this fascinating.

Classic!Harley is, of course, an incredibly iconic looking character, so I suppose it's understandable. Her red and black costume is a fashion designer's wet dream, with its clean lines and symmetry, she's a fun, bouncy character in an otherwise grim!dark! universe and, I imagine, for a child, she'd be incredibly fun to color.

(She's certainly fun enough to draw that, despite the fact she's not one of my favorites, she constantly pops from my pencil when I sit down to doodle, whether I want her to or not.)

Still, it raises the question (for me, at least): just how familiar with Harley Quinn is the truly casual Bat-fan, versus Catwoman?

on 2011-08-30 01:50 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
Depends on the generation.

My folks, the Baby Boomers? Catwoman will always be better-known. Three reasons: Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether. Even Lee, the most loathed of all the Adam West Catwomen, jump-started more than her fair share of first boners among boys in the '60s.

My generation, the Xers? On the one hand, Michelle Pfeiffer. On the other hand, Bruce Timm's drawings and Arleen Sorkin's voice. I knew guys who NEVER read a Batman comic, who would still admit, without shame, that they masturbated to Harley Quinn in high school.

Here's a generation gap for you — I don't think you GET how ghettoized female characters in "boys' toys" franchises were, pre-Harley. Yeah, you had the occasional token chicks who were immortalized in plastic, like Teela and Evil-Lyn of He-Man fame, and sometimes, if a franchise was feeling particularly bold, they'd launch an ahead-of-its-time doomed-to-fail experiment like She-Ra, but by and large, the female characters who appeared in boys' cartoons did NOT appear in the corresponding toy lines, or if they did, then like the gals in G.I. JOE, they basically looked like guys with bigger tits and broader hips. Even the original Timm-style Catwoman figure suffered from Square Pelvis Syndrome.

But Harley? Harley was distributed in such small numbers, and became so in-demand when compared to ANY other character in the line, male OR female, that she became a COLLECTOR'S item for people who didn't even know what "collector's items" WERE.

In the broader historic view, yes, Catwoman has unquestionably inspired more fantasies over the course of her existence, but to put it on something closer to an equal pop cultural footing, I would estimate that AT LEAST as many guys (and gals) have jacked (or jilled) themselves to explicit sexual scenarios of Harley Quinn as have done to Jessica Rabbit.

on 2011-08-30 04:31 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
Thanks to the video games, Harley has a lot more visibility but I don't think she has the same amount of 'respect' that Catwoman has and I am kind of going off by what ^Boxy^ said. First off, longevity and more visibilty in mainstream media and I am talking about the films in particular. Say, did you read that supposedly in 1999 there was going to be a fifth Batman film? In this one, Madonna was considered for the Harley who was going to be Joker's daughter, not hench girl/GF. But we all know why that was axed. There was a possibility that Harley was going to be mainstream not even one decade after her debut.

One of the things that irks me as a Harley fan is that her popularity is largely in part sexual. The other part being that she is cute/addicting like an annoying pop song on Top 40 radio. The ironic thing is, for Catwoman, sexuality is part of the reason why people like her. She has many more qualities going for her. The same thing with Poison Ivy. If only writers like Karl Kessel came along and did something risk taking I think Harley could get that. Yes, I realize my opinion is a very unpopular one. One thing did like about GCS was seeing all the cute outfits Harley wore that hinted at her trademark colors. I LOVE what she wore in Streets of Gotham #1.

on 2011-08-30 06:00 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
What's irotic about Harley's sex appeal is that, Bruce Timm's default art style for female characters notwithstanding, she's kind of a sex symbol in spite of herself. Catwoman and Poison Ivy have both been explicitly coded as femme fatales since their inception, and even within the context of what was ostensibly a kids' cartoon, Timm's initial artistic depictions played up those characteristics quite strongly. Catwoman started out wearing a cross between the gray catsuit, that she wore in the comics for a while, with Black Widow's original costume, right down to the spangly gold belt to accentuate her birthin' hips, whereas Poison Ivy wore a leafy green swimsuit with matching tights and topped it off with a '40s-style Veronica Lake hairdo. Catwoman was voiced by veteran cinematic sex object Adrienne Barbeau, while Poison Ivy was played by the equally breathy-voiced Diane Pershing. By contrast, Harley was the girl who wore clown makeup and had Arleen Sorkin's squeaky comedienne voice. Before Insane Clown Posse, that wasn't even a sexual fetish, and yet, I say that precisely BECAUSE she WASN'T being sold as an explicitly sexy sexy sexpot, Harley became the most-fantasized-about character on that show.

You really can't win with guys. No matter what you throw at us, we WILL find a way to get turned on by it. :)

on 2011-08-30 06:01 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
"Ironic," should say. :P

on 2011-08-30 06:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
Then please explain to me why guys get turned by watching a woman go to the bathroom. I can SORT OF see why the voyeuristic aspect is appealing but other than that nada.

on 2011-08-30 06:38 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
Speaking as someone who does not find piss or scat play any more appealing than you do, I'll say it; someone's toilet-training got fucked up as a kid, and that's all there is to it.

Bear in mind, America is a deeply Puritanical culture anyway, in which we're told that anything that might feel good must be bad for us, so it's not that far a leap to start thinking of anything that's just plain fucking nasty as arousing for no other reason than that alone.


on 2011-08-30 06:49 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
The 'taboo' aspect is totally understandible. You see that in child development and religion as you pointed out. When you deny someone something for so long it becomes desirable. I guess the fascination with the stuff is like when you read about bug chasing. The psychology behind it is fascinating but the actual act itself makes you think WTF. In this context I use fascinating as in seeing a car crash, not a well groomed horse :)

on 2011-08-30 06:52 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
Wow I went off on a tangent! First comics then poop and then AIDS. Whoops. I'll stop now.

on 2011-08-30 06:59 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
You're on a tangent? Jesus Christ, my teeth are actually chattering from the shock of watching a scene from Crash again.

on 2011-08-30 07:06 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
If you are talking about the 2005 film then that was the most overrated thing I ever saw.

on 2011-08-30 07:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
No, fuck that film. I'm talking about Crash that was based off J.G. Ballard's novel of the same name, which is where the clip you just saw came from.

on 2011-08-30 07:22 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
I just read the summary on wiki. I shall add this to my queue at the local library.

on 2011-08-30 07:29 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
The last time I saw it all the way through was well before my near-fatal car accident. I can actually FEEL those crashes in my bones when I watch them onscreen.

on 2011-08-30 07:53 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
I am sorry to hear that. You have my sympathy. I was involved in a couple of nasty ones as a child. One of which was pretty bad. The front of the car curled up. More than fifteen years later I still get anxiety and I grab my chair if the person driving gets to close to the car in front of us.

on 2011-08-30 06:58 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] box-in-the-box.livejournal.com
You can't mention the words "car crash" in a discussion of sexual fetishes without making me think of this:


on 2011-08-30 07:05 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] sharkbites.livejournal.com
You know seeing the announcer touch that car like that was kind of sexy ;)


This is the back-up account for what I hope will be the Ultimate Catwoman Fan Blog--Dr. Von Fangirl on LiveJournal. You should go check it out over there. I much prefer the original article.

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