dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
Not too long ago, Comic Book Resources posted an exclusive five page preview of Catwoman #2. As you can see, it seems to pick up in the middle of a scene, which is kind of...odd for a comic book preview. I actually really liked the preview, especially Alfred's involvement, and was totally okay with Selina-in-Disguise (especially since her belt is obviously her whip. Super cute!)

But it was still really weird. Usually, websites that get exclusives post the first five pages of the comic book in question. Why, I wondered, did they start the preview in the middle of the story?

Well, the answer is easy.

The first three pages of Catwoman #2 are....can you guess? WAIT FOR IT...

...

...

SEX

*FACEDESK*

I haven't even gotten any further in my reading. I glanced at the first couple of pages and I had to come straight here to report. The preview actually had me hopeful, and then...

Three 'sexy' pages behind the cut. Like most things involving Catwoman lately, TOTALLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK. )

I'll be back with a more in depth critique and exploration of the events of the issue later, but to say I'm disappointed is something of the understatement of the year.

ETA: Aaand I read ahead. TO SAY I AM PISSED OFF IS AN EVEN BIGGER UNDERSTATEMENT THAN MY LAST UNDERSTATEMENT. GOD DAMN IT, DC COMICS, Y U DO DIS?

More thoughts later. Have to go to the doctor right now. Bleh.
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
Unngh. Still really, really sick. Getting better, but man oh man, it's going to be awhile before I recover enough to do much that's substantial. My Year One review is gathering cobwebs over here. :( I also still don't have the energy to respond to comments, so I hope you'll forgive the delay again; I will talk to you guys, it just has to wait until I'm done hacking my lungs up.

(Gimme a T! M! I!)

Anyway! I haven't really bothered to post solicits months and months in advance, as I much prefer to get discussion going about what's going to happen like, next week, but something interesting has happened with the solicit for Catwoman #3 (it's been significantly altered), and I want to talk about that later and how it reflects a disturbing pattern I'm noticing in comics covers lately, so I figure we'd better get all caught up.

Without further ado, here are the solicits for issues #2-5, including a comparison between the old and new covers of Catwoman #3.

Issue #2:



She’s a thief who lives to steal just for the thrill of breaking the law. He’s The Dark Knight, obsessively driven to battle evil with every ounce of his strength. They should keep each other at arm’s length, but…they just can’t seem to help themselves!

Don’t miss this issue – things are gonna get messy!


Sooo...Selina has no motivation to steal other than 'breaking the law is a thrill'? My, what depth of character. Also, messy? Did the condom break?

Issue #3 (First Cover):



Issue #3 (New Cover):



Cats hate baths. Cats hate dogs. And cats hate being caught. Catwoman stole from the wrong man, and now he’s got her. He wants his stuff back, he wants answers and he wants blood.

Cats had better have nine lives, because Selina Kyle is about to lose one!


Oh, this is fun! Just like an activity book! How many cat puns/cliches can YOU count?

Issue #4:



Catwoman pays a call on Wayne Manor, but those who live there prefer that you call first. Then Selina Kyle says goodbye to an old friend, says hello to an older one, and resolves more firmly than ever to strike out on her own. Only one of those things almost gets her killed.

But...but...you guys, isn't one of Catwoman's defining characteristics her independence? Isn't that kind of the whole supposed point of the new series? I mean...

Issue #5



Catwoman is flying solo and finding plenty of turbulence! She has her paws full when a simple smash and grab turns into a hit and pummeled, as she faces an adversary who is more than a match for Selina. She calls herself Reach, and she doesn’t pull any punches. Can our favorite Feline Fatale land on her feet?

Oh, I see. She needed to go solo so we could make plane puns! HA! And more cat puns! Puns, puns, puns! Because in your self appointed new grim and gritty universe, you should evoke the 60's Batman series in your solicitations!

(Please note: If the series actually DID that in a self aware camp way, I would be so thrilled...)

Also, how do shoulders work? Not quite like that, I assure you.

Sigh.

All snarking aside, I find that each of these covers is much better than that of the debut issue, even taking into account that anatomy doesn't really work the way #2 and #5 would have us believe. The fact that the cover for #3 was significantly altered, to turn Catwoman from snarling to significantly more passive, reflects a larger trend in comics covers that prominently feature female characters, but that's a topic for when I feel less like death in a crockpot.

Which issue are you most looking forward to based on its description, or which cover do you personally like the best?
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
So remember when I was going to do a daily scans-a-palooza throughout October? I liked that plan. That was a good plan. *sigh* Oh, life, always getting in the way of what's truly important: fandom. Ah well, I'll get back to that mission tomorrow.

So anyway! Though I've already talked about Catwoman #1 (2011) twice now, and I do have further in-depth thoughts on the book that I haven't yet addressed, part of me really doesn't want to keep beating that dead horse. The majority of my brain is pretty much over it, but if I'm being honest with myself, there are still parts of me that aren't yet satisfied with the critique.

(Because if you make it your mission to evaluate things critically for better or worse and haven't taken something genuinely awful out to the woodshed, beaten it, flayed it and then ground its bones to dust, you're just not doing your job, damn it.)

The rest of the internet seems to be in about the same place I currently am. The majority has put it aside and moved on to new anger-inducing things (like the problematic imagery and objectification of Voodoo #1), but the kerfuffle is far from over.

You all remember the cover to the first printing of Catwoman #1, yes?





I think the best possible criticism of the cover, aside from the Batman mock-up above, is the following from Bleeding Cool:

"We've known for a while that the cover to the Catwoman reboot has the character lying on her back barefoot with her legs in the air, baring her cleavage and pouring sparkling white droplets over her boobs. It’s very tasteful. It sets the tone. She’s a thief, you see, and that’s what thieves do; at the end of a long day of thieving they lie on a rooftop and throw diamonds away. Erotically."

The whole illuminating article can be found right over here. I highly, highly recommend it.

Tomorrow, we return to our regularly scheduled scans-a-palooza, with the purple suit era Catwoman #6 & #7! Stay tuned.
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
Today, I finally, finally start tackling Catwoman's first solo series, from 1993.

(If you haven't yet read The COMPLETE Definitive Catwoman Origin, now would be the time...)

This kicks off 31 Day Scans-a-Palooza, in which I rather suicidally try to post something scans-y once a day, every day, until Halloween. CAN YOU DO IT, DODGERS?


In 1993, with Batman Returns bringing Catwoman back into the limelight in a very big way and making her more popular than ever before, the nineties 'Bad Girl Comic' trend in full swing and the speculator comics bubble still intact, it was inevitable that Selina would wind up with her own solo series. Commonly known as the "Jim Balent Era" or, more often, the "Purple Suit Era," Catwoman's first ongoing series lasted from 1993 to 2001, and stretched some ninety-four issues, plus annuals.

Before the Purple Suit Era began, Catwoman's appearances through Batman's history were fairly sparse. Despite her iconic status, there were entire decades where she made just a handful of appearances. After Crisis on Infinite Earths occurred, giving her a revamped history and look (the gray suit), she popped up a grand total of thirty-six times before the series launched in 1993--an average of five times a year--and many of those appearances were cameos.

With the success of Batman Returns--and, to a lesser extent, Batman: The Animated Series--people were clamoring for a Catwoman solo book, and with the huge Batman event Knightfall going on, spanning several Bat-Family titles, it was incredibly smart of DC to start yet another that could serve as a tie-in to the main Batman books.

(Which is why the first few dozen issues are rife with crossover activity: Catwoman's book was treated less as an actual title in its own right and more as a suppliment to whatever was going on in the DC Universe at large at any given time. This is probably one of the reasons why it's never been collected, and should give you some idea of just how much DC actually valued her before Brubaker's run came along: which is to say not a whole hell of a lot...)

The Catwoman we know from the Purple Suit era first appears in Batman #498, when she's approached by the criminal Bane who, after sending every available villan after Batman and finally breaking Gotham's protector with his own two hands, pretty much runs Gotham through a vast criminal network in Batman's absense. Bane 'offers' Catwoman the job of stealing for him, and with no recourse, she 'accepts', thus becoming a thief-for-hire under duress. And that's where the first story arc of Catwoman picks up, with a museum heist gone awry:

The Abridged Catwoman #1-4: SO MANY SCANS BEHIND THE CUT OMIGOSH. )

Thooooughts?
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
Cheesecake (noun): Also called Leg Art. Photographs featuring scantily clad attractive women.

T&A (abbreviation): Tits and Ass.


I know some people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around why we in the comics blogosphere are blowing our stacks over Catwoman #1, especially people in the comments of places like Comics Alliance and Newsarama. I mean, after all, comics are a medium in which women are portrayed as hyper-sexualized all the time, and thus, we should expect it to come with the territory.

Never mind that nobody can actually give me a good reason for why that is the way it is, other than “That’s how it’s always been.” which, frankly, isn’t a reason to do anything.

“I keep stubbing my toe on that coffee table!”

“Well, why don’t you move it?”

“But it‘s always been there!”

Highly illogical.

One of the biggest defenses rising from that mentality is that Catwoman qualifies as a Cheesecake Art Book and not an Objectfying Claptrap Book.

I am here to shut those people up. So sit your ass down, you’re about to get schooled.

Webcomic courtesy of Ty Templeton, six pages from Catwoman #1 (2002) and some mildly NSFW cheesecake art behind the cut. )

How people are still defending this issue is completely beyond me. It’s not just offensive, it’s objectively bad because it’s poorly written. LE SIGH.

And the worst of it is, in all fairness to Winick, I actually really like some of his work (some of his Batman run, specifically, and a bit of his Green Arrow) and by all accounts, his Batwing does right everything Catwoman does wrong. What is it about this title that made him totally jump the rails?
















*A note to commeters: Though I'm posting this webcomic, I don't condone use of words like 'hooker' or even 'prostitute'; sex worker is the only term really welcome here in regards to the profession in question, so I ask you to please respect this when commenting. Sex workers read comics blogs, too, you know. :)
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
I am not quite sure how to begin this review. I’ve been mulling it over for nearly two days now, and I’m no closer to knowing than I was to begin with.

To say that I had high hopes for the new Catwoman series isn't really accurate. I hoped it'd be great, much the same way one hopes it won't rain even though the sky is looking kinda cloudy and yuck. There's always the chance that the clouds will dissipate, the sun will pop out and you can go have that picnic you've been planning, but you bring your umbrella anyway, just in case.

So, with a hopeful heart and my trusty umbrella tucked under my arm, I took the plunge and picked up a digital copy of Catwoman #1 on Wednesday, since my local comic shop is, as of my latest move, an hour's drive away.

I should have invested in galoshes and a rowboat, because what I thought would just be a little rain turned out to be a flash flood.

It's so bad in fact, that I just...can't even process the idea of reviewing this alone. I need a coping mechanism to take my frustration out on.

...

Oh, Invisible Interjector, my old friend?

Yes?

I want to talk about all the reasons why the people defending Catwoman #1 are wrong, but I can’t do that without an idiot to argue with.

This feels like a trap.

That’s because it is.

Well…so long as you’re honest about it. I’m totally your guy! Gal. Figment of your imagination. Whatever.

Excellent! Do me a favor and embody all idiotic comic fans everywhere. And please be thorough.

Dhyuck, boobies.

Perfect.

FIVE VERY, VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK PAGES BEHIND THE CUT. OH MY GOD SO NOT WORK SAFE. )
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
Via the DC Comics App, we get our first look at Catwoman's new series, by Judd Winick and Guillem March, which will be hitting stands next Wednesday:



Four full pages and a bit of commentary behind the cut. )

We'll see what the rest of the issue shapes up to be like; personally, I'm reserving judgment until the first storyarc is out and I can chew on it for awhile. What did you guys make of it?
dr_von_fangirl: (Default)
There’s been quite a bit of Catwoman related news hitting the internet in the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been a little too preoccupied with baby-related things to give fandom-y stuff a glance, lately. (My regular blog full of geekery and the odd personal update is still seeing posts, but not nearly as often as it should be.) Plus, my inbox is currently stuffed to the brim with Dr-Von-Fangirl related correspondence, so things have been a little...hectic.

So, two pieces of Catwoman related stuff for you today!

First bit of news:

In case you haven’t yet heard, DC Comics is doing a relaunch/reboot thing. Nobody’s quite clear on the implications and there are a bunch of alarmists running around flailing their arms and screaming about it DEFINITELY being a new Crisis on Infinite Earths AND NOW EVERYTHING IS CANON ALWAYS despite the lack of evidence to that effect.

A bunch of other people are screaming that the events taking place in the current Flashpoint event are totally going to be the new continuity now, because apparently nobody’s ever read a story that involves time travel paradoxes and alternate universes as written by Geoff Johns before. Or a time travel story, period.

Personally, I’m thinking the supposed ‘reboot’ is mainly just a renumbering and series relaunch for publicity purposes and that nothing will change too substantially--and if it does, it certainly won't last very long.

But, as with most things in comics, a wait and see attitude is best.

So, why am I talking about this? Well, Catwoman is one of the titles being relaunched. Selina’s getting her own series again!



Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in CATWOMAN #1, written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Guillem March.

[source]

I’m not going to lie: I’ve never much cared for Guillem March’s artwork on Gotham City Sirens, but I think that may have more to do with the book’s washed out coloring--much like the muted coloring above--than the pencils themselves.

As for Judd Winick, he’s a perfectly competent writer (for example, he was responsible for the Scarecrow story As the Crow Flies in Batman which garners affection from a sizable contingent of Jonathan Crane fans who still recognize that the Scare Beast plot is very, very silly), though I don't think he’s written Selina at length before.

(However, as an old school Justice League International fan I do take issue with his Justice League Generation Lost run, but that's a discussion for another time and another place.)

Really, what fills me with the most apprehension here is the description paragraph itself, rather than the writer or the artist.

Catwoman the Cat Burglar is all well and good. She’s great in fact! The last decent heist story we got for Selina was Darwyn Cooke’s Selina’s Big Score, and a tiny smattering of stories in the nineties while she wore the purple suit.

(Believe it or not, the majority of Selina’s nineties series wasn’t robbing museums of their priceless artifacts. Oh, those stories existed, but they were vastly outnumbered by Selina-plays-Hero tales.)

The thing is, though, that while I love bad girl Selina, and I love competent cat burglar Selina, and while I love a flirty, sexually charged Selina:

The description above reads less like a fully developed, well rounded character and more like a straight adolescent male’s idea of what the definition of ‘sexy’ should be. A comic news site (I’ve already forgotten which one!) made a comparison between the description and an interview with a Playboy centerfold and I think that’s pretty apt--provided, of course, that the centerfold’s answers were written by an all male marketing team. I think Catwoman could do better than that

What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard? You’re under arrest.

What’s the best or most creative pick-up line you’ve ever heard? See above.

What signals do you give to a man when you want him to make the first move? The Bat signal, generally…

What are your biggest turn-ons? Moonlight, expensive baubles, sexual tension, hand-to-hand combat…


Ahem. Yes. So, we'll see how this goes.

Second bit of news:

The new trailer for Arkham City has hit, and it’s VERY Catwoman heavy.



...

I’m sorry, I watch this and the commentary in my head is as follows:

“Ass. Ass. ASS, ASS, BOOBS, ASS.”

Apparently, Catwoman has a posterior and we must all make note of this fact at length.

The costume is a bastardization of the Darwyn Cooke version which I have a lot of affection for, but it falls short of expectations. Mostly due to the outrageous amount of texturing and the fact that zippers and boobs do not work that way. Then again, zippers and boobs in comics rarely work the way zippers and boobs work in reality, so maybe I'm being too harsh considering the source material ;)

As for the voice actress and the characterization? I feel a little…iffy. Cat-related dialogue has always seemed a little cheap and obvious to me, but some fans like that, so to each their own. :D

Going a LONG way to making me want to play the game? Catwoman’s amazing moves. I’m actually hoping the smooch-your-attacker-then-kick-his-head-in move is a special combo, much like Bloodrayne’s ability to jump Nazis and sink her fangs into their necks for sustenance.



Back on point! Catwoman’s fighting style here is fluid and graceful while still having a fair amount of power behind it, and that’s always nice to see. It’s especially nice to see that she isn’t just relying on her bullwhip or claws, instead utilizing other tools: bolas, her natural flexibility, her feet, her fists, her sexuality...

This is pretty rare, as Catwoman’s most recent console game appearances have had her relying an awful lot on the cat gimmicks to the point that it borders on the absurd (the game based on the Catwoman film actually had her licking herself clean, for example), so I’m really happy with this direction. Much like the new solo series, we'll see how this pans out.

Thoughts?

STUFF AND NONSENSE

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.

November 2011

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