Catwoman aka Selina Kyle was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for Batman #1 in 1940. At her core, Catwoman has always been a thief and a femme fatale and occasional love interest for Batman. In her creation, Kane said that he took inspiration from actresses Jean Harlow, Hedy Lamarr, and his own cousin, Ruth Steele.
Her origins and outfits have changed radically throughout the decades. One of the biggest changes has been her affiliations. Catwoman has gone from a straight villain who doesn’t kill to an antihero that does the good thing for the wrong reason to an occasional hero. For all her long history, let’s see things people forget about this cat lady.
Although there have been a number of changes to the final steps that led to the creation of Catwoman, Selina Kyle’s early years are relatively unchanged and tragic. Selina’s mother, Maria, was an abused housewife that eventually took her own life in the bathtub. Her alcoholic father, Brian, eventually drank himself to death. She and her sister Maggie were taken to a home for delinquent girls but Selina escaped and lived on the streets.
Some origins saw her getting caught picking pockets at a carnival and being asked to join it where she learned the skills of gymnastics, contortionism, and whip work. Another had her trail a ninja to his Sensei who invited her to hone her skills at their dojo.
9 The Cat Head Years
During the Golden Age, in Selina’s first outing, she was simply a thief who had disguised herself as an old woman and was going by the name “The Cat”. By her third outing, she began wearing a large furry Cat head mask and changed her name to Catwoman.
Batman found himself completely flabbergasted by this femme fatale, allowing her to slip away once and even stopping Robin from leaping after her. While he declined an offer to give up crime-fighting and join her crew, he did accept a kiss from the “villain” before she somersaulted away.
8 The Devil in a Dress Years
In the Silver Age, Selina’s origin changed to make her a flight attendant who bumped her head and lost all memory of her previous life. She turned to feline-themed crimes and created an outfit of a dress and half face mask with cat ears. She also created a “Kitty-Car” and began to use actual cats as accomplices in her crimes.
Selina made plans that were consistently thwarted by Batman and Robin. She created crime sprees based on fictional cat stories and on the fashion trends of the ultra-rich. She was also angered to not be included in a list of villainous women and engaged in a large endeavor to prove that she was the most evil.
7 The Super Villain Years
Following the first Crisis, this iteration of Selina Kyle was a departure as she was fully ready to kill. This Catwoman was briefly a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. This led to the confrontations with Batman becoming much more dire and less flirtatious.
Catwoman made a plan to kill the Penguin and roped Lois Lane into her scheme. This brought her the attention of not only Batman and Robin but Superman, who defeated her plan. Selina and some more level minded Rogues worked together to oust an invading West Coast mob with the specific agenda of killing Batman. The villains wanted the honor of killing Batman themselves.
6 The Prostitute Years
The Modern Era’s Selina Kyle became a prostitute in Gotham’s seedy East End. Selina’s former pimp Stan kidnapped her sister Maggie and Selina killed Stan to get her back. Selina took in young runaway Holly Robinson. Selina saw Batman and adopted the Catwoman persona to hide her identity as a cat burglar.
Selina became a successful thief and a strong-willed woman with her own sense of right and wrong. She found evidence that she may be the illegitimate daughter of infamous criminal Carmine Falcone but was never able to find definitive proof. She is one of the few to immediately realize that Azrael was not truly Batman.
5 “That Witch Messed with My Mind”
When Dr. Light snuck onto the JLA Satellite and found Sue Dibny alone there, he sexually assaulted her. When the League arrived and stopped him, he threatened to go after their loved ones. A vote was taken. Zatanna not only wiped his memory but altered his mind to make him a buffoon. And many believed that was not the end of it.
Selina believed that her change from criminal to hero and her love for Batman had to be because of Zatanna’s mind manipulation. Selina was furious when she discovered this information. She made Zatanna understand by duct taping her mouth, tying her to a chair, and throwing her out of a window. Selina later went to Zatanna to try and force her to mind wipe the villains Angle Man and Film Freak from knowing her personal information and to make her forget ever having a daughter.
4 “Hush Took My Heart”
Hush aka Tommy Elliott was slowly destroying Bruce Wayne’s life and now he was targeting Catwoman. Catwoman and Zatanna had made friends and were discussing how Selina needed to let Batman know how she feels about him before Jezebel Jet “sealed the deal” with Bruce Wayne. Hush overheard this exchange and decided to target them both.
Hush kidnapped Selina and removed her heart, leaving her at a hospital. Batman found out, went after Hush, and left Selina with Doctor Mid-Nite. Batman located her heart and Mid-Nite restored it but Selina slipped into a coma. Zatanna came to Selina and gave her a magical vial to help her heal. Bruce sat by her side and professed his love, thinking Selina was still asleep but Selina had heard the whole thing.
3 The Gotham City Sirens
Selina was devastated by Bruce’s apparent death and it was taking a physical toll, to the point that she had to be saved from a fledgling villain by Poison Ivy. Ivy brought Selina to the home of Edward Nygma, the Riddler, whom she had drugged where she was staying with Harley Quinn.
Ivy drugged Selina in an attempt to learn Batman’s identity but mental discipline taught to her by Talia al Ghul allowed Selina to fight off Ivy’s drugs and feed her a false story. Harley went shopping and is kidnapped by Hush. She is soon saved by her friends but they had a fight and decided that they were better off alone.
2 The Insider
Oracle asked Catwoman to trail reporter Vicki Vale and destroy all the information that she had been compiling on the Bat-Family. Selina took on the job and despite having her cover blown, she located Vale’s apartment.
Breaking in, she found Vale’s “Bat Wall”, took pictures of it, and destroyed it. She met Oracle’s operative The Insider at a predetermined rooftop and gives him the information. The Insider said the phrase “two beating hearts” that puts Selina in a trance as she said “Bruce” but he had disappeared. The Insider was indeed the returned Bruce Wayne and he was certain that Catwoman could still be a trusted ally to him and his family.
1 The Cat Still Loves the Bat
Thomas Wayne had left Bruce for dead in the desert and Bane had taken over Gotham City, using Psycho-Pirate to make its villains into a brutal police force. The Bat-Family was left with a single warning: Enter Gotham and sacrifice the life of Alfred Pennyworth. The world’s heroes were under Presidential order to stay out!
Selina found Bruce nearly naked and bleeding on a Himalayan mountaintop. She took him to Paris to recover. Bruce wanted to confront Thomas and Bane but Selina knew that it was certain death and she convinced Bruce to come with her to Hawaii to train and heal. Selina tried to get him to channel the anger for ruining their relationship but Bruce realized that he could not live without her. Much later, after Gotham is safe, Selina learned that she is pregnant.
Catwoman has existed for decades and fans often forget some parts of her history. Here's 10 facts & trivia people forget about Batman's feline fatale.