Anonymous said: What sparked your love for Selina, and how did you come up with the idea for Cat-Tales?
I doubt I can do better than quote the Comic Book & Movie Reviews interviews I gave a few years ago: For Selina, it comes down to Fun, Confidence, and Life.
I already talked a little bit about the fun of being bad*, and there’s a sexual element to that too. You know how you’ll have a period of these absurdly deadly sex symbols like the Theda Bara Cleopatra, Salome, and so on — and later in the 40’s, you’ve got all the femme fatales of film noir. In each case, immediately after those periods, a Marilyn Monroe or a Mae West would emerge — almost always in comedies — with this subtext of: Wait a minute, sex is fun. What’s with all the scowling and death? And it’s such a breath of fresh air! Those are the ones that wind up defining the era. A generation later, two generations, ten, they’re the ones that stick. And that’s Selina — that should be Selina, when she’s presented properly.
Another aspect that is so important, is that strength that comes from real confidence. Not the pretend kind that’s overcompensating for insecurity, but the kind of woman who knows who she is and owns who she is. And that’s who she’s going to be — 100%. If you don’t like it, you better go somewhere else and find what you like, because she’s not going to tone it down or limit herself to suit your little idea of what she should to be.
And finally, there is a quality that the Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse called ‘Joy’ and I call ‘Extra life,’ and it’s one of those things that is very hard to describe but you know it when you’re in the presence of it. There are people who seem to be more alive than the rest of us. There is an intensity in their love and their hate. There is an electricity that crackles in the air around them when they do something they’re passionate about — good or bad passion — they can love it or hate it — and that love or hate has a radius. It’s contagious. And I’m not talking about ‘drama queens’ — it’s not something they say or do — it’s not how they carry on — it’s what they are. It’s something they carry inside them.
So that’s Selina: Fun, Confidence, Life. Now put it next to Bruce. Because that’s where the notes become music. There’s what she is, and then there is her effect on him.
Insert that vibrant, impulsive, mischievous, intensity and femininity into Bruce Wayne’s equally intense but clamped down, controlled and uber-masculine world, you have twelve tones that will produce an infinite variety of symphonies.
-Comic Book & Movie Reviews
*The fun of being bad I’ve spoken about often, usually in the context of Julie Newmar’s performance:
She was who she was, she wanted what she wanted, and she was going after it. She obviously reveled in the power she had from her own sensuality. And there is just nothing sexier than that confidence: you know who you are, you like who you are, so you be that 100%. Women who are like that are just incredible to be around. They are more alive, and that intensity of life and passion is just contagious. You want some, so you want them. It’s woman and cat: this is me, and I’m not toning it down for anybody. You can’t handle it, you better go someplace else and find what you can handle.
-Batman, Catwoman & All Things Gotham
But also bits of it came through in good ol’ Catwoman #1 by Jo Duffy:
Once again, is that fun factor. Selina breaks into this mansion during a party, takes off her costume –p.s. it can’t be that hard to get in and out of – and in the dim light, in a towel fresh from the shower, she pretends to be the host’s wife. And she has him put the jewels around her neck. That’s daring and sexy and wild-for-its-own-sake. It’s not “practical,” it’s not even being a very good thief. It’s just pure feline logic – and it’s fun. It’s the fun of being bad and getting away with something. The love of mischief that’s just being a cat.
But most of all, it came through for readers in the days when WE got away with something naughty:
"What made Catwoman particularly well-suited to the role as the Batman’s romantic foil was her playful free-spirited disposition. In an era that was finally acknowledging that sex is fun, the Bat/Cat titillation reached its zenith in Batman #324 when Selina awoke naked in the Batcave after her costume had been torn to pieces. Batman tosses her a replacement saying she was lucky he’d kept one of her old costumes in his trophy room, and she responds—just barely covering herself with the sheet—that she “got lucky in more ways than one.”
Approved by the Comics Code. And that’s probably what made it so much fun: the tingle of being bad, of getting away with something a little naughty. It is the appeal of Catwoman, and in scenes like that, the reader got a taste.”
-Catwoman & Cleopatra: Inkblots of an Age
As for the idea of writing Cat-Tales, I will give the last word to the first words of that original CBMR review:
I’m a theater gal, and have spent most of my adult life working in the performing arts in some capacity, so — how to put this — I’ve been to a lot of fringe festivals and seen an awful lot of shows that are less like the big Broadway musicals that most people think of when you say ‘theater’ — and a lot more like a guy at a party telling his best stories.
And the other aspect that sort of figures into my ‘origin’ — in terms of writing Cat-Tales — is that historically, theater is the voice of the bad boys. It’s the place where the rebels and the troublemakers and the rule-breakers would go to challenge the status quo, where they could mock the king with impunity and knock the proud and the pompous down a few pegs.
Sound like anybody we know?
So, when everything that I saw as wrong with Batman comics reached a critical mass — not just the portrayal of Catwoman, but the absolutely nonsensical ideas and attitudes that were being circulated and never being challenged — the spark just happened: What if Selina was fed up too? You’ve got this grimy little newspaper getting it wrong about Catwoman time after time after time, and she says ‘Enough already’. Where would she go and what would she do to set the record straight in a really public way? Theater — the world of off-off-off-Broadway theater that I knew — seemed like a natural medium for her. ‘Catwoman at a party telling her best stories’, who wouldn’t buy a ticket to that? She gave the audience a taste of that FUN of being bad. That kind of sexy, playful badness: getting away with something, having fun breaking the rules in a brazen and flamboyant way.
But I’m supposed to be talking about me more than her in this section—and maybe I am. This is fan fiction, I don’t own Batman or Catwoman — I’ve been writing stories with ‘stolen’ characters for 10 years. The site is brazen, flamboyant, and I’m having a ball. So there you are.