The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale

Tim Hanley. Chicago Review, $18.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-61373-845-0
Hanley (Investigating Lois Lane) tackles the complicated history of one of the most famous villains in comics. In this detailed and thoroughly enjoyable work, he follows the atypical route Catwoman has taken over her almost 80 years: “Because of her felonious history, Catwoman is a perpetual outsider, and her existence on the periphery of society led her to avoid both the tropes and triumphs typically associated with the evolution of female characters.” Hanley relates her murky origin as created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in the 1940s (she was first called Cat, then Cat-Woman, with the hyphen dropping in the mid-’40s); her disappearance from comics for 12 years before being revived in the 1960s Batman television show; and her current incarnations in comics, video games, and movies. He gives special attention to Catwoman’s feminism and sexuality, and how depictions of her have often sparked controversy (illustrated by men, she had “a more than ample chest and rear, and a tiny waist”). Hanley’s writing is comprehensive and straightforward, and fans and newbies alike will take great pleasure in reading about Catwoman’s journey. Agent: Dawn Frederick, Red Sofa Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 07/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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