31 January 2013

The Noir of the Golden Age Catwoman, with Terry Beatty!

"Hell could have opened for me then, and it wouldn't have made any difference.  
 I had to have her, if I hung for it."
    -James M. Cain.  THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1934).

Catwoman (2012) by Terry Beatty

Whereas early BATMAN comics featured a wide array of gangsters and grotesques, a truly unique comic relationship was created with the advent of The Catwoman.

In 1939, the Bat-Man was a hard-boiled, two-fisted dark avenger of justice.  He beat criminals savagely and even dispatched monsters with the cold resolve of a .45.  If the authorities were impotent to stop lawlessness, Bat-Man was a final solution.

Until he met Selina Kyle.

With the introduction of The Cat, Bat-Man was shown to have a fatal flaw: he patronized  her cunning because of her beauty.  Her earliest appearances in BATMAN #1 began a theme in which Batman relented, often to the frustration of The Boy Wonder.  Yet, his flaw was shared by her; quickly, the jewel thief abandoned the success of her clever disguises for an outlandish costume.  For her part, Catwoman refused to kill and was at odds with The Joker because of it.  Thus began the doomed romance of 80+ years.  

Terry Beatty is a master illustrator, having co-created the pulp comic Ms. Tree and has drawn MICKEY SPILLANE'S MIKE DANGER and JOHNNY DYNAMITE.  He is currently the artist for the Sunday episodes of King Feature's classic comic strip THE PHANTOM.

The evening dress/ cat-masked Catwoman was short-lived, but it represents the core of the noir relationship between Dark Knight and the jewel thief.

Perhaps Michael Caine's ALFRED feels relived to see Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle together.  

The rest of us know such resolve is short lived at best.