DC Comics (October, 1994)
WRITER: Doug Moench
PENCILER: Jim Balent
INKER: Bob Smith
COLORIST: Buzz Setzer
LETTERER: Bob Pinaha
ASSISTANT EDITOR: JordanB. Gorefinkel
EDITOR: Dennis O’Neil
It’s the origin of someone other than Batman, but still in Gotham. Selina Kyle’s mother passed away (I think) when she was young and her father drank himself to death. Independent and wild, Selina was rejected by the many cats her mom also left behind. She tried to live on the streets but was caught and brought to an orphanage run by a cruel woman who demanded her orders be followed. She was also skimming off the money the state sent to the orphanage. Wanting only to be free among the rooftops, Selina tried to blackmail the woman, but that only resulted in her almost getting killed. Escaping, Selina manages to get back at her and get herself off of the state records, then frees the other kids. But through it all she only wants to be alone, even when the cats finally start coming to her. She begins her life as a cat burglar, adopting a costume after seeing Batman in action.
What they got right: Not being in her costume (and being a child for most of the story) means that Balent didn’t draw the boob socks (as Linkara calls them, designed by the cheesecake artists to show off her breasts) except on the cover. Otherwise, the art is pretty good. It’s also not a bad origin for Catwoman per sey.
What they got wrong: But she really need a dark and grim backstory? She’s a cat burglar who likes the thrill of it and supports cats. Maybe I just prefer the Animated Series version, where she is actually very close to cats and vice versa and not another of the damaged villains Batman usually faces. Can’t one non-mobster lack psychological problems?
Recommendation: My problems with it are more personal taste than anything else. It’s a well-told story but not really what I go for, which is a lot of Batman tales these past two decades. Recommended if this is your type of story. I’m mostly keeping it as a good writing example for my own goals, both the positives and the negatives.