There’s been a bit of a furor lately regarding the “reboot” of Catwoman. Some have seen just the cover of the first issue and asked if DC is “hyper-sexualizing” its female characters. Despite its rating of “T” for “Teen”, some feel it’s still marketed to kids (and women) and is inappropriate.

While I hear the contents of the issue are indeed eyebrow (and other body parts)-raising, I haven’t seen the issue so I’m only addressing visual portrayals–mainly covers–as those are what’s used more than anything to market a comic book to readers.

 

Sexual, oversexual or hyper-sexual? Let’s discuss. Art by Guillem March. (What’s in the pouch, anyway?)

 

My question:  Is there a noticeable demarcation between sexualizing, over-sexualizing and hyper-sexualizing?

I think each is as relative a term as there is. What’s “hyper-sexy” to some is “just sexy” to some, even ugly to others. What was she before this? When you look at Catwoman’s 71-year history (!), you could make the argument at almost any time, especially within the context of the respective time period. Let’s take a look:

 

From her first appearance (when called “The Cat”) from BATMAN #1, 1940. For kids? Check out those gams! And how about Bat’s line, “Quiet or Papa spank”?! (Try that line today and see what happens.)
Also from 1966: Catfight–literally! Ladies, ask your boyfriends or hubbies. Art by the wonderful Kurt Schaffenberger.

 

Nearly twenty years ago (that’s the 1990s, all you young ‘uns), my former Kubert School classmate Jim Balent made a nice name for himself with his unique and famous version of the character:

 

All above by Jim Balent. (Click for larger images.) Not hyper-sexualized? No rating on these covers. Marketed to kiddies and women?

As they say in the ad biz, “But wait! There’s more!”

 

Cover to CATWOMAN ANNUAL #4 lovingly painted by Doug Beekman. Little kids dig realism?
CATWOMAN #36 (next series) cover by the always-great Paul Gulacy. Yes, Santa Claus, there is a vag…oh, never mind! 

 

Finally, there’s some guy named Adam Hughes whom at least a few people think is good at drawin’ “sexy”…

Hyper-sexual Hughes? Or just Averagely Amorous Adam? Hmmm…

 

My answer?

You make the call on this one. I have to pick my tongue up off the historical floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

P.S.: If you’d like a hyper-sexy or just plain sexy (or even non-sexy) Catwoman commission–or any other character, male OR female–I will gladly and gleefully oblige. Just ask Craig here!

 

 

Published by Mike Pascale

Mike is a freelance storyboardist, artist, writer, comic book/web comic creator, graphic designer, award-winning senior art director/copywriter, Kubert School alumnus, Spectrum Fantasy Art award-winner, guitarist/songwriter, future novelist and full-time, life-long comics fan, pop culture collector, and book hoarder. His creations include Bru-Hed™ (America’s favorite Blockhead™), The Game Buzz!™ weekly webcomic, Nasti: Monster Hunter™, Mikey Moo-Moo™ and more “™s” waiting to be unleashed from his crazy cranium.

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6 Comments

  1. I don’t think the question is whether Catwoman has been an overly sexualized character in the past. I think what’s being asked is, “Is it too much?”. …and it’s not just Catwoman. Is the only way to sell a female comic character with her breasts? I hope that’s not true.

  2. “Is the only way to sell a female comic character with her breasts? I hope that’s not true.”

    I don’t think it is. As we can see from above, legs and derriére work too…

    *rimshot*

    On the good side, Little Lulu did just fine without being mammiferous!

    Best,
    Mike

  3. DC tried the good story telling/strong female character route with Darwyn Cooke/Brubaker’s Catwoman, 10 years ago (has it really been 10 years?…). I thought that would be her future, but bad (or good) girl comics always sell, I can’t blame DC for making her sexy again.

    Plus – this issue reboots the character – making her a romantic lead to Batman – where she no longer knows his identity as Bruce Wayne. I’m willing to see where it goes.

    BTW – the splash from Batman 84 was done by Shelly Moldoff (not Sprang)

  4. Fantastic! Yes! The sexier the better. No male will look at a flat-chested Catwoman. Get used to it, ladies. A sexy heroine is where it is at. There has to be some type of appeal to make the visual aspects enjoyable. And for those that think comics are being overly sexualized, quiet and get on with the continuation of your shallow life. You WISH you could look that good. I’d kill to have Batman’s body. Umm…….I mean….I wish my physique looked like Bruce Wayne’s. (Whew)!

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