Catwoman (Selina Kyle) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. The character was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and she made her debut in Batman #1 (Spring 1940), in which she is known as “the Cat”. She has traditionally been portrayed as a supervillain and adversary of Batman, but since the 1990s, she has been featured in an eponymous series that depicts her as an antiheroine rather than a traditional villain. Catwoman is known for having a complex love-hate relationship with Batman and has been Batman’s most enduring love interest.
The original and most widely known Catwoman is Selina Kyle. The character was partially inspired by Kane’s cousin, Ruth Steel, as well as actress Jean Harlow. In her first appearance, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. For many years the character thrived, but from September 1954 to November 1966 Catwoman took an extended hiatus due to the newly developing Comics Code Authority in 1954. These issues involved the rules regarding the development and portrayal of female characters that were in violation of the Comics Code, a code which is no longer in use. In the comics, two other women have adopted the Catwoman identity, apart from Selina: Holly Robinson and Eiko Hasigawa.
A popular figure, Catwoman has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman motion picture. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992’s Batman Returns. Halle Berry starred in a stand-alone Catwoman film, 2004’s Catwoman, which was a critical and commercial flop, and bears little to no resemblance to the Batman character. Anne Hathaway portrayed Selina Kyle in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises and, most recently, a young version of Kyle is played by Camren Bicondova on the 2014 television series, Gotham.
Catwoman was ranked 11th on IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time” list, and 51st on Wizard magazine’s “100 Greatest Villains of All Time” list. Conversely, she was ranked 20th on IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time” list, as well as 23rd in Comics Buyer’s Guide’s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list.
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