The Bat-Family (Batgirl | Batwoman | Jason Todd | Robin) | Extended Bat-Family & Other Supporting Cast (Azrael | Huntress)
Bane | Catwoman (Selina Kyle) | Clayface | Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel) | The Joker | Lady Shiva | League of Assassins (Ra's Al Ghul | Talia Al Ghul) | Mr. Freeze | The Penguin | Poison Ivy | The Riddler | The Scarecrow | Two Face | A-H | J-R | S-Z
Batgirl (2000) | Batman and the Outsiders | Dark Nights: Metal (The Batman Who Laughs) | I Am Batman | Nightwing (Dick Grayson) | Red Hood and the Outlaws | Robin (1993) (Tim Drake) | Robin (2021) (Damian Wayne)
Alter ego: Selina Kyle
First appearance: Batman #1 (Spring 1940)
Catwoman is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise. Historically a supervillain, the character first appeared as The Cat in Batman #1, which means she shares her status as the second-oldest of Batman's long-term Rogues Gallery with the Joker, who was introduced that same issue. The code name Cat-Woman (sic) and the first of her cat-suits were introduced in issue #2. Her civilian identity of Selina Kyle wasn't introduced until Batman #62 (December 1950).
The character had regular appearances in the Batman titles for much of the Golden Age, both as a villain and as a reformed criminal (or at least attempting to reform). She disappeared from the franchise for over a decade in Detective Comics #211 (September, 1954), for fears that her depiction violated the recently introduced Comics Code. In 1966, over a decade later, the character was revived for the Batman television series.
The character turned popular again and revival in the comic books soon followed, starting with Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #70 (November, 1966), in which she uses magic to turn Superman into a cat, prompting Lois Lane to fight Catwoman to rescue her love interest. Regular adventures of this version continued to the 1980s. With an Earth-One version of Catwoman firmly established, the DC staff then reintroduced the original as part of the Earth-Two Alternate Universe. Or at least its backstory. According to DC Super-Stars #17 (November, 1977), the Golden Age Catwoman eventually married Batman. She was killed while performing One Last Job. Her daughter, Helena Wayne, donned the cape of the Huntress to avenge her death.
Post-Crisis, Catwoman got a revamp in the Batman: Year One storyline (1987), which established a new background for Selina as a former prostitute who learned martial arts and the art of burglary to improve her life. She got a mini-series of her own in 1989. Then a regular Catwoman series started in September, 1993. From the 1990s until 2008 (with a brief gap around the turn of the century), Catwoman featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an anti-hero rather than a supervillain. In 2009 this was replaced with a Gotham City Sirens title that put her in a morally-ambiguous team with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. In 2011 this was dropped and a new ongoing Catwoman title (again casting her as more of an anti-hero than a villain) began as part of the New 52 universe-wide revamp. She did not get a solo title in the initial DC Rebirth set of series, but her latest series then began in 2018.
Outside of the comics, the character has featured in a multitude of Batman-related media. She was a recurring villain in the iconic Adam West Batman series, famously portrayed by several different actresses including Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. She was a major character in Batman: The Animated Series and appeared as a villain in both The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The character was featured in Bat Man of Shanghai, a series of Wuxia-inspired Alternate Universe shorts on the DC Nation block that reimagined Catwoman as a Chinese thief in the 1930s. For the Animated Adaptation of Batman: Year One, she was voiced by Eliza Dushku. Camren Bicondova plays a young Selina, a street kid mostly known by the nickname "Cat", in the series Gotham.
On the film front, the character was played by Lee Meriwether in The Movie of the Adam West series, then in a more supernatural interpretation by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1992 film Batman Returns. In 2004, a standalone Catwoman movie starring Halle Berry was released, but the movie was a flop that had little in common with the comic character. She's been played by Anne Hathaway in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, although she's only ever named on screen as "Selina Kyle" and "The Cat", with the name "Catwoman" only being used in merchandise and other supplemental materials - perhaps to sever ties from the aforementioned Halle Berry flop or possibly just because of the trend in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Dark Knight Trilogy that Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames. She is portrayed by Zoë Kravitz in Matt Reeves' 2022 The Batman, opposite Robert Pattinson's Bruce Wayne; she previously voiced the character in The LEGO Batman Movie.
The character has been one of Batman's most enduring love interests, and is seen as the most natural one to him to the point that she and Batman were once engaged to be married.
Many modern writers have also interpreted her activities and costumed identity as a response to a history of abuse.
For tropes about her books, see here.
Holly Robinson / Catwoman II
Catwoman's pal Holly "Go-Nightly" Robinson first appeared in Batman: Year One as a child prostitute who lived with Selina Kyle. Later, Holly returned as Selina's Girl Friday in Ed Brubaker's relaunch of the Catwoman title. Over the course of the series, Holly worked as Catwoman's spy on the streets, learned boxing moves from Wildcat, got a nice girlfriend, and became a den mother to a bunch of street urchins. Holly later became the second Catwoman when Selina temporarily retired.
After ending her brief stint as a replacement Catwoman, Holly left Gotham and was thrown into the cast of Countdown to Final Crisis. Holly spent most of Countdown in a state of constant facepalming, as she began an Odd Friendship with Harley Quinn and tried to make sense of a plot involving fake Amazons and Granny Goodness. Post-Countdown, Holly ran away to Comic-Book Limbo.
She was seemingly Ret-Gone'd in the New 52, with some of her role going to Eiko Hasigawa. However, Tom King's "I am Suicide" arc re-establishes her as canon, and she is now a girl who Selina grew up with at an orphanage.
- Affirmative-Action Legacy: A lesbian that briefly replaced Selina Kyle as Catwoman.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: She has been taught stealth, athletics, hot-wiring, lock-picking, thieving, acrobatics, and martial arts by Selina. Ted Grant trained her in a form of kick-boxing adapted for street use, as well as English boxing.
- Functional Addict: She managed to kick her drug addiction, although she comes close to falling Off the Wagon at one point.
- Gayngst: Averted. Her being a lesbian is never made into an issue, nor does it cause her any angst or trouble.
- Legacy Character: In the "One Year Later" storyline, Holly Robinson has taken over as the new Catwoman at the request of Selina Kyle, who has decided to retire from the role after becoming pregnant.
- Lipstick Lesbian: She seems to alternate between this and a more tomboyish style.
- Morality Pet: For Selina.
- Odd Friendship: With Harley Quinn, as mentioned before.
- Put on a Bus
- The Bus Came Back: After years of non-use, she made her return in the "I am Suicide" arc of Batman, and she's a close friend of Selina's. That same issue also explicitly references her involvement in "Year One", even though that story isn't the canon first year for Batman anymore. Whether the events are still somehow canon is up in the air, because... Tom King wrote it.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After the orphanage she grew up in is destroyed by terrorists, she tracks down everyone even slightly responsible for the attack and cuts their throats.
- The Runaway: She ended up on the streets after running away from Abusive Parents.
- Series Continuity Error: Holly was killed during a 1988 storyline in Action Comics Weekly. Ed Brubaker, unaware of said storyline, brought her back. This was lampshaded in a short story he later wrote titled "Why Holly Isn't Dead", in which Holly complains about Canon Discontinuity and Selina suggests Continuity Reboots as an explanation.
- Slashed Throat: Her preferred method of killing.
- It is implied that the Action Comics Weekly story was erased from continuity as a result of Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!.
- Apparently, in the New 52. At first, anyway.
- Sidekick: To Selina. Holly began working for her as a spy of sorts. She pretended to be a part of the street life when in actuality, she was gathering information about what was happening on the streets of the East End.
- Street Urchin: Running away from an abusive home, Holly began living on the street as a prostitute at a young age. When she was 13, she met Selina Kyle, who was four years older at the time.
- Team Mom: To the Alleytown Kids, a group of street kids that she train to act as a network of spies and informants for Catwoman.
Magdalene "Maggie" Kyle
First Appearance: Catwoman (Vol 1) #1 (February, 1989)
Younger sister of Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, Magdalene Kyle is a former nun who became the insane vigilante "Sister Zero".
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Maggie was tortured and forced to eat her husband Simon's eyes by Black Mask. Simon then died at the hands of Black Mask. These events caused her to snap and she entered into a psychiatric institute. After Black Mask came Back from the Dead during the events of Blackest Night and attempted to torture Maggie again, she escaped and became the vigilante Sister Zero: believing her sister Selina to be possessed by a cat-demon.
- For Want Of A Nail: In Rebirth, she isn't Sister Zero. Not yet at least.
- Nun Too Holy: She suffers a mental breakdown and becomes the villain, Sister Zero.
Alter Ego: Samuel 'Slam' Bradley
First Appearance: Detective Comics #1 (Vol 1) (March, 1937)
Slam Bradley was a two-fisted private detective in Cleveland, in New York, and later in Gotham City. Slam was eventually hired by the Mayor of Gotham City to track down the current whereabouts of Catwoman. He found her but she persuaded him not to divulge her location to the mayor, and has, since that time, developed a working relationship with her.
- Badass Normal: He predates Batman in this regard by appearing in the very first issue of Detective Comics.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: In his debut, Slam's strong enough to manhandle grown men and throw them around like ragdolls, casually break pots with his bare fists, and destroy wooden support beams.
- Cool Old Guy: Either in his fifties or sixties, he's significantly older than Selena.
- Decomposite Character: He's based on the second prototype character of Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; a strongman vigilante. But unlike the first prototype character, the second one wasn't published.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: His skills as a fist-fighter and barroom brawler are legendary.
- Hardboiled Detective: He's one of the toughest men in Gotham other than Batman but without the gadgets.
- Heroic Build: In Detective Comics #1, he's depicted with a strongman build that would later serve as the basis for the Man of Steel in Action Comics #1.
- Private Detective: One of the first detectives in The DCU, debuting in Detective Comics #1, a year before Superman first appeared.
- Two-Fisted Tales: Has a Pulp feel as opposed to comic books, due to being a Hardboiled Detective.
Kitrina Falcone / Catgirl
Eiko Hasigawa / Catwoman III
- Affirmative-Action Legacy: Japanese and non-straight (though it's unclear whether she is a lesbian or bisexual).
- Ascended Fangirl: She's a fan of Catwoman that eventually up the role herself.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Selina. Her attraction to the first Catwoman may have played a part in her taking up the mantle.
- Just Like Robin Hood: What she believes Catwoman stands for.
- Spanner in the Works: She becomes the new Catwoman in order to foil her father's plans.
First Appearance: Catwoman (Vol 3) #12 (December, 2002)
Simon Burton was an investment banker and the husband of Selina Kyle's sister Maggie. He was tortured to death by the villain Black Mask to get to Catwoman.
- Eye Scream: Black Mask plucked out Simon's eyeballs and force fed them to his wife, psychologically breaking Maggie.
Alter Ego: Louis Ferryman
First Appearance: Catwoman (Vol 4) #2 (December, 2011)
Louis Ferryman is a mob boss who looks to be made out of bones. Brutal, violent, extremely vindictive, he comes from a broken family and he has spent the majority of his childhood in a Group Home. The constant abuse he received there made him a soulless individual jealous to the point of obsession of his "nice things", since when he was young he never had the possibility of calling something "his own". Now that he's rich and powerful, he compensates by collecting jewelry, art, ancient coins, all things that make him feel more cultured.
Alter Ego: Christina Chiles
First Appearance: Catwoman (Vol 2) #42 (February, 1997)
Christina Chiles was a scientist who developed the Cyber-C.A.T. suit in Syntex labs. Her first combat test was against a burglar, who turned out to be Catwoman. Cyber-C.A.T. was winning the battle, but Catwoman escaped through the sewers. Christina saw it as her failure. Christina became obsessed with destroying Catwoman for making her look bad in front of Syntex.
- Alliterative Name: Christina Chiles
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Wears a cat-themed suit of Powered Armor.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: The suit's tail fires micro-missiles.
- Cat Girl: Thanks to her Cyber-C.A.T. armor.
- Chrome Champion: Or Chrome Villain in this case. The Cyber-C.A.T. suit has a reflective chrome finish.
- Eye Beams: The suit can fire laser beams from its eyes.
- Powered Armor: Cyber-C.A.T. wears a battlesuit that grants her enhanced strength, agility, and durability, and is equipped with razor-sharp claws. The suit connected to her central nervous system, and would only respond to her brainwaves.
- Prehensile Tail: The battlesuit has a prehensile tail.
- Spikes of Villainy: The suit has three long sharp silver spikes projecting from each shoulder.
- Tail Slap: The metal Prehensile Tail of the battlesuit can serve as an effective bludgeon.
- Wolverine Claws: The suit is equipped with razor-sharp claws.
First lady of Tabasco State and real governor behind her husband.
- Black Widow: Wanting to get her hands on the Johnsons' fortune, she poisoned the children, Emma and Cassie, and framed Mrs. Johnson for their murders, which resulted in her arrest. Raina then seduced Mr. Johnson and married him, only to later shoot him and stage it to look like a suicide.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: Raina Creel is a complete sociopath who will do anything for more wealth. After years of drug abuse and plastic surgery, she also has a face that has completely deteriorated. In public, she wears a blonde wig, facial prosthetics, blue contact lenses, and dentures.
- Ungrateful Bastard: How did she repay the wealthy family that took her in? Murder them and steal their fortune for herself.
Alter Ego: Cassandra Cartland
First Appearance: Catwoman (Vol 2) #0 (October, 1994)
Cassandra Cartland grew up in the same orphanage as Selina Kyle, who would later on become Catwoman. Cartland had planned on stealing food for her fellow orphans, and had asked Selina if she'd like to help, Selina declined, not interested in working with other people. Cassandra attempted a second time to become friends with Selina after Selina had freed the orphans from their horrible orphanage. Selina once again, declined. Later in life, when in adulthood, Cassandra, still resentful after all these years, found out that Selina was Catwoman. How she discovered this is unknown, but she went through training, and soon became She-Cat. As She-Cat, she stole numerous items at Gotham's Museum, and all the blame was pointed on Catwoman.
- Alliterative Name: Cassandra Cartland
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Like Catwoman, Casandra bases her look and crimes on cats.
- Evil Knockoff: Stole Catwoman's cat motif, is far more selfish in her motivations, and has no problems with Selina being blamed for her crimes.
- Most Common Superpower: As a copycat of Catwoman (and a female character designed by Jim Balent), Cassandra shares Selina's ample endowment.
- Orphanage of Fear: Grew up in the same one as Selina.
- The Rival: Cassandra is driven by an intense rivalry with Selina.
- She-Fu: She-Cat is very agile and a competent acrobat. She is also a adept martial artist; good enough to keep up with Selina on multiple occasions.
- Wolverine Claws: Wears clawed gloves.