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DC’s push for the New 52: ‘This is a Catwoman for 2011′

From Catwoman #1, by Judd Winick and Guillem March

In a week in which the debuts of Batman and Wonder Woman fired on all cylinders, you have to think DC Comics didn’t expect the spotlight to be stolen by the first issues of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Alas, online discussion over the past 48 hours hasn’t been focused on  the accessibility of the former or the potential of the latter (if indeed either demonstrates accessibility or potential). Instead, it’s centered on a bra-flashing Selina Kyle engaging in aggressive costumed sex with Batman, and a semi-amnesiac Starfire who’s become little more than an emotionless sex mannequin.

I feel as if I should be worked up by the depictions but, to be honest, I’m just deflated by the whole thing. The best I can muster is, “Sigh … again?” and maybe, “This is the kind of storytelling and characterization you relaunched your entire line for?” But here are some of the highlights of what others are saying on the subject:

Winick’s statement to Newsarama about the response to Catwoman #1: “This is a Catwoman for 2011, and my approach to her character and actions reflect someone who lives in our times. And wears a cat suit. And steals. It’s a tale that is part crime story, part mystery and part romance.  In that, you will find action, suspense and passion. Each of those qualities, at times, play to their extremes. Catwoman is a character with a rich comic book history, and my hope is that readers will continue to join us as the adventure continues.”

• At Comics Alliance, Laura Hudson wades in with a lengthy and earnest essay explaining the problem with the characterizations of Catwoman and Starfire: “This is not about these women wanting things; it’s about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering — the idea that women can own their sexuality — and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their “sexual liberation” into just another way for dudes to get off. And that is at least ten times as gross as regular cheesecake, minimum.”

Matt Wilson’s single-sentence review of Catwoman #1: “This is a comic about a Strong Female Character who is in her bra on about half the pages and ends up falling on the genitals of Batman by the end.”

Comic Book Resources’ Greg McElhatton gives Catwoman #1 one star, saying, “This doesn’t feel like a superhero (or supervillain, or anti-hero) comic. This feels like a soft core skin flick.”

Todd Allen questions what Winick and DC were aiming for with the sex scene: “It has long been said that pro wrestling and comics are both soap operas for dudes.  There’s an element of truth to that and DC seems to be trying to make Catwoman a trashy bodice-ripper of a romance novel for dudes.  A bit of an escalation from soap operas. The thing is, normally the victim of the rape-fantasy is heroine.  Here the victim is Batman.  Given that DC’s readership is thought to be overwhelmingly male, is it intended that the little fanboys identify with Batman and have a … we’ll be generous and call it a ROMANTIC fantasy about being overpowered by a catburgler/ex-prostitute in a leather bodysuit? ‘Cause, y’know, if that’s what’s going on, that’s pretty creepy.”

Abhay Khosla asks seven questions about the final pages of Catwoman #1.

Heidi MacDonald wonders whether Catwoman was worse than Wonder Woman was good.

From Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort

• Rich Johnston quotes an anonymous DC Comics staff member about reservations regarding writer Scott Lobdell’s handling of Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws: “There were a handful of staff, mostly other women, who believed the writer was trying to equate being a strong woman with being, frankly, a slut. No one said that the writer was misogynistic, just that perhaps he was writing from a male perspective. It was firmly suggested to him that he could accentuate the character’s past as a sex slave. And that this might be an explanation for her sexuality, that she was acting out in her new life.”

• A FemPop contributor takes Lobdell to the woodshed: “Scott Lobdell gives his audience, his industry, possibly his entire gender the finger and says ‘Oh no, you motherfuckers. That’s not your fantasy. Your fantasy is a woman that will literally have sex with you just for existing. No woman with any standards, no matter how low, no matter how forgiving, could possibly be attracted to you, so here’s your new sex object—a brain-damaged goldfish with a rack. And you’re such a scared little boy, so afraid of commitment in even your own pathetic fantasies, that you’ll run away from a ‘clinger’ even if she’s as gorgeous, charming, and supportive as the woman Starfire used to be. You can’t bear even that slight chance that she’ll make you move out of your parents’ basement, get a real job, and make something of yourself. So I’ll cater to that too! Not only doesn’t she want a relationship, she won’t even remember you! That’s what you want in the end, isn’t it? A vagina-shaped goldfish! Look upon your lust, ye nerdy, and despair.'”

• In case anyone was wondering whether the depiction of Starfire could’ve possibly been worse — or at least more gratuitous — the answer is, yes, of course. Courtesy of DC Women Kicking Ass, colorist Blond has posted an earlier version of Page 10: “They originally wanted a semi-transparent bikini.”

Art from Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, by Kenneth Rocafort and Blond

Tom Spurgeon weighs in: “When I read about slutty Starfire or Catwoman humping Batman on some roof somewhere, it just doesn’t seem to be about anything but — at best — the set-up for some potential, facile, soap opera-style payoff down the road. It’s boobs in a horror movie, empty comic book calories of a slightly ickier kind but pretty much on the exact same level of an Ed Hannigan or Sal Buscema-drawn sequence where two heroes fight briefly before they team up to defeat some arbitrary super-menace.”

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150 Comments

It’s a shame they didn’t give the Catwoman book back to Jim Balent. Now THAT would have been a book to get people riled up.

Things like this really afirm my decision to walk away from DCnO. Gone from passionate Warrior woman to brainless bimbo in one reboot.

All the criticisms are fair but its bothersome that in the last couple of months people have been trying really hard to make it look like DC are the only people in the world putting out comics that are misogynistic, racist or homophobic. Its not like Marvel is really any better but no one ever calls them out on it anymore.

As I mentioned over at Comics Alliance, I flipped through Catwoman at the local comic shop yesterday and had the same reaction. I couldn’t stop thinking about the Batman Porn Parody… is this what DC is trying to accomplish with The New 52?

I think these comics would be better if Judd Winick, Guillem March, Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort would just buy themselves a flesh-light and get it out of their system (as it were).

Anyway, I would never approve of my children reading these comics.
And given that they like Teen Titans and Batman, that’s pretty sad.

Guess they’ll have to stick to the Raina Telgemeier comics and quater bin back issues of Spider-Man.

Not sure who the target audience is for these DC NEW 52 books, but I know it sure isn’t me.

I feel Tom Spurgeon is doing Sal Buscema and Ed Hannigan a disservice by associating them with this…

@ urghhh – The clincher for me is that this reboot is supposed to bring new readers in, and bring old readers back… my daughters would love a good Wonder Woman or Starfire comic that was written for them. But these ones aren’t. It is a missed opportunity.

“All the criticisms are fair but its bothersome that in the last couple of months people have been trying really hard to make it look like DC are the only people in the world putting out comics that are misogynistic, racist or homophobic. Its not like Marvel is really any better but no one ever calls them out on it anymore.”

While there are certainly Marvel devotees who cherish taking shots at DC simply because it’s DC, I think much of the reason DC may appear to be in the crosshairs so much lately is because the company has seized the spotlight with the relaunch.

What a joke DCnu is…

Shame on the comic sites like Newsarama and ComicBookResources for rolling over and promoting “DC 52″ like it was going to better than the last version of DC! I guess there are still a few column writers trying to break into Marvel or DC that hope by sucking up they might still get into the good old boys’ club?

With all the crappy writers and editors still in place — did ANYONE who fucked up the LAST version of DC’s comic line get fired!!?!?!?!?! –, the current DCnu sales upticks are going to be temporary at best.

Heh… and I’m surprised that it’s just now that more people are learning that Winnick and Lobell are hacks. Always have been and they’ve always depended on stunts and sex to sell books… and the fanboys keep eating this shit up.

Not that the rest of the DC writing line-up is much better…

Nothing to get excited about here, folks. Same old stories told 4-5 times already in the past 30 years. Now with more deviant writing, gross sexualization that used to be restricted to Heavy Metal magazine and over the top violence!

Superhero comics were so much better when they were written for pre-teenage kids and not the misanthropes and dying embers of Hef’s collapsed empire. Today’s comics are hardly adult — they’re written for maladjusted people with power and sexual identity issues.

People nitpick about the continuity bullshit issues like what color Robin’s mask was last week when more important matters like basic historical characterization gets pushed to the side. Yes indeed, Danny boy, that is NOT your father’s Superman! It’s the Superman of a Scottish boy who proudly proclaims he’s smashed on magic mushrooms when he writes half the time!

With the exception of Brubaker/Cooke version, all versions of Catwoman have been misogynistic. The cover to the new Catwoman #1 was enough to turn my stomach.

God those books are terrible. “Red Hood…” was the first of the Nu52 that I thought would be cancelled (still standing by that). It’s too bad about Catwoman as she is a character that could be sexual and sexy (like the Jim Balent issues mentioned by Jason), but was not exploited. She had skills, guts, and a brain in her head.

Decades of brand equity burned to the ground in fanservice to a dwindling market.

I haven’t the remotest interest in this kind of storytelling.

So, Judd Winick, was it action, suspense, or passion you were trying to get across when you opened Catwoman #1 with four pages of the heroine’s boobs hanging out while she got dressed?

Read Wonder Woman instead!!!

People who bitch about Grant Morrison’s Superman have no clue about Superman’s origins. That was more like the Superman Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created. Action Comics #1 2011 was more like the Superman they created than Superman has been in 50 years or so.

As for Morrison’s use of the type of mushrooms, a practice that dates back thousands of years, that has nothing to do with Superman.

How exactly are you supposed to show female sexuality in a way that doesn’t appeal to guys? Moreover, why should you?

Sorry, but I just can’t see how this matters. Comic characters are over the top fantasies. Getting upset about them seems a little sad, especially when there are real cases of discrimination against women (and minorities and LGBT people) in society.

“they’re written for maladjusted people with power and sexual identity issues.”

I enjoy many of today’s comics and I agree some of what you wrote but I think this is painting in broad strokes.

I’ll just get out an old Queen and Country trade paperback instead.

DC and Marvel have seriously drifted out of my preferred reading habits. Nothing I’ve seen or heard about the New 52 has changed my mind about that…and to be honest, I’ll be glad when the news cycle is over so we can turn some of the spotlight back to more deserving creator-owned books.

I thought Catwoman was awesome. And a lot of women seem to appreciate a strong woman having her way, including with Batman. More proof that you don’t need to have women exclusively writing women characters. I’ve always seen Catowman as a perfect noir character and this book appears to be delivering. I don’t understand this American discomfort with the portrayal of sex between consenting adults but showing adults beating or shooting each other to pieces is fine. I am an adult and adults have sex and relationships, sometimes with strings and sometimes casual. I want to read about this from time to time in between the unending progression of crises and mindless brawls between overly sexualized and muscled alpha males. Well done Mr. Wininck. I am on board for the long term. I wish they’d do something similar with Power Girl.

And since when is satisfying a male fantasy inherently wrong? I don’t get offended by women swooning over pale and emasculated (no to mention really really old) men in Twilight. To each their own. Some women are offended by this, some women see this as empowering. Neither side is more “right” than the other. Up here in Canada we have “slutwalk” marches by women who feel it is their right to dress like sluts. Feminists are all for this. A lof of women would rather bare their bras then burn them as their mothers did. Life is full of variety. Deal with it.

I don’t see people riled up by the amount of gross violence and mind-numbing punches as a way to resolve conflict at most comic books. Maybe that says something about cultural elements here.
I didn’t see anything worse than two characters that are over sexed, as if in most action movies women are portrayed as dependable sexual objects. If one thing here it is that men are the objects on the scenes.

” I don’t understand this American discomfort with the portrayal of sex between consenting adults but showing adults beating or shooting each other to pieces is fine.”

Jeff_14, you answered your own question here. Americans don’t support over sexualization, especially in a hobby that is meant to be “all ages”.

Violence we’re fine with, sex, not so much! :-P

While both of the stories in question seem exploitative (haven’t read them, there’s too much fun new DC stuff like Action and Batwoman for me to even imagine reading a book about Jason Todd being worth three bucks) and speak to a particular ugly misogyny in the comic community, so does the response. People seem to think it would be wrong to ever have sexuality in superhero comics, which seems just as anti sex and probably coming from a place equally misogynistic/scared of women/sexuality. Its weird that comics can be full of rapes and people complain like oh this again but consensual sex is far more taboo apparently. I’d hate to think people read these lovely stories about transcending humanity just so they could revert to their childhoods.

What is over sexualization? This was people doing barely visible things with their clothes on. That is under sexualization in my book. and the hobby is not meant to be all ages. Certain books are meant to be all ages. Not this one. Powerpuff girls are all ages.

I’m sure many would agree that the consensual sex in itself is not taboo at all. However, it’s the handling of it. The way that Winnick and Robdell handled it was just horrible and made it worse by using characters that have had decades of character building.

I loved the show Teen Titans and I enjoyed reading Johns’ run of Teen Titans as well. In these stories Starfire was a very sincere, loving, caring, and supporting character and still retained her “sexy factor.” She was independent and you could tell that every member of her team was more than just “sights and smells” that they are to her now with Lobdell’s story. Reading that was just gut-wrenching to me. One of my most liked female characters in Teen Titans who was loving, caring, and still sexy was just shattered and turned into (as stated previously) a sex mannequin. I agree that Lobdell gave us the finger as to what my thoughts of a sexy female heroine is.

I know what a sexy female heroine is. It’s not this. If I wanted this, I could just go read some smut online where I won’t care for the character.

“Winnick and Robdell”

FYI, it’s Winick and Lobdell.

“I know what a sexy female heroine is. It’s not this. If I wanted this, I could just go read some smut online where I won’t care for the character.”

Completely agree. Sexy characters are fine, but at least make a minimal effort to be subtle. I expect adventures and characterization in superhero comics, not panels full of ladyparts and HBO-ready sex scenes. Save that material for Vertigo books, not the main DC line.

@ Jeff _14 “Up here in Canada we have “slutwalk” marches by women who feel it is their right to dress like sluts. Feminists are all for this. A lof of women would rather bare their bras then burn them as their mothers did.”

ACTUALLY, the slutwalk’ is a bit ‘deeper’ than that…It was in response to controversial comments made by a Toronto police constable who said “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” It is not a march for women to have the right to ‘dress like sluts’ – They march in protest of out-dated, chauvinistic thinking that women should dress a certain way if they don’t want to be victims of sexual assault. Basically, they are angry that Toronto Police (and many other organizations and individuals) have perpetuated the myth and stereotype of the slut, that women who dress a certain way are partially to blame, reducing the onus on the actual offender, and in doing s, failing victims of violence.

Having said all that, I just shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes at the whole Catwoman/Starfire thing. I knew what kind of book CA was going to be based off of the cover (could you imagine reading that in public on the bus? As bad as Maxim, but at least Maxim has semi-real people on their covers). My main complaint is not ‘sex’ in comics, but how it is portrayed AND how “out of character” or at least, how I perceive/think certain characters should behave are being portrayed. Sex sells, but I don’t like what they’re selling, so I am voting with my $ and won’t be buying these books.

@GeorgeC “they’re written for maladjusted people with power and sexual identity issues.”
– Haha, I thought this was the definition of American comics.

@M Kitchen “my daughters would love a good Wonder Woman or Starfire comic that was written for them. But these ones aren’t. It is a missed opportunity.”
-Still, I’d recommend giving a young girl a copy of WW #1. If a young girl wants to dive into DC Comics, knowing that there will be mature themes discussed, I would like to think she’d get the sense that the female characters can kick ass just as well as the boys. If I had a daughter I’d want her to know how to take down a centaur.

DCnU Ranking of Things I’m Outraged About:

1. Best fat character in comics becomes thin.

2. Best paralyzed character walks and kicks people in the face.

3. Wasted opportunity: the lack of creativity and risk taking in most of the new comics.

1,000,333,402. Long-fetishized female comics characters are now somewhat more explicitly fetishized.

This is really just sad that some fans are having a negative reaction to these comics. Would you feel differently if this was a movie? So movies with sex scenes are soft core porn too? Did you just assume that these characters don’t have any sexuality at all? Sex is a part of life and they make these characters more three-dimensional by adding this element. Anyways they comics are rated Teen plus so if you don’t think you can handle that type of content don’t read it. I didn’t know there are comic book fans who think showing two people having sex (even thought there is still no nudity at all) is a horrible thing. I thought adult comic book fans were exactly that, adults who can handle sexuality.

Actually, the Feminists are the ones who are offended by this depicture. Sexualization in America is very conservative, and many Feminists are indeed a bit more moderate in sexual qualities than in their dispositions. It is true that a good minority represent a more radical feminist position, but overall, the very salient ones represent the uproar in the mainstream. And since many are presented in the geek world, the fact that they are in the minority is the reason this collective uproar is taking place.

No doubt that this is a Mans market, is no secret. But my problem is not the depiction or the sexual leniency, but the lack of variety and content. This is why I bought WW #1. And while I think it may be an overreaction, I think everyone is missing the real problem: is monotonous. Nothing wrong with some fawning or being amorous, but you must do it in an analogous way(look Demon Knights).

….Why couldn’t the Catwoman relaunch be more like “Alias” (the show, not the comic), and Red Hood and the Outlaws more like “The Big Bang Theory”? What would Winick and Lobdell have done instead of these two books? Answer me THAT, guys and gals.

“This is really just sad that some fans are having a negative reaction to these comics. Would you feel differently if this was a movie?”

What is the rating of the movie, and is it from a genre in which sexual activity among the characters is often depicted on-screen?

@Rich Any rated R film with a sex scene should be comparable to this because Catwoman is Teen Plus rating which is 16 and up and rated R films are 17 and up so not much of a difference. I think the genre would be considered action and there’s usually a sex scene in major R rated action films.

women should be obscene and not heard,so im fine with these portrayals.its a mans world and these women are fine,so enjoy it men..its our right from god

@Zach — Your comment was helpful with regard to the rating. I think you hit on my issue with it. I don’t think of mainstream DC comics as equivalent to R-rated films, and had no reason to equate a T+ comic with an R film. I expect this kind of content in Vertigo titles or Marvel MAX comics, sure, but not the main line books.

If I can expect T+ books to include images of superheroes having sex, I guess I won’t buy them. I don’t care about sex in novels, movies, whatever, where appropriate but reading/viewing superhero sex comics just strikes me as a creepy fetish that does nothing for me.

Wow. This has caused a bit of a stir to say the least. I haven’t read Catwoman 1 but from what I’ve seen, the artwork looks great. As for Red Hood, I’ll admit the dialogue leaves room for improvement but otherwise it was a good comic which contained some of the best (and yes hottest!) drawings of Starfire ever. I like it. I can see why it might offend some people but, seriously, get over it.

Just my two cents. I bought this comic for my wife, as she was a big fan of the Brubaker / Cooke stuff. I asked her what she thought of the new number 1 and she said she enjoyed it enough that she wants me to keep buying the new issues. When I asked her as a female how she felt specifically about the scene with Catwoman and Batman towards the end, she literally said it was her favorite part. When I told her that there was some “controversy” on the internet over it, she was really surprised and was like: “WHA??”

“…but its bothersome that in the last couple of months people have been trying really hard to make it look like DC are the only people in the world putting out comics that are misogynistic, racist or homophobic. Its not like Marvel is really any better but no one ever calls them out on it anymore.”

Well, pointing the finger at the other guy only gets you so far, when they aren’t reboot their whole line just to make nearly all their female characters into perverted sex objects.

Oh, and BTW, the stench of fanboy entitlement to their revamped fantasy porn is rather obvious in several of the posts around here. At one time, CBR used to feature more critical analysis, but nowadays, they’re merely Wank-a-rama Lite.

Golly, the Batwoman / Catwoman image up top is pretty … fetishy. Was Eric Stanton on art duties?

The Catwoman art actually looks rather good. If this run is frankly presenting itself as Exploitation material then I’m down with that.

Red Hood on the other hand looks plug-ugly. A horribly drawn, casually misogynistic, piece of crap.

This restart is to entice new readers, not please old readers. If they wanted to please old readers, they wouldn’t have done a global reset.

ROLFMAO at a kid photographed(?) Starfire on last pic above

I’m a woman and I LOVED Catwoman #1. The best part was seeing Batman kiss Catwoman’s neck and her hands running up his abs. Hello, lol, Batman was sexualized as well, and it was amazing!

I don’t want to hear this feminazi bull. If your hot and you want to show it, man or woman – it’s your choice.

I’ve read one DCU book (outside of Vertigo titles which aren’t DCU anyway) in the last 30 years. With the relaunch I thought that this was an ideal time to try out new books. I keep reading that the same people are writing the same stories. And looking over some of the books I gotta say, yeah that’s pretty accurate. If people want to call Catwoman a gross sexualization of a comic, I’d say they probably haven’t read a Catwoman in a long time. Adam Hughes is a great artist, but his Catwoman is pretty serialized. Look at the furor over Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. People are complaining that her suit isn’t sexy enough!

Now I’m not gonna say that Winick and Lobdell are writing male fantasies. I didn’t choose to collect those books because I did see the same basic complaint of same old same old.

But to say that DC isn’t putting some new blood on books isn’t true.

Brian Azzerrerlo and Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman?
JH Williams on Batwoman? (My clear fav so far)
Jeff Lemire on Animal Man?
Scott Synder and Greg Capullo on Batman?

Some books will work in the relaunch, some won’t.

I love all the whiney comments by fans who pine for the DC of old. You know, the good ol DC stuff from, well, one month ago? The stuff that all of you whiney, offended, pitchfork and torch carrying DC haters didn’t buy? Yeah, you have only yourselves to blame. Thanks to you and all that aweseome DC story and art that you claim was so great, well, you drove DC’s share of the diamond sales pie chart from roughly half to one quarter. Way to support the universe you claim to love. Awesome job! So thanks so much all you outraged, offended haters of the new 52. You’re so called love of the “old universe” that you failed miserably to support and which you constantly complained about ad nauseum is the reason we now have the new 52. So why not do us all a favor and just quietly fade into the night. We all know you’re secretly buying all 52. Your bandwagon hating thing isn’t fooling anyone. Just STFU, sit down and read that copy of Catwoman that you secretely love. Good heavens, DC fans are so entertaining. Such anger! Such bitterness! Such unfathomable sadness. Thank you and keep up the insanity over bra straps and wheelchairs and and whatever else you ramble on about. You are awesome!! lol

People here who think we’re complaining about the sex itself are missing the point.

It is NOT THE SEX ITSELF that people have a problem with. it is the whole lead up to it.

@jrvscience, your childish rant only illustrates that some people can’t deal with the reality of the issue, and that is the power of media and it’s effect.

The people who are complaining actually have an idea of what they’re talking about in part because they have been readers of comics for so long and the change they’ve undergone over the last few decades. While a female character (like Catwoman) being comfortable with her sexuality and having intimate relations with Batman is fine, the way the scene was approached is a whole other matter.

I have no issue with the Selina/Bruce deal. Selina is a thrillseeking klepto. An exposed bra is more offensive than a borderline BDSM skintight catsuit? Really? Bats has a history of one-nighters. Talia Al Ghul, anyone? The end.

As for making Starfire an exotic fuckdoll… I blame whatever jackass editor at DC gave the greenlight to Scott Lobdell. I mean, Scott Lobdell? Has anyone in charge at DC ever actually READ the garbage that guy pumped out for Marvel’s mutant books? Apparently not, it would seem. I really want the DCnU to succeed overall, but the sooner Red Hood Etc. is cancelled, the better it is for everybody. Seriously. This is coming from a guy who has a Starfire ceramic bust atop his entertainment center. Kori deserves better than character assassination courtesy of an amateurish hack.

Get over yourselves. Please. I enjoyed Catwoman. Red Hood sold out so I didn’t read that. The excerpt above strikes me as dumb but so what. You think these two books sum up the work of the writers artists and editors on 50 other books? That’s silly.

Conflating a few pages in two comic books into a judgement on the sexual mores of young men as a group…that’s insulting as well.

As a man should I feel shame for liking boobs, attractive women, sex? Some of these comments would have you think so. Prudishness abounds.

No one’s up in arms about the objectification of men in comics. Ugh did you see the gratuitous abs on Green Arrow? The biceps on Deathstroke? The tight buns on Mr. Terriffic? The bulge in Sinestro’s tights? For shame!

I agree with the posters who comment on the non reaction to the violence in these comics. I plan on going to NYCC and I wanted to go to a DC panel and challenge them not to kill anyone in the new 52 but it seems the cat’s already out of the bag on that one. Haven’t read everything but there have already been deaths in Deathstroke, Demon Knights (exploding baby), GL, Grifter, Resurrection Man, Blue Beetle, Catwoman, GL Corps (genocide), Nightwing, and Wonder Woman.

What’s worse as a pointless plot point, casual sex, or casual murder?

I have a problem with DC just begging conservatives to attack the fragile and teetering funny-book industry. Dr. Fredric Wertham would fit right in as an expert on The O’Reilly Factor. Of course, DC would survive a full-frontal “what-about-the-children” campaign by Fox News just fine — but my local comic shop probably can’t.

— MrJM

“All the criticisms are fair but its bothersome that in the last couple of months people have been trying really hard to make it look like DC are the only people in the world putting out comics that are misogynistic, racist or homophobic. Its not like Marvel is really any better but no one ever calls them out on it anymore.”

@ urghhh
Maybe no one calls Marvel out anymore because we’ve tried and tried and learned that you just can’t shame Marvel. Tom Brevoort absorbs every criticism and spews out a “blame our sales department” response.

People are missing the point. Many forget that these are first and foremost, cartoon characters. Yes, we all know Fred and Wilma Flinstone have done the deed. They have Peebles as proof. But only the most twisted would want to see those characters perverted to the point where an entire episode of The Flintstones — updated for a modern audience and all — where Wilma is seen with her breast hanging out of her dress and where the cartoon climaxes with Wima doing Fred on the floor.

It’s tasteless. Displaying it is the clear mark of an amateur wannabe and it reaks of bad soft core porn fan fic. No one wants to pay for soft core porn fan fic, especially when there’s dark rooms all over the internet for toilet trash like that. And any so-called writer – editor – publisher who tries to justify the depiction of such lude, tastelss raunch of the lowest form is only doing so because the lack the skill and talent of a writer who can tell a good story without it.

Really, all of the fans who support this kind of junk, yes. You are entitled to like what you want. And there is a place where you can enjoy it all you want: in your bathroom or at your local peep shop.

I am a huuuuuuuuge BRULINA fan, so I was very pleased with this development. Catwoman and Batman have had sex before (see Catwoman #32 and #38), so I can only assume people are prudes and upset with the visual nature of this sex scene. But screw ‘em!!! This is what I want in a Catwoman comic: Selina and Bruce having sex and solidifying their relationship. Thank you Judd and DC!

Oh, and before anyone praises Ed Brubaker, keep in mind he had Selina f**k Slam Bradley, a man old enough to be her GRANDFATHER!!!!! Nasty!!!!!!!

I also find it funny when many guys post statements like… “I gave this to my girlfriend/wife and she loved it!”

And I can’t help but wonder, if you really do have a girlfriend/wife who you gave this particular comic to, why are you here posting her comments instead of her posting herself?

@ Mark – Re: “Still, I’d recommend giving a young girl a copy of WW #1. If a young girl wants to dive into DC Comics, knowing that there will be mature themes discussed, I would like to think she’d get the sense that the female characters can kick ass just as well as the boys. If I had a daughter I’d want her to know how to take down a centaur.”

Ha! Yeah, well I don’t think my daughters would be interested in the “horror” take on Wonder Woman. Of The DC New 52, the one that I think would appeal most to them is Supergirl. But if there was a Teen Titans GO! Starfire comic, they would be ALL OVER IT!

As for Catwoman, I have no doubt there is a certain type of person that a comic like this would appeal to (some of them are even in the comments above), and if those are the people DC is trying to win over with their books, then all the power to them. I just thought a Catwoman book would better be used to win over the Film Noir, Femme Fatale, Crime Novel crowd… one thing this whole discussion has made me want to do is go grab the Brubaker Catwoman series…

@ Joe – I echo your sentiments exaxtly about how it “reaks of bad soft core porn fan fic.”.

(*reeks) I was planning on getting Red Hood and the Outlaws, since Starfire was one of my favourite characters. Now think I won’t bother. I suppose I’ll just have to wait for the next reboot of the DCU, although by then they may actually be relaunching with “Vagina-shaped Goldfish” #1.

1970’s dcu was the best , 1980 – present crappy 98 % of the time.

I like the New risque DC.. new universe, new rules.

I dont understand the criticism at all. Does anyone remember how women were drawn in the 90s???

Catwoman and Starfire are two of the most sexual characters in comics. But back in the old days the CCA wouldnt allow the writers to accentuate on their character traits. There is no probem with characters being sexually motivated. Its just part of making one character in a pool of thousands unique.

The Catwoman situation is even worse. Did anyone complain like this when she was a prostitute in Year One in a leather suit and whipping some guy for his pleasure? And its not like its a big deal, Batman and Catwoman have had sex before ( Batman Inc #1) its just never been shown.

People are way too sensitive and off base on these issues.

Reginald VelJohnson

September 25, 2011 at 9:31 am

God, what a bunch of whiners. I agree that both books are stupid, but f you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Simple as that.

Why did they deceide to add a child in the background of the transparent bikini Starfire?

“Look upon your lust, ye nerdy, and despair.”

Awesome line, had to quote. :D

Batman and Catwoman do “Body Heat”? Hmm. It’s blatantly sexual. It clearly fires the mind to easily imagine R and even X rated images had the issue continued longer. It looks more at home if Catwoman were a True Blood-type series on HBO, which is not exactly what I would expect from something mainstream. I’ve seen books with the (MR) tag that were far more tame. I am by no means a prudish person, and I don’t have a problem with Batman and Catwoman “hooking up”, but if they are going to be depicted like that, maybe DC should think about a DCMax line like Marvel has, because I sure wouldn’t want a kid reading this…

Holy shit guys, never read a manga, ever.

I understand all the stuff being said about Catwoman but I believe that people are making too much of a big deal about Starfire, I for one love the new Starfire

I love how you people bitch and mone about a bra shot that I thought was tastefull given the story, yet no one says a word about the two splash pages of costume change and braless sideboob in batwoman.

Anyone who thinks “I don’t understand why people are upset” just doesn’t know what they’re talking about, its that simple. To me its not the scenes themselves or any of that. I watched a Serbian Film and did research on Max Hardcore after reading The Filth, I’m far from prude. It’s the crappy story telling and bad dialogue that really put the icing on the turd cake for me. Catwoman and Red Hood are awful books.

So a woman owns her own sexuality and is aggressive enough to go after the one guy–probably the ONLY guy–that ever got a real rise out of her, and now its cheap pop porn. The thing is, folks, is that it isn’t. Even my feminist wife agreed with me: Catty makes her own choices. Batman didn’t coerce her into anything. As is the character’s M.O., she takes what she wants and when she wants it. I dug Catwoman; it’s my fave of the seven of the 52 I picked up and will be among the titles I “keep.” Judd’s handled the character well, I liked the story, I’ll be back for #2.

@Scud
actually you are the one who doesnt know what they are talking about.

Anyone who wants to talk about the good old days of Brubaker really is dense. I just went through my old adam hughes covers and where they look great they show a lot more tit than anything March did in #1. Come on people Catwoman isn’t a children’s character in the 1st place you are being silly.

The point is, and I’ll use the DC’s excuse for de-aging Batgirl as an example. They wanted to de-age Batgirl because that particular point in Barbara’s character development, from cartoons and overall basic knowledge, is what most people, among all ages are familiar with. Same could be said with Catwoman and Starfire alike. Both have been feature in cartoons; recently successful and very popular cartoons (Batman: TAS, The Batman, Teen Titans and Batman: B&B but you already know that).

Young girls really identified with Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon. Her powers and strength were strengthened by her emotions. Her love for Robin was a big factor in that respect. This new redevelopment of the character has sex with two of her teammates, at separate times and they “hi-five” over it? Really? And she doesn’t care that they see her as a sexual object to be conquered? Do you think parents are going to let their children read a comic featuring a “heroine” that’s an emotionless slut?

I think the writer just couldn’t resist for the sensationalism, and just like so many of us are reading this opinionated article, so many more will be buying the comic. REtailers better up your orders!

I don’t understand some of the people here. We’ve seen sex scenes just as mild as this on Smallville a dozen times. And yes, this was a very mild scene. You can see this very level of sex in TV-14 rated programming. PG-13 rated movies can show full on nipple, while this showed nothing but cleavage and a bit of stomach. Unless you’re amish or muslim you won’t burn in hell for seeing a drawing of a girl’s boobs.

As to the issue of being “out of character”, we have seen Selina have sex before, including with Batman. She’s a passionate adrenaline junkie that has a torrid relationship with Gotham’s fine ass defender. Are you pale basement-dwelling virgins so afraid of us girls that even fictional women bother you this much?

Rich Johnson has been beating his readers over the head with this story all week with the righteous indignation that should only be had for someone showing his sweet little old grandmother having sex with the hot latin pool boy. And his twelve brothers. This from a guy that posts weekly updates about ACTUAL pornography based on comics and sci-fi. And posts the porn trailers on his YouTube account. I’ve seen similar articles here as well. No one sweats the actual porn, but death to anyone showing virgin Selina Kyle getting her cherry popped by some misogynist male writer.

I wonder how many of you are offended by the fact that real women have sex too, not just your favorite comic book heroes?

As a woman, I’m buying every issue of Catwoman now just to support this comic.

both these comics are LCD, Lowest-Common-Denominator.
sad and pathetic that grown men need to look at half naked cartoon characters to feel something.

and then they cry “Hey, if you don’t like it, don’t read it!”.
uhm, yeah, that’s the problem. we are NOT liking it, and my pull list gets smaller every year.

@Michael

Was that supposed to be a response to me or what because it had nothing to do with anything I said. I hold on my opinion that these books are terribly written and I would bet they’ll both be cancelled soon enough.

Most of you are a bunch of puritans. There isn’t even any nudity in either book. This kind of soft sex scene happens on a nightly basis on television. Jeff 14’s comment above was spot on. Also, why judge every new book in the relaunch based on these two B-titles. Grant Morrison’s Action Comics was a great new start. It starts out how the original action comics started out. Superman is a man of the people, defending them from corrupt corporate cronies and wife beaters. Snyder’s Batman has the great detective story telling that we have come to expect from him. In fact, just about anything Snyder does is great. The Wonder Woman comic was great with all its references to Greek mythology. Wonder Woman is a strong woman character. Lemire’s Animal Man was fantastic. There have been a number of good books in this restart. Of course not every title has been good. Some have been down right crap, but that doesn’t mean we ignore the good titles.

giving strong credit to the idea that we have all REALLY jumped the gun in regards to starfire in red hood and the outlaws
here are the words of Blond the Colorist (the colorist of Red Hood and the Outlaws) from comments he made on his deviant art too a commenter who was expressing her dismay with starfire’s portrayal in the first issue

“she’s a sensualist who experiences life differently than we do. She’s an alien. I’m already working on issue 4, and I can assure you she’s not portrayed that way in every issue. Don’t harden your opinion based on one issue, I hope you will keep reading the next 2 issues to finish the story. Issue 4 begins a new chapter with an emphasis on Starfire.”

as i have tried to explain to people The writer has a freaking plan. as far as i can see he wants to show starfire growing and progressing from the way she is in the first issue of this series

@cj
dont forget about batwoman in witch evrey waking fiber from the writing, characters, story, and MY GOD the art are all beyond incredibley supurb

The people against the sexual liberties of Catwoman and Starfire are the real misogynists.
Their discomfort comes from the same place that riles people who can’t handle strong, independent women taking hold of what they want. They’re reduced to calling women like these sluts, even as they give the men who bed multiple women a pass. Starfire insists she doesn’t belong to anyone and chooses the men she wants to sleep with. She’s not hanging out at trucker rest stops waiting to bang anything that comes by. If you should take issue with anything, it’s Starfire’s new amnesia when it comes to people in her past. Frankly, I want to see how Lobdell explains it (which is promised at the end of the issue).

As for Catwoman, she held down Batman in a scene that we know has probably happened on more than one occasion. He didn’t resist and the two may or may not have carried out an activity consenting adults do every damn day. So what if she initiated it? How can she now be labeled “slut”? She’s a character that’s always played off her sexuality.

Do people really think 15 year old girls haven’t seen worse than this?
Women read and write hypersexualized fan-fic, with depictions more graphic than what you can find in Catwoman.

@movieartman

quite right. a fantastic book. Takes up right where Rucka’s excellent run left off.

@james t kirk,

It’s funny how the men here are all twisted about women having sex.
In case you didn’t know there are real women out there who aren’t damaged and tend to enjoy having regular sex with men they know.

What makes you uncomfortable about that? Are you married or do you have a girlfriend? Are you the first man she told you she had sex with?

Catwoman I was cool with, maybe a few less bra shots and that final page wouldnt have seemed so bad and I will be sticking with the book for the long term, I like the Alias type thing going on here. Red hood, well I was a little upset with, it’s not keeping in character, she had some intergalactic roofie and let’s men systematically take advantage. Not cool.

During the lead in to the relaunch DC made no bones about saying the target Demographic was 18-34 year old males.

and anyway…. both Aliens Vs Predator and Predator are rated PG-13 by the MPAA, which would surely equate to a T (Teen Rated) book should….

scrap the “should” from that last line for it to make sense…..

@Joe – my guess would be that, if the guys giving the comic to their girlfriends who love them have to be the one TO GIVE THE COMICS to the girlfriends who love them, then said girlfriends are probably not hardcore fans who post on message boards. Just throwin’ that out there.
I give my lady stuff to read, but not really the capes & spandex, cuz she doesn’t go for it. Obviously, some women do. My lady LOVES stuff like ‘Goodbye Chunky Rice’ and ‘Daytripper’ which, granted, doesn’t have any spandex-fetishizing going on in it. But guess what? She doesn’t get on the internet to tell the world about how much she loves the stuff. Why? I don’t know, just doesn’t.
Was Catwoman #1 good? It was okay. I haven’t decided whether I’ll buy #2. Red Hood #1? Don’t know. Pretty much boycotting the Lobdell-scripted stuff. The point is, your whole ‘voiceless many’ idea is off-base.
Catwoman’s suit, even the Cooke-designed suit, is fetish-wear that a number of characters in Morrison’s the Invisibles could be found wearing at various points throughout the series. The Flintstones comparison is stupid. Wilma doesn’t wear a gimp suit while she cooks for Fred and Pebbles. Catwoman is a fetishized character. Has been for a long time. Has she always been? I don’t know. I wasn’t alive at the time of her introduction, and don’t know if the social mores at the time were as such to cast her in such a light. The point is that a Wilma Flintstone wardrobe malfunction would be completely ridiculous and have no basis. Selina Kyle was a prostitute in the 80s miniseries, not a housewife.
I don’t really care what your views are, as you probably don’t care what mine are. But your “reasoning” behind your jabs, assertions, and rhetorical questions is sound enough to discredit itself.

listen here kel-el, I am not “twisted” about sex. and apparently YOU do not know any REAL women, who pretty much do not approve of women who act as they have Kori acting.

Seriously, ask any women you work with, any sisters, or friends, what would they think of a women who sleeps with anyone, anytime, including their boyfriends or husbands, without any thought whatsoever.
They took what was a strong female character and turned her into a nympho. that is sad.

if catwoman was called catman and all the same things happened in the book, would it be an issue?

i doubt it very much. (in fact, catman spent loads of time naked or bare-chested in secret six AND had sex with cheshire, i don’t remember any ‘internet uproar’)

i will concede, though, that the way starfire was handled was quite shit, which was a shame as i loved everything else in the book.

Not one link to a positive review or a counter argument to the prevailing thought about these books? THAT is pandering and headline grabbing. For shame CBR.

And more thing in relation to comics being male fantasy. It’s okay for us to imagine wearing a cape and flying over a city and punching bad guys, but it’s NOT okay to want to be nailed by Catwoman? Who made up that rule? Why is violence okay but sexuality not? I just don’t understand what the problem is.

Laura from 2008 would tell Laura from 2011 to get over it:

http://myriadissues.blogspot.com/2008/05/making-it-hot-ok-in-my-book.html

It might have been pointed out already, but Catwoman and Batman are not ON THE ROOF making out in the open air; they’re INSIDE a penthouse with a view of the city. That may seem like a small thing, but it makes me believe that people who mention that, really haven’t read the book.

Okay, here’s the reason for the uproar…

That picture at the top of the page, looks to MOST fans like a stripper in a Catwoman costume giving a lapdance to a guy in a bat-suit. It doesn’t look like a strong depiction of female sexuality, It looks like really well-done fan-porn.

Contrary to what one poster wrote, while I may be pale, I am not a “basement-dwelling virgin”. I don’t have a problem with sexuality in life or in fiction, in fact I quite enjoy it. But there is something about that picture that just says porn. Titillation is one thing, it just seems purely exploitative to me and as a #1 issue for a “new direction”, well that’s not the direction I want to see mainstream comics go.

BLAH BLAH BLAH! this is all so utterly pathetic.half the people complaining about catwoman haven’t even read the issue.yes there were scenes of her iin her bra and yes there was a sex scene but there were reasons for it. its not like the entire comic consisted of twenty two pages of catwoman in a bra and panties spread eagle. for years fans have wanted people to take comics seriously as forms of legitimate entertainment and not simply for kids and nerds. however the minute something “controversial” is shown all the fans get in an uproar about how it shouldn’t be in comics etc. sex scenes happen in movies,tv shows etc and .catwoman has always been a sexual character. and if you are a true catwoman fan what went on in this comic was NOTHING out of her character.

I have no problem with Batman and Catwoman having sex but I don’t need it to take up 3 pages of a 20 page comic. There is so little space to tell a story and the sex could have been handled in a couple of panels so the readers could have more story advancement.

This all cracks me up.

I read both books and loved both issues. I was shocked no doubt when I read it, but glad DC had the “pair” to go there.

I’d much rather see that then have to read over and over again for the next 100 issues all the inuendos and close calls. We now know in this new DCU exactly what kind of relationship Bruce and Selina have. If you remember Alfred hinted at this very thing in Detective #1. I think this whole thing makes for a better dynamic when it comes to both of their personal relationships and how these “booty calls” are going to affect them.

As far as Starfire goes, the implications for future stories are fantastic now with both male members having slept with Starfire. Also, it will be interesting to see how this affects Arsenal. He might find himself emotionally attached to a chick who has no emotional attachment to him, a bit of a role reversal.

Anyway, enough of the potential plot threads. As I said before, I enjoyed both issues and I do not live in my mother’s basement. I am an American middle class married man with three children who gets more action from his wife than I could hope to keep track of…oh by the way, she’s Canadian, yeah the country where the idea of sex doesn’t make everybody’s bunghole pucker up.

Jeesh!

*Insert comment showing my superiority to anyone who could be the least bit upset about this in anyway.*

@scud – It’s not about superiority. It’s about presenting another side. If one side gets all the play, then that’s the story. If there was no one asserting the ‘rightness’ or “superiority” of one side of this ‘issue,’ then there wouldn’t be any argument in the first place, because everyone would be on the same side.
Do you think your comments have shown your inferiority in being “the least bit upset about this,” or do you think that your view is better, and superior?

I’d make my own comment about both books, but my will to live has been sucked dry by all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I can’t remember when I’ve seen a bigger overreaction to something.

Catwoman is not a woman who begs for sex…That’s Poison Ivy’s job. DC your making me wonder what is this 52 truly about? And Starfire looks lovely as ever!

It’s not the sex that’s the problem. The problem is that, for the first two pages of the comics, all you see of catwoman is close-up of her boobs and her ass, either in lingerie or in latex. It takes two full pages before you see her face!

And then there is the fact that it remove all the relationship development these character has gone through in the last few years – they were more or less a couple, knew each other identity, and visited each other at Christmas. Now they are back to anonymous roof sex just because.

Finally, the last sex scene is badly drawn, not romantic or erotic in the slighest, but plainly pornographic, and it’s useless- there is nothing in this scene that couldn’t have been said in a better way and with less cheesecake. Sex scenes are more often than not boring – it takes great care to make a sex scene meaningful and interesting.

What’s wrong with being sexy?

Its just sex… everyone needs to calm down!! Glee and teen dramas have racier sex scenes than this. People saying how this is “soft porn” for sure dont know what that even is. Trust me… people writing about this just want attention cause if they really about women’s rights they wouldnt waste theyre time on this. Comicbookresources is stupid for doin this stunt rehashing this lame topic move on

*Warning, the following is kinda a neuologic analysis of this subject and if it is too long and boring for you, don’t bother complaining, just skip it-being a troll wastes your time too*

OK, here are my issues with this: 1) The titilation factor really obscures the literary qualities that informs good comics. Neurologically, guys are hardwired to have their eyes drawn to a female physical form, more so if the figure is exaggerated (even to the point of unrealism) or gives visual signals of interest in sex which would include the exposure of body parts or body language that would suggest interest in sex. Women have some of this neurologic hardwiring, but not the same extent as guys and will factor in other brain input before reaching the same emotional state as guys. So putting this stuff on here is a cheap way for grabbing a guys attention and will distract from the other qualities of the story and art, (and will naturally alienate female readers who are looking for more from the same comic). Repeated exposure to such stimulation will cause readers to become less stimulated and they can either look at the other aspects or see more stimulating visual images for the same effect (just cause you get a guys first look, does not mean that they have no choice in how they catagorize what they just saw) I really don’t need the cheap tricks and especially if there is no substance to back it up. By having it at the end of the issue, I really have no sense that this comic has more for me to expect in future issues.
Objection 2: Where the viewing of two people having sex has voyeristic qualities and the above stimulus can be in effect, seeing them do it in costume implies a disregard for achieving intimacy. During intercourse, both men and women get a surge of oxytocin which increases a sense of trust and intimacy. With the costumes, this shows a disregard for knowing your partner and being known. With Starfire, just wanting sex without any motivation than “I want it” we can see the surprise and response in Roy because this is not the way most women respond (being a guy, he goes for it) This can be used to literary effect by indicating that Catwoman/Starfire are emotionally “damaged” by their past to show her not having any relationship building motivation in her essentially guy like “I just want to get off” motivation. In Starfire’s case it could be part of her alien heritage/biology, however, I really think that the scripts in question could have had better support for these before showing these scenes. I personally find such scenes/actions jarring and would be more persuaded to stick with it if the reader was given more reason to be sympathetic/emotionally invested in the character. Now I feel that Winick has to play catch up to get me to care more. Had this been done, I think there would be a wider sympathetic audience.
I agree that previous scenes in Catwoman were priming the reader to be focused more on the physical. There are other ways for a character to be “sexy” without showing skin. The whole thing could have been more sophisticated and give us more reason to respect her. I just felt that most of the respect I brought with me from the old universe and that Winick is just spending the carry over respect. I don’t know yet if it is a worthwhile investment.

I really don’t see what the big deal is about Catwoman. The sex scene was much tamer than anything in movies. And I don’t see how anyone really expected “better”. Catwoman is obviously a fetish fulfiller from the start. She wears a skintight “catsuit”, is a “bad girl”, and carries a whip and claws.

I don’t plan to get Catwoman #2, but it’s not because I’m offended. It’s because I have a limited budget and there wasn’t much story substance to the first issue. She wants to steal an item, she infiltrates a mob bar, she has sex with Batman. There was very little in the way of character development. That’s why it’s not a great comic. Not because of any particular scene.

All these condemnations of the sex scene seems to be what’s really misogynistic in my eyes.

On the other hand, I didn’t read “Red Hood and the Outlaws”, but from the scans and the context about the amnesia, that does seem genuinely creepy.

I frankly don’t see what the issue is with Catwoman. Was there some sort of expectation given the cover that she wasn’t going to be overtly sexual? Was she supposed to be fully in her cat suit in the beginning when the thugs came to blow her place up? Is there any actual nudity in that pic above, or is it just the *implication* of what’s going to happen that’s the problem? Because I see a helluva lot of clothing there. Kinky given the costumes, but still rather clothed.

(As an aside, I find it interesting that those who read comics regularly where everyone is wearing absolutely skintight articles are so offended when the color is skin-toned and not, say, bright green (and that’s only if we’re not talking about a Martian, natch).

Starfire’s more problematic. I certainly can see where the sexbot characterization comes from, and given my previous experience with her was from Teen Titans the cartoon, reading the Red Hood comic was somewhat jarring. Seeing as how this was a #1, I’m willing to give the comic a few issues to flesh that out and provide an explanation, but I perhaps have more patience than your average reader, so that might have been too in-your-face on Lobdell’s part.

But all the skin she’s showing, the bikini shots? I mean, c’mon, do people have super-short memories? Cheesecake spreads have been around as long as I can remember reading about crime-fighting people in tights. (The transparent bikini perhaps may have been pushing it, but she honestly looks better in purple anyway.) The spreads are all about evoking emotion. Does anyone complain about action spreads with someone’s head being chopped off? No? Because that’s there to evoke an “awesome!” reaction, just like the bikini shot is there to evoke my drool (which it did a fairly good job at).

I also want to take issue that this piece really doesn’t attempt to present any other viewpoints other than the controversy, and the editing seems solely to reinforce the viewpoint. For instance, that quote about the anonymous staff member conveniently cuts off the second half where Lobdell explains his reasoning. The full quote reads:

“Yes, there were a lot of people there, it had become quite the conversation piece. There was a lot of discussion about Kory and her sexuality the day before this issue went to press.”

“There were a handful of staff, mostly other women, who believed the writer was trying to equate being a strong woman with being, frankly, a slut. No one said that the writer was misogynistic, just that perhaps he was writing from a male perspective. It was firmly suggested to him that he could accentuate the character’s past as a sex slave. And that this might be an explanation for her sexuality, that she was acting out in her new life.”

“However, we were told he was adamant that Kory not be portrayed as a victim. The argument was made that if she was acting out sexually because of her past it [meant] that she mentally never left the prison planet.”

“In the end a compromise was struck and the sentence “I am a woman” [originally placed at the top of the third panel above] was lost.”

Did anyone have the same reaction as me when reading the climax of CATWOMAN #1: Loud guffaws of laughter at how poorly done and awkward the whole thing was? Suddenly I was holding in my hands some kind of weird homage to late 80’s independent comics/HEAVY METAL. A two page scene would have worked better instead of the 5 page opus they made.

As a reader of the female persuasion, I do not have any issues with Catwoman’s rooftop tryst. Winnick’s depiction of a strong woman who takes charge is utterly convincing. I especially like the fact that Catwoman is on top in the final scene, a position of dominance and control.

HOWEVER, Starfire’s compliant depiction does not go down well. Depicting women who offer sex for no rhyme or reason is unrealistic. It is no different than those gratuitous girl on girl actions or vacuous female dancers in scantily outfits in music videos who just pumps and grinds to titillate and sell. It is pimping the female character in the scene to the viewer. A pimp does not care about the woman. He just wants to make as much money off his assets from the men who purvey them. It is demeaning objectification however you cut it.

Having said that, seen in the context of the entire reboot, Red Hood is an anomaly amongst 51 other titles and I am willing to view it as a lapse of judgement on the part of the editors. All it says to me is that Scott Lobdell is a writer of very limited caliber when it comes to writing real, strong female character. He should put a hood over his head and go sit on the naughty step in shame.

“I feel Tom Spurgeon is doing Sal Buscema and Ed Hannigan a disservice by associating them with this…”

Completely agree. An odd juxtaposition.

at the end of the day, you’re all arguing over a f’n Catwoman Comic Book :|
is it really that serious?

I for one thought it was a fun issue.

I love Brulina as a couple, so I am thrilled with their sex scene. Now I want to see them actually date, with Selina moving into Wayne Manor like a real couple.

I think this series will really pull in the GLEE crowd into comic books. You know, the kind of folks who use emoticons.

But Starfire’s an alien woman. why does she have to go along with how earth people, or earth women people, think of things? I’m glad she’s portrayed as she was. I’m glad she said that sentence, “I’m free to do what I want when I want”. Hi Scott Lobdell! I’m reading Red Hood and the Outlaws now! So liked it!

@exagon. You just don’t get it do you?

So you’re saying that she is an alien and shouldn’t conform with what earth people think? But that’s the thing. Starfire in Red Hoood DOES conform with what earth people think. namely earth males.

You want to read something that explores what a truly alien being would be like – read Solaris. Red Hood is just soft porn crap.

@exagon

An alien woman who only differs from earth women when it comes to sex while otherwise all her other ‘habits’ are as terran as you can get ? How convenient.

DC: We have to show that she has a different world view from earth woman cos she is, y’know, alien.
SL: How about we make her despise cats?
DC: No. Too irrelevant.
SL: Ok. How about she doesn’t understand vegetarianism?
DC: Nah, too mundane. No. We need something that will get the fan boys going…
SL: Oh I know! Let’s make her easy. Like, REALLY easy.

@estragon

Ask any woman who if given the freedom to want what they want when they want, how many of them will say Sex as the first thing to come to their mind. Ask any man, however….

The sex doesn’t take place on the roof. It’s clearly in the Penthouse. Makes you wonder what else people missed “reading” in the book.

Honestly. DC is just using sex to get more people and money. Not like this hasn’t happened before. I haven’t read any comics of the new 52 and I probably won’t until where I see where all these stories are going. Knowing me I’ll collect comics regardless of subject matter. It just surprises me on how weird and brave Dc is in subject matter. I watched young justice recently and not to spoil an episode but there was a touch more violence and a very passionate kiss between a Hero and Heroine (Which I won’t name here cause of Spoilers or Trolls).

Are they turning this book into porn? is that the marketing strategy? Wonder Woman start cutting people and Cat Woman is a hoe?

I haven’t read either book yet, but the idea of Catwoman and Batman getting it on doesn’t bother me…the idea of Starfire being a slut is not a Starfire that i want to read about as it seems to go against everything that i have ever thought the character to be in previous incarnations. honestly, just reading those few panels makes me upset at the whole reboot.

I doubt any parents will be picking this book up for their kids.Last thing they want to explain is why Catwoman is straddling Batman like that because then the discussion would go to the big bird and the bees talk.Dc comics did this for shock value and so that they’d remain in the headlines.

Maybe they really do want to send the message that sex really do sale and so they decided to add some of it in a more explicit out there way.No more hiding behind the sheets or words that hint of two male and female hero had slept together.Dc comics is literally pulling down the curtains.

Seriously grow up. You’re reading freaking comics. Comics. A thin 32 page book with pictures. Why not go pick up a damn book? And the book is NOT for children but aimed at 16 year olds and older and the idiots that say parents should not pick it is redundant, DC did not expect you to pick it up and may be that thing called MANGA that the teens are devouring in droves need to be moralized over too. The images are so TAME. It’s just amazing. Do bloggers need so much attention these days this is the way they do it? You guys prove you live in your own little world and when DC tries to go main stream and save it’s freaking self, none of you can’t handle it cause this is what the main stream is.

Is the sex in comics consequence free? Just lines on paper?
Of course it is.
Hot bods and stiff rods!
That’s what the kids want.
Can’t wait for the long sex scenes with Apollo and Midnighter.
DC WILL give them equal time, won’t they?
It’s starting to smell like the ‘writers’ of GRAND THEFT AUTO are plotting DC comics.
MAKE MINE ‘NOT DC’!!!

There is a difference between sexual acts and sexuality. If we confuse the two we get images and characterizations like the ones we’re dealing with here.

I’m not really upset or offended by the two. I haven’t read catwoman. And I’m not upset by the fact that a character like Starfire is in Red Hood and the outlaws. It fits very well in that book. The problem is that we’re meant to believe that THIS is the same Starfire we’ve all loved for years, which is a complete crock and destruction of her characterization. I mean, an alien that has sex with you and forgets you doesn’t get engaged to Dick Grayson or become a staple of the Teen Titans.

+1 @ mikael: “Not one link to a positive review or a counter argument to the prevailing thought about these books? THAT is pandering and headline grabbing. For shame CBR.” Actually, for all I know there were no good reviews, but there have been supportive posts (from women no less!) on the forums and since this is a piece about the reaction to the issue I think at least those should’ve been brought up.

I posted thie elsewhere: I don’t know why CW isn’t a strong character just because she wears sexy underwear and has sex. I suspect that, by the time this storyline is over, she’ll have kicked a lot of ass. In the meantime, this issue illustrates what her relationship with Batman is and what the tone will be (playful sexuality).

RE: Starfire, she’s still kicks ass and I would think that she, too, is being set up for further development.

If both writers drop the ball then maybe some of these complaints will make more sense but, until then, I think these comments reflect people’s lack of comfort with their (or others’) sexuality. I’m dismissing most men’s comments outright; I don’t think they’re in a position to determine if women choosing to have sex with whomever they want is sexist or not. However, I’d be interested in learning WHY some women think only men want to see women having sex with whomever they choose (btw, I’ve never fantasized about a woman I’m sleeping with having sex with another man; that’s more like a nightmare to me). I’m wondering if these judgments are based on assumptions about where the writers are coming from (based on their experience with men), rather than on the actual content.

I can’t believe so many people are complaining and whining about this. Out of 52 books there are two with “frowned upon elements” by some people and suddenly it’s the DC relaunch is a complete failure. Really? That’s just insane. And I wonder how many people have actually, I don’t know, read the books instead of just flipped through the pages or read what other people told them to think?

Is Starfire off – I won’t argue there – but the whole book is about that male ego and having some cheesecake. Can guys not have at least one book like that? You could take the Starfire stuff out and the book was still a fun read. And Catwoman…she’s always flirted along that line. Why the hell can’t she and Batman have sex? Why should sex and sexuality be “dirtier” than some of the violence that has been in the DC 52. I never cared for Catwoman, but I really enjoyed the book and will actually be reading it again…and it’s not just because of the sex.

Batwoman was pretty saucy too. It had characters who weren’t even wearing bras since that seemed like such an issue with Catwoman. And yet that book was loved and was a favorite of people on the site. It seems ridiculous that one can be overlooked so easily while another is focused on so intently.

Man, so many of these female analysts just show their complete lack of understanding about men. Sitcoms will tell you women are complex and men are just mindless sex addicts, but men annihilated by this “Man-cession”, as it’s been called, just prove that there’s a complexity few want to investigate.

So let me get this straight. A lady called “Catwoman” can’t get any action? Especially from a guy calling himself “Batman”? Lame sauce. And if parents are letting their kids pick up Catwoman as a title to follow, that either needs to be with parental guidance or they need to get their heads examined…

Read Birds of Prey & Wonder Woman instead!!!

As others have noted, for anyone complaining about the amount of skin, everyone’s darling comic Batwoman shows more than both of these; both Batwoman and Flamebird are topless in a changing scene, and yet no one seems to mind.

@MEA: You’re confusing marketing with content. Should all of DC’s comics be targeted to kids because kid’s cartoons get big audiences. (Actually, that may be a good idea but that’s obviously not DC’s strategy; maybe there’s even a good reason for it.)

So does that make my argument invalid?

Basically they’ve taken the most well-known expression of the character and turned her into something that’s not only unrecognizable as the aforementioned expression of the character, but is also is kinda of disturbing, especially to those who primarily or only know her from the cartoon, myself included.

True, the Teen Titans has been off the air for years, yet there are many who still fondly remember the character as the girl in the comic does. Since DC has made such a media push about the reboot hoping to get new readers into the fold, many of those new readers only know her from the show and they see this. I doubt many of them would want to hang around.

I’ll be honest, Catwoman buggged me with its presentation (the whole “look BOOBS!” thing got old really really fast). The character herself however bothered me less so.

Starfire, however, comes off as a walking soulless doll here. THAT bothers me. And depresses me.

We’re using HUMAN female standards on an ALIEN female?

While Kory was always presented as sexy and naked, the part I don’t like is the part where she forgets her friends, especially Dick. How does that characterization work given all of those old Titans stories? I’d love to hear Lobdell explain that one further.

I would be more angry at Roy. He was on the Titans with Kory, yet he remembers these things. Yet no one is angry at him. I think the book is interesting because Jason and Roy AREN’T going to say no to sex with Kory.

And Batman? In most media, Catwoman is always coming onto HIM and he stops her. What happened this time?

The nuDCU ain’t the old DCU.

I have added Catwoman and Red Hood to my pull list. I thoroughly enjoyed both books and not necessarily for the sexual content. I like the take on Catwoman and getting to see a portion of her history a flashback opened up new avenues that could be told story wise. As for Red Hood it gave me the 80’s feel of action Television from the 80’s (a’la A-team, Night Rider etc). I can’t say I like the sex zombie that Starfire was made into because the relationship that her and Grayson shared is a big part of her history and to wipe that away to make her sex-bot is a big disservice to the character. I like Red Hood because of the potential the story has and with this outcry I believe they will tone it down which hate. Give these guys the freedom write these characters yet give them limits as well. These books should be for mature readers and submitted under a DCnU mature umbrella like a Marvel Max. If these books are not your thing, do not get the book and monitor what your child is reading.

I’m sure you all flip through these books before buying them right? If you see something you don’t like, don’t buy it. Sales drop, title will be dropped.

The only reason I’d buy it is BECAUSE of all the controversy. I wouldn’t have given it a second look if I saw it on the shelf. Now that there’s heat, might have to buy it.

The hilarious part is everyone saying “DC-NO not DC nU!” about two books out of a supposed 50. So are we to write off the entire relaunch because Winick, Lobdell, and Krul obviously can’t write? Or should we take the obvious approach and avoid, ignore, and ban, said writers books until we get some actual talent to take over them. I’m all for Batman Catwoman and Starfire “getting some” but how about you structure an ACTUAL good story around all that. Just sayin’.

While I loved Allura’s post, I had to laugh at how she and a few other women love that last scene in Catomwan because it shows her in a position of “control and dominance”. Showing a man having that over a woman usually brings down all holy hell from certain politically correct women who call it misogynistic and objectification of women. God save us from double standards. I for one am simply glad for the variety. Show me a man in control, then show me a woman in control, it’s all good. Some days I lean one way, some days another, just spare me the outrage when it’s my turn to be on top when you want the same thing for yourself. Didn’t everybody else’s kindrgarten teacher tell you about sharing? ;)

I still haven’t read Red Hood yet but the excerpts that are constantly being shown show me a similar woman who is in charge of her own sexuality on her terms. You don’t have to look far to find these women, they walk among you. Work with professional women or go to a nightclub sometime and you’ll really have cause for outrage over strong women.

At the end of the day, comics are an entertainment medium, and must compete with other entertainment media for scarce consumer dollars. A good chunk of the comics buying audience are people who would also watch shows like Mad Men, Sopranos, True Blood, Spartacus, the Tudors, or the Wire (Judd Winick’s Power Girl even had a scene where she and her friend were watching the Wire together), or see movies like Drive, Transformers, any Jason Statham movie, etc. where they will see this level of sex and violence at A MINIMUM. if comics don’t compete, then at $3-4 for 10 minutes of reading they are soon going to lose readers to the competition where you can pay $2-3 per HOUR (or less on Netflix) to watch something else instead. At $3-4 per 10 minutes, these comics are not aimed at young kids whose allowances can afford maybe a couple issues per month. Only teens and up have the income to pay these prices. You have to offer something they want to see. The current Catwoman is certainly something I want to read more of.

Since Winnick was just writing the cancelled Power Girl, I can only hope that if she gets a book in the next wave of titles that he (or someone else) approaches PG in a similar manner. She’s every bit as conifdent and assertive as Catwoman, but far more powerful and far more of a role model for modern women as her secret identity is a business woman who has the smarts to run a company in the same league as Lexcorp and Waynetech. Handled properly, PG could be a character that women want to be and men want to be with, and that includes having a healthy and active sex life in between board room deals and knocking out the Ultra-Humanite. Power Girl meets Sex and the City. I’d read that in a heartbeat, as would more than a few chic…I mean New Female Readers. ;)

The thing I also love is that some people have got on him for one issue of Catwoman but yet applaud him for his take on black people in Batwing. He’s a hero and villain!

Seriously? This is a thing? People are actually mad about this?

“The problem is that we’re meant to believe that THIS is the same Starfire we’ve all loved for years.”

You – and the several others who posted similar complaints – are not meant to believe any such thing. In case you haven’t been paying attention, this is the new DC, where not everything is as it used to be. This isn’t Marv Wolfman’s Starfire, and it sure as hell isn’t Cartoon Network’s.

You don’t like it? Fine. Go back and read your beloved back issues. Speak with your wallet and don’t buy the new stuff. Just stop with the bitching and moaning about how this new characterization or that new characterization goes against everything a character USED TO BE, because in many cases, that’s exactly the point. Who the hell knows if it’s going to work, but that’s the way it is right now.

Personally, it’s way too early for me to form an opinion on whether the new DC will actually be a BETTER DC, but I’m willing to give it a chance for longer than just first issues – especially if my other options include giving up on what’s always been my favorite comics characters or making sweeping generalizations based upon a limited sample size.

Most stupid controversy EVER.

I hate to break it to everyone, but Starfire has always been a very sexual character. Not just from her dress, but if you remember in 52 Animal Man’s wife had to keep reminding Kori that she needed to wear clothes when she goes swimming at their house in front of their daughter. Also, the first comic I ever saw her in, X-men vs Teen Titans, she reaches out and gives Colossus a huge kiss so she can learn Russian, after only knowing him for a few seconds. Is she vacuous here? Yes, but it seems to me they are developing an aspect of her that always existed. That being said, I actually really liked her character on the cartoon but that was meant for children…

@ahuramazda

First, thank you for making an argument of character traits, instead of the “I’m going to attach the poster’s sexuality because I can’t attack the argument.”

Now as to your argument, I’ll agree (and have said elsewhere) that yes, Kory does not have the body taboos that (western) civilization has. That I’ve no issue with. My issue is the character is presented with short term memory and completely different from previous incarnations.

Why?

We hear the argument from DC that they went with Barbara Batgirl because of the media images. Others argue that the sliming of Waller is to match the movie version. But now we get goldfish memory Kory, who’s apparently only remembering what is plot convienent.

Cartoon Kory was alien without being a blow up doll. She was passionate and caring. DCoU Kory was a passionate woman who chose to give her attentions to one man, despite a political marriage. She also was a warrior who was skilled enough to regularly beat Donna, and likely could give Diana a run for her money. Instead of eitjer of those we got a flying goldfish.

(And I agree that Roy should be squicked out at the thought. Jason wouldn’t be bothered, heck he’d enjoy riding Dick’s ex)

Oh fer Pete’s sake, you all need to lighten up. Bitch bitch bitch. … They are freakin’ COMIC BOOKS, for heaven’s sake. I thought both Red Hood and Kitty were fun! Sure there is cheese. Sure Starfire is damaged to the point of catatonia. I’m curious to see where she goes from here, there is fireworks coming, no doubt. Sure Kitty is a sex bomb. SO WHAT? It’s a C O M I C B O O K people. It’s not MEANT to be socially relevant high art. It’s supposed to be FUN, and I got a kick out of both of them.

@ Mea: So does that make my argument invalid?

Sorry, but yes. By your argument, the entire DC comics line should be made to resemble the WB cartoons (Justice League had just about every character in it ); either you’ve got an enormous double standard happening or your argument is invalid and, since its DC’s business, I’m gonna with your argument is invalid because they know their strategy and you don’t.

>Starfire, however, comes off as a walking soulless doll here. THAT bothers me. And depresses me.

I totally understand this. I don’t like this change but I’m not outraged (yet) because I’ve read enough comics to feel pretty sure this is a set up for what I hope will be an interesting discussion of sexuality (and Lobdell has suggested he’s thought about this), and that doesn’t (necessarily) mean Starfire must renounce her polyamorous ways.

Let me begin by saying that I have zero problem with nudity and sex in superhero comics. I will never be on the same side of the Moral Guardians who want to keep it safe for the children.

Having said that… WOW.

It’s not the sex that bothers me in Red Hood and the Outlaws, it’s that it seems so much like a masturbatory fantasy. Wouldn’t be great if Starfire just walked out of nowhere and wanted to have sex with me for no reason? Hell yeah, it would. But would it make any sense whatsoever in a story? Sorry, no.

I was never a fan of Lobdell, but man, was he ever that bad before? He must have some plan, some future development in mind, because this can’t be as bad as it looks. Being of a charitable mind, I have to think that this can’t be what it seems.

As for Catwoman and Batman, I don’t have as much of a problem with it. They were always attracted to one another, and you could always tell there was some kink shit involved. But call me a romantic if you wanted, I would have prefered if they gave us more context, more significance to their finally doing the dirt on-panel. Save it for a bigger occasion, instead of just Selina being all “hey, it’s Wednesday, I think I will do Batman today.”

I really don’t understand why everyone is getting so worked up about the Catwoman stuff. I mean, she has ALWAYS been a femme fatal, using her sexuality and the way it effects men to meet her ends. Ass for the sex with Batman, their relationship was been flirtatious for YEARS now, it was going to get to the point of sex sooner or later. So what if they were in costume? It was a moment of pure lust. People in the real world have those and they don’t always bother to take all their clothes off before getting down to business. People are getting WAY too worked up over this.

@JoeMD — fairly certain Bats and Cats have sealed the deal a LONG time ago, Pre-Crisis. Huntress was their daughter.

I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Characters having sex? What is wrong with that? Or is it long-established characters having sex that is offensive? It must be the difference in cultures I guess, but I can’t see anything wrong about it.

Catwoman enjoyed her intercourse with Batman just as much as he did, and Starfire is the one using males to have sex and not the other way around as far as I can understand. So what is the problem?

The only negative thing in this whole matter in my opinion is the lack of a line of super-hero comics for young readers, children at the ages of something like 6-12. Such a line really should exist, for children to be able to enjoy comics, and DC to “create” their new readers.

Other than that I can’t help but feel awkard about people’s reaction to this. In our times the premise of two characters having sex to be disturbing… Have you ever read a european comic? Better not. Some of those seem like they would give you a heart attack if you are getting so excited about Catwoman like that. I think this is a maturity issue from the readers part more than the creators. And it is for the best interest of all of us if comics finally grow up a bit. This dichotomy of demanding good quality from a story but handicapping the creators with censorship at the same time is part of what has brought the comic industry so low. Most readers outgrew the stale, play-it-safe way of writing traditional american comics while potential new readers just don’t find anything to be interesting in this “traditional” way of making comics. Not that any of the above stories were that good to be honest, at most tyey were somewhat enjoyable in my opinion, but instead of that being a subject of discussion people seem so intent on making a bo=ig deal out of the most natural of things.

I’ve spent the good half of the afternoon reading criticism for these couple of raunchy comics, and I’ve seen that a majority of the people complaining are women. Batman also gets significantly unclothed in the pages but I don’t hear any fellow guys complaining about them? Wouldn’t the Twilight Saga’s insatiable need to display Taylor Lautner with his shirt off on countless merchandise and and in most TV spots and trailers for the movie be considered as equally sexually exploiting of men? Yet I don’t complain, and I’ve not heard one guy get worked up about the subject. Comics are make-believe and have a target audience, if there material does not suit you (like Twilight doesn’t for me), do not read these certain ones! There are plenty of others to choose from, and unfortunately while you may find many ones that do contain explicit images in them, there’s a good chance you’ll find some suited to your needs.

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