Lesser-Known Comics: Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score

Selina Kyle, Catwoman by Darwyn CookeThe best part of The Dark Knight Rises?

Selina Kyle, Catwoman.

Intelligent, perceptive, armed with a total disregard for the law but not quite without morals altogether.

That’s the Selina Kyle I know from the comics. So good was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman that I even forgave The Dark Knight Rises for the huge number of plot holes, including the fact that Bruce’s broken back is cured by someone using their knee to make a spinal adjustment.

If you loved this Selina as much as I did, the very best place to start your comic reading is Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score by Darwyn Cooke.

This story, and her new series in 2001, brought Selina back to her roots as a thief and explored her connection to Gotham. Before that, Catwoman had fallen on hard times. Her previous series book was canceled after a run that lasted nearly 100 issues. Worse, the cancellation was deserved as the once-interesting story lines had fallen into chaos, not least because writer/artist Jim Balent began drawing Selina Kyle’s breasts as bigger than her head. In her last issue, Selina “died.” (Which is comic book speak for “taking a break.”)

Enter Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke.

Brubaker and Cooke wrote a series of back-up stories in Detective Comics from August to November 2001 that brought back Silver Age character, Slam Bradley, who starred in Detective even before Batman. Bradley is a private eye hired to find the missing Selina, dead or alive. It’s a story steeped in noir and pulp origins, with Bradley very much in the mold of Sam Spade.

Once the back-ups were finished, a new Catwoman series was launched in late 2001 by Brubaker, Cooke, and several other artists. Brubaker, in an interview with the webzine Sequential Tart jokingly answered “smaller breasts” when asked about the difference between his Catwoman and the previous Catwoman series. But it was more than that. Selina settled in a crime-ridden part of Gotham, determined to do what she could to protect those without a voice, though with methods obviously not approved by law enforcement or even Batman. 

Selina’s Big Score by Darwyn CookeSelina’s Big Score takes place between Slam’s investigation of the missing Selina and her re-settlement in Gotham, but it stands alone. It’s a classic caper tale, with Selina, allies, and enemies all after that big score in a tale full of thievery, double-crosses, and action sequences. Much like Hathaway’s Catwoman, this Selina claims not to have any morals, that she doesn’t care about anyone but herself, and that she’s just in it for the money to set herself up for life. As in The Dark Knight Rises, this only turns out to be partially true.

Even if you’ve never read a Catwoman comic in your life, if you’re a fan of mysteries and noir stories, Selina’s Big Score will entertain you.

Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, thought not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom Blog on Wired.com (www.wired.com/geekmom) and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.

Read all posts by Corrina Lawson for Criminal Element.


  1. gamewrex

    Jim Balent did a fantastic Selina Kyle. What I find personally astounding is how you claim her story potential went down because her breasts were drawn big… Because big breasts = lack of complexity. Chris Dee did a great article showing how THAT line of thinking is botched and wrong in every way.

    Before that, you even say that Darwyn Cooke “brought her back to her roots as a thief”… What? No he didn’t. She never left her roots. She was always a jewel thief. What the… what the hell are you talking about? In fact, Jim Balent concentrated heavily on her exploits as a theif and as being a “bad girl”. There were so many great stories with her in it and it was not in the least bit hindered by her “big breasts”. I mean seriously, she had depth. She had wit. She had humor. So what if she had big breasts. Is it wrong to have them? I might understand if this was some other comic book woman. But this is Selian Kyle. Catwoman. She’s supposed to be beautiful and sexy and able to make men trip over their tongues. That’s a major part of who she is and what she does. That doesn’t mean she can’t be intelligence, interesting, and complex; and she was (unlike the new 52 Catwoman which wouldn’t you know it has that Darwyn Cooke get-up but is devoid of all personality and is, as far I can tell, brain-dead).

    Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker BROKE Catwoman. They emphasized that horrible backstory Morrison created in Year One that HAD BEEN brushed over and deservedly forgotten that turned her into a piece of gutter trash and they brought all that back to light and made it so much worse. As her breasts got smaller, her dignity flew out the damn window. It’s actually the exact OPPOSITE of everything you’re saying. Brubaker even put her with the likes of Slam Bradley. If that’s not low, tell me what is?

    Under Brubaker and Cooke, she lost everything that made her appealing. They didn’t want to write her sexy as god, that would be so offensive! Even though sexy is major part of her that did nothing to slight her character ( and personally I find offense to anyone who implies a woman can’t be sexy, beautiful, and respectable at the same time). They didn’t write her fun and instead drowned her in dark and depressing stories that were often grittier than even Batman’s line were. They removed her integrity and made her this broken, depressed woman mired by cynicism and lacking of any joy. And they destroyed any sense of class and sophistication she had.

    Oh boy, but at least they gave her a BREAST reduction!

  2. Strejda

    gamewrex: First of all, Chris Dee is a homophobic, classist and misogynistic bitch so why should anyone care what she has to say?

    Second, it wasn’t Morisson but Frank Miller.

    Third, “gutter trash”? You mean because she was poor or because she was a sex worker? Either way, fuck you.

    Fourth, you may have not found her sexy (the fuck is wrong with you) but the other characters obviously did. She may have not smile and not make cat puns or dick joke but to say she ha no joy or fun is incredibly dishonest and wrong. Have you actually read any of it?

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