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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Selina Kyle

Catwoman is a Catholic, but she is not at all devout. Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper portayed Catwoman's younger sister as a Catholic nun.

Selina Kyle, who is better known as "Catwoman," is one of the most long-standing supporting characters in the Batman comics. She has, for most of her career as a comic book character, operated as a thief and a criminal. She is not, however, a killer, and has usually been portrayed sympathetically. She has also been one of the most consistent love interests for Batman himself, despite the fact that they are often on opposite sides of the law professionally.

Since the 1990s, Catwoman has starred in her own ongoing comic book series and has been cast as a more heroic character rather than a straight villain. She may be classified as a classic "anti-hero." Protecting her chosen section of Gotham City became her primary focus. Since giving birth to her child, Catwoman has focused more on being a mother and has passed on the mantle of "Catwoman" to a successor: her long-time friend Holly Robinson.

Headstone of Selina Kyle (Batwoman) Left: The headstone of Selina Kyle ("Catwoman"), possibly Batman's future wife. Tim Drake ("Robin") visited this cemetary when he accidentally found himself ten years in the future. Catwoman's headstone, as depicted here, is not a cross, but Batman's headstone is.

Source: Teen Titans #18 (2004), written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Mike McKone and inked by Marlo Alquiza; page 19; reprinted in Teen Titans: The Future is Now trade paperback, DC Comics: New York City (2005).

From: Edmund Lau Kok Ming, review of Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper, posted 8 June 2004 on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Catwoman-Sisters-Keeper-DC-Comics/dp/0446393665; viewed 24 May 2007):

This is the notorious Catwoman story that D.C. Comics wanted to erase from memory but it somehow surfaces every now and then. "Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper" is actually "Catwoman: Year One" (or the closest we will ever get to a "Year One" for the feline fatale) as it ties in very closely to Frank Miller's justly-classic "Batman: Year One". In fact, it more than "ties-into" that work; entire scenes were lifted from Miller's original and put into this volume. In fact, the present writer/artist seem to have created their story in this volume by wrapping some "filler-info" around those famous Miller-scenes.

As to the notoriety of the work, this volume, like Miller's "Batman: Year One" gives us a Selina Kyle who works as a prostiture/sexual-dominatrix. But more than that, it ties her to religion (Selina's sister is a Catholic nun) and child-prostitution/abuse in the character of Holly. Furthermore, this tale revives the classic sexual attraction between Batman and Catwoman with a classic kiss shared by the two on the rooftop (a scene stolen by Tim Burton and added to the movie, "Batman Returns").

According to DC Editorial decrees, this work is no longer part of official continuity (after the continuity altering event called "Zero Hour"). However, DC continuity is a tricky thing and so are Editorial decrees. In recent years, it seems to be back in "official continuity" as the current Ed Brubaker "Catwoman" series seems like a direct continuation of this book (Holly and Selina's sister features prominently in Brubaker's run). Therefore, it is an essential read in Catwoman's long legend...

My copy is an original first-print tradepaperback with... an excellent foreword by the late Archie Goodwin. Goodwin compares Catwoman to the movie "Cat People" and talks a little about sexual repression and the need for split-personas. Interesting stuff.

This volume is recommended to all Batman/Catwoman historians as well as the new fans just getting in with the Ed Brubaker monthly. It is also recommended as an antidote to purge the poison of the new Warner Bros. "Catwoman" movie starring Halle Berry. The real Catwoman is in here; NOT in that movie!

Catwoman's baby: God only knows... Left: The newborn baby child of Selina Kyla (a.k.a. "Catwoman"). After Angle Man and Film Freak discovered the location of Catwoman's apartment, broke in and threatened her daughter, she worried that if these villains continued to retain the knowledge of her private life, they could threaten her child again.

When Catwoman thinks, "God only knows what might happen to my baby," she may be invoking the name of God only as an idiomatic expression. Selina Kyle herself is extremely secular. Any belief she may have in God or traditional organized religion was certainly not manifest during her long career as a thief. [Source: Catwoman #58, published by DC Comics (2006), page 5; written by Will Pfeifer, pencilled by David Lopez, inked by Alvaro Lopez; reprinted in Catwoman: The Replacements, DC Comics (2007), page 119.]

Catwoman's identification as a Catholic may be nominal at best, and is probably only based on family background. Selina Kyle gave birth to this baby out of wedlock (obviously against Catholic teachings). The father of the child is Slam Bradley, a Gotham City police detective decades older than Selina. Selina named the child "Helena," which is the name of the daughter that Golden Age Catwoman (from "Earth Two") gave birth to when she was married to Earth Two's Batman. The Earth Two wedding between Catwoman and Bruce Wayne was depicted as taking place in a Catholic church.

Text from this scene, in which Zatanna uses her powers to cause Angle Man to recall his history, so that she can find and alter a few select memories. From: Catwoman #58, published by DC Comics (2006), pages 2-5; written by Will Pfeifer, pencilled by David Lopez, inked by Alvaro Lopez; reprinted in Catwoman: The Replacements, DC Comics (2007), pages 116-119:

[Catwoman rips the tape off Angle Man's mouth. Sound effect: "RRRIP"]

Angle Man (Angelo Bend): OWW! You must think that was pretty funny, right? Well keep laughing. Laugh it up. Because pretty soon, Catwoman or Irena Dubrovna or whatever your name is . . . It's going to be nothing but tears for you. Tears over the way an obscure criminal named Angle Man ruined your life. Tears over the way he drowned you in misery. Tears over the way he let every murderous lunatic within a hundred miles know just where to find you. You . . . and your baby.

[Catwoman rips the tape off the piece of tape that was covering Angle Man's eyes. Sound effect: "RRRIP"]

Angle Man (Angelo Bend): OWW!

Catwoman (Selina Kyle): As usual, you've got everything wrong.

Zatanna: You have it all . . . backwards.

Angle Man: You. You're that magician. What's your name? Satanik?

Zatanna: Zatanna.

Angle Man: Right. Zatanna. But what do you-- Oh, I get it. I know why you're here. I've heard about you. I heard about what you did to Doctor Light.

Zatanna: Really? I'm impressed. The underground must have quite the--

Catwoman's infant baby Helena: [Heard from the next room] Waaaahh...

Zatanna: Ybab, pots . . . [Zatanna begins a magical incantation, backwards "Baby, stop". But Catwoman quickly uses her hand to cover Zatanna's mouth and prevent her from finishing the spell. Catwoman doesn't want Zatanna using magic to quiet her baby.]

Catwoman: Dont. Don't you dare... I'll take care of her. You take care of them.

Catwoman (thinking): It wasn't easy, calling her of all people, but I didn't see any other way. Well, there was a more final option... But I don't want to go down that path. Not again. Not ever. Angle Man, Angelo Bend. Whatever he calls himself. He found out who I was pretending to be. The name I was hiding behind. He has a big mouth. He'll talk for sure. He'll talk, someone will listen, and God only knows what might happen to my baby. All because he knows who I am. But Zatanna, she can go into his head. She can work her magic in there and really do a number on his mind. I know she can. She did it to me.

Catwoman: [In another room now, speaking to her baby while holding the infant.] Shhhh . . . . Shhhh . . . It's okay, Helena. It's okay. Mommy's here.


From: "What religion do superhero's belong to? [sic]" forum discussion started 18 July 2002 on "Toon Zone" website (http://forums.toonzone.net/showthread.php?t=41332; viewed 21 May 2007):

07-18-2002, 01:02 PM

What religion do superhero's [sic] belong to?

I'd like to discuss what religious beliefs are favorite costumed hero's belong to. Everyone knows Daredevil is Catholic. But beyond that, what do we know of superhero's beliefs? I'm thinking of mostly the Marvel Universe, but you DC fans feel free to contribute as well...

07-19-2002, 03:40 PM

Wonder Woman is what is referred to as a Classic Pagan, because of her and her bloodline's continuing faith in the old deities of Europe. Catwoman is a lapsed Catholic. Sailor Moon is Christian, and is often portrayed with Crucifixes. Sailor Mars is a Shinto priestess.

From: "Catholic Clix - Comic info needed!" forum discussion started 3 May 2003 on HCRealms website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-40338.html; viewed 24 May 2007):

05/03/2003, 21:04

Ok, so in recent films it's been apparent that Daredevil and Nightcrawler are Catholic - Daredevil's confessor is also his confidant, and Nightcrawler allegedly is a former priest and is seen reciting the rosary (in German) in X2.

So, who else out there could be fielded in a "Catholic" Heroclix team?

So far divine providence might help w/ the tons of supersenses rolls one would make w/ Daredevil and Nightcrawler on your team... *grin*

05/05/2003, 01:42

...IIRC [If I recall correctly], here's the Catholic Clix you can play:


Possible Catholics (or lasped Catholics):

Catwoman (her sister was a nun)
Plastic Man

08/17/2003, 16:41

Catwoman, unfortunately for your prospective team, is right out, I think. Her sister was a nun. (She later left the nunnery after a crisis of faith.) But Catwoman never shared her sister's faith, and often found it weird and alien to her life.

From: medusasowl, "Four bright eyes gazed longingly", posted 8 January 2007 on "Owl's Soapbox and Sanctuary" blog website (http://medusasowl.livejournal.com/307648.html; viewed 24 May 2007):

Learn the religious affiliation of comic book characters! [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html]...

[User comments posted on this blog page:]

dahliablue wrote:
Jan. 9th, 2007 06:18 am

And Catwoman is Catholic! I totally believe that...

medusasowl wrote:
Jan. 10th, 2007 12:53 am

I actually have (or used to have... hmm...) a graphic novel wherein Catwoman's sister was a nun! Younger sister I think. So yeah! It just makes sense somehow, doesn't it? Dunno why, it just does.

From: "Religion in the Batman comics" thread began 7 June 2001 in alt.comics.batman newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/alt.comics.batman/browse_thread/thread/93368626bdebcd58/4b93b3a1e10210c6; viewed 12 June 2006):

From: Patrick2480
Date: Thurs, Jun 7 2001 6:48 pm

We all know Catwoman/Selina Kyle is Catholic (and a bad one at that). The Huntress is probably Catholic too. The Gordons too maybe? Any other characters have religious convictions?

From: Patrick2480
Date: Thurs, Jun 7 2001 11:23 pm

Why did the creators of Batman make the modern day Catwoman/Selina Kyle Catholic, a bad Catholic?

From: MadiHolmes
Date: Thurs, Jun 7 2001 11:37 pm

Because Catholics are so interesting - practicing or otherwise.

I think it has to do with the guilt. Nothing like a good ol' heap of Catholic guilt to up the angst and drama.

From: Brian Doyle
Date: Fri, Jun 8 2001 3:05 am

re: The Gordons too maybe?"

Never specified.

From: Josh Dull
Date: Fri, Jun 8 2001 11:25 am

Selina Kyle's religion was given only in Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper.

It was never explicitly stated, but it was rather obvious she was intended to be Catholic.

Since 'CHK' [Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper] is now out of continuity, I'd say we no longer know her religion.

re: "The Huntress is probably Catholic too."

I think it was stated somewhere that Helena is Catholic. Whether this is true and still in continuity are not something I know.

re: "The Gordons too maybe?"

I've never seen anything that indicates the Gordons as Catholic. I always felt they were Protestant. And for some reason, to me that makes more sense then the characters being Catholic.

From: Chris Small
Date: Fri, Jun 8 2001 5:39 pm

I'm not sure on what your source for Catwoman being Catholic is, so what are you asking, exactly?

Why is she a "bad Catholic" - a Catholic who doesn't practice? I think you'd tread on less shaky ground if you referred to them as "non-practicing Catholics." I'm sure that "bad" Catholics don't see anything "bad" about their behavior, which the former term insinuates.

Or are you asking why they made a "bad" person (a criminal) a Catholic character?

I don't think it's of any attempt to defame the religion - Catwoman is a sympathetic character, and we also have the Huntress - a 'good guy' - for whom Catholicism (or at least, Christianity or religion in some form) plays an intricate part of the character.

From: Matches Malone
Date: Sat, Jun 9 2001 5:22 am

In the original Catwoman miniseries (collected under the name "Her Sister's Keeper"), Selina was pretty clearly Catholic. Since DC no longer considers that series canon, though, it might have changed.

From: MadiHolmes
Date: Sun, Jun 10 2001 8:18 pm

re: "Why is she a bad Catholic?"

Well, Catholicism tends to look down on prostitutes... Also being an unrepentant thief has something to do with it.

From: "The Religious Affiliations of Super Heroes", posted 27 June 2007 by Elizabeth "I'm Pro-Accordion and I Vote!" B. on Gather.com website (http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977041058; viewed 2 July 2007):

Okay, anyone could have guessed that Shamrock, a.k.a. Molly Fitzgerald, would have to be Catholic. But did you know that Superman is Methodist? The Shadow is a Buddhist? Who knew?

A website, www.comicbookreligion.com, attempts to catalogue our Superfriends by religion and ethnicity...

Mugg Muggles, "The Man With the Jive", Jun 27, 2007, 6:33pm EDT

...Catwoman is probably 'Cat-Lick'.

From: "Your Spiritual Thought for the Day", posted 15 July 2007 on "Roman de Renart" blog website (http://foxeddc.livejournal.com/467235.html; viewed 16 July 2007):

[Reader comments:]

lamuella wrote:
Jul. 16th, 2007 12:25 am

...Huntress and Catwoman are both Catholics. Wonder Woman is a believer in the Greek pantheon (well, more than a believer, she's the champion of Pallas).

I can't think of any actively atheist superheroes, but any of them who have dealt with cosmic stuff couldn't be atheists for long. The DC universe is very much a creationist universe.

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