What the fudge happened to the Catwoman comic?

Forgive me if I’m late to the party but I only just got to read the first 25 issues.

Now, what happened? This series had a great noirish Dick Tracy style to the art. Everything was stylised, but distinctive, and it oozed atmosphere. Even the Catwoman costume looked fairly realistic, with it just being a leather catsuit with a funky mask and goggles.

All of a sudden the art design has done a complete switch and we’re back in superhero land again. It looks like every other comic book now, and what’s worse: cheesecake has been introduced! Not only has her suit been tightened to the point that it creeps up her ass, she seems to get naked and have a shower at least once an issue now! I just don’t feel comfortable reading this one in front of my girlfriend anymore.

The script is still nice, but the art switch really ruins the whole book for me. :frowning:

Not a fan, but I think it has to do with the upcoming movie. Usually, they wait for the movie to be released before they ruin the comic though…

Yeah no one likes Catwoman because she’s a hot broad in a leather suit.

The art changeover with #25 really ruined the book for me. Ed Brubaker is one of my favorite writers, and Paul Gulacy is a completely competent artist, but it was such a jarring style shift from the fantastic work establised by Darwyn Cooke, Brad Rader, and Cameron Stewart in the first 24 issues. I loved the clean, simple styles they used (much like Bruce Timm’s work on Batman: The Animated Series, and my favorite comic artist, Mike Allred), and it worked perfectly with Brubaker’s comic-noir writing. It was the first time I ever liked Selina Kyle as a three-dimensional character (no pun intended), and it was one of the best books published by DC. Even her new costume with the Emma Peel leather catsuit and the big goggles (designed by Cooke) was eye-catching and unique and funky. Now it’s lost a lot of that magic with the more mainstream, “fan service”-style of art, and wouldn’t you know it, sales have skyrocketed since Gulacy took over. :smack:

Really? Shit. I was kinda hoping that it would switch back after this arc is over. If it doesn’t I don’t think I’ll keep reading. :frowning:

It was worse in the previous incarnation with the skanky artist who did most of the run pulling poses for Selina out of PORN MAGAZINES.

I really want that barfing smiley at the moment.

At least the current story arc is interesting and a good read.

Jim Balent! Hurkhurkhurkbleah! Now that guy is doing real porn comics, with no pretense whatsoever. (And realistically, his Selina would have found it physically impossible to be a cat burglar, sneaking through air ducts, crawling through holes cut in glass windows, and slinking between invisible laser beams with those ridiculous boobs.)

I loved this title till Gulacy started penciling, but I dropped it quickly after one look at the art change. As has already been said, he’s a perfectly competent artist, but for my taste his work is much too conventional superhero in style. Since the title has undergone several artist changes already, I’m hoping there’ll be another one. Soon.

BBVL, did sales stay up for any appreciable amount of time? I haven’t kept track; the Diamond charts are much too depressing. The last I heard, issue #25 sold like gangbusters, but shortly thereafter the numbers dropped down to pre-Gulacy levels. Retailers seemed to think that there was a big changeover in readership, with the number of people dropping the title about the same as the number who started picking it up.

The best comment I’ve ever heard about Balent’s run came from a long-time reader I know. When I mentioned being subjected to Balent’s work while pawing through back issue bins looking for the Brubaker run, he commented “I hope you wore gloves.” Fan service at its worst. I know the reek from it kept me away from the newly relaunched series, even with Brubaker writing, for a very long time.

Silentgoldfish, have you read Selina’s Big Score yet?

Hey, I liked Jim Balent’s art on Catwoman! What’s wrong with drawing a sexy, busty heroine? That is one of the main reasons I have bought comics all these years! (Of course, I have a severe case of superheroine fetish, so perhaps that colors my judgement!)

Many women, myself included, find the kind of hyper-sexualized, distorted, anatomically impossible drawings of women that Jim Balent specializes in to be offensive and juvenile outside of porn. The perception that that’s all the medium offers is probably the #1 reason more women don’t read comics, and in many cases, don’t want their children reading them either. I do a lot of comics advocacy work, and I hear that cited over, and over, and over again.

I like attractive comic book women as much as anyone, but there are levels of tastefulness and classiness. I think Jim Lee, Art Adams, Mike Allred, Bruce Timm, Adam Hughes, and J. Scott Campbell all draw attractive and sexy women. They often have different body types–some are athletic, some muscular, some more voluptuous. I’d contrast any of them against the “bad girl” artists that came to prominence in the mid-'90s, the house style of Top Cow Studios, artists like Rob Liefeld who don’t have a good grasp of anatomy, and the guys who obviously swipe porn poses, like Balent and Marvel cover artist Greg Horn. These artists are responsible for giving comics (and their largely male fans) bad reputations as pathetic perverts. Of course, Selkie probably isn’t a big fan of the “good girl” artists I mentioned either. :smiley:

Jim Balent’s style turns me off because it seems to be T&A for the sake of T&A–proportions that defy gravity, that no real women could possibly have (without major augmentation surgery and a life of back problems). At that point, the art becomes distracting to the reader, and embarrassing to you and anyone who sees you reading it. Female characters are posed in porn-like positions for no real reason that has anything to do with telling a story with pictures, but only for the purpose of creating all-ages wank material.

Don’t much care for Adam Hughes art, and hate J. Scott Campbell’s, but the rest don’t bother me. Most aren’t to my taste, but they’re not offensive in the way Greg Horn and Jim Balent’s works are.

I love Mike Allred’s art, and don’t see why you’d classify his work with the “Good Girl” artists. His sense of proportion is outstanding, and a welcome relief from the typical modern superhero style.

Just because he draws chicks I find hot. :wink:

I followed Catwoman since it came out, but a couple of years ago fell off the bandwagon.

I always hated the art (for the reasons above; namely the huge boobs) and didn’t find the stories to be any better, but I remained bafflingly loyal for far too long.

Nice to know it’s gotten worse. :smack:

Thera, while Gulacy’s pencils aren’t the greatest, they’re nowhere near as bad as Balent’s were. By any chance, did you try the book when it relaunched at #1? Issues 1 - 24 of the current series were very, very well-written, and the character design and costume were overhauled to a much more appealing look. It’s the very recent return to the overly well endowed superheroine look that’s not thrilling most of the posters on this thread. There are two tradepaperbacks Dark End of the Street, and Crooked Little Town, that would be well worth your time.

This sounds cool; I like Darwyn Cooke’s stuff a lot. So to make sure I’m getting this right: it’s issues 1-24 of a book just called “Catwoman” (no spin-off title or anything) we’re talking about? Are these collected in TPB format?

As Selkie said above, they’re in two tradepaperbacks called Dark End of the Street and Crooked Little Town.

It’s a really good run and I think Brubaker has made Catwoman a more interesting character than Batman in it.

I haven’t read Selina’s Big Score yet, though I plan to!

Another good one is Catwoman Secret Files and Origins, if nothing else for a very funny fourth wall breaking story where Holly is bitching about characters in comics being brought back from the dead all the time, and costume changes. All the while Selina is changing into more and more ridiculously skimpy outfits in the background.

As Selkie and Silentgoldfish both said, there are those two TPBs. Just so ya know, Cooke only did the art in the first one, Dark End Of the Street (reprinting #1-4), with the fantastic Mike Allred inking. Brad Rader did the art in the second TPB, Crooked Little Town, reprinting #5-10. In any case, the first 24 issues and the Secret Files and Origins issue are a fantastic run from beginning to end.

If you like Cooke, he also did a stand-alone original Catwoman graphic novel called Selina’s Big Score, which takes place before the current ongoing Catwoman series. I forget if Cooke wrote that one himself, or Brubaker wrote it. The book came out as a hardcover so it’s pricey, but I’m sure a softcover edition will be out eventually (if it isn’t already). It’s not required reading for the ongoing series, but it is if you’re a Darwyn Cooke fan.

Cooke both wrote and illustrated Selina’s Big Score, which is now out in paperback.

One little point to add: Crooked Little Town reprints 5 - 10, as stated above, but it also contains the Secret Files and Origins issue. Worth a mention in case you decide to buy the two TPBs and track down the rest of the run in singles. I seem to recall Catwoman #11 is being reprinted in some sort of upcoming Catwoman-through-the-ages type book that’s tied into (groan) the movie that appears to bear no relationship to the comic. Whether DC plans to release more trades of Brubaker’s run, and whether that issue would be included in any hypothetical new trades, is anyone’s guess.

And SolGrundy, just to be explicit: the book is indeed just called Catwoman, not a spin-off, Elseworlds, or anything else.

So, which issues were drawn by that awful, awful Jim Balent? I want to know so I can … be outraged by them. yeah, outraged.