A Brief History of Black Catwomen: Eartha Kitt, Halle Berry and Zoë Kravitz

With its 83-year history, the Batman mythos contains many things. The dark knight of The Batman by director Matt Reeves follows the stories of Detective Comics of DC Comics of the 70s, depicting the Gotham superhero as an avenger. But what about the aged Batman of the original world of the multiverse of Earth Two, who marries Catwoman, retires, and hands the mantle over to his daughter? Or the campy – bam! biff! pow! – television series by Batman with Adam West? The original gun-toting Batman of the early 1940s? The infamous Rainbow Batman?

Since its creation in the first issue of Batman (1940), the essence of Catwoman is that of an anti-heroine with a past of burglary who carries on a sexually charged love-hate relationship with the caped crusader. But over the years, writers have painted Selina Kyle as a schizophrenic, amnesiac flight attendant; a sexual dominatrix; a morally conflicted jewel thief; a bisexual crime boss; and most notably, as an African-American, in two films and a television series. Why not?

Nothing specific in Catwoman’s history prevents her from being a black woman. Thus, for over 50 years, Selina Kyle has occasionally and casually come across as African-American, proving that colorblind casting is nothing for fanboys to be upset about. This is despite the habitually backward tendencies of Hollywood casting directors.

«[Per The Dark Knight Rises]they told me I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t ‘urban,'” she once said. Nylon Zoë Kravitz – the last Catwoman in The Batman.

Well, something has changed, placing Kravitz in a long line. Here is an abridged history of the black Catwoman.

Batman (1967)

Does anyone remember the 1995 comedy To Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar, with Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo dressed as drag queens on a cross-country road trip? Tony-winning actress Julie Newmar played the original celluloid Catwoman in the first two seasons of the TV series Batman of the ABC.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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