DC VS. Marvel: Catwoman vs. Black Cat
For as long as there have been comic books, there has been the feud between DC and Marvel. Both are heavy-hitting comic companies that continue to gain legions of fans every year. The purpose of this column is to take one DC persona and one Marvel persona of equal measure and popularity and pit them against each other to see who come out on top.
Catwoman has an extensive history of storylines on her own and with Batman and has been around since the 1940’s. Selina Kyle had a tough childhood and grew up surviving through petty theft. She eventually trained herself in martial arts and boxing and soon became a Robin Hood like figure for the poorer neighborhoods of Gotham. While she doesn’t believe in killing, Catwoman does have to shoot Black Mask and kill him during the “The One You Love” storyline. As a thief she was a villain for Batman but oftentimes she was his ally. Her back and forth life in the gray area that Batman refused to acknowledge makes her a sort of anti-hero for the caped crusader. She’s also his lover, making their relationship a completely confusing one.
Felicia Hardy had a very different childhood than Selina. She grew up a “daddy’s girl” who, upon discovering her father was a famous cat burglar, decided to follow in his footsteps. After a tragic incident at college where she was date-raped, Felicia became more intense in her training. She soon set out to become New York’s premier cat burglar. After becoming romantically involved with Spider-man, Felicia tried to reign in her life of crime and has fought by his side multiple times. At one point, Felicia made a deal with the villain Kingpin to gain actual superheroes, later losing them. With the passing of the Superhuman Registration Act, Felicia opted to register as a federally recognized super-hero.
Both Selina and Felicia have interesting backstories, neither more so than the other. This round is a tie.
Selina moves like a cat, both in speed and agility. She is a gymnast and martial artist and has no problems leaping to and from rooftops. She also has training in boxing and street-fighting. Selina also has a unique empathy with felines, some of which have even come to her defense when she’s in danger. Perhaps her best skills are those of stealth. Not only is she a master of disguises, but Kyle can break into any building without getting caught.
Felicia Hardy also has feline-like abilities. She has exceptional gymnastic and combat skills as well as a shrewed mind that allows her to set up “bad luck” stunts to make her enemies fear her “bad luck powers.” She eventually did get those powers, enabling her subliminally and psionically to affect probability fields, causing improbable “unlucky” events to occur to enemies within her line of sight. However she lost these powers to Dr. Strange and gained instead cat-like abilities such as increased balance and stability. She then lose those powers and, now powerless, relies on technology to increase her feline-like abilities.
Both women are top-notch feline-acrobats and the best cat burglars around, but Felicia’s bouts of superpowers give her the edge over Selina.
Point: Black Cat
Catwoman is a loner, mostly working by herself. She did team up with the Justice League once on a mission and frequently joins Batman to take down the bad guy. She’s even had some dealings with the Birds of Prey on occasion.
Black Cat shares Selina’s cat-like loner attitude. As a cat burglar, she worked alone but began teaming up with Spider-Man after the two started a romantic relationship. She also worked with Heroes for Hire for a time.
Both Catwoman and the Black Cat are more loners than team players and neither have particularly strong affiliations, hence this round is also a draw.
Catwoman has had many costume changes over the years yet each one remains iconic. Today she wears a skintight black costume with retractable claws and spring-action climbing pitons in her boots. While sexy, her costume is utilitarian and professional as well. Selina often uses a motorcycle but usually gets around on rooftop. Along with her claws, Catwoman’s best (and most iconic) weapon is her whip, which she uses to swing from rooftops and to fight off attackers.
Black Cat’s costume was obviously drawn for male readers’ enjoyment. A black bodysuit cut low enough to see quite a bit of cleavage and lined with white fur. Her costume is completed by a black mask that does little to hide her face. As for her arsenal, Felicia has some of the same weapons as Catwoman including a grappling hook that she uses to swing between buildings and also has retractable claws.
Both kitties have very sexy costumes and useful paraphernalia but Catwoman’s evolving fashion sense and current awesome look overshadow Black Cat’s somewhat slutty ensemble.
Catwoman is perhaps one of the most famous female comic-book characters. She has appeared in the 1960’s live action Batman show (played by Julie Newmar) and in pretty much every animated Batman series released (and there have been many). She has also appeared in many films including 1966’s live-action Batman (portrayed by Lee Meriwether), 1992’s Batman Returns (played by Michelle Pfieffer), and 2004’s Catwoman (starring Halle Berry). Anne Hathaway will be playing Selina Kyle in the much anticipated The Dark Knight Rises this summer. Catwoman also has appearances in various animated films and video games (most notably Batman: Arkam City).
Felicia Hardy is a big presence in the Marvel world, especially in the Spider-Man universe. She’s appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series from the 1990’s as a main character, as well as The Spectacular Spider-Man. Black Cat is also a character in many video games, including Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Spiderman: Web of Shadows, and The Amazing Spider-Man. She’s even had some of her own comic story-lines.
Catwoman is one of the most popular of DC comics characters. To Marvel fans and readers, Black Cat is a huge character as well. Both females exemplify the balance between romantic interests and independent heroines. However, outside of the comic-book world, Felicia is not a well-known name whereas most everyone has heard of Catwoman. She is just way more famous and much more recognizable figure.
There are few comic book characters that can rival Catwoman in name recognition, awesome storylines, and pure sexiness. She simply can’t be beat.