Thursday, November 3, 2011
Was Catwoman a Civil Rights Protest Figure?
As the assault of comic book superhero-featuring movies over the past few years attests, the men and women in tights serve today as the closest thing American culture has to a mythology. Whenever someone can add a layer of understanding to that mythology, I can’t help but try to incorporate it into my own understanding of superherodom. When I read Deborah Elizabeth Whaley’s “Black cat got your tongue?: Catwoman, blackness, and the alchemy of postracialism,” in the latest issue of Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, I finally understood the special quality that Eartha Kitt brought to the Catwoman character in the late 1960s Batman television series. More than just a purring voice and skin-tight, iridescent leotard, Kitt’s Catwoman (shown above) challenged racial attitudes at one of the most racially charged moments in American history, making, as Whaley puts it, “Catwoman’s various meanings for engaging with aspects of difference constitute more than the sum of her nine comic book lives.” Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Was Catwoman a Civil Rights Protest Figure?"