This blog is about Catwoman #1, more specifically the ending of Catwoman #1. There are spoilers. I'm not going to tag them because the spoiler tag tends to eat my spoilers, losing them in the æther. Fair warning.
So I read Catwoman #1 and I didn't think I'd have as strong a reaction as I did to the much talked about sex scene. I started to wonder why that was. Catwoman and Batman have been hooking up forever, we just haven't seen them mid-act. So obviously it wasn't the sexual nature of the act. And I can tell you with absolute certainty, it had nothing to do with Catwoman's taking of the more dominant or aggressive role in initiating their tryst. That aspect of her character was something I liked as far back as when I saw Tim Burton's Batman Returns around age 7.
I think it had a lot to do with the increasing level of cheesecake (not explicit nudity, but sexy pics/poses) in this issue. There were a lot of shots in underwear, or with one boob not covered by her costume (just her bra). And that is fine by me. Despite my minutes old blog post about Starfire and the 7 year old, I am not made uncomfortable by superheroes posing sexily in a comic rated T+ or higher. Maybe it's just that after pages of build up, it felt kinda like a letdown. A slightly voyeurish letdown.
I think the best analogy is a story I read in Marvels Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics which I got as a child. It's a story Jim Steranko told about the Comics Code Authority and an issue of Nick Fury. Steranko drew a page where Fury gets down with one of the many femme fatales of that era. As part of the page displaying the hook up, he drew a panel of a phone placed off the hook (a code for sex at the time), and a panel of Fury and this woman in a close embrace kissing (still dressed). The CCA had a problem with it and they/his editors made him put the phone on the hook, and they replaced the final panel with a close-up cropped from a larger panel. The closeup was Fury's gun in its holster, and that ended up being far more scandalous than Steranko's original intent. But why? Because, as any good horror director will tell you: if you don't show it, the audience will imagine something better than you could ever come up with.
For my money, the bottom panel on the second to last page was the perfect panel to end on. Those bat-ears seem a little symbolic, and the large goggles mirror the way the pupils dilate to make the eyes seem bigger (and more attractive) during copulation. There is symbolism, there is the same conveyance of emotion (that emotion being lust), and there was enough excitement in the above panels to satisfy modern tastes and standards, and enough left to the unsaid (or unshown) that you can imagine something as risque and/or depraved as you like. Just cut out the last text box and the whole last page, and the scene, in my opinion, is just as powerful if not more so. I bet the author just wanted to get in that line about the costumes.
So as always, let me know what you think. Do you like the explicit sexy-times in your comics (rated T+ and up of course)? Do you like a little more mystery? Am I just a prude? Leave your comments below.