BAT SCRATCH CAT
Scratch A Cat"
(Part 2 of 2)
pencils - Ed Hannigan
Cover inks - Dick Giordano
Story - Gerry
Art - Don
Inks - Alfred Alcala
Colours - Adrienne
Lettering - Ben Oda
Editor - Len
Letters page - Batsignals (1 page)
concludes the Catwoman story which had opened in Detective Comics #521.
|Batman seeks out Selina Kyle
who, as Catwoman, has harassed, threatened and
attacked the current woman in Bruce Wayne's life,
The Darknight Detective finds
that Catwoman is so stressed with her emotional
rollercoaster ride of jealousy and hate that she
has even neglected her pet black panther, and
therefore proceeds to search Selina's apartemt
for clues as to her plans and whereabouts - which
indeed he does find.
on leaving the place he is attacked out of thin
air by a most vicious Catwoman who is boiling
with anger and even threatens to kill Batman.
at this point in their fight - and with the
Batman almost down and knocked out - Catwoman
finally comes to her senses...
stops attacking the Darknight Detective, and with
a feeling of sorrow they both find that their
road in life together has finally come to an end.
|On another level of
events, Boss Thorne is indicted with the murder
of Commissioner Pauling, and ex-Commissioner
Gordon has an appointment with the mayor, who
hands him back his Commissioner badge.
This is essentially the same
story as in Detective
Comics #521 - except it's all different.
Whereas part one was
confused, shallow and driven mostly by cliches,
Gerry Conway suddenly adds coherence, depth and
even a certain amount of drama to the conclusion
of the story.
contrast almost as striking as day and night. Part One is
best kept in the "forgettable stories" locker,
whereas Part Two, standing on its own, made it into a
collection of The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told
(vol. 2) (1989). Not for the first (and certainly not for
the last) time, quality Batman work at DC seemed to find
its way into the Batman title far more easily
than into Detective Comics.
"Never scratch a
Cat" is all about soul-stirring emotions, and how
sometimes those strong emotions can tipple and turn into
the opposite of what they originally were - in this case,
love lost and scorned turning into rage and even hatred,
stepping over that very thin line when personal
perceptions get blurred and rational thinking takes a
back seat. One might argue that the transition back to
"sensible adults" happens rather fast in this
instance, but then one would also have to admit that it
is quite remarkable that such a theme should be explored
in a comic book, of all places. Beginning in 1981, Gerry
Conway had added an amazing depth to the combined
plotlines and stories in Batman and Detective
Comics all throughout 1982, and his characterization
of the protagonists involved had followed suit, making
them more complex personae than they had
possibly ever been.
||Some have dubbed it the
"marvelization" of the Batman Universe,
which in terms of handling continuity certainly
was the case. But a story such as "Never
scratch a Cat" also shows that the average
reader belonged to a different age group than ten
or even twenty years before. A ten year old may
well have enjoyed the several exhiliratingly
drawn action and fight sequences pencilled by Don
Newton (who quite unlike Irv Novick's rather
mediocre artwork for part one added visual
delight and panache to the storytelling), but the
essence of the story would, in all probability,
have been lost on him.
Pausing for a
moment in the story and plot crossovers between
the two titles, the end panel points not to the
next issue of Detective Comics (as was
commonly the case in 1982, with both titles set
up as a "virtual bi-weekly Batman
title") but to the next issue of Batman.
Although having little content substance this is
a fast moving story which works not the least
thanks thanks to Don Newton's stunningly dynamic
and atmospheric artwork.
Batman #355, which
went on sale 14th October
1982, was sold in three different
versions: a US newsstand edition (with a barcode
on the cover), a direct market edition with the
barcode area left blank (and displaying the DC
bullet logo plus the blurb WHERE
THE ACTION IS) which also carried
a UK price of 20p, and a Canadian newsstand
edition which carried a 75¢ price and the
below the price (cf cover at top of this page).
nostalgic Catmobile (also known as the Kittycar)
seen in the car chase and accident involving
Catwoman and Bruce Wayne was introduced hot on
the trail of the Batman TV series in November
1966 in Superman's
Girl Friend Lois Lane #70, created by writer Leo Dorfman and artist
Kurt Schaffenberger. This was also the first
Silver Age appearance of Catwoman, which
incidentally also typecasts her as a woman who
loves to get into a fight with another female, in
this case Lois Lane.
very first appearance in the Batman
Universe is somewhat overshadowed by the
fact that she shared the pages of Batman #1 in April 1940 with
the first appearance of Batman's most
iconic foe - the Joker.
"Never scratch A
Cat" was also published
in various foreign markets in 1984: in Batman
Taschenbuch #21 (translated into
German by Egmont Ehapa for the German,
Swiss and Austrian market), in Superserien
#1/1984 (by Semic AS for the Norwegian
market, featuring "Lynvingen"
(Batman) and "Kattekvinnen"
(Catwoman)), and in Super-Heróis
#18 (by Agência Portuguesa de Revistas
for the Portugese market). As mentioned, the
story also featured (without its
disappointing run-in from Detective
Comics #521) in
Warner Brothers' 258-pages strong second
volume of The Greatest Batman Stories
Ever Told, published in 1989.
time travel popped up frequently in DC
comics, the fact that the publishing date
given for Batman #356 in the
last panel of Batman #355 is
wrong and actually indicated the
publication date of the very comic book
readers were holding in their hands while
reading that announcement was a mere