Catwoman Fan Series Celebrates 12 Years with a New Fan Art Gallery
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so you better choose your words carefully. Fan author Chris Dee did and the result is a body of work now celebrating its 12th Anniversary with a new online gallery.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand... We’re Going to Need More Pictures
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so you better choose your words carefully. Fan author Chris Dee has done just that, and the result is Cat-Tales, a body of work now celebrating its 12th Anniversary with an exhibition of words and pictures that celebrate the characters we want to be.
“Up, Up, and Away!” Wouldn’t it be cool to fly? To be strong like Superman. To have a Batmobile and a Batcave. To save the day with your power ring (or by being the world’s greatest detective) Even to be the sexy bad girl. To knock Batman back on his heels. To vicariously taste the fun of being bad and getting away with it. Superheroes have always had an aspect of wish fulfillment. These are characters we want to be. Sometimes the comic book makers lose sight of that.
In 2001, DC Comics canceled their Catwoman comic and relaunched it with a “reinvented” version of the character that kept the name but changed everything else beyond recognition. From Selina’s iconic purple costume to her supporting cast, her personality, intelligence, sophistication and lifestyle, her status as a practicing thief and the tone and content of her adventures, everything that drew fans to the character in the first place was gone.
Fan author Chris Dee decided to vent her spleen for what she imagined would be a 2 chapter rant called A Girl’s Gotta Protect Her Reputation. The short, humorous piece characterized DC Comics as a tabloid called The Gotham Post and their New Direction as a series of falsified stories by an ambitious reporter using her name and celebrity to generate sales. The “real” Catwoman of Dee’s creation was fed up and took to the stage to call out the newspaper on its lies in a public forum, an off-Broadway stunt called Cat-Tales. 12 years later, the dominos are still falling. The series just concluded Cat-Tale #66: Wayne Rises, which again offers sly commentary the official franchise’s flawed depiction of Selina Kyle, this time on the big screen in The Dark Knight Rises.
Dee’s invention must have struck a nerve, giving a voice to frustrated comic book readers--and Batman readers in particular--who had become increasingly disappointed and disenfranchised by DC’s editorial decisions. The fan fiction series spawned fan fiction of its own: a Justice League spinoff, a suspense novel pitting Batman versus Dracula, and humorous one-shots focusing on secondary characters like Jason Blood, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.
Questioned about the early word of mouth that propelled the meteoric success, Dee says, “The comics no longer portrayed the characters we wanted to be. Cat-Tales did, and I think that’s why people ’brought their imaginations here,’ if that makes sense. They sensed it was a safe place, that they could trust their imaginations to me, get invested in this storyverse knowing that I wasn’t going to shake things up tomorrow and say Selina is leaving Bruce, moving to Detroit and becoming a neurosurgeon.”
It wasn’t only fan writers inspired by Cat-Tales. The series also attracted fan artists, which the website displayed in a limited fashion at first, and has now expanded into a full Fan Art Gallery at the subdomain fanart.catwoman-cattales.com.
“Bruce and Selina are the heart of the series, so of course there’s a lot of Batman and Catwoman,” Dee says, pointing out a pair of striking companion pieces from fan favorite Remidar. “But there really is something for everybody: a variety of characters and a variety of media. The new web-exhibit includes galleries for sculpture, cosplay photos, cgi and of course traditional media. There’s a watercolor that will just take your breath away.”
Cat-Tales is a fan fiction series which depicts a fascinating version of the Batman universe where the stories told in comic books are understood to be the lies and distortions of a tabloid called The Gotham Post. It is unaffiliated with Warner Brothers, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Legendary Pictures or… anyone really.
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