Has Catwoman Ever Killed an Innocent Person?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Glenn D. wrote in to ask about Catwoman, specifically about the bit in Tom King's run where she confessed to killing 237 people. As my pal Shaun Manning explained here, that confession was eventually revealed to be Selina taking responsibility for Selina's protege, Holly Robinson, killing 237 members of a terrorist organization that had burned down the orphanage that Selina and Holly had lived in, killing hundreds. Selina blamed herself because she was the one who trained Holly and made it so that she knew HOW to kill that many people. Glenn wanted to know, though, whether Catwoman had ever ACTUALLY murdered someone in the comic books. He specified that by murdered he meant killing an innocent (obviously, the terrorists weren't innocents, but you know what he means, he basically just wants to know whether Catwoman has ever murdered somebody).

When Catwoman debuted in Batman #1 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson and George Roussos), she was very much not a killer. She was strictly a jewel thief. Heck, she wasn't even technically Catwomn yet, as she went by the name The Cat...

In the following issue, the Cat-Woman (as she was called at first) crosses path with the Joker (who had narrowly survived the first issue) but she was still pretty much against the whole killing aspect of things, offering to sacrifice her stolen goods in exchange for the Joker agreeing not to beat Robin to death (sadly, she was not around to make that offer to the Joker in "Death in the Family")...

Remember, this was during the Golden Age, when villains were killing people left and right. I believe the Joker killed three hundred people in his first appearance, give or take 295 people. So it took a clearly intentional depiction for her to NOT be a killer.

Pretty quickly, though, National Comics (now DC Comics) became SO famous that they wanted to cut down on adverse publicity, so while their characters continued being WILLING to kill, they tended to not kill quite as many people.

Suddenly, the Joker was robbing banks more often than murdering people for kicks, ya know?

However, during this period, suddenly the Catwoman WAS willing to kill! She tries to trap Batman and Robin to their graves in Batman #35 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Ray Burnley)...

And she just flat out starts shooting at him later in the story...

However, seven issues later, she pointedly did NOT try to kill him (story by Bill Finger and Charles Paris)

By this point, we were getting closer to the 1950s and so DC had Catwoman go straight.

When the Comics Code came into effect, while they did not EXPLICITLY ban characters like Catwoman from comics, that was the basic effect. So Catwoman was gone for over a decade. She returned after the success of the Batman TV series brought her a new level of fame. Catwoman would often put Batman into death traps on that show.

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