Zero Hour Strikes! Catwoman and Anima

Some stray (cat joke!) tie-in issues before we get to the Zero Hour finale – Catwoman #14 and Anima #7 – certainly don’t share the tightest continuity with the crossover event, but then, that’s never been too important, either to the DC editors nor the hosts of this podcast. Siskoid and Bass cover it all!

Listen to the Zero Hour Strikes! Episode 18 below!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.18 Supplemental

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20 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Catwoman and Anima

  1. Listening now, but just a few notes on those two obscure Catwoman costumes.

    The red mask one was from the late Silver Age, but was forever immortalized in the Mego World’s Greatest Super Heroes Toyline
    Mego Catwoman

    The tiger-like costume is actually from a VERY obscure Elseworlds one-shot, Batman: The Last Angel from 1994.
    Last Angel

    Chris

    1. I’m glad you guys mentioned Ka-Zar, because I have been wondering about this for 25 plus years now.

      I bought the Catwoman book for quite a while during this era, but other than Balent’s art, and all the crossovers with the other Bat-titles, I don’t really recall much about the stories. As a young man in my late teens and early 20s, I appreciated Balent’s art more then than now, because yeah, it’s often completely ridiculous, despite having a lot of kinetic energy.

      I remember the house ads for Anima, but that’s about it. I kept thinking DC would put her, Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Damage and the Ray in a new Teen Titans group, but then Jurgens came up with his all-new team (plus teenage Atom, which you guys will be talking about in the episode when you read this). My team idea had to wait for Young Justice, and by then Anima was already forgotten.

      Can’t wait for next episode!

      Chris

          1. I’m assuming Chris is referencing one of the DC Universe endpage Bullpen Bulletin knock-off thingies where they did a Class of 1994 mimicking a high school yearbook featuring those five characters. That would have definitely been better than Jurgens Titans because there are people on the planet Earth who give a crap about at least some of the Class of 1994 members. You could rip the arms off one of the Jurgens characters and it wouldn’t get as much ink as Pantha’s bouncing head. This is empirical fact.*

            *Admittedly, they cut Anima in half and fewer people cared.

    1. Ha, I came here to ‘thank’ Bass for that very image! It’s probably more entertaining than the comic. I never tried the series, it sounded a little too intellectual for my pea brain – I like superheroes whose abilities are easy to grasp.

      I never tried this Catwoman series, too much boobage, plus, I hated the Frank Miller revamp. Catwoman is the lady who reformed and was romancing Bruce Wayne in the early Eighties. There’s nothing wrong with being a sex worker, but that was a rewrite that wasn’t needed for Selina.

      And Frank, there was a lot of like on Dan Jurgens’ Teen Titans, good on him for not copying the Wolfman/Perez model, like everyone else has for 40 years now. And I’d go so far as to say Argent had a fanbase – it helped when she escaped that super-tacky original costume.

  2. Man, Bass and Siskoid really got served up a double helping of lame with these two.

    Balent’s work kept me from taking Catwoman seriously. The Writing was always fair to good, but visually… it just didn’t mesh for me.

    And Anima – firstly, how did a Def Leppard “Animal” drop not happen? I thought Siskoid was a fan of the Lep! As for the comic Anima, this and the zero issue are all I’ve read. And yeah, that’s all I needed. Agreed with Siskoid on the point that the Bloodlines origins are uninteresting given their sameness.

    Good luck next month, gents! You’re gonna need it!

  3. Another fun episode!

    I can admit that I would often admire the Catwoman covers during this run but rarely bought the book. Balent is a niche talent for sure. That red-masked Catwoman was in the late 60s/early 70s and might be the costume she was wearing in the first comic I saw her in, a Brave and Bold with Wonder Woman. Like Siskoid, Julie Newmar is ‘my’ Catwoman although there are many.

    As for Anima, I didn’t get much of the Bloodlines Annuals. But I did collect Anima, at least the first handful of issues. I like the trope of teenage heroes learning to deal with powers and do the right thing. As a Supergirl fan, I looked to Anima as a possible ‘replacement’ (given the Matrix Supergirl wasn’t fitting the teen hero mold). But the stories and the art was just too nutty so I dropped it quickly.

    Thanks again!

  4. Catwoman is one of the primordials, the comic book characters for whom I have no personal origin story. I don’t specifically remember seeing her in the awful green outfit on The Batman/Superman Hour, but Batman was so pervasive in the animation of my youth that everything from Super Friends to Scooby-Doo all run together. Obviously my primary gateway would have been Batman ’66, but I must confess to never caring for Julie Newmar. I recognize her longevity and that she was somewhat groundbreaking in her time, but in my time, she seemed like a bit of a pushover compared to the other rogues. Eartha Kitt was obviously superior in every way, but I’m also partial to Lee Meriwether, because she was in the movie and balanced menace with seduction (an aspect disallowed to Kitt.)

    If you can believe it, I wasn’t at all familiar with Catwoman as a comic book character. I know that she basically ousted Robin as Batman’s partner in the early ’80s, but if the Dark Knight’s solo titles were reaching newsstands in my neighborhood, I wasn’t the one buying them. Plus, she would have been in the classic purple and green dress back then, which struck me as terribly impractical and un-catlike. This was definitely an instance where I favored the media adaptation over the source material to the point of barely recognizing the connection of one to another.

    My reintroduction to Catwoman came via the debut of her Post-Crisis incarnation in the last issue of the Batman: Year One arc, the only one I managed to snag. It’s a deservedly revered story, and more importantly to this narrative, hued closer to Batman ’66. Between occasional comic shop access and a sack of comics a friend of mine got, I managed to read a bit more of the late stage purple & green material, as well as an issue of her eponymous mini-series and an Action Comics Weekly serial. Her appearances were still relatively sparse, and an argument could be made that she wasn’t “Catwoman” yet. Like the early years of Harley Quinn, she had a following, but wasn’t seen as popular enough to warrant routine appearances or, God forbid, a solo series.

    Again, at the time, Batman ’66 made enough of Catwoman that I don’t recall any pushback against using her as a villain in the first Batman movie sequel, but you couldn’t leave it entirely to a girl, either. At least in my circles, the initial arguments were over the pros and cons of Goth Pervert Penguin. I went into Batman Returns crushing on Ladyhawk, and came out recognizing Michelle Pfeiffer as at minimum a demigoddess. I wasn’t so much into the crudely stitched costume or supernatural Jekyll/Hyde origin, but the movie overall was an immediate favorite, with Catwoman stealing the show. DC wisely put out a lot of archive like The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Vol. 2 and media-catered material around the time of the movie, so I had another crash course on the Cat. Oh, and Adrienne Barbeau on the cartoon was fine.

    From that point I was a casual fan, but looking over what was out on Comicvine, the pickings were slim. If it’s accurate (and it’s probably not entirely,) there were only three major Catwoman appearances each in Detective Comics and Batman between 1988-1992, and that wasn’t a favorite period for me on those books anyway. As a result, my favorite material was in Legends of the Dark Knight, specifically the stuff written by Doug Moench and typically drawn by Paul Gulacy (though Russ Heath had a late career highlight on “Heat.”) People forget that Knightfall was more than just the breaking of the Bat, but also a concerted effort to create a line if Bat-titles to better exploit related IP. Catwoman goes from neglect to a new costume and her first ongoing solo title in just outside one year. Jim Balent had caught my eye doing the odd cover for stuff like Scimitar and some exceptional Batman fill-ins, including one of the better Bloodlines annuals. Besides the pretty art, Catwoman got an embossed cover and another female writer. I’m glad DC thought enough to have women write women, but I think you also have to get the right female scripter, and I didn’t feel like Jo Duffy was it. Gail Simone is a favorite, but I abandoned her Wonder Woman run, and Duffy would have been a better fit on a good girl over a bad. Put simply, at that time, when gendered slurs were less frowned upon, I thought Duffy wrote Catwoman as an unsympathetic bitch. I think that Duffy is a moral-minded writer who couldn’t handle the ambiguity of the character without implicit judgment, so I didn’t feel that she found her “in” with the character. More importantly, to my kind she never wrote stories that suited Catwoman, and I didn’t get the feeling that she liked or understood Selina Kyle. I carried the book for 4-7 issues, using Knightquest tie-ins as a jumping off point, but was so disinterested that I can’t recall if it was before or after. I lean after because I think I liked Balent’s AzBat, and few drew that costume well, but don’t ask me anything about the actual story.

    I see the sabretooth, but dude looks more like adult Kamandi with a perm.

  5. A wild thing about Catwoman’s green-cape costume is she wore it for the post-Crisis/pre-Batman-Year-One stories by Mike W Barr and Alan Davis, further cementing the oddity of Batman’s delayed reboot after Crisis, and a great point to include with Zero Hour being a chance to call out and “fix” continuity. I guess we’ll see how well that happens. Or not.

    So Anima is the “New Guardians” of this event. What the heck is going on in this comic? I have no idea, and a crossover with an event is a terrible introduction. I would consider giving the series a chance, but the only issues available digitally are this one and #0. Kinda telling.

    It’s all zero issues from here? Does that mean you’re over halfway done? Only 30 minutes of the hour to go? Oh my!

  6. Coming up on the three year anniversary of my not producing any more episodes of the DC Bloodlines podcast (but thanks for running the promo!) What started as a one-man exploration of an annual event with an uncommon amount of minority representation ended with my editing an episode in praise of a Gerard Jones script on the weekend his charges were announced on Bleeding Cool while also performing a yellowface rendition of Nightblade. I was broken by my own Caucacity. I went back to see if I made it to covering Anima, only to be amused that I had done one at a point where my voice was clearly destroyed. I think it’s telling that I did over 37 minutes supposedly centered on Anima and couldn’t remember a bit of it. I even did voices. It’s okay though, because I’m poor white trash from the south, so the swamp rat cultural defamation is arguably in my lane.

    Despite my stated interest in the Bloodlines characters, the ones developed beyond the event were not the ones that had worked for me, with the exception of Hitman (who became a reoccurring character in The Demon and whose solo series was essential a spin-off of that title years removed and largely scrubbed of any Bloodlines connection.

    I’d long forgotten that I used to rank all the comics I bought on lined paper at the peak of the boom until I decided being without power for days was a good time to do some reorganizing. I ranked New Titans #100 at first place for June/Early July 1993, and New Titans Annual #9 at 37th, dead last. I suspect that I liked the bookending and gave Titans extra credit for cumulative performance, since I have much fonder memories of reading… sigh… the previously mentioned Green Lantern Annual #2. Yeah, it’s pretty much down to Anima versus Jamm for the bottom of a much maligned event.

    My strong and admittedly gendered impression (see problematic me from the first paragraph) is that Paul Witcover wanted to get in on that Epic Barkerverse action, and hitched himself to the more notable author Elizabeth Hand to pitch to DC. Vertigo launched a few months ahead of Bloodlines, so I figure that’s where they were headed, but DC was trying to con as many people as possible into signing over new IP for the summer event. I figure Rob Simpson either offered a consolation prize to a rejected Vertigo proposal or actively lured the authors over to the super-hero side with the promise of a more lucrative ongoing series. I think I read about four of the sixteen issues, and they were a bigger waste of time than keeping a journal ranking Chromium Age comics by level of enjoyment in the moment.

    The good thing about you guys covering Anima is that I just came up with a “fun” use for her in Who’s Editing. You’ve got more Bloodlines content coming, both on this podcast and mine. A listener wanted to talk minority heroes with me a while back, so I’ll eventually pull out a few teeth offering a handful of episodes with an actual person of color offering me cover for my sadly well-intentioned trespasses.

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