Selina Kyle's early life was defined by tragedy. When she was just a girl, her brutalized mother Maria committed suicide and her violent father Brian drank himself to death soon after. Selina was separated from her younger sister Maggie when remanded to the Sprang Hall Juvenile Detention Center, an abusive state home for orphaned or delinquent girls. Eventually, she escaped the Center and tried pickpocketing the crowd at a carnival outside Gotham City but failed. She was caught by the man who ran the place and he offered her to join the carnival. Selina agreed and soon she learned the art of contortionism, gymnastics, magic and trickery. Using her new learned skills, Selina also improved her pickpocketing skills. When the owner of the carnival died in a tragic accident, Selina decided to take her chances on the streets of Gotham.
Selina started out as a prostitute working in the East End. She watched over an underage girl named Holly Robinson while working for their abusive pimp Stan. Detective George Flannery sent her to Ted Grant, who taught her how to fight after Stan beat her up. When she saw Batman in action for the first time, he inspired her to become Catwoman. Selina returned the beating Stan gave her and took Holly with her. To distinguish herself, she would claw the faces of her victims starting with Carmine Falcone. Stan kidnapped her sister Maggie Kyle which led to his death when fighting Catwoman. Batman confronted her about this, but she simply kissed him before wounding his chest, allowing her to flee. Holly was left with the nun Maggie to be raised in a convent. Following a distortion of the time stream, Selina's history as a prostitute was erased. She survived on the streets as a petty thief.
Catwoman's status as hero or villain was always fluid. She had her own moral code and had occasionally teamed up with Batman and other heroes against greater threats, even saving the lives of the entire Justice League on one occasion. She represented a gray area in Batman's otherwise black and white life where the line between good and evil blurred, and his attraction to her stemmed from the perception that, in her own way, she's a female version of himself: another dark creature that prowls the night.
Shortly after the Holiday murders, Selina visited the grave of Carmine Falcone where she expressed her belief that she was Falcone's illegitimate daughter, but was unable to find any proof. Around this time, Selina met Falcone's son Mariowho would later become head of the Falcone crime family.
Catwoman #1 February 1989 DC Comics Grade NM
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uggested for Mature Readers Written by Mindy Newell. Art by J.J. Birch
Her story began in the pages of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's instant classic, BATMAN: YEAR ONE...and it continues here, in the CATWOMAN mini-series. When young Selina Kyle is assaulted by a criminal associate, she learns how to defend herself. And, she learns that murder comes easy to her. She learns that she is destined to be the Catwoman. The events that reshaped the life of Selina Kyle and her criminal alter ego the Catwoman are told here in shocking detail.
Catwoman Costume: The skintight costume features retractable razor-sharp claws in her gloves and spring-action climbing pitons in her boots. Catwoman's costume is designed to give her maximum flexibility and movement while providing her some anonymity, and stealth. Her mask covers her features, keeping her from instant recognition in her civilian identity. The material is a thick insulating cloth, protecting her from cold and wet, while being fire retardant.
Catwoman possesses the peak human strength level of a woman her age, size and weight, in addition who engages in intensive regular exercise and combat training. Catwoman is capable of pressing up to twice her own weight (270 lbs). She is capable of swinging uninjured with a grapple or whip.
There is a large amount of circumstantial evidence that Selina Kyle is the biological daughter of Carmine and Louisa Falcone -- enough evidence that Kyle herself believes it. However, it has never been conclusively proven
Catwoman has had many nicknames in the past, some of them include: The Cat, Plundering Kitten, Princess of Plunder and Madame Moderne.
Selina's alias, Irena Dubrovna, was inspired by the name of the main character in the 1942 film Cat People.