DC’s next Catwoman creative team – writer Ram V and artist Fernando Blanco – are getting a head-start with a story in June 3’s Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1. In “Addicted to Trouble,” Selina and her sister, Maggie, his the road to help Catwoman move from Villa Hermosa – her location for most of the current Catwoman run – back to Gotham.
V and Blanco’s story is one of several in the June 2 100-page anthology, including work from the likes of Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Tom King, Chuck Dixon, and Liam Sharp.
Ram V spoke with Newsarama ahead of the Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 and his formal debut as Catwoman lead writer in September, talking about his upcoming short, his take on Selina Kyle, and how his two-issue guest arc in 2019 helped pave the way for him to return.
Newsarama: Ram, what can you tease us about your story in Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular?
Ram V: The special is absolutely full of work from some amazing creators. So, telling a story in such stellar company is especially great for me, given the fact that I’ve only written Selina in a few issues before this.
The story I’ve written is called “Addicted to Trouble,” and it bridges Selina’s departure from Villa Hermosa to her arrival in the familiar bounds of Gotham. And you know Selina, she’s bound to find some adventures along the way.
Nrama: How did you approach your story? What’s an element from Catwoman you thought was most important to include?
V: I look at these stories as a way to dig into some of the more unusual scenarios with the character. I wanted to look at Selina’s relationship with her sister and what better way to do it than against the classic context of a road trip? We’ve seen her be the extremely confident and proficient thief we know. I wanted to bring some vulnerability, some grounded emotion to that exterior.
Nrama: Speaking of Selina and Maggie Kyle’s team-up, what made you want to add Selina’s sister to the narrative?
V: It was an easy decision really. My brief was to bridge the story between the end of the Villa Hermosa arc and her return to Gotham. She was leaving with Maggie and I just ran with it. I think having Maggie there by her side through the narrative is a reminder of the character behind Catwoman. Maggie bridges her worlds. She is Selina Kyle’s sister but her life has been entirely affected by Catwoman’s world. So, she became a good symbol of those two worlds colliding.
Nrama: From her 80-year history, what’s your favorite Catwoman story?
V: It has to be Selina’s Big Score. For me, Cooke, is probably my definitive Catwoman artist. He changed the aesthetic of the book and the artists that came after took that aesthetic and ran with it. I don’t need to say much about Ed Brubaker’s superlative crime writing. The two are just a fantastic duo and I do wish we’d gotten more of that collaboration. It continues to be the gold standard for me, when it comes to Catwoman stories.
Nrama: Why do you think she’s a character she’s been able to stand the test of time and continuously reinvent herself?
V: Part of it, I think, is visual. She’s a cat-burglar! You can’t really get more iconic than that. No explanations needed. So, I think that is part of her longevity. Given that iconic imagery, it’s easy to see how you can keep reinventing a character as long as you stay true to the fundamental core. She is a cat-burglar, a silent hunter, stalker – but also territorial, loving, nurturing. There’s a zillion ways to write that.
It also helps that once she was paired with Batman, the chemistry there was electric. He is her relentless hunter. She is the one villain that knows and understands his interior.
Sometimes, as a writer, you make a choice that can rationalize it in hindsight. But a chunk of what happens to a character and how they’re received is also serendipitous. People are unpredictable and Selina seems to catch the imagination each time.
Nrama: As a character who has walked the line between good and evil – which side do you think she lands on?
V: I think Selina would say there’s good and evil but I’m not sure she’d see the distinction between right and wrong. So, Selina is fundamentally, for me, a good person. She tries to work to a moral compass. It may be skewed a little. It may be broken sometimes. But she tries.
That said, I don’t think she cares much for the idea of right and wrong. Who wrote those rules? Not her. What have the rules ever done for her? And so there is a strong anarchist undercurrent to Selina and I enjoy writing a good person who doesn’t care much for following rules imposed on her by someone else.