ANN NOCENTI Takes Over a 'Still-Sexy' CATWOMAN

Catwoman #13

In another creative change to its New 52 line-up this fall, DC has announced that Ann Nocenti will be taking over as writer on Catwoman in September.

While DC's move toward a female writer on the book could be interpretted as the publisher's departure from its controversial "sexy" direction for the book, Nocenti told Newsarama her Catwoman is plenty sexy.

"I actually have a peculiar feminism that does not involve the idea that women shouldn't be sexy," Nocenti said. "Female characters written in comics have always been pretty damned sexy, and used their sexuality. And I don't have any problem with that."

But one thing that will change? Nocenti said her Catwoman will leave Gotham, as the writer makes her more of a "jet-set" heroine. Nocenti is also planning to develop a new love interest for Catwoman, and she'll be exploring the character's near-addiction to thievery.

Nocenti, who concurrently writes the DC title Green Arrow, will be working with an unnamed artist on Catwoman. The writer, who's best known for her run on Daredevil, took over as writer on Green Arrow in March.

Her run on Catwoman begins in September, which means the released solicitations for Catwoman #0 are changed, having originally listed current regular writer Judd Winick as the scribe on the #0 issue. (See our separate interview with Judd Winick about his departure from the comic later.)

Newsarama has been told by DC insiders that more than one of the company's solicitations for September is now outdated, and there will be more creative shake-ups announced over the coming months as DC attempts to reinvigorate its line upon the one-year anniversary of its New 52 reboot.

We talked to Nocenti about her run on Catwoman to find out more about her approach to Selina Kyle in the New 52.

Newsarama: Ann, so you're taking on Catwoman?

Ann Nocenti: Yeah! She's sexy and complicated. What's not to like?

Nrama: What's the basic description of what we'll see in your run?

Nocenti: I'm dying to fool around with the distance between Selina Kyle and Catwoman. And, you know, the whole double identity thing is endlessly fascinating. I mean, you can always find another riff for it. And with her, with her history, there's some kind of deep wound.

Her chasing glittery things has always really intrigued me. I have a friend who's similar. She's always getting, like, chandeliers and fancy clothes. There's never enough glitter in her nest to make her feel safe. And I think Selina's a little bit like that.

Nrama: Is that something that would turn a person into a thief?

Nocenti: Yes, but I also think she has something that's a little bit more like kleptomania, you know? It's like Winona Ryder or something. It's the compulsion to snatch something when you already have lots, and it's a really strange compulsion. And I'm almost thinking along the lines of, like, any addictive behavior: somebody who gambles or somebody who can't resist stopping in that chocolate store, or people who have behaviors that they know are undermining some other aspect of their life, that they can't stop.

Nrama: She also seems to enjoy it quite a bit, doesn't she?

Nocenti: Yes, that's a really great point to make. It is true that, for those of us who have experienced addictions, it's unquestionably fun, you know, to be at a poker table, or at least it is for me. But in Catwoman, I want to play with the idea that there's just a tiny bit of disassociation. There's a moment where you're about to go to the casino, and you just say, "I'm not going to go. I know that ride. I know how it ends." But then she goes. And your point is well taken. It's fun!

Nrama: Is your run at all influenced by the movie version of Catwoman that will be showing up in this summer's Warner Brothers movie?

Nocenti: No, I have no idea what's happening with the movie. I don't know the plot or anything. That's a separate universe. I'm sure there are people at DC who do. I haven't Googled it or found out anything about it. In fact, I'd rather not, because I don't want it to influence me.

Nrama: We saw Catwoman and Batman dealing with a relationship early in the title after the relaunch, although it appeared to be ended and resolved. But will that pair get together again at all in your run?

Nocenti: You know, I have a brand new boy for her. So I probably will take her down a different road with the man in her life, just for a little while.

And I also want to deal with different kinds of thievery, you know?

Nrama: Not just objects?

Nocenti: Right. There are a lot of other things you can steal. And I want to start fooling around with high-level thefts that aren't necessarily an object.

Nrama: Will she be operating in Gotham? And how much of a role will the setting play in Gotham?

Nocenti: I was influenced in this by my editor, Rachel, who said "why not start making her a little more jet-setting?" So she's in Gotham, but basically, inspired by something Rachel said, I'm going to start shooting her around the world a little bit, to sexy climates. Not necessarily danger climates, but sexy climates, like in the south.

Nrama: So we may see her in a little less leather?

Nocenti: Well, yeah, a leather thong? [Laughs.] I don't know.

Nrama: You know, Catwoman has been portrayed in the past, and certainly in the last year, as very sexy. I'm wondering if that's something you're planning to continue?

Nocenti: I actually have a peculiar feminism that does not involve the idea that women shouldn't be sexy. Female characters written in comics have always been pretty damned sexy, and used their sexuality. And I don't have any problem with that. I don't want to get too deep into the issue, but it's something that has split the feminist movement. There are women who say it's all exploitative, and then there is the other side that says, what are you talking about? It's empowering to have control of your sexuality. I'm more in that latter camp.

Nrama: I take it Selina's in that camp? She's empowered by her sexuality, isn't she?

Nocenti: Yeah! I mean, absolutely. She has a lot of different aspects to her personality. Sometimes I almost see her as Holly Golightly, you know? The Audrey Hepburn character in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The Selina Kyle side of her has a kind of "It Girl" thing. You see those women cloaking their sexuality in all kind of other ways, like fashion and attitude and that kind of stuff. So I would say, yeah, you put the black leather on... I mean, have you ever put on a black leather catsuit? You kind of move a little differently. [Laughs.] Not that I ever put one on.

 

But what I mean is, depending on what outfit you put on to go out, you act differently. There are days you want to hide and days that you don't. I think that Catwoman is another aspect of Selina Kyle, and I don't have any problem with female characters that use their sexuality.

Nrama: Have you started working with the artist?

Nocenti: I haven't. But ideally, it will be someone with a range of styles, so that if you wanted Selina Kyle to bop into a situation where there's kind of a pop art side of her, it would be quite different from the funky, dark rooftop Catwoman. I guess you'd want an artist that could have a couple different styles.

Nrama: How about you as a writer? Will you still be writing Green Arrow, because DC had someone else on the #0 issue?

Nocenti: No, I'll definitely be continuing to write Green Arrow. These are my two titles.

Green Arrow is in China right now, and I have a lot of very exciting stuff I'm going to do in Seattle when he gets back. So no, I'm totally still on Green Arrow.

And you don't really hit your stride with a character right away, or at least I feel like it. Right now, I'm writing the Green Arrow stories where I feel completely comfortable with who he is. For awhile, you're still getting used to the person under the skin and you're trying to feel out who the character is. Green Arrow was a very complicated character to take on because he has archaic weaponry.

Catwoman, I think is more of a simple archetype to grasp, so it will be about nuance.

But I think you need three or four issues before you say, "Ah ha! Now I really know how to write this character!" You're carrying them around with you. And you're seeing what works and what doesn't visually. There's a learning curve when you first start, at least for me.

Nrama: Do you think it's less of a learning curve with Catwoman because it's a female character, or does that even matter? I mean, a woman writing a woman?

Nocenti: I think Catwoman will come faster than Green Arrow did. So there might be something to what you're saying.

Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want people to know about your upcoming run on Catwoman?

Nocenti: I think I'll just say that there are some revelations coming for Selina. I'm going to be building her pretty slowly toward some revelations.

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