Who Is Catwoman?
What makes a superhero? Their abilities, their backstory, and their appearance are all important. But one thing that is easy to overlook is their rogues gallery. The rogues gallery is the group of villains that a superhero fights. A superhero is all about conflict and conquering evil, so their rogues gallery is an overlooked part of who they are. Batman's rogues gallery is a big part of what makes him one of the most iconic superheros. The Joker, Two-Face, The Riddler, the Penguin, and his other adversaries all have larger-than-life personalities. The Joker, in particular, is so good that a lot of people are more fans of the Joker than they are of Batman! Batman's rogues gallery is prominently featured on Batman t shirts.
Catwoman is a Batman villain that is more obscure but also indispensable. The reason for this is that she fulfills a particular niche. A rogues gallery has niches, roles that each villain fills for the hero. The Joker serves as Batman's arch-nemesis; Two-Face is a villain that used to be a friend; the Penguin is a tragic figure that you can sympathize with; Scarecrow plays mind games. Catwoman serves a very particular role for Batman, which is that of a love interest and antagonist at the same time. Catwoman is a burglar who does not kill anyone, so she's not unequivocally evil like the Joker. This makes her seem redeemable, unlike some of the insane villains that superheroes normally fight.
Another important aspect of Catwoman is her appeal to female readers. Although comics have historically been seen as a male-dominated form of entertainment, Bob Kane still wanted to bring in female readers. He felt that the best way to do that would be a sympathetic female character. Batgirl could be said to fill this niche, but Batgirl feels like a third wheel because Batman already has a sidekick. Catwoman is just a more interesting character. She's dark and mysterious, and sometimes she can even best Batman. This gives her an enigmatic appeal. It also gives the Batman mythos a strong and sympathetic female character. Poison Ivy seems downright crazy, but Catwoman is in control of herself. This makes it possible for a female reader to sympathize with her, since she's not just a deranged villain.
Catwoman has been popular enough to be featured in some of her own movies and comic books over the years. In particular, she was played by Halle Berry in an eponymous 2004 film, Catwoman. The main character of that movie bears little resemblance to the original. But it shows that Catwoman has been a sufficiently popular and compelling character to warrant the creation of independent media based on her.