BREAKING! New Writer Ann Nocenti Talks About Taking Over CATWOMAN From Judd Winick (UPDATE)

Cover to Catwoman #13 by Andy Clarke

After 12 issues on the series–including one very controversial first issues–writer Judd Winick is leaving Catwoman. To replace him, DC Comics has brought in industry veteran Ann Nocenti, who is most known for her time on Daredevil, and who has most recently been brought in to right the ship at Green Arrow. We sat down for an exclusive chat with Nocenti about her new gig.

iFanboy: Is Catwoman a character that you’ve always been interested in?

Ann Nocenti: Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. She hits a chord with me, for sure.

iF: Catwoman has been portrayed in a lot of different ways over the years, both in comics and in other media. How do you see Catwoman? What’s your take on Catwoman?

AN: A part of her feels almost like Audrey Hepburn or like an “It Girl.” The Selena Kyle persona is, to me, a lot lighter, a lot more fashionable. And then the Catwoman side of her is compulsive. She’s unstoppable. She’s really unstoppable, you know? It’s a compulsion. There’s a schism between the two sides of her.

iF: How do you approach a character like Catwoman who rides a very thin line between hero and villain? She’s a thief but she’s also been portrayed as a bad guy, but she’s also been a good guy. Where do you see her fitting in, in that spectrum?

AN: That’s a really good question because it’s difficult to write a [lead] character that is not heroic. Yes, she has the heroism of a damaged person. You know, maybe she’s more human? Most people I know don’t run around devoting their lives to saving other people; although I do know people like that. But most humans just kind of take care of their own stuff and they don’t feel particularly heroic. I mean, the heroism of the ordinary person is more like, they’re getting food on the table for their kids, you know? Or helping their neighbors a little bit or something. So she’s not driven by heroism she’s driven by something so compulsive. It’s heists but it doesn’t feel like the kind of thing you’ll see in, like, an old French film about a heist. It’s more like almost a kleptomania. It’s like something that she cannot stop.

iF: Does that struggle between being good and bad make her more relatable?

AN: I mean, I like the characters that have that pure heroism, you know? That have this unerring moral compass. There’s just something so gorgeous about them, like, so exciting. But of course there’s just so much more turmoil inside somebody [struggling between good and evil]. It’s almost like—I don’t really know my Arthurian legend very well—but wasn’t it like, Galahad was born good and Lancelot kind of had to struggle and a leap to be good? So I think there’s more juice inside somebody that isn’t innately heroic, but somehow she does find herself in positions of conscience and regret, and finds herself sometimes even doing something, surprisingly, good.

iF: So do you see Catwoman, ultimately when all is said and done, as a good guy? As a hero?

AN: No. [Laughs] You know, we throw around the word “anti-hero”… I don’t even know what that means. Anti-hero is sort of like “not quite villain”, you know? It’s not like she’s trying to dominate the world or hurt people intentionally, you know? She’s an “anti-hero”, but that term is thrown around so much that you don’t even know what it means. I mean, when she gets up in the morning she might have a certain amount of intentionality to live a normal life but at some point something overcomes her and she’s just got to go get something that glitters, and get it away from someone else, and have it in her own little pocket, and put it in her nest. She’s just gotta do it.

iF: How do you see the Catwoman/Batman relationship?

AN: I see him as someone that she has to know that he’s there for her. She doesn’t need him, she doesn’t want him totally, but she has to know he’s there. I mean, it ‘ain’t a healthy relationship. [Laughs] It’s like on Facebook when someone writes, “It’s Complicated.” [Laughs] It’s very, very, very complicated. They obviously have oodles and oodles of sexuality, but I think their sexuality is a really strange battle between him trying to get her over to his side and her kind of trying but not quite able to make it.

iF: Will Batman be appearing much in your run or will he be someone in the background, always lurking but never in the story?

AN: I think he’s gonna move back to the background. In the run that [Judd Winick] did there was that culmination, you know, they had sex. So it’s good to pull back and just say, okay that arc was really cool and really exciting but now we pull back a little bit. We want to miss him a little bit. We want to want him back, you know?

iF: So does that mean that there might be other romantic possibilities for Catwoman other than Batman?

AN: Yeah. I think that she seems to surround herself with Type-A personalities. Risky people. She seems to like that. And maybe the thing is that it would be good to explore why. Are they already broken and she can’t break them (because she knows she breaks people)? There’s something that could be fun to explore there.

iF: Is your story going to be a clean start or are you going to be building on or continuing anything that was established in Judd Winick’s time on the book?

AN: Well, I think I’m going to do a clean break, do some new stories and then go back and look at what was established in the first 12 issues. It’s almost like, if you want to bring something back that’s been in a story, you want to have a new angle on it, you want to have an interesting twist on it. Actually, to a certain degree there’s not a lot of threads dangling, you know? She has this wonderful friend Lola but now she’s dead, and she has this relationship with a car thief but then he turned on her, so there’s like a beginning, middle, and an end to those storylines, so you don’t really want to rush into pulling something out of there until the time feels right.

iF: Catwoman’s been portrayed in the past as a loner, but also in certain runs—notably the Ed Brubaker run—she had a very robust supporting cast of friends. How do you see your Catwoman? Does she have a lot of friends or is she by herself?

AN: Well, you know, one flaw in my little house here is that I haven’t read a lot of Catwoman stories. Which I think is okay at first, you know? Kind of do your own take on her. But at some point I will talk to my editor Rachel [Gluckstern] about what I should read. Because when a character has 50 years of stories, you don’t want to go down those roads again, you know? But I kind of just want to trust my instincts first and come up with some new stuff and then ask to be lead to this cool series or that cool series. But as to your question, I see her as alone even in a crowd. So, you know, if she makes friends they’re disposable. There’s a certain innate thing in having a double identity: you are guarding. When you’re Catwoman, is that the real you? When you’re Selena Kyle, is that you? So when she’s making friends as Catwoman or as Selena they’re two separate things. She’s always gotta be, to a certain degree, very guarded about her life.


Interesting to note that Catwoman will now not only have a female writer but an editor as well. Ann Nocenti takes over the book with Catwoman #0 and her first “regular” issue, Catwoman #13, hits stores October 17. The new artist for the book has not yet been announced, but we should know on Monday.

UPDATE! The new artist, according to the October solicits, is Adriana Melo. That means the book will be edited, written, and drawn by women.

Comments

  1. Looks like I’ll probably be buying New 52 Catwoman again.

  2. Neeks Neeks says:

    Looks like I’ll be dropping Catwoman :(

  3. I’m really going to miss Winick on this book. I know a lot of people were turned off by the first issue and may have dropped the book entirely, but they really missed out. Catwoman is in my top 3 list of books DC is publishing. I’m curious to read Nocenti’s take though.

  4. wangman31888 wangman31888 says:

    had to click on the “sex” tag, and was disappointed to only find 5 articles, we need more sex tags!

  5. Ian says:

    I’m really enjoying Winick’s run, but looks like i’ll be dropping Catwoman. Nocenti’s first two issues of Green Arrow were some of the worst comics i’ve ever read.

  6. bgavino says:

    Looks like I’ll be dropping Catwoman. I thought Winnick’s run was great. This book and Nightwing were my two favorite books of the new 52. They need to get some stability on some of these titles. Getting sick of the constant artist and writer changes.

    • JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

      Constant? Winnick has been with the title a full year and it’s definetly due for a creative shake-up. You should atleast give the new writer a shot before you drop the book.

    • @JokersNuts I think @bgavino was referring to the artist/writer changes that are taking place across all of DC’s titles, not Catwoman specifically.

      And I’m not sure why “it’s definitely due” for a shake-up. It’s only been 12 issues. Personally, I miss the days when one writer/artist team steered a book for an extended period of time.

      I get the sense that you weren’t happy with Winick in general, not that the book reach an imaginary point in time when the creative team needed to change.

    • bgavino says:

      @JokersNuts Yea I was referring to across the board changes. Winnick has been on it for a year but where did Gulliem March go? His art was fantastic and added a lot to the book in my opinion. I agree with ChristopherJohn the book was not in need of a shake up at all. I was loving it. As for Nocenti I wasn’t crazy about her in the 90′s when she was writing Daredevil and her Green Arrow stuff was just horrible so no thanks.

      @ChristopherJohn I agree there’s no long term writer/ artist teams anymore. It’s kind of lame but that’s the way it is now.

  7. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    Finally!
    What’s the matter Winnick fans, afraid there won’t be anymore Cheesecake? I would say give the new writer a chance.

    I love Catwoman, excited to check her book out again.

  8. lifesend lifesend says:

    Nocenti’s Green Arrow has been absolutely unreadable. Hopefully, she’ll vibe better with Catwoman, but if her first issue is just as bad as GA, I’m dropping the title. I’m enjoying Winick’s run, but without Guillem March, the book isn’t really the same, so I probably would have wound up dropping it anyway.

  9. KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

    Winick was the reason I pulled Catwoman in the first place. Nocenti’s Green Arrow is being compared to poop that has rotten for a whole week…therefore, I’ll drop this book. Sorry Catwoman, our relationship has to stop, my wallet will be heavier without you constantly nagging at my 20$ bills!

  10. ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

    Is Andy Clarke the ongoing artist?

  11. dkbrain dkbrain says:

    Very disappointed. I felt such joy after reading Catwoman #10. The direction of the series was perfect until…

    I’ll give it a chance and hope for the best.

  12. dkbrain dkbrain says:

    “Well, I think I’m going to do a clean break, do some new stories and then go back and look at what was established in the first 12 issues.”

    VERY VERY disappointing….

    • markavo markavo says:

      I wonder about this myself. I would think that if DC wanted to get some readers on a Catwoman book they’d almost encourage Batman to be a moonlighting kind of love interest. “leave them wanting” in the comic world usually equates to, “I’ll drop this book and pick it up with something I like is in it.”

      That sounds like a very dumb strategy for getting new readers and keeping existing readers.

  13. They’re giving the person who writes Green Arrow MORE books to write?

  14. I don’t care what anyone says. I like Nocenti’s Green Arrow. It’s just my kind of batshit crazy.

    I think she can do even better with Catwoman.

  15. So how many female writers does DC have now?

  16. BuckyCap BuckyCap says:

    I would love for Winick to write Green Arrow. Loved his previous runs on it.

  17. Damn…I’m off this book as well.

    I’m trying to add more books to my pull list and not decrease them…

  18. Adnan says:

    so, erm…did anyone else actually read this week’s Green Arrow? It was actually pretty good. A lot better than her previous 4 issues on it.

    • emac emac says:

      I actually decided to try out green arrow for the first time this week, and it hooked me about 3-4 pages in, (now if it will continue to grab me i dont know..too early to tell yet) and as i am disappointed that Winick is leaving Catwoman i’m curious to see what Nocenti will do with it

    • kennyg kennyg says:

      I read all three issues of her first GA story, and it was horrible. Disjointed, no flow, choppy – it was like a panel was randomly dropped out every so often. Krul was better (ouch I can’t believe I said that!).

    • MrSethypants MrSethypants says:

      Nocenti’s Green Arrow is a very very good book. I’m pissed that so many people dont get how great the book is. Your lost.

  19. JSAkid JSAkid says:

    Her interview hit all the right notes on what I’d wanna hear from a writer taking on an established character, haven’t read any Catwoman new 52 but think I’ll check her out, just hope its art I like. Maybe I’ll buy the 1st 12 just to see whats been done w her aside from her and Batman knocking boots, lol, theres a term ya don’t hear everyday anymore.

    • adrianrigter adrianrigter says:

      All the right notes like “I haven’t read a lot of Catwoman stories”? including Brubaker’s run? madness.

    • JSAkid JSAkid says:

      Yeah, all the right notes as in a writer taking a fresh perspective and trusting her intuition while going off new story ideas then looking at the previous ones later to go back and build on when necessary……you don’t need to read a lot of Catwoman stories to get what she’s about and her description of her in this interview sounds better than I’ve seen some others write her. The Green Arrow thing isn’t reassuring but she might have a rhythm with Selena Kyle.

  20. Dokhou Dokhou says:

    Not happy about the change, but will wait and see. My wallet sorta inlay won’t mind if I drop.

  21. This is the same woman who is giving us Green Arrow right now….

    So how is this good news?

  22. I dont know about this, on the one hand I am so glad Winnick is leaving since I felt his characterization of my favorite character was so superficial and cheesecake and did not do the character justice, whereas Anna Nocenti is a female writer who just so happens to have written one of my favorite Daredevil runs ever. But… she is writing Green Arrow right now, and she has very little knowledge of Catwoman? This go could either way, it might be another train wreck or it could end up being a big surprise.

  23. BobTaco BobTaco says:

    I’ll give her #0 issue and #13 issue a chance. If I’m not hooked or see possible promise by then, I’m done.

  24. I’m souring on the DC relaunch as a whole and can’t see myself purchasing many DCU books much longer — it’s mostly ties to the decompression. Yeah, Winnick was on for a whole year… but, really, it was only two stories. A 5-issue collection can consist of a three-parter and a two-parter, or a two-parter or three one-and-dones, or…..sigh.

    Anyway.

    I love a lot of Nocenti’s Marvel work and I’ve enjoyed the few-and-far between published DC work. I think the deciding factor will be the artist.

  25. Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

    The story has been updated with the new artist.

  26. daningotham daningotham says:

    I really liked Winick’s run and I am giving this new writer a chance before I drop it.