Who is Catwoman’s father and why does he keep changing?

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Today we take a look at how the identity of Catwoman’s father has changed several times in the comics over the years, possibly making way for Carmine Falcone to be her real father. Spoilers for The Batman and I guess a bunch of old comics too!

This is “I’m going to change my way of thinking”, a feature highlighting notable examples of retcons that fall outside the scope of Abandoned and forsaken, which is specifically about stories that outright “overturn” older stories. There are many examples of “retroactive continuity” that do not actively abandon past works (especially cases where the overall continuity has been restarted). Some of them are minor, some of them are major, all are interesting enough to me that I think they are worth writing.


With the release of The Batman, there has been a lot of talk about the identity of Catwoman’s father, as the film reveals Catwoman’s father to be mob boss Carmine Falcone. CBR’s Sam Stone previously wrote about how this detail was first hinted at in the comics and CBR’s Brandon Zachary also touched on the comics that hinted at Falcone’s relationship with Catwoman, as well as the version from the animated film The Long Halloween. However, my friend Tom A. suggested I write about how the identity of Catwoman’s father has changed a lot over the years. So let’s see how the identity of Catwoman’s father evolved, including the possibility of Carmine Falcone.


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WHO WAS CATWOMAN’S FIRST FATHER IN THE COMICS?

One of the fun things about comic book characters for most of the history of early comics is that no one really spent a lot of time thinking about the backstory of the main characters, because they were only there to get involved. fights, then move on to the next one on the road. As a result, we didn’t even know Catwoman’s real NAME until she had been around for a DECADE. It was finally revealed in the 1950s Batman #62 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Lew Schwartz, and Charles Paris), when Catwoman sees that Batman is about to be killed by a falling piece of a building. She pulls him aside, saving his life, but in the process suffers a head injury.



Her injury reveals hidden memories of her life as Selina Kyle, a law-abiding flight attendant. She had suffered from amnesia years earlier and had a psychotic breakdown, where she became the villainous Catwoman.


It’s also the first mention of her father, who apparently owned a pet store (which is why she modeled herself after the cats after his head injury). His name, however, was not mentioned.

At the end of the story, she retired as Catwoman.


Seven issues later, the same creative team in #62 introduces a new cat-themed male villain, the Cat King, who appears to be courting a reformed Selina Kyle…



But she won’t let Batman and Robin stop her…


She wants him to reform on his own, and she notes that she likes him, which is natural (Batman, of course, thinks it’s natural because they both love cats. That seems to be a big step forward, right? How about a simple, “Are you related to him?”)…


And in the end, she saves his life and he turns out to be Karl Kyle, Selina’s brother! He reforms and is never seen again.


Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened, and Catwoman was given a new origin. In his miniseries stemming from his redefined origin as shown in Batman: Year One, 1989 catwoman #2 (by Mindy Newell, JJ Birch, and Michael Bair) saw Selina meet her sister, Maggie, who is now a nun…



While still not giving their father a name, Maggie lets Selina know that he has just died…


We then meet Selina’s father, while we still don’t get a name. catwoman #0 (by Doug Moench, Jim Balent and Bob Smith), where he reveals that Catwoman’s mother committed suicide…


And then he drank himself to death when Selia was a little girl (contradicting the Catwoman miniseries and possibly also trying to make Maggie disappear from existence)…


A month later, a graphic novel, Batman: The Last Angelby Eric Lustbader, Don Maitz, Lee Moder and Scott Hanna, had a very different setup between Selina and her father…


The comic also gave it a different name, but even though the graphic novel is clearly meant to be in continuity, I think it’s probably best treated as an Elseworlds…


Then in catwoman #81 (by Bronwyn Carlton, Staz Johnson and Wayne Faucher), we learn that Selina’s dad was called Brian…


and his mother Maria…


We learn that Brian Kyle was physically abusive.

WHEN DID CARMINE FALCONE BECOME A POSSIBILITY OF BEING CATWOMAN’S FATHER?

During The Long Halloween miniseries by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, they began hinting that Catwoman had a secret connection to mob boss Carmine Falcone. On Father’s Day, Catwoman mysteriously listens to Falcone spending time with her daughter, Sofia…



And it clearly affects him…


Batman squarely asks Catwoman about it when it happens again…


but she pushes the question aside…


Things got a bit more explicit in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s 2004 follow-up miniseries titled Catwoman: When in Rome, when Selina goes to Rome to find out if Falcone is really her father or not. In the end, she doesn’t have a clear answer one way or the other. In the past I’ve explained that I think she should just go with the retcon and make her Carmine Falcone’s daughter already.

Instead, DC took ANOTHER route in the New 52.

RELATED: Why Did DC Forget Catwoman Knew Batman’s Secret Identity?

WHICH OTHER MOB BOSS BECAME CATWOMAN’S FATHER?

In catwoman #0 (by Ann Nocenti, Adriana Melo, Julio Ferreira and Jason Wright) we learn that Catwoman now had ANOTHER sibling whom she lost track of once they entered the foster system, but the computer system also suggests that her name isn’t really Selina Kyle, but something Russian instead…


Later, she learns that “Selina Kyle” has been erased from the system period…


The Russian thing was never explained, but eventually, in eternal batman #23 (by Scott Snyder, James Tynion, Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, and John Kalisz) we see that Catwoman’s father is actually an imprisoned mob boss, Rex Calabrese…


Finally, 2018 catwoman #5 (by Joelle Jones, Fernando Blanco, Laura Allred and John Kalisz) simply brought it all back to the Post-Crisis/Pre-New 52 original Selina set-up, with Maggie as her sister and Brian and Maria as her parents…


Of course, this origin still has an opening for her to be secretly the daughter of Carmine Falcone, which I hope/imagine they’ll eventually reveal as one day (talk about a snowball idea).

Thanks for the suggestion, Tom! Alright, folks, feel free to suggest more examples of this stuff! Obscures, famous, whatever! Send your suggestions to [email protected]!

KEEP READING: Why Did DC Forget Catwoman Knew Batman’s Secret Identity?

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