Who Is Catwoman’s Father & Why Does He Keep Changing?

Today, we look at how the identity of Catwoman’s father has changed multiple times in the comics over the years, perhaps making room for Carmine Falcone to be her real father. Spoilers for The Batman and I guess a bunch of old comic books, as well!

This is “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking,” a feature spotlighting notable examples of retcons that don’t fit into the framework of Abandoned an’ Forsaked, which is specifically about stories that outright “overturn” older stories. There are many examples of “retroactive continuity” that do not actively abandon the works of the past (especially cases where the overall continuity was rebooted). Some of them are minor, some of them are major, all of them are interesting enough to me that I figure that they are worth writing about.

With the release of The Batman, there has been a lot of discussion about the identity of Catwoman’s father, as the film reveals that Catwoman’s dad is the mob boss, Carmine Falcone. CBR’s Sam Stone has already written about how that detail was first hinted at in the comics and CBR’s Brandon Zachary also tackled the comics that hinted at Falcone’s relationship to Catwoman, as well as the animated film version of The Long Halloween. However, my pal Tom A. suggested that I write about how Catwoman’s father’s identity has shifted a lot over the years and so let’s take a look at how Catwoman’s father’s identity has evolved, including the Carmine Falcone possibility.

RELATED: Did Batman Seriously Have an 8-Year-Old Crime-Fighting Partner?

WHO WAS CATWOMAN’S FIRST FATHER IN THE COMICS?

One of the funny things about comic book characters during most of the history of early comic books is that no one really spent a whole lot of time thinking about the background of the major characters, as they were just there to get involved in one-off fights and then move on to the next one down 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 1950’s 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 knocks him out of the way, saving his life from him, but in the process suffers a head injury.


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


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

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


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


She won’t let Batman and Robin arrest him, though…


She wants him to reform on his own, and she notes that she loves him, which is only natural (Batman, of course, thinks that it is natural because they both love cats. That seems like a big leap, no? Why not a simple, “Are you related to him?”)…


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


Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened, and Catwoman received a new origin. In her miniseries of her spinning out of her redefined origin as shown in Batman: Year One, 1989’s cat woman #2 (by Mindy Newell, JJ Birch and Michael Bair) saw Selina meet her sister, Maggie, who is now a nun…


While still giving no name for their father, Maggie lets Selina know that he just recently died…


We then meet Selina’s father, while still not getting a name in cat woman #0 (by Doug Moench, Jim Balent and Bob Smith), where he reveals that Catwoman’s mother killed herself…


And then he drank himself to death while Selia was a little girl (contradicting the Catwoman miniseries and also possibly trying to retcon Maggie out of existence)…


A month later, a graphic novel, Batman: The Last Angel, by Eric Lustbader, Don Maitz, Lee Moder and Scott Hanna, had a very different set-up between Selina and her dad…


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


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


and her mom, Maria…


We learned that Brian Kyle was physically abusive.

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

During The Long Halloween miniseries by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, they began to hint that Catwoman had a secret connection to the mob boss, Carmine Falcone. On Father’s Day, Catwoman is mysteriously listening in on Falcone spending time with his daughter, Sofia…


And it clearly affects her…


Batman just outright asks Catwoman about it when it happens again…


but she puts off the question…


Things got a little more explicit during the follow-up mini-series by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale in 2004 titled Catwoman: When in Rome, when Selina heads to Rome to find out the truth of whether Falcone really is her dad 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 that she should just go with the retcon and make her Carmine Falcone’s daughter already.

Instead, DC went a whole OTHER route in the New 52.

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

WHAT OTHER MOB BOSS BECAME CATWOMAN’S FATHER?

In cat woman #0 (by Ann Nocenti, Adriana Melo, Julio Ferreira and Jason Wright), we learn that Catwoman now had ANOTHER brother who she lost track of once they went into 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” was wiped from the system period…


The Russian thing was never explained, but eventually, in batman eternal #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’s cat woman #5 (by Joelle Jones, Fernando Blanco, Laura Allred and John Kalisz) basically just reverted everything to the Post-Crisis/Pre-New 52 set-up of Selina’s origin, with Maggie as her sister and Brian and Maria as her parents…


Of course, that origin still has an opening for her to secretly be Carmine Falcone’s daughter, which I hope/imagine they will eventually have it be revealed as some day (talk about a snowball idea).

Thanks for the suggestion, Tom! Okay folks, feel free to suggest more examples of this sort of thing! Obscure ones, famous ones, whatever! Send your suggestions to [email protected]!

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

the batman, batman long halloween and hush

The Batman Gets Its Tone From These Two Dark Knight Tales

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.