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Nocenti Takes Catwoman to Arkham Asylum

Ann Nocenti recently sat down with Newsarama to talk about Catwoman in Arkham Asylum which will be told in Catwoman #19. She also talks about Selina and the Justice League of America, Catwoman and Penguin, the upcoming Catwoman Annual, and Katana amongst other things.


Catwoman #19Newsarama: Ann, the last issue of Catwoman showed a reunion between Catwoman and Batman. How would you describe their relationship and what that scene meant?


Ann Nocenti: I think writers process their own experiences through the characters and situations they write. So for Batman, I used my own experience of losing a loved one. Grief is a strange place; it’s like an altered state. You might sleep too much so you can see the dead in your dreams. Things that normally wouldn’t have much meaning take on profound meaning. When Batman fixates on the missing paintings in the Gotham Museum, his grief is reading a deeper meaning into them. These paintings are of dark places: a black angel, Arkham Asylum, Penguin’s umbrella spinning in the wind. Why does he miss images of bad things? It’s a grief-driven fixation. A displacement of what is really going on. Catwoman has just been through hell in the Black Room, and with the Joker. She is feeling betrayed by her only friends, her heist connections Trip Winter and Gwen Altamont. So she does something reckless to draw out Batman, not knowing it is the worst possible moment to do so. So when they meet, they are both full of displaced yearning and misconceptions about each other. He thinks putting the paintings back will replace the person he’s really missing. She thinks seeing him will fix her loneliness. Both realize meeting was a mistake; they aren’t going to find solace in each other — not this time. But something about their encounter alters them both — Catwoman does return the paintings, and he realizes his rage at her was displaced grief.


Newsarama: As Catwoman #19 comes out this week, it's obvious that it ties into the Justice League of America title, in which Catwoman co-stars. How does her role on that team influence your comic going forward?


Ann Nocenti: Catwoman isn’t a “joiner.” She’s a solo operator. She isn’t naturally heroic; she’s fairly selfish. So joining the JLA will impact her solo book in that she begins to realize that working with others has its benefits. Whether this seeming heroism is just a guise for deeper, selfish motives remains to be seen.


Newsarama: This week's issue also starts a trip into Arkham Asylum for Catwoman. What intrigued you about exploring Arkham Asylum, and what's Catwoman's response to what she finds there?


Ann Nocenti: I knew I wanted some of her experiences to impact on her mental state. The Joker twists her unconscious. Eclipso’s Black Diamond adds another shadow to her state of mind. Fighting the demon Escalate in The Black Room in such a brutal fashion shoves another bit of darkness into her. Arkham Asylum seemed a natural next step. When I was in college, I worked at a state hospital that was a dumping ground for all manner of the criminally insane, and “mental defectives” as they called them back then. It was a horrible place, like Arkham, mostly in terms of total neglect of the inmates, so I wanted to write an Arkham story. In some ways, pharmaceutical therapy is a form of neglect.


To read the entire interview click here! Catwoman #19 hits the shelves today and the Catwoman Annual 2013 comes out on May 29th 2013.


Posted by Dane Haji

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