Batman Returns ‘The Catwoman’ Art Print by Olivia de Berardinis

by Steven Lee Sharpe
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Sideshow Collectibles has released pre-order details for The Catwoman art print by renowned artist Olivia de Berardinis. It’s a classic interpretation of the character in arguably her best-loved movie incarnation.

Given the impact of Tim Burton’s two Batman movies, both in terms of the mass audience and comic fan acceptance, leading Michael Keaton’s appearance in the new The Flash (2023) movie, it’s interesting to note that Burton had little interest in the comic book origins of the characters from which the universe came. In fact, when he agreed to make a sequel, it was on the agreement that he would have more creative control and one of the first decisions he made was to hire writer Daniel Waters who had not been a comic fan. Maybe the world wasn’t ready for a literal adaptation of the comic. Sometimes an outsider can bring a fresh approach to a creative property and the lack of closeness to the source means that they’re comfortable making the tough decisions in what to use and what to leave out in the adaptation.

Burton and Waters’ version of Catwoman for Batman Returns (1992) is a great example of this. She was clearly inspired by the comic original, but with significant tweaks. Firstly, pre-Catwoman, Selina Kyle was no longer a burglar who had grown up on the streets, but a down-trodden executive assistant, unhappily single and with an over-bearing mother. It gave her transformation into Catwoman a more magical and typically superhero comic feel, and a satisfying story arc of empowerment.

Once in the suit, though, it was great to see the familiar elements of a sexy, dangerous mischievousness at play. The image in The Catwoman art print is taken from the start of a classic scene from the movie. Catwoman and the Penguin are causing havoc in the shopping district of Gotham, while Batman goes hand-to-hand with assorted clowns and circus performers and, shall we say villainous cosplayers!

Selina targets the department store owned by Max Schreck. Driving her bad behaviour is the desire for revenge over Schreck as he had pushed her over a balcony in an attempt to kill her when she uncovered his plans to drain power from Gotham. The symbol of the Schreck company is a cartoon face that looks like a cat and the scene starts with Catwoman peering through the window of the store, through the logo. Her hands are raised showing not just claws on the tips of her gloves, but an array of different cutting implements.

There then follows a fantastic display of her playfulness and skill as she uses her whip to relieve four mannequins of their heads and then uses the whip as a skipping rope. Not just a brilliant flavor of the character, it’s become legendary for the fact that actress Michelle Pfeiffer completed the whip cracking stunt on the first take. When the store detectives turn up, it’s not hard to see why one says:

I don’t know whether to open fire or fall in love!”

Artist Olivia de Berardinis has been working since the late ’70’s and is known in particular for her paintings of females. There’s a feline theme to many of her depictions so it’s not surprising that she’s painted several different versions of Catwoman over the years. Sideshow Collectibles have a few of her prints still available on their website.

The image she has captured in The Catwoman art print feels like a perfect takeaway from what could be thought of as the purest vision of Tim Burton’s celebrated Batman movies. If you know Batman Returns well, you’ll remember that it starts with snow. The fact that de Berardinis has chosen to put snowflakes in the background is evocative of the rewritten origin where Selina is apparently lying dead in the snow and is revived by cats.

That mischievous expression, those dangerous-looking claws and that cartoon cat face which seems to signify that here was a character finally stepping out from her comic origins. A great rendition of a crucial character in the Batman universe at an important moment of her evolution.

The Catwoman art print is available either framed or unframed to pre-order from Sideshow Collectibles.

Print details:

  • Officially licensed by Warner Bros.
  • Limited edition of 300
  • 21 x 21” fine art giclée print, image dimensions 18 x 18”
  • 100% certified archival heavyweight 300gsm rag art paper, with deckled hand-torn edges
  • Embossed seal of authenticity
  • Hand signed by the artist, Olivia De Berardinis
  • Certificate of authenticity, signed by Olivia De Berardinis
  • Print is wrapped and hand-rolled in acid free paper, inserted in a protective plastic sleeve, and shipped in a 4” diameter tube

Images and Press Release Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles

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