Normally, when someone knocks over a pawn shop in Villa Hermosa — the California city that Selina Kyle ditched Gotham for — no one pays any attention. But when the pawn shop also happens to be Catwoman's secret hideout, things get… interesting.
Catwoman left Gotham for the West Coast in Joelle Jones' run on Catwoman, which began last summer after Selina broke off her engagement to Bruce Wayne in Jones' collaboration with Tom King. Selina's story continues in Catwoman #9, out today, which features a guest creator team while Jones takes a break. Writer Ram V (Paradiso, These Savage Shores) and artist John Timms (Harley Quinn, Young Justice) have created a standalone story that pits Selina after the Broker, a dealer who runs all black market goods in and out of Villa Hermosa. Apparently, no one told him about Catwoman, because he is ill-prepared for the lengths Selina will go to protect her friends and get back what's hers.
In Ram V's tale, readers see Selina in all of her cat burglar glory. The heist storyline is also a departure creatively for the writer who is better known for his creator-owned Paradiso (Image Comics), about a sentient city in a post-apocalyptic world; and These Savage Shores (Vault), about Vampires and colonialism in 1760s in India. Even his previous Batman story "The Nature of Fear," his contribution to Batman Secret Files #1 last year borders on horror. SYFY WIRE caught up to Ram V and asked him what it was like writing such a fun one-shot, working with a classic DC character like Catwoman, and how much freedom he had to play in the DC sandbox.
Were you given strict parameters from Joelle Jones and the editor in terms of the characters or did you have the freedom to write Selina any way you wanted?
Jamie Rich, my editor came to me with a rather simple brief. He asked if we could have Selina go up against a local villain — steal something from him. Beyond that, I was free to craft a story from the ground up. There were some things that Jamie and Joelle came back on in terms of what I could / couldn't do with the character, but, for the most part, this is the story I intended to tell as I intended to tell it.
This is classic Selina Kyle, but she usually works solo. What made you team her with a crew?
She still works solo for the most part in this story too! Just that the con she runs requires her to act as a decoy of sorts. It also seemed to be a good opportunity for us to see Selina the schemer, the plotter. We all know her as the consummate cat burglar but having her work with a team was a nice way to show she's sharp when it comes to formulating a plan.
The story is very cinematic. Were you thinking about classic movies when you wrote this?
I pulled influences from a few places. Darwyn Cooke's run on Selina's Big Score and his later work with Brubaker was an influence and it certainly has that classic Hollywood retro aesthetic to it. I also pulled from Soderbergh films like the Ocean's trilogy. So, you can see bits and pieces of them all in there.
Unlike Paradiso or These Savage Shores, which have heavier post-apocalyptic themes. This was much lighter. Was it fun writing it?
Absolutely. I do tend to veer toward the melancholy when it comes to my personal stories. And often it's not a very conscious choice. So, when it came to Selina and this idea/premise popped into my head, it was refreshing to write something that was unadulterated fun. Snappy dialogue. Feisty characters. Sharp tongues and sharper wits. I had a blast writing it.
Did you pattern some of the side characters like Swifty or James after anyone you know?
Ah, not so much. I guess as a writer you're always trying to take mannerisms from people you watch, from actors, from other mediums. So, there's probably bits and pieces from a lot of different people that come together to make these characters.
John Timms' artwork worked so well with this story what was collaborating with him like?
John is the perfect artist for this story, and it was an absolute pleasure collaborating with him. I think, the hardest thing to convey in a script is the atmosphere, the aesthetic and the tone of the story. You can see that John gets it right from page 1. He nails the smoothness, the slickness and the opulence of the visuals. I could not be more thrilled with how the art turned out.