Fan News

Relationship Roundup: Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle

Relationship Roundup: Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle

By Meg Downey Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

Relationship Roundup is a monthly column by Meg Downey that focuses on the many iconic relationships within the DC Universe. Each month, look for a different “ship,” romantic, platonic or a little of both, to take center stage.

Chances are, if you've been paying attention to the DC Universe at any point in the last...oh, let's say year, you've heard some whispers of a wedding. A big wedding. A wedding between two unlikely animal themed heroes who—oh, come on, you know the drill here.

In honor of the anniversary-sized wedding special, BATMAN #50, it's time to talk about Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, better known to the world as Batman and Catwoman.

Now, before we can talk about their upcoming ceremony, we need to talk about their first wedding.

Didn’t know they’d been married before? Hey, you’re not alone. We’ll get to that, but first we're going to have to do a serious rewind. Bruce and Selina are two of the oldest characters in DC's whole pantheon. They're right up there with other Golden Age standbys like Superman and Lois Lane. In fact, Bruce debuted on the scene just one year after the Man of Steel and Selina got her start one year after that. What I mean to say is, these are characters with some serious history. Even more significantly, Selina premiered in the very first BATMAN #1 ever printed. So, sure, Bruce had had some stories in DETECTIVE COMICS before his self-titled ongoing kicked off, but Selina was there for the start of a whole new era of Batman stories.

A Curious Cat

Of course, theirs wasn't exactly a love at first sight. Selina existed at first only as "The Cat," a thief who Bruce tried (and failed) to apprehend. He was intrigued—not to mention enamored—by her immediately, but Selina was surrounded by mystery and dubious circumstance, not exactly what you would call conducive for a romance. Things continued like that for quite some time. Selina's story was fluid, ever changing, full of half-truths that perpetually kept Bruce on his toes, always shifting direction.

Really, that might be why he ended up falling for her as hard as he did—it's not often that someone can keep the World's Greatest Detective guessing.

As time went on and the Golden Age marched into the Silver Age, many of the things that comic readers take for granted these days—such as continuity between stories and characters—began to really solidify and become much closer to what we have today.

Well, mostly.

Seeing Double

When the multiverse was officially formed, we wound up with two different versions of Bruce and Selina: the Golden Age characters who lived on Earth-Two and the modern versions who lived on Earth-One or the "Prime" Earth where all mainline stories took place.

The Selina and Bruce of the Prime Earth maintained a sometimes flirty, sometimes contentious, usually relatively distant relationship (the likes of which would grow and evolve into what we have now), while the Earth-Two versions went full steam ahead into the romance that had started back in the ’40s. It took some fancy, retroactive footwork to make it work, but by 1977 it was revealed (in DC SUPER STARS #17) that Earth-Two Selina and Bruce had been married and that their daughter, Helena Wayne, was a vigilante known as Huntress.

Things on Earth-Two were...a bit complicated to say the least. As more and more of the DC Universe became focused on the "main" Earth, Earth-Two stories became more difficult to line up and make sense. Versions of the Wayne Family's Earth-Two exploits often contradicted one another or themselves. Still, the emphasis on Bruce and Selina's unending romance was a pretty regular thread.

You Can’t Hurry Love

Meanwhile, back in the main universe, Bruce and Selina took much longer to trust one another. It wasn't until the very early 2000s with BATMAN: HUSH (above) that Bruce even let Selina know his secret identity—a decision which left the Bat family slightly divided (Dick was in favor, Tim was less so). Bruce and Selina continued a flirtatious will-they-won't-they for years, coming together and then tearing apart over and over again until finally, in the Rebirth era, things took a turn for the more definitive.

Batman's ongoing stories began planting the seeds of an all new look at the Batman and Catwoman dynamic that grew and changed by mixing the old with the new—sometimes even borrowing elements from the old Earth-Two days—until finally, with BATMAN #24, Bruce actually popped the question. It took a while (and a full story arc called “The War of Jokes and Riddles”) for Selina to give her answer.

Now, the wedding ceremony itself is just around the corner, but getting there has been anything but a walk in the park. Between telling the family, organizing the wedding party and dealing with less-than-thrilled exes like Talia al Ghul, things in Gotham have been even more chaotic than usual—so here's hoping that the actual day itself goes off without a hitch.

Then again, who are we kidding? We're dealing with Batman and Catwoman here. There's bound to be at least a little drama, so make sure to grab next week’s Batman #50 for the latest chapter in one of the most unique, interesting and irresistible relationships in comics.
 

Meg Downey writes about the DC Universe for DCComics.com and covers Legends of Tomorrow for the #DCTV Couch Club. Look for her on Twitter at @rustypolished.

BATMAN #50 lands in stores on Wednesday, July 4. While you're at it, be sure to pick up CATWOMAN #1, Selina's first ongoing series since The New 52 is out the very same day!