Catwoman is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise. Historically a supervillain, the character was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, partially inspired by Kane's cousin, Ruth Steel. Kane, a frequent movie goer, also mentioned that Jean Harlow was a model for the design.
The original and most widely known Catwoman, Selina Kyle, first appears in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) in which she is known as The Cat. She is a sometimes-adversary of Batman, known for having a complex love-hate (often romantic) relationship with him. In her first appearance, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. For many years Catwoman thrived, but from September 1954 to November 1966 she took an extended hiatus due to the newly developing Comics Code Authority in 1954. These issues involved the rules regarding the development and portrayal of female characters that were in violation with the Comics Code.
Since the 1990s, Catwoman has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an antihero rather than a supervillain. The character has been one of Batman's most enduring love interests. Many modern writers have also interpreted her activities and costumed identity as a response to a history of abuse.
A popular figure, Catwoman has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman motion picture. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992's Batman Returns. Halle Berry starred in a stand-alone Catwoman film in 2004, which was a box-office flop, and was not based on the Batman character. Anne Hathaway will portray Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan's upcoming Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
Catwoman was ranked #11 on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time" list, ranked #51 on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time" list and #20 on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes".