Creepy fanfiction drawing? Perhaps, if the context was “O HAI WE CAN HAZ SEX NAO?” But it wasn’t. There was context there for Catwoman (though we don’t know Batman’s motivations). Could the scene have been done with more subtly? Of course it could. But in the context of that moment where her need was urgent and demanding, I felt it worked as is – with the key point being that the “costumes stayed on.” They didn’t need to know who each other was. It was not a scene intended for subtlety, romance or coyness.
*Was it there merely to titillate? Sex sells, right? Well of course that’s part of the ‘charm’ of the image choice, but I guess I’m naive in believing that there might be something more behind it. I like to look at things from different angles and try to avoid biases. Mostly.
Fan service? Was it considered fan service when Michelle Pfieffer was straddling Michael Keaton years ago? I disagree with this whole fanservice label. Or rather, I feel that, thanks to the internet making fans believe they practically own the rights to all of these characters, writers and artists etc. are stuck in a catch-22 of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
For example, the end of Buffy S8 featured pages upon pages of softcore Buffy/Angel porn. We’ll ignore the fact that the whole cosmic world creating sex plotline was stupid and just focus on the fact that Joss Whedon confirmed once and for all that his OTP is Buffy/Angel (with a few minor thoughts for Buffy/Spike). Or did he just do it for the fans? Did Buffy/Angel ‘shippers just win some sort of lottery? We won’t know unless we ask Joss — but we know Joss reads fan forums and may have been heavily influenced and may not even know himself.
Point being, fans have their claws so deeply into these characters now that ANYTHING — well, more specifically, ANYTHING SEXUAL — is going to be considered fanservice in either the positive or the negative, depending on which “team” a particular fan is on.
Now, if we want to argue DC Women Kicking Ass’ point about Catwoman formerly being a sexy but CLASSY lady (an image which the new Batman movie seems to be working with) that Batman truly loves, then I can understand the concern.
And that’s the heart of problem: all of these sexuality/personality/physical changes are part of the DC reboot, which means established (mostly female?) characters have been altered drastically and all of these changes are happening at once. For me, I know little about the characters, so it’s all fresh for me. I liked Catwoman #1, being the first real issue of any of her comics that I read. For me, this reboot is working in some places. I know that’s no consolation for older fans though, many of whom I know are very unhappy with what they have read, or have refused to read The New 52 at all. Take Voodoo’s stripping and Catwoman/Batman’s angry sex out of the reboot — would the reaction be the same? Unfortunately, we’ll never know because they are a part of the reboot. They have been forever altered for fans of their former selves.
*ETA: My friends have pointed out that out Judd Winick has a history of writing sex into his comics in a similar manner as this, with the intention being mostly shock value. My personal interpretation of the scene still stands, but I will be wary of such scenes in this comic in the future and hope that the book and character will become more solid as the story arc progresses.