Catwoman Illustration: Is It Offensive?

Did Greg Horn go too far with his BatCat illustration?

In case it’s not already clear, we like sexy art and well-done cheesecake. Superheroes (and antiheroes) are hot, and in the DCU, Catwoman is definitely in the top five — the dangerous curves, the skin-tight black suit, the purring. Selina owns her sexuality, and when she’s near Batman, the panels practically crackle with tension.

However, Greg Horn’s BatCat illustration recently set off a debate about when art goes from provocative to offensive. I’m the first to admit that there’s a fine line, and that tastes are very personal. (Our shirtless Batman/Catman poll illustration drew some criticism, for example.) Plus, few kids are reading comics anymore, so the chances of Junior seeing this are slim. In general, I’d rather an artist go over the top than play it safe. Horn has done some lovely work. However, the crouched, ass-in-the-air shot in front of Batman (complete with licking!) disgusted both of us. Catwoman doesn’t have to go there to set off fire alarms. Can you imagine the roles being reversed? I can’t.

What do you think? Is this a silly tempest in a teapot or another disturbing example of blatant sexism in comics? (If nothing else, the image prompted a very funny response from artist Phil Noto.)