Snarky's Cinemachine: Backyard Superheroes

Ange Anderson
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Whenever I opted to play “superheroes” with neighborhood kids, I was often assigned Catwoman, since other gals had already called dibs on Batgirl, Superwoman, Mary Jane (didn’t realize she was a superhero) and Wonder Woman. Backyard rules apparently dictated there could only be one of each female superhero, but had no prescriptive on the number of Batmans, Supermans and Spidermans battling the faux forces of evil in one backyard at any given time. Initially, I would rebuff the assignment, opting instead to battle the forces of evil as Chaka Khan. While being a superhero in my own personal world, Chaka Khan was not recognized as such by the Neighborhood Children’s Superhero Committee - a governing body with chapters all over the universe - and therefore was prohibited. Despite its rather sexist and draconian guidelines in the case of female superheroes, the Neighborhood Children’s Superhero Committee was rather flexible with male superheroes. Anyone - and I mean anyone - could be Batman, Superman or Spiderman. Though the first one calling dibs on Superman was the leader and free to restrict the number of Superman also-rans under his/her command. As Catwoman I was tasked with reconnaissance and retrieval; as children we were well acquainted with the naughtiness of theft, but not acquainted with the concept of moral ambiguity. My job was to find object and information - by any means necessary, even a tap dance (the “sexiest” interrogation tactic we knew) - and report back to the primary Superman, who often ate cookies and stabbed holes in his spent Capri Sun drink.

Julie Newmar

Earth Kitt singing “Cha Cha Heels”

Michelle Pfeiffer

Halle Berry

Looking back, I realized being assigned Catwoman wasn’t an afterthought at all. In the backyard she was positioned as smart, cute and resourceful; enjoying autonomy not afforded to Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Superwoman or Mary Jane. In the backyard, Catwoman answered only to the primary Superman - if she felt like answering to anyone at all.

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4 Comments Have Been Posted

I have some vague, weird

I have some vague, weird memory of Sean Young in the Catwoman costume, acting all feline and complaining that she didn't get the part in either of the Batman movies. Maybe it was late night television, but it was definitely a long, long time ago. At the time I felt embarrassed for her.

Which actress do you think got the best Catwoman dialogue?

Nice post :) I like the

Nice post :) I like the analysis of backyard politics.

Our local chapter of he NCSC

<i>Neighborhood Children's Superhero Committee - a governing body with chapters all over the universe</i>

What a wonderful observation! There was definitely only one Superman, who was like the kid who got first pick for punchball. Our chapter did allow a loophole for the kid who wanted to be the Bizarro Superman. And Wonder Woman trumped Superman sometimes, saving his ass whenever Lex Luthor broke out the kryptonite.


Selina Kyle is most definitely superior to all of the other choices, primarily because while she could be a hero when she wanted to be one, she usually took the other route, as it better suited her. And she really didn't have to answer to anyone.

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