Dear Johnny Fanboy,

I notice in's recent review of the Catwoman graphic novel The Replacements that Nick Smithson makes a very valid point about Selina Kyle's new identity.

Why does she go to so much trouble to change her identity (forging her own documents because she can't trust anyone else with her secret) only to name herself after a character in an old movie who changes into a cat? Surely, as Film Freak hosts a regular movie show from Gotham, she must have figured that at some point Film Freak would figure who she was.

Also, the fact that her old friends, like Slam, insist on accidentally calling her Selina in public is a bit of a giveaway. In one scene, Slam asks for Selina in a restaurant only to be told that no one has booked under that name. He then asks them to check under reservations for her new name and is shown straight to her table. What if some criminal was in the vicinity and overheard?

Shirley Perham

Johnny Fanboy replies:

Since Selina was planning on complete retirement, the chances of Film Freak ever encountering her were next to zero. Also, it is only by chance that he sees Cat People at this point in time. If he hadn't been watching it just days earlier, he probably wouldn't have made what is quite an obscure connection.

Yes, Selina is trying to be too clever for her own good and, yes, she probably should have chosen a different name - not to mention some more intelligent friends who won't blurt out her old identity left, right and centre.

Then again, secret identities containing clues to or inspiration for the hero or villain's other name are a common occurrence in the DC Universe (and the Marvel Universe, come to that - think of Mr Freeze/Dr Victor Fries and Dr Octopus/Otto Octavius). Perhaps so much so that what, to us, would seem like an ordinary sounding name would actually be more likely to arouse suspicion in comics land: "Shirley Perham? Hmmm, a false identity if ever I heard one..."

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