Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beware! The Claws of... The Cat! (1972)

The Marvel Super Heroes Podcast
Episode 012

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Face Front, True Believers! This week #Frank'sAgenda is in full flower as we revisit Marvel Comics' 1972 stab at drafting a feminist super-heroine, The Cat! First Illegal Machine & Frank dissect the debut issue, then Mr. Fixit & Frank dive into #2 (32:00,) with the Diabolical One ranting a bit about #3-4. Stan Lee and Marie Severin get the creation credit, while Linda Fite writes (with editor Roy Thomas,) and there's fill-ins galore throughout the brief experiment. We finally reopen the mighty Marvel mail bag (44:58,) with Fixit & the Ill Mac taking the fore 'fer once! Frank probably would have preferred if things had turned out more P.C., but the show is entertaining, which is the paramount concern. Note: We like our language NSFW salty, and there be spoilers! We have an extensive episode art tumblr here. Even in an extra-length episode, we can't fit everything, but we do have replies to your comments again and this handy text addendum...

  • The Cat #1 was reprinted in one of the earliest Marvel Comics trade paperbacks, 1977's The Superhero Women, as part of the Simon and Schuster Fireside series of comic book collections for the bookstore market. She was joined by reprints of stories prominently featuring Medusa, Red Sonja, Invisible Girl, Ms. Marvel, Hela, The Wasp, Shanna the She-Devil, Black Widow, and Princess Lyra of the Femizons (don't ask.)
  • #1 Amazing Origin Issue!
  • The Cat #1 was also featured in the initial volume of Marvel Firsts: The 1970s, while The Cat #2 & 3 can be found in the Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades omnibus
  • Zabo actually survived his first confrontation with the Cat, and turned up in a 1983 issue of Marvel Team-Up seeking revenge for the death of his brother... Malcolm Donalbain!
  • #2 "The Owl and the Pussycat!"
  • Marie Severin left the series following #2 after being promoted to head Marvel's coloring department.
  • Greer Grant Nelson was named after Paty Greer, a former assistant to the series' initial artist and co-creator, Marie Severin. Greer drew the third issue of The Cat, then went on to draw the alien races in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, as well as working as a colorist and an overseer of production art. Today she's better known as Paty Cockrum, wife of the late great Dave Cockrum.

  • Breezy synopsis of #3.
  • According to a synopsis of #3 found online, Dr. Tumolo was slowly recovering from her minor brain damage.
  • Frank Miller had a fan letter in The Cat #3 where he praised the proactive heroine.
  • Gerry Conway, creator of DC's The Vixen, also wrote Marvel Team-Up #8, the issue referenced in the podcast featuring Man-Killer. It was released with an April 1973 cover date, the same month as The Cat #3.
  • #4 "Stampede!"
  • One year and one month after the release of The Cat #4 (with the scrapped #5 still in a file drawer,) Greer Nelson would return in a radically altered form in Giant-Size Creatures #1. Despite the change, The Cat appeared in September 1975's Spidey Super Stories, with The Owl as featured villain. This was under a John Romita cover was a story by the Night Nurse creative team of Jean Thomas & Win Mortimer. Linda Fite had co-written the final issue of Night Nurse (#4) with Thomas. The Cat returned for a story in #13 (with The Falcon & Kraven the Hunter) while Tigra turned up in #21 (again, against Kraven, but this time written by Pat Thackray.)
  • Linda Fite left The Cat and Marvel (again) following the birth of her first child with Herb Trimpe. They eventually had three children together before divorcing. Fite went on to work for New York's Times Herald-Record.

  • The Cat made her cover-featured British debut in the 4 October 1975 issue of The Super-Heroes (#31.) She and Ant-Man were joining the original X-Men in the weekly anthology title, where she presumably resided until #38, exhausting the U.S. content. She was also on #32's cover (on both her costume was colored dark green,) and continued to have her head featured in the corner box thereafter.
  • Of the 1972 female friendly launches, Stan Lee was said to have had the greatest optimism toward The Cat, her origin story, and her creative team. However, Lee noted in editorial content for The Superhero Women that the title "struck out" after that team fell apart.
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