Issue(s): Cat #1
Linda Fite was girlfriend and soon-to-be wife of Herb Trimpe. She was also an assistant to Stan Lee, although i'm not sure which came first.
Despite no real experience she turned out to be a pretty good writer, creating (or at least writing the origin issue for) this great character called the Cat.
The Cat got her powers when a female scientist, Dr. Tumolo, designed a suit that gives the wearer increased mental and physical abilities, including super human acrobatics, night vision, empathy, increased intelligence, and an extendable claw that can be used as both a weapon and a grappling hook. The powers (except for the claws and night vision) remain even when the costume is no longer being worn.
The suit's recipient, Greer Nelson, was a science student who dropped out of school when she married her chauvinistic boyfriend...
...who subsequently got killed working as a policeman. Tumolo took her in as a lab assistant after she was unable to find a job elsewhere because she's a woman.
She's clearly been deliberately created as a feminist role model, but the same could be said of Wonder Woman.
In this issue she defeats a crazy but wealthy man named Mal Donalbain who took over Tumolo's funding when she ran out, and now wants to use her suits to create an army of zombiefied health specialists. Donalbain is a fitness nut. He's also got a phobia about being touched, which Greet exploits, resulting in his suicide, which is a bit dark.
Donalbain had another woman that he wants to use the suit, but she was lazy and didn't train like Greer does. I'm not quite sure what exactly his plan is exactly, but the Cat puts a stop to it, fighting off the crazy guy's super strong goon Zabo in the process.
Dr. Tumolo is critically injured and presumed dead.
In Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, it's said Fite initially took issue with the fact that this new effort at reaching female readers would be a cat-themed heroine ("Why do we have to name it The Cat, Roy? Is it a catfight?"). But she managed to make it work fairly well, in my opinion. Howe also describes how Severin had to deal with inker Wally Wood's immature (but apparently common in the trade, sadly) antics of drawing in pubic hair and nipples on her pencils of the Cat, which she had to white out.
Greer Nelson will eventually become Tigra and that's how i'm tagging her in the Characters Appearing section.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
Always liked Greer, both as Cat and Tigra. Probably due to being more leaning to manga/anime and just the shock of Marvel actually having a catgirl character that was rather underutilized. (well that and the Mangaverse...but then Mangaverse Tigra rocks)
Weirdly in the flashback to this in "Giant Size Creatures #1", it mentions something about both her and the other girl undertaking a treatment and all of it not merely being tied to the suit but actually some sort of "conditioning". Honestly I have my own theories about it but that's sort of my own weird fantasy involving Turmolo maybe giving Greer an initial development that would eventually lead to her as Tigra...but I also sort of have other weird ideas as well for what could be/have been with this.
The point was supposed to be that the suit wouldn't give a "normal" person super-abilities unless they had undergone the treatment. Unfortunately, Englehart forgot about it when he had the Avengers give the suit to Patsy. This was never adequately resolved.
Can't defend what happened with Patsy, but I think with Greer that somehow some of the latent power that would eventually evolve into Tigra was added in when she got the treatment. Maybe that's what the treatment was, the first phase into becoming the "cat-person hybrid", which was completed only when Greer was taken to the Cat-People themselves.
I think it's important to remember that, metatextually, neither Dr. Tumulo's membership in the Cat People nor her goal to create another Tigra existed. Within the MU, Dr. T created the equipment that enhanced Greer's and Shirlee Bryant's physical and mental abilities. It's unclear if Dr. T created the Cat uniform (and Donalbain copied it just like he had copied the doctor's equipment) or if Donalbain designed it. All we saw in the story is Dr. T. definitely didn't recognize the will-nullifier Donalbain intended to use on all his trainees. Tony Isabella's contribution (the Cat People background) and Steve Englehart's contribution (that Dr. Tumulo wanted to create another Tigra) make us lean toward the first possibility (that Dr. T. designed the Cat uniform).
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