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.
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.
Nelson later reacquainted herself with her former professor, a scientist named Dr. Joanne Tumolo, after she was unable to find a job elsewhere because she's a woman.
Tumolo hires Nelson as a lab assistant.
Tumolo has designed a suit that gives the wearer increased mental and physical abilities, including super human acrobatics, empathy, and increased intelligence. And as part of the costume, there is an extendable claw that can be used as both a weapon and a grappling hook, and goggles that provide night vision. The powers (except for the claws and night vision) remain even when the costume is no longer being worn.
The Cat has clearly been deliberately created as a feminist role model, but the same could be said of Wonder Woman. The feminism in these issues is less overt and ham-handed then what we see in other books during this era. The (somewhat) more subtle approach makes it more powerful.
A crazy but wealthy man named Mal Donalbain, a fitness nut, took over Tumolo's funding when she ran out, and insists that another woman, Shirlee Bryant, be given the treatment. But Tumolo continues to secretly work with Greer as well.
Donalbain wants to use the process to create an army of zombiefied health specialists. He's also got a phobia about being touched, which Greer exploits, resulting in his suicide, which is a bit dark.
Bryant was lazy and doesn't train like Greer does. I'm not quite sure what exactly Donalbain's plan was, 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: In Avengers #144 Iron Man will say that he's in Chicago the day the Cat first appeared. So this shouldn't take place during a period where Iron Man is unavailable.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: 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.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 3, 2012 6:56 PM
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.
Posted by: Michael | September 3, 2012 7:11 PM
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.
Posted by: Ataru320 | September 3, 2012 8:17 PM
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).
Posted by: Darci | September 12, 2012 2:50 PM
Wally Wood tended to add nipples and pubic hair to women he drew for the 1950s EC Comics as well; Marie Severin was colorist for the EC line so this couldn't have been news to her.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 1, 2015 11:19 AM
Like others, I've certainly heard the infamous legend of how Wally Wood kept increasing the size of Power Girl's bust each issue until someone from DC editorial finally caught on. But hearing about Wood's juvenile antics on The Cat (and on EC Comics) is news to me. It's not at all surprising, though! Wood was an absolutely amazing artist (his inking on Marie Severin's pencils here is superb) but he definitely had a hell of a lot of problems and personality issues, especially when it came to relationships with women. Sadly, all of that eventually caught up with him in the end.
Posted by: Ben Herman | August 12, 2015 9:31 PM
I've always been a little ticked off about Greer. The first issue really impressed me. I liked the art and the concept. I was not happy when the Cat became Tigra but gave it a shot and was really starting to like that version too. Once Tigra got involved in the Avengers (and especially the West Coast Avengers) she took a horrible turn. It was almost as if some writers (Engelhart was probably the worst) wanted to spit on the idea of a feminist hero so they turned her into an emotionally stunted sex kitten. Blah!
Posted by: matthew baugh | December 16, 2016 11:49 AM
Severin's pencils are almost completely drowned out by Wood's inks in these scans. He didn't do this to every penciler he ever inked, but he did do it a lot. In these scans, the only thing left that marks it for me as Severin's pencils is the distinctive way she poses some of her figures. Otherwise I would probably think Wood did both pencils and inks. It's sort of a shame because I do like Severin, but I like Wood too.
Notice how much black shadow Wood puts on Cat's costume, such that nearly 50% or more of the yellow of her costume is covered with black. This is the same technique he used to great effect in shadowing Daredevil's red costume. Let other people ink Daredevil or the Cat, and they often leave out most of the shadow, which makes the costumes look quite a bit different, and maybe a bit sillier. I don't know if Wood was the first one to ever use this shadowing technique to mute bright colors on nocturnal costumes, but he's the first one I ever noticed. He tends to use a lot of shadow on all of his costumed characters, but these two characters in particular seem to get the full treatment.
Maybe he intended to mute the bright colors, maybe not, I don't really know. Probably he did it for more than one reason.
Posted by: Holt | January 19, 2018 5:28 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|