The Cat #1
Published and © by Marvel, November 1972
Title: “Beware the Claws of … the Cat!”
Synopsis: Looking to avenge the death of her mentor, the Cat takes the fight to a touch-phobic madman.
Writers (co-plotters): Roy Thomas and Linda Fite
Writer (script): Fite
Penciler: Marie Severin
Inker: Wally Wood
Review: Few comics are so clearly a product of their times as The Cat #1. Powered by science – and women’s-lib clichés – the Cat fights a touch-phobic, scarf-wearing madman who is armed with henchmen; an enslaved, muscle-bound boy toy; and a plan to open a chain of health clubs run by an army of mind-controlled superwomen. You can’t make this stuff up – but Linda Fite (with an assist from Roy Thomas) and Marie Severin (inked by Wally Wood) can! This one might not hold up as a straightforward superhero comic, but, as a relic of the ’70s, it’s incredibly fun.
Second opinion: “The Cat was not explicitly bad, but suffered from a scarcity of subplots, uninspiring villains and a lack of direction.” – Adrian P. Snowdon, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “Artists Marie Severin and Wally Wood do a great job on both the headlong action sequences and the character-driven scenes. …Linda Fite puts strong emphasis on characterization.” – J. Kevin Carrier, Comic Effect #7, Autumn 1994 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.
Cool factor: Where to start: The heroine? The villain? The rampant gender confusion? Or maybe the great art, reuniting EC alums Marie Severin and Wally Wood. (Though, if the plan was to reach out to female readers, one has to question bringing in one of the premiere cheesecake artists of all time as inker!)
Not-so-cool factor: Knowing Marvel didn’t give this series a chance to grow (it was canceled after just four issues).
Notable: First appearance of the Cat (who would later become Tigra).
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “Have I become a stronger woman – only to become a poorer human being?” – The Cat, engaging in a little internal monologue
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on March 23, 2010.
Ha, I’d forgotten that I’d reviewed The Cat for Comic Effect way back when. I still think #1 is one of the strongest debut issues ever. Too bad it fell apart so quickly.
Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for writing that review way back when. I loved the mission of Comic Effect – “Emphasizing the Fun of Reading Comics” – and really miss it. Jim Kingman did a great job with that zine.