FROM THE VAULT: The Cat: Claw of the Cat #1

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FROM THE VAULT:  The Cat: Claw of the Cat #1

 The Cat: Claw of the Cat #1

Published:  January 1972
Writer: Linda Fite
Artist: Wally Wood
Editor Roy Thomas

Why is The Cat: Claw of the Cat #1 cool?

The Cat #1 is the first appearance of Greer Grant Nelson also known as the Cat and later on as Tigra.  The suit that Greer Grant Nelson uses is also later used by Trish Patsy Walker a character that appeared in the Jessica Jones Netflix series.  In the comics Trish becomes the hero known as Hellcat.

The Cat is one of a group of female characters introduced in 1972 due to an attempt by Stan Lee to add female characters to Marvel universe.  The characters introduced were The Cat, Night Nurse, and Shanna the She-Devil.

In a 2007 interview with Editor Roy Thomas in alter ego magazine (Page 49-50) said Stan Lee.
... wanted to do some books that would have special appeal to girls. We were always looking for way to expand our franchise. My idea ... was to try to get women to write them. And of course, if we could get a woman to draw them, too, that was great. Stan tapped [artist] Marie [Severin] ... for The Cat. ... [Writer] Linda Fite was working on staff, had done a couple of X-Men back-up features
In 2015 Marvel is trying to add a diverse array of characters to help diversify both their heroes and their readership base.  Some of the current wave additions were added with some of the same ideas as this older wave, and also with an attempt to avoid some of the pitfalls.  What pitfalls were there?  Well to some the stories told in this series were not very good and came across as shallow pandering.  Another critique of the Cat is that she was too sensual to appeal to females, defeating the original intent of the character in the first place.  Due to this the sales of the Cat series were not particularly strong.  Later though the Cat character was revamped as the even more catlike hero Tigra.  Tigra's solo series also ran into sales troubles but eventually the character found a home in various Avenger related comics.
Another character closer to the original idea of the Cat also appeared in Hellcat.  This version using the former female character heroine also had moments of popularity.

Now for The Cat: Claw of the Cat #1 !
I personally think this story is one of those stories that is really hilarious by trying to be too serious.  It's whole message ends becoming drowned and lost in the bizarre and mixed messages of its story.  Some modern stories like Ms Marvel have done female stories so much better that it makes looking at this first attempt pretty laughable.

The book begins right away with Cat in action.  While this seems to be an almost normal way of starting stories now it must have been very unique at the time because Marvel inserted an editorial box to inform the reader that they have not missed anything.

The Cat Prowls!

The Cat is out to avenge her friend Dr Tumalo who had turned her into the Cat.  The killer is the evil crime lord Donalbain.  Donalbain is trying to use the experiment that created the Cat to create an army of Amazon women. The women would be his version of the perfect women, powerful but entirely obedient (mind controlled).  Why does he want an army of Amazon women?  It has something to do with.......Health clubs .........gasp.  I have no idea how an Amazon army and health clubs go together but apparently it is really, really bad.   He created his version who was mentally enslaved but she died doing a jump off a ledge that he ordered her to do.

The book bounces back and forth between the Cat's battle with Donalbain and flashbacks to how she was created.

Donalbain also has a giant dude who also has a mind control collar.

There are flashbacks to Greer Grant Nelson's marriage where she is told to stay home by her husband.  I think we are supposed to feel bad when he dies from being shot on the line of duty but he comes across as chauvinist douche.   After his death Greer Grant Nelson looks for work but is only able to find jobs as a boring secretary.

I can't figure out if you were supposed to feel bad for her that her husband died and she had to go work, or if you were supposed to cheer because she was freed.  This might be why the comic failed as it comes across as just bizarre.  Its hard to tell if its chauvinist or pandering or is just outright bizarre.  The villain is certainly outright bizarre.

Bill Nelson

She declines this work and goes back to school.  At school she meets Dr Tumalo who later brings her into her female perfection experiment that results in her being turned into the Cat.
The experiment boosts Greer to her full mental and physical potential.  She is also given a suit that grants her special Cat like powers.


In the end the Cat teers through the goons and faces Donalbain one on one.   She touches him and apparently he can't stand being touched. He freaks out and shoots himself.  I found this be to bizarre end to a bizarre villain.  Facing the gory seen the Cat wonders if she used her powers appropriately.

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