Sunday, September 4, 2016


In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Catman as #9 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics".

Catman was created by writer Bill Finger (who co-created Batman) and penciller Jim Mooney. He made his first appearance as an enemy of Batman's in Detective Comics #311 (January 1963). This was the era of camp, and Catman was a Batman parody. Thomas Blake was a world-famous trapper who specialized in jungle cats. After squandering his money and becoming bored with hunting, he turned to a life of crime. He copied Catwoman's disguise, and stole only items with a "cat" theme such as cat statues, "cat's eyes" emeralds, and so on. He made a second appearance in Detective Comics #318 (August 1963), and reveals that his African cloth costume gives him nine lives. He appeared over the years in various Batman titles, but always as a joke -- never a real threat.

And that was the last you saw of Catman.............

In 1992, Catman appeared in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #7 (December 1992) as a member of "The Misfits", a team of C-grade villains led by Killer Moth. He resurfaced in 2003 in Green Arrow Vol. 3, #17 as a pathetic, overweight loser.

Writer Gail Simone resurrected Catman -- and turned him into his modern incarnations -- in the 2005 mini-series Villains United. In the first issue (Villains United #1 [July 2005]), it's revealed that Blake has returned in Africa to live with a pride of lions. He's regained his self-esteem, buffed up, and learned extensive new fighting skills. He's also got three massive cat-claw scars on his chest, which mimic the cat-claw symbol on his costume's chest. Alexander Luthor, Jr. (impersonating Lex Luthor), has reformed the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and offers Catman membership. He turns them down, and Luther has his pride of lions killed. When the Secret Six approach him, he joined them, since they are waging war against the Secret Society of Super Villains.

Simone turned Catman into an impressive anti-hero. Now imbued with a sense of honor, nobility, and strong personal ethics, he acts like a hero. But he loathes super-heroes, whom he sees as arrogant and abusing their power. During this period, Catman apparently killed some lion poachers in Africa, leading him to begin questioning whether he was truly heroic. Catman later came to lead the Secret Six.

The Secret Six ended its run with #36 in October 2011, cancelled by DC Comics -- along with every other comic book the company owned -- as part of their universe-wide reboot. This reboot, known as "Flashpoint", which was followed by "The New 52" relaunch -- was the third reboot in six years. Oy... After the cancellation, Simone said she had wanted to make Catman bisexual, but the book's cancellation prevented her from revealing this.

When the new Secret Six comic book launched in December 2015 (Secret Six Vol. 4, #1 [February 2015]), Catman was again part of the group, with an updated costume.

One of Simone's running gags with Catman is that he now "marks" his victims. Usually, this takes the form of him scarring them. But recently, when a law enforcement officer "insisted" that Catman come with him quietly and go to prison, it took a new turn:
"If you insist? Then I mess you up so bad you never walk right again, and I spray in your face so people know whose property you are."

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