If you follow DC comics, you may be familiar with their version of a character named Cat-Man, but long before he showed up, that named was used by a golden age superhero.
Cat-Man and Kitten (also Catman and Kitten and The Cat-Man and the Kitten) were a pair of superhero characters created by Charles M. Quinlan and Irwin Hasen (who also created Wild Cat and Dondi) and first published in 1940 by now-defunct Holyoke Publishing. Due to circumstances in World War II, a radically-altered version of the characters would be published in Australia during WWII and reprinted in the 1950s. AC Comics would later revive the characters in the 1980s.
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In 1940, Holyoke published Crash Comics Adventures #4 and 5, which first showed Cat-Man. Cat-Man was David Merryweather, a man raised in Burma by a tigress after his parents had been killed. From living with tigers for years, he gained superhuman abilities, such as super-strength, enhanced agility, natural night vision and the legendary "9 lives" of cats. Eventually, David returned to the U.S., where he was horrified by criminals preying on the innocent. To stop this, he became a private investigator; later, he would become an officer in the Army. Assigned to stateside duties, he donned an olive and orange costume with a black cat's-head symbol and became Cat-Man.
Cat-Man proved popular enough to earn his own series in May, 1941. In #5, Cat-Man encountered Katie Conn, a young girl raised by her uncle, a villain who unsuccessfully tried to kill Cat-Man, at the cost of his own life. With no one else to turn to, David became a legal guardian to Katie, who eventually designed matching red and yellow costumes, fighting alongside Cat-Man as the Kitten. As the series continued, Katie matured and David was promoted to the rank of captain.
Cat-Man Comics ran for 32 issues, until 1946, when Holyoke folded. Eventually, the characters fell into the public domain.
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