Monday, May 11, 2009

Free Comics Monday: Cat-Man

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.

From wikipedia:

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.

[ Catman 29 ]

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.

Catman 32

[ Catman 32 ]

- Enjoy!


cash_gorman said...

Cat-man got a different origin later on. From my site: Issue 27 gives a second version of the origins of Cat-Man and Kitten. In this one, Cat-Man's mom is is the best animal trainer in the country. As such, as a kid, he's completely at home with the big cats who accept him as their own. When his mom is killed under mysterious circumstances, he grows up to follow in his mother's footsteps. He also learns the ways of the cats, able to move as stealthily as them. One day he finds an orphaned baby in the pen with Tamara, his favorite cat who seems to accept the baby as well as she accepts David. The only name on the tag is "Rosetta" so he names her Katie "Kitten Rose" Rosetta in honor. The steps from there to them actually becoming the crime-fighting duo Cat-Man and Kitten are unclear though. The story does mean that David Merryweather had raised Kitten from baby to young teen, thus may be a bit older than your average mystery man of this time.

Jim Shelley said...

cash - thank you for the information! I'm actually going to do another post with Cat-Man, as Pierre was very taking with the character and has sketched up a Bob Morane version of Cat-Man. I'd like to repost your information with a link to your site if I may. :)


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