Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CatMan...nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah...CatMan...

Welcome to ENHANCED Hero(ine) Histories!
As of this entry, we'll be presenting the actual origin stories (many never reprinted), whenever possible.
In addition, we'll be "retrofitting" our already-existing entries on our brother-blog Hero & Heroine Histories with re-presented origin stories as they are digitally-prepped.

Debuting in Crash Comics #4, "The Cat-Man" as he was initially-known, had an amazingly-detailed (and politically-incorrect) origin crammed into only six pages...
Now, it would be a six-issue mini-series with at least two tie-ins with other books...
After the next (and last) issue of Crash Comics, the character was revamped and given his own book.
(Crash wasn't cancelled! It was simply retitled Cat-Man Comics*.)
David Merrywether doffed the furs and picked up a more traditional costume.
Somebody realized that the "nine lives" gimmick would only work for nine issues, so Cat-Man apparently became more cautious, since he wasn't killed and ressurected on a monthly basis after his first issue (which left him with six lives)!
He retained his other cat-powers.
Initally a private investigator, Merrywether made two major changes as of #5.
He joined the Army, and due to influental connections, was immedately made a lieutenant and given Stateside duty.
And his costumed alter-ego acquired a kid sidekick, when he rescued young Katie Conn, whose circus acrobat parents had been killed in an accident, from a life of crime with her criminal uncle.
Nobody minded bachelor Merrywether "adopting" the girl, nor did they notice that Cat-Man suddenly acquired a girl crimefighting partner who went from about 12 (see top of page) to a rather voluptuous 18 (see left) in a year!
The series continued until #32 in 1946, when the publisher went out of business.
An Australian publisher did several new stories after the supply of American-produced material dried-up, but that didn't last long.

Alex Ross has included both Cat-Man and Kitten in his Project SuperPowers series which utilizes forgotten characters from defunct publishers, with Cat-Man becoming a feral cat-creature now called "Man-Cat".
Kitten, thankfully didn't share that fate.

We've also revived the originals on a line of kool kollectibles including a 12-month calendar, t-shirts, mugs, and other goodies!

Cat-Man's got a new lease on life! Let's see how long it lasts.

*While the renamed book carried a cover numbering from #1 on, the indicia listed it as #6 on, continuing the Crash Comics numbering so the publisher could continue to use the 2nd Class Mail license issued for Crash! (The licenses were expensive, and publishers had to purchase a new one for each new title they published!) It's also why Amazing-Man Comics, began at #5, continuing the numbering from it's predecessor, Motion Picture Funnies Weekly!

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