terra: (kate)
[personal profile] terra posting in [community profile] scans_daily
So I've been trying to post scans of the early days of some Marvel ladies. I've kinda fallen behind on that, but someone requested Tigra a while ago, and her story is really interesting. I have a feeling that today many readers see Tigra as furrry fetish fuel, given her stint on the West Coast Avengers where animal lust made her work her way through the team, and the fact that this is the internet. But Tigra's origins can be traced back to 1972, arguably the first Year of Women at Marvel.

And I mean, just look at her culturally relevant zingers!

According to my briefest of wiki research, in the early seventies Stan Lee decided to go after girls. As a demographic.
He 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.

And so a trio of comics was launched, each with women on writing duties: Shanna the She-Devil, Night Nurse, and The Claws of the Cat. (I think the first ongoing solo superheroine feature in the MU was Black Widow which ran w/The Inhumans in Amazing Adventures starting in 1970. But if anyone's got an earlier one, I'm curious!) Anyway, Claws of the Cat was pennned by Linda Fite, who'd previously done some X-men backups, with Marie Severin and Wally Wood credited as artists. The story begins with a woman in a cat costume scaling a building, breaking into it, and roughing up some goons, on a mysterious quest for vengeance. She's doing quite well, but then some ~mysterious gas~ starts seeping into the room, and knocks her out, prompting her to dream of the trajectory of events that got her here.

Bill Nelson flirts with her a bit, and then—

Bill seems like a jerk to me, but you know, the gender binary hurts men, too. Anyway, she loves him, but one day after a date at the movies, he runs to interrupt a hold-up in progress and gets shot.

Greer explains her situation to Dr. Tumolo, and gets offered a job as a lab assistant. She goes back to school and studies hard, not wanting to let the professor down. Just as Greer seems to be gaining self confidence, we're back to the main narrative, where the Cat's been restrained in an omnimous labratory. She regongnizes the boss as Mal Donalbain "world famous sportsman, eccentric, and entrepreneur" who has a machine to show her.

Apparently this contraption is the source of Greer's powers, and he also has a plan to take over the world with evil health clubs. The story flashes back to Greer's first meeting with Donalbain, who had been funding some of Dr. T's experiments.

Dr. Timulto is furious Donalbain would take over her experiments like that. She'd hoped Greer would be the first test subject. (Being a test subject is a much higher honor in the Marvel Universe than our own.) Greer says that she can just use the machine on her anyway, and not tell Donalbain, so both girls are stuck in the machine.

Greer is shown swinging around and doing feats of gymnastics as well. Shirlee hasn't been as successful, because of her lack of dedication. Dr. Tumolo goes to tell Donalbain this, but when she gets to his penthouse, she finds a secred lab where all her equipment has been duplicated!! They're dressing Shirlee up in some kind of cat costume, and now they want her to wear a collar.

At last, the perfect woman! If the male dominance themes of this issue have been too subtle for you up until now.

The Cat costume comes with a bunch of weird gizmos, like claws for climbing. Donalbain orders Shirlee to climb and leap around the building, but the treatments didn't work so well with her, and she falls to her death. Dr. Tumolo blames herself for this, and discovers, to her horror, a whole closet full of cat costumes, showing that he intends to repeat the experiment and turn more women into brainwashed slaves. Tumolo grabs one of the costumes "for proof" and returns and explains the whole thing to Greer. They plan to meet at Tumolo's apartment and call the police, but this is an origin story, people.

Greer's works to dismantle the machine, when Donalbain and his #1 giant henchman show up.

Destroying the equipment short-circuits the electrical system, causing the lights to go out.

Remember, the guy has a fear of physical contact. So she keeps trolling him like this, until...

At this point the lab is in flames and it's time to get out of here. As she escapes, Greer wonders if she did the right thing, to avenge Shirlee and Dr. Tumolo herself, instead of waiting for the police.

And that's the end of the first issue. Claws of the Cat ran for three more before being canceled, and it was mostly standard superhero fare but with cast-off Daredevil villains. Cast-off pre-Miller Daredevil villains. Next time I'll cover the introduction of the Cat People and Greer's transformation into Tigra.

About six pages from The Cat #1.

Date: 2010-09-09 11:24 am (UTC)
geoffsebesta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geoffsebesta

Could it be...the secret origin of Squirrel Girl?!?!? Whatever happened to Shirlee? Did they find a corpse?

I love Tigra and that is all.


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