Wildcat (comics)

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Wildcat
Wildcat grant.jpg
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Sensation Comics # 1 (January 1942)
Created by Bill Finger
Irwin Hasen
In-story information
Alter ego Ted Grant
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Suicide Squad
All-Star Squadron
Abilities Expert krav-maga fighter
World Champion Boxer
Peak of human physical condition
Nine lives at any given time

Wildcat is the name of several fictional characters, all DC Comics superheroes. The first and most famous of these is Ted Grant, a long-time member of the Justice Society of America. Created by writer Bill Finger and illustrator Irwin Hasen, Grant first appeared in Sensation Comics # 1 (January 1942). A world-class heavyweight boxer, Grant became inadvertently entangled in the criminal underworld and developed a costumed identity to clear his name.

Modern portrayals of Wildcat show him to be a rowdy tough guy with a streak of male chauvinism, leading to frequent clashes with the relatively progressive Power Girl, as well as exploring some of the character's insecurities. Meanwhile, a magical "nine lives" spell has explained his vitality at an old age. Like many older JSA members, he's been a mentor to younger heroes, particularly Batman and Black Canary.

Other characters have taken Grant's name and identity, including a temporary Grant's goddaughter Yolanda Montez, who temporarily replaced him, and Grant's son Tom Bronson, a metahuman werecat who is taken under Grant's wing as a second Wildcat and a Justice Society member in late-2000s stories.

Tomahawk's Rangers[edit]

Wildcat (real name unknown) was a member of Tomahawk's Rangers, who fought for independence in the American Revolution during the 18th century. His first appearance was in Tomahawk #92 (May/June 1964), and was created by France Herron, Fred Ray, Murray Boltinoff, and Dan Spiegle. His choice of pseudonym has no connection to Ted Grant or the "Wildcat" superhero legacy he started, and by convention, Ted Grant is usually referred to as "Wildcat I".

Ted Grant[edit]

Ted Grant is a normal human who was, at some unspecified point, magically given nine lives. He remains at the peak of human condition due to extensive, regular exercise. He is a world-class boxer who trained Batman, Black Canary, and even Superman in the art. He was trained to fighting condition by ex-boxer Joe Morgan (the same man who trained Grant's fellow mystery men, Atom and the Guardian).

Earth-Two[edit]

Ted Grant donned the Wildcat costume beginning in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942), the same issue in which Wonder Woman and Mister Terrific premiered.

Wildcat in the 1940s; art by Irwin Hasen

Wildcat's origin is chronicled in Sensation Comics #1 as well as Secret Origins #3 (1973) and All-Star Squadron Annual #1 (1982). Henry Grant vowed on his baby son's crib that the child would not grow up afraid of life, and so he encouraged his son in sports and paid for coaching that would have continued into the young man's college days except that both Henry Grant and his wife died. Orphaned in the days of the Great Depression Ted Grant found himself unemployed in the big city. One night he saved "Socker" Smith, the heavyweight boxing champ, from a mugging. "Socker" took Ted under his wings and soon Ted was a heavyweight champ in his own right. He also unknowingly became tangled in his manager's sinister plans. As a result, his mentor "Socker" Smith was killed by a boxing glove loaded with a poison needle by Grant's managers Flint and Skinner. The dose was only intended to slow Smith, but the duo misjudged the potency. When Grant was arrested for the crime, Flint and Skinner, afraid he might know what had happened, arranged a hit on the young fighter. Ted Grant survived, but the policemen with him were dead. He became a fugitive and came upon a kid who was robbed of his Green Lantern comic. The kid, describing the mystery-man Green Lantern, inspired Ted to create a costume of a large black cat. He took the name of Wildcat and vowed to clear his name. He brought Flint and Skinner to justice, and the villains were forced to confess and Grant's name was cleared. Wildcat continued to fight against crime.

In the pages of All Star Comics Wildcat had a few adventures as a member of the Justice Society of America and in the 1980s when the All-Star Squadron was published and created a retroactive continuity in which the majority of WWII mystery-men interacted with each other, Wildcat had a place as a member of that conglomeration of heroes as well. The 1970s run of All Star Comics (1976–1979) had Wildcat play a central role as a Justice Society member. In the story arc which saw Green Lantern go berserk and Commissioner Bruce Wayne issue arrest warrants for the JSA, it was Wildcat's ability to look fear in the face that allowed him to defeat the mastermind of the disaster: the second Psycho-Pirate. In 1985, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ted's legs were shattered by an out-of-control Red Tornado and he was told he would never walk again, but he soon discovered he had a god-daughter who became the second Wildcat (see below).

Earth-One[edit]

An Earth-One version of Ted Grant existed pre-Crisis and teamed up with Batman on several occasions, himself a retired world heavyweight champion like his Earth-Two counterpart. This Grant had a relatively minor career, and much of his early years were left unchronicled as to his origin, although his origin is likely similar to the golden age Ted Grant. This version of Ted Grant ceased to exist following the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, with the Earth-Two version becoming the dominant version on the new unified universe, although it was still said Post-Crisis that Batman received some training from Ted Grant.[citation needed]

Post-Crisis[edit]

In the post-Crisis reboot, Ted Grant's injuries sustained during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths were downgraded from paraplegia to less severe injuries that Ted quickly recovered from. He was also still a former heavyweight champion of the world. In addition, Ted is credited for being an expert at several other martial arts, including Krav Maga, Hapkido, Muay Thai, and Capoeira, though he prefers to trade punches as part of his brawling style. Even in his advanced years, Ted has, on several occasions, knocked out experienced fighters with a single punch.

After the Crisis, Ted was present when the JSA willfully exiled themselves into Limbo in order to prevent the Norse Mythology event known as Ragnarok as part of a time loop. He remained there for several years until he was freed with the rest of the JSA in Armageddon: Inferno. He was present during the Justice Society's disastrous fight with Extant during Zero Hour and fell victim to Extant's time manipulation powers, which restored Wildcat to his proper age of being an elderly, sickly man. However, following the universe being reset at the end of Zero Hour, Wildcat along with Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick (also a victim of Extant), found themselves once again deaged, possessing bodies that were in their 50s healthwise.

Wildcat and Hippolyta share an intimate moment. Art by Phil Jimenez.

In the wake of Zero Hour, Wildcat retired from active crimefighting and became a full-time trainer again in his role a professional boxer. In private, he continues to train younger superheroes in martial arts. It was in the wake of Zero Hour as well, that new details were revealed about Wildcat's past: one was the existence of two sons. One of the sons, Jake (conceived in the 1950s during a relationship with a woman named Irina) was stolen from the two by one of Ted's enemies, the Yellow Wasp as a replacement for his own biological son, who the evil scientist transformed into a half-wasp, half-human abomination. Another son, Tom Bronson, was conceived in a one-night stand after stopping the Gambler shortly after Wildcat came out of retirement. Though Ted knew about Tom, he did not enter the boy's life until recently when the villainous Vandal Savage began systematically murdering the children and grandchildren of the Golden Age heroes and heroines. Ted also had torrid affairs with Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman, who Ted trained briefly[1]) as well as an affair, during the 1940s, with Queen Hippolyta.[2]

Twice during his post-Zero Hour retirement, Ted was severely injured defending innocent lives. The first was to defend patrons of the bar 'Warriors', run by the ex-Green Lantern Guy Gardner.[3] Later he was injured in rescue operations during a planet-wide snowfall.[4] Both times he was treated on site at Warriors, which has extensive medical facilities. He recovers from both instances.

Wildcat possesses "9 Lives", a result of the magician Zatara altering a curse placed upon him by a sorcerer named King Inferno after Ted refused to throw a boxing match for the wizard. Due to Zatara's actions, Ted was given 9 lives as opposed to turning into a cat as King Inferno wanted. Since then, Wildcat has lost his various 9 lives through a variety of deaths, many of which occurred off-panel.

Wildcat was also one of the many combat instructors sought out by a young Bruce Wayne on the path towards becoming Batman. He also helped mentor Black Canary, teaching her a variety of boxing techniques suited to her build (mainly without the knowledge- or consent- of her mother, the original Black Canary, who was strongly opposed to her daughter following in her footsteps).

More darkly, was the revelations in JSA #52-54 that Wildcat willingly framed an innocent man for the murder of his girlfriend and that said innocent man was executed for the murder Wildcat framed him for. Wildcat was attacked by the latest version of the Crimson Avenger, who after "killing" Wildcat (who survived due to his nine lives) reluctantly left the hero alone after Wildcat attempted to justify his illegal action by pointing out that the man he framed, murdered his girlfriend's killer in cold blood, resulting in Wildcat's decision to frame the man for a crime he didn't commit in order to punish him for his revenge murder.

In Justice Society of America #34, Mordru told Ted that he had 9 lives for every "cycle," although Mordru did not explain what duration this entailed. This means that Ted has somehow regained his spent lives. In Justice Society of America #36 this has been confirmed. Ted has now 9 lives at any given time, meaning he has to be killed 9 times in rapid succession to be killed permanently. It is revealed he is descended from an English Duke, allowing him to defeat the Gentleman Ghost who can be killed by those of noble blood.

Yolanda Montez[edit]

Yolanda Montez.

Born with meta-human powers due to the machinations of the villainous Doctor Benjamin Love, Yolanda Montez became the god-daughter of Ted "Wildcat" Grant, a good friend of her father, "Mauler" Montez. Due to the prenatal treatments given to her mother, Yolanda was born with retractable claws on her fingers and toes, and cat-like agility. She concealed her abilities and lived a normal life. Yolanda became a journalist, working for "Rock Stars Magazine". Ted became injured in the Crisis and Yolanda used her powers to become the new Wildcat.[5] She joined Infinity Inc. shortly afterward. She fought the good fight for years before being killed by Eclipso,[6] alongside her other teammates in the Shadow Fighters. Yolanda's cousin Alex later became Eclipso.[7]

Hector Ramirez[edit]

Hector Ramirez first appeared in Batman/Wildcat # 1 (April 1997), and was created by Chuck Dixon, Beau Smith, and Sergio Cariello. He was a boxing protégé of Ted Grant, the Golden Age Wildcat. After learning that Ted used to be Wildcat, Hector aspired to be his successor, something Ted refused. Hector then took one of Ted's old costumes and went out as Wildcat in Gotham City. In an attempt to break up a secret fight club where caged villains fought to death, Ramirez was himself caught, and killed by Killer Croc in the ring. The operators of the Secret Ring, Lock-Up and Ernie Chubb, were eventually apprehended by Ted and Batman.

Tom Bronson[edit]

Bronson as a "were-panther". Art by Dale Eaglesham.

It was later revealed that Ted Grant has a son that he never met before by the name of Tom Bronson.[8] Tom's mother was a woman with whom Ted had a one-night stand. Tom does not appear to be bitter toward Ted for not being involved in his life, but states that he does not believe he will ever be the next Wildcat (stating that he hadn't been in a fight since the 8th grade, and lost that one).

It was revealed that Tom is a metahuman.[9] When Wildcat is attacked by Vandal Savage, Tom turns into a werecat (Tomcat), very similar to the Kingdom Come version of Wildcat, which is humanoid, but with head-to-toe black fur, a panther-like face, claws and a tail and is able to change back and forth at will. Tom manages to hold out in the fight against Savage until help arrives, despite the near-immortal's desire to kill (and eat) him.

In Justice Society of America 80 page Giant Sized (2010), it is revealed that Tom's mother, with whom it is discovered Wildcat had slightly more than a one night stand with, had the same powers as her son, but would change involuntarily every month during her monthly cycle. After a minor battle involving Wildcat, Tom's mother and the first Huntress, Paula Brooks, Wildcat takes Tom's mother to see Dr. Midnite who cured her of the involuntary aspect of her power, allowing her to change at will instead. While she was unconscious, Wildcat told Dr. Midnite to 'fix her and send her on her way', not out of rejection, but to protect her from being involved in his dangerous way of life and leaves. Shortly afterwards, Dr. Midnite discovers that she is pregnant and reveals this to his now conscious patient. She ultimately decides to withhold this new information from Wildcat, but her motivations are unclear. She raises the child herself, apparently never revealing her powers to her son.

Tom slowly forms a bond with Ted and eventually (after some initial reluctance) agrees to share the "Wildcat" codename with his father, at which point he is introduced and inducted into the Justice Society.[10]

In a team-up with the Justice League, he talks to Vixen and indicates the presence of enhanced animalistic senses.

When the JSA become divided on how good the god-like being Gog is, Tom believes in the being while his father opposes him.

During the Final Crisis, both Tom and Wildcat team up with Iman, Power Girl, and several other superheroes in battling Darkseid's forces.

In the 2010 story arc, the Justice Society splits into two teams independent of each other and Tom decides to join the All-Stars team, with Wildcat on the other. It is not known at that point if this has to do with any friction between him and his father. He also seems to be now referred to as Tomcat.

Other versions[edit]

The Sandman/Prez[edit]

Wildcat is portrayed as boxer (not superhero) Ted Grant in Prez Rickard's world in The Sandman: Worlds' End.[11] A woman obsessed with Wildcat shoots at Prez and his girlfriend, killing her and injuring him. Prez has Wildcat spend several hours with him while he is at the hospital. It is said that there is no ill will between them—Prez even offered clemency to the assassin, but she was still sent to the electric chair.

Kingdom Come[edit]

In Kingdom Come, Alex Ross (and writer Mark Waid) portrayed Wildcat as a humanoid panther with the soul of Ted Grant. He is seen working with Batman's group (with the other offspring of the Justice League). It is not really clear if he dies or not at the end of the comic, when the UN unleashes a nuclear attack against the metahumans.

DC: The New Frontier[edit]

Wildcat cameos as the world heavyweight champion, defending the title against Cassius Clay.

Tangent Comics[edit]

In Tangent: Superman's Reign #3, the Wildcat of Earth-9 is revealed to be a large humanoid cat creature, a member of the Nightwing organisation's Covert Ops team.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Wildcat as seen in Justice League Unlimited.
  • Wildcat (Ted Grant) appeared in the animated series Justice League Unlimited voiced by Dennis Farina of Midnight Run and Little Big League. He had a prominent role alongside Black Canary and Green Arrow in the 2005 episode "The Cat and the Canary" where he was competing in Roulette's Meta-Brawl after he became less involved in missions, leaving him to train the other heroes on the Watchtower. He defeated Sportsmaster, but his match with the Atomic Skull was interrupted by Green Arrow and Black Canary.
    Black Canary made a deal with Roulette for her to fight her mentor; if she won, Roulette would ban Wildcat from MetaBrawl forever, but if Wildcat won, Black Canary would never get involved with his life there again. Green Arrow used a knockout gas arrow on Black Canary, and fought Wildcat instead and faked his own death using an unseen stunner that put him in metabolic stasis. This helped Wildcat see the horror of the match and quit; afterwards, Wildcat is seen in therapy with Martian Manhunter. In the subsequent episodes "Dark Heart" and "Panic in the Sky", Wildcat appears among the League's front-line fighters.
  • Wildcat appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Enter the Outsiders!" voiced by Golden Globe-nominee R. Lee Ermey.[12] He was previously a mentor to Batman as he was seen training with Batman yet doesn't want to give up fighting crime. He helps Batman in his fight against the Outsiders (Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho) who are working for Slug. They later found Slug's hideout, but ended up captured and were about to be fed to the giant turtles. Due to trash talking, he released Wildcat, but left Batman for the giant turtles. Wildcat fought against Slug, defeated him, and threw him in the polluted river. Wildcat persuaded the Outsiders to not consider themselves as freaks. Slug emerged from the polluted na, Black Lightning and Metamorpho reactivated Wildcat's heart. Wildcat later trains the Outsiders in boxing. He appeared again in "Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!" in the sub-plot to help Batman against Bane. At first he thought Bane was a pushover (he was puzzled whether to punch him, or feed him a protein shake), but after seeing him enhanced with Venom, he began to think twice. Wildcat used one of Batman's batarangs to cut the Venom tube that strengthened him. This was done on a set of train tracks, therefore shocking Bane once the tube's liquid poured out onto the tracks. Wildcat appears as a member of the JSA in the episode "The Golden Age of Justice!". Black Canary, in a bid to help the others see that she's an adult now, helps him face his greatest regret: not being able to help the original Black Canary. He, along with Black Canary, help the rest of the JSA and Batman in the fight against Per Degaton. Wildcat appears again as a member of the JSA in the episode "Crisis 22,300 Miles Above Earth!" where he is invited with the rest of his team up to Justice League International's satellite, and end up getting into fisticuffs with them. The two teams later teamed up to help Batman take down Ra's al Ghul. Additionally, Ted appears in a non-speaking cameo in the two parts of the episode "The Siege of Starro!", first, among the heroes possessed by Starro, and later, as one of the heroes that have already broken free of Starro's mind control, and battle against him.
  • Ted briefly appears in the Smallville episode "Absolute Justice" (which featured the Justice Society) played by actor Roger Hasket. Chloe Sullivan and Clark Kent find old black-and-white footage of Ted, along with his criminal record. Very little is said about him, other than that he is still alive and is a heavyweight champion. His boxing gloves are later showed, in a display case at the JSA Brownstone.
  • Wildcat also appears briefly in the episode "Humanity" of Young Justice, in which he appears during a flashback scene taking place in the 1930s, among other well known members of the Justice Society of America, such as Jay Garrick and Alan Scott.

Film[edit]

  • Ted Grant appears both in and out of costume in the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. He is seen in costume in the opening credits and later out of costume fighting in a boxing match with a man named Cooke. In this film, he is a former member of the now retired JSA (who had disbanded after the death of Hourman).
  • An alternate version of Wildcat from a parallel Earth appears briefly in the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. He is among the underlings of the Crime Syndicate known as the Made Men.

Video Game[edit]

Toys[edit]

Parodies[edit]

Reception[edit]

IGN listed Wildcat as the 71st greatest comic book character of all time stating that due to his age as a superhero the Wildcat is almost more mystifying than The Spectre.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Catwoman: Year One (February 1989)
  2. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #185 (November 2002)
  3. ^ Guy Gardner Warrior #38 (January 1996)
  4. ^ Final Night #1-4 (November 1996)
  5. ^ Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 (September 1985)
  6. ^ Eclipso #13 (November 1993)
  7. ^ JSA #46-51 Princes of Darkness (May-October 2003)
  8. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #2 (March 2007)
  9. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #3 (April 2007)
  10. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #4 (May 2007)
  11. ^ Sandman (vol. 2) #54 (October 1993)
  12. ^ "Interview". Collider.com. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  13. ^ "Wildcat is number 71". IGN. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 

External links[edit]