Patsy Walker

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Patsy Walker
Patsy Walker (Hellcat).jpg
Hellcat.
Art by Stuart Immonen.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance As Patsy Walker:
Miss America Magazine #2 (Nov. 1944)
As Hellcat:
The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976)
Created by As Patsy Walker:
Otto Binder (writer)
Ruth Atkinson (artist)
As Hellcat
In-story information
Alter ego Patricia "Patsy" Walker
Species Human (empowered)
Team affiliations Defenders
Avengers
Lady Liberators
Legion of the Unliving
Notable aliases Hellcat
Abilities Well-trained martial artist and gymnast
Psychic senses
Force field generation
Wrist-mounted retractable claws and grappling hooks

Hellcat (Patricia "Patsy" Walker) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She premiered as the star of a teen romantic-comedy series and was later integrated into Marvel superhero franchises such as the Avengers and the Defenders.

Created by Otto Binder and Ruth Atkinson, Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 (Nov. 1944), published by Marvel precursor Timely Comics, and became Hellcat in The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976).

Rachael Taylor plays a version of the character, called Trish Walker, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series Jessica Jones, which premiered on Netflix in November 2015.

Publication history[edit]

Teen-humor heroine[edit]

The humor-comic Patsy in Patsy and Hedy #72 (Oct. 1960), a spinoff of the flagship title Patsy Walker. Cover art by Al Hartley.

Created by writer Otto Binder and artist Ruth Atkinson, Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 (cover-dated Nov. 1944), published by Marvel precursor Timely Comics.[1] Redheaded Patsy Walker, her parents Stanley and Betty, her boyfriend Robert "Buzz" Baxter, and her raven-haired friendly rival Hedy Wolfe appeared from the 1940s through 1967 in issues of Miss America, Teen Comics, Girls' Life, and the namesake teen-humor series Patsy Walker[2] and its spin-offs: Patsy and Hedy, Patsy and Her Pals, and the single-issue A Date with Patsy. Attesting to its quiet popularity, Patsy Walker (along with Millie the Model and Kid Colt, Outlaw) was among the very few titles published continuously by Marvel from the 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books, through Marvel's 1950s iteration as Atlas Comics, and into the 1960s Silver Age of Comic Books.

Future Mad Magazine cartoonist and "Fold-In" creator Al Jaffee wrote and drew most of the early issues, several of which included Mad founding editor Harvey Kurtzman's highly stylized "Hey Look!" one-page humor strips. Jaffee was succeeded by Al Hartley, who would go on to Archie Comics and produce many Christian comic books starring Archie characters and others. Morris Weiss drew Patsy and Her Pals. Millie (the Model) Collins made guest appearances in #92 and 98.

Following Patsy's high-school graduation, in issue #116 (Aug. 1964), the title switched from humor to become a young career-gal romantic adventure. Patsy Walker lasted through issue #124 (Dec. 1965), with Patsy and Hedy outlasting it to its own #110 (Feb. 1967).

Patsy and Hedy made a cameo appearance in Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), establishing them in the Marvel Universe. The superhero-team comic The Defenders #89 (Nov. 1980) further established that the earlier stories were fictional works published within the fictional Marvel Universe itself, and written by Patsy's mother Dorothy Walker though based upon Patsy's own life and friends.[3] The Patsy Walker profile in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook #1 (2006) establishes that Walker indeed experienced many of the events from these stories.

Patsy Walker #95 and the science-fiction anthology Journey into Mystery #69 (both June 1961) are the first modern comic books labeled "Marvel Comics", with each showing an "MC" box on its cover.[4]

Hellcat[edit]

Patsy Walker becomes Hellcat in The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976)

Amazing Adventures vol. 2, #13 (July 1972) introduced the concept of Walker as a superheroine. Writer Steve Englehart recalled that Walker's cameo in Fantastic Four Annual #3 had

struck my fan's eye by including her in the Marvel Universe. ...I thought it would be cool to bring her in as a real character, with things to do. Part of my 'training' as a Marvel writer was writing romance stories and Westerns, but Patsy [Walker] was defunct as a comic by the time I got there.... Still, as a fan, I had collected everything Marvel, including Patsy Walker and Patsy and Hedy ... so I knew them as characters....[5]

Walker was reintroduced in The Avengers #141 (Nov. 1975), having resumed her maiden name of Walker, and accompanied the Avengers on a couple of adventures. Shortly thereafter in The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976), she adopted the name Hellcat, taking on superheroine Greer Grant Nelson's costume from her discontinued identity as The Cat. The name "Hellcat" itself had originally been proposed for Nelson.[6] The suit's look was later adapted slightly.

Recalled Englehart in 2010,

I wasn't real interested in the Cat. I read the books and they seemed like pandering, frankly — not very good stories written to appeal to a demographic. Once [Patsy] entered the [Marvel Universe], met the Beast, confronted her husband — all that began to change the Patsy I had inherited to someone a little more savvy. By the time she became the Hellcat, she could stand back far enough to see the ironies in her taking over a feminist creation. But she was really more about jumping into the superhero pool than standing back.... She didn't muse on the irony; she wanted to be a heroine.[7]

Hellcat joined the superhero team The Defenders in issue #44 (Feb. 1977). After many adventures with the group, she met the supernatural adventurer Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, in The Defenders #92 (Feb. 1981). They marry in The Defenders #125 and become husband-and-wife occult investigators, but Hellstrom's demonic nature asserts itself, and Walker is driven first mad and then, in Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #14 (May 1994), to suicide. Through Hellstrom's manipulation of the superhero Hawkeye, she was resurrected, in Thunderbolts 2000, a summer Annual of the superhero-team comic Thunderbolts, and returned to Earth with new abilities acquired while in Hell. (The story which began in Thunderbolts 2000 concluded in Avengers 2000.) A three-issue Hellcat (Sept. - Nov. 2000) series takes place immediately following the events in the Thunderbolts and Avengers 2000 Annuals. Briefly adopting a new costume and then returning to her traditional yellow outfit, she rejoined the Defenders in a short-lived revival series, The Defenders vol. 2, #1-12 (March 2001 - Feb. 2002).

After appearing in occasional guest roles, Hellcat starred in the miniseries Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1-5 (Sept. 2008 - Feb. 2009). Following this, she was an ensemble star and narrator, alongside the superheroines Firestar, Black Cat, and Photon, in the miniseries Marvel Divas #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2009), which writers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Tonci Zonjic had pitched it to Marvel editors as "Sex and the City in the Marvel Universe".[8]

Walker became part of All-New Marvel NOW! in She-Hulk #1, when Jennifer Walters starts her own law firm. Walters hires Patsy as her private investigator, who uses her Hellcat alias on assignments.[9]

The All-New, All-Different Marvel line in 2015 led to a new ongoing Patsy Walker title, Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat!. Written by Kate Leth and drawn by Brittney Williams, it attempts to combine the romance and superhero comics with a more comedic approach, which Leth compared to a Saturday-morning cartoon.[10][11] In it, Walker tries to establish a job agency for superpowered people following her dismissal by She-Hulk, and also recover the rights to old Patsy Walker comics which have been republished by Hedy.

Fictional character biography[edit]

After growing up in suburban Centerville, graduating high school and marrying high-school sweetheart Robert "Buzz" Baxter, Patsy Walker becomes an assistant to scientist Hank McCoy, the mutant superhero the Beast, who at that time was on hiatus from the X-Men. Estranged from her husband, now a U.S. Air Force colonel, Walker befriends McCoy,[12] and, desiring to become a superhero, accompanied McCoy on an adventure with the superhero team the Avengers.[13] She adopts an ability-enhancing costume that formerly belonged to Greer Grant Nelson, the former masked adventuress the Cat, and Walker takes on the name Hellcat.[14]

After having used her natural athletic abilities and good instincts to rescue the Avengers, Walker is offered membership in the team.[15] The cosmic adventurer Moondragon persuades her to decline and instead accompany Moondragon to Saturn's moon Titan for training in psychic ability and advanced martial arts.[16] Walker's training is abbreviated when she returns to Earth to assist the supernatural hero Doctor Strange, and then join the superhero team the Defenders.[17] Moondragon revokes her psychic abilities, citing Walker's ineffective use of them as the cause.[volume & issue needed]

She meets her future husband Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, during the course of her Defenders adventuring.[18] After learning that her mother had promised her soul to Satan,[19] and briefly being lied to by the Devil that he was her father,[20] Walker reunites with her real father and marries Hellstrom. The two then retire from superheroics.[21] Ultimately, Hellstrom's demonic inheritance took possession of him and drove Walker insane. Institutionalized, she was driven to suicide by the otherworldly being Deathurge.[22]

Trapped in Hell, Walker's spirit is used in a series of gladiatorial-like combat scenarios. There, she learns to develop and use her psychic powers. Hellstrom tricks the archer superhero Hawkeye into returning her spirit to Earth; Hawkeye believes he is retrieving his presumed-dead wife, Mockingbird, from the demonic lord Mephisto's realm.[23] Resurrected and back on Earth, Walker retains the powers she developed in Hell. Now able to manifest a costume at will, Walker adopts a reversed version of the Cat costume, with a blue cat-suit and cowl with yellow gloves and boots.[volume & issue needed] In this new guise, and once again a member of the Defenders, Hellcat focuses on combating occult evils, notably Nicholas Scratch, who had based himself in her hometown of Centerville,[volume & issue needed] and the otherdimensional ruler Dormammu.[volume & issue needed]

During the Civil War storyline, Hellcat willingly registers.[24] She serves as one of the young superheroes' instructors at Camp Hammond.[25] She was then assigned as an official superhero in Alaska,[26] but eventually returned to New York City.[27] Hellcat develops and maintains a deep friendship with the superheroes Firestar, Black Cat and Monica Rambeau. Part of this is their support of Firestar, who develops and then survives breast cancer.[28]

Hellcat is later seen with She-Hulk and facing personal problems. After a night of heavy drinking and partying, Hellcat and She-Hulk invade a warehouse that A.I.M. was using as a hideout and defeat two agents wearing high tech suits. She-Hulk then hires Hellcat as her private investigator to help with her economical situation.[29] She then helps She-Hulk in protecting Kristoff Vernard, the son of Doctor Doom, who was trying to defect to the US.[30] She's later seen talking with Tigra about a case involving a lawsuit but ends up fighting her when she mentions the plaintiff's name, George Saywitz.[31] After recovering in a hospital,[32] she helps She-Hulk and Hank Pym in a recovery mission to save Reza, the partner of inventor Rufus Randall, to settle an argument between them over a device known as the Shrinko, which they were planning to sell to Pym.[33] They later wind up helping Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, with a lawsuit involving a murder that happened in 1940.[34]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel, She-Hulk eventually gets unable to afford Hellcat as an investigator and fires her friend, which also forces Walker to move out of Walters' office building (the same place where Howard the Duck works). Walker moves to the Brooklyn apartment of Ian, an Inhuman who she met when he used his powers to steal from an armored truck. Ian gets a job with Walker's old friend Tom Hale (known as "Tubs" in the romance comics) and inspires her to open a work agency for other superpowered people. Walker also learns that old rival Hedy Wolfe has republished the Patsy Walker comics (she got the rights from Walker's late mother Dorothy), to her chagrin, particularly given nostalgia made them successful.[35]

During the Civil War II storyline, Patsy Walker hears about what happened to She-Hulk. Captain Marvel does allow Patsy Walker to visit She-Hulk who is in a coma. After the visit, Patsy Walker tells Howard the Duck and the other tenants about She-Hulk's current condition.[36]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Hellcat can sense mystical phenomena or those items or persons touched by mystical energy. She can use a force field that deflects mystical attacks. She is able to summon her costume at will. She also possesses retractable claws and grappling hooks on her wrists. Patsy is a well-trained martial artist and gymnast, having been taught by Captain America, Beast and Moondragon.

Other versions[edit]

Cover to Ultimate New Ultimates #1. Art by Leinil Francis Yu.

Patsy Walker has appeared in Marvel Comics' Multiverse Ultimate Marvel imprint. In Ultimate Spider-Man, she first appears as a spokeswoman for a security firm (#11), then as a swimsuit model for Maxim magazine (#14), a talk show hostess, presenting a biography on Doctor Strange (#70), and finally interviewing Norman Osborn (#113). In addition she appeared in Ultimate Marvel Team-up, hosting an instructional video for the Baxter Building, although this issue is not necessarily canonical.[volume & issue needed]

In the Heroes Reborn universe, Hellcat appears as a member of the Avengers. This version of the character sports a more bestial, "werecat" appearance, similar to Tigra. Envious of Scarlet Witch's beauty, she is manipulated by Loki into siding with Hawkeye against the rest of the team. Patsy takes possession of Scarlet Witch's body, but is killed after Agatha Harkness forcibly expels her essence.[37]

Patsy assumes her Hellcat identity in Ultimates and was a founding member of the ill-fated Defenders. Additionally, Kitty Pryde has (within the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man) constructed a costume visually similar to the 616 Hellcat's, differing in color and mask design only. Walker later shows up in Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates, apparently powered up from a mysterious source.[38]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Rachael Taylor (right) as Trish Walker in the Netflix television series Jessica Jones.

Patricia "Trish" Walker appears in the live-action television series Jessica Jones, portrayed by Rachael Taylor as an adult and by Catherine Blades as a teenager. In the series, the character is the former child star of the television series It's Patsy (where she had to wear a red wig) and is the best friend of Jessica Jones.[39] Trish's mother Dorothy abused and exploited her, and Trish struggled with addiction when she was young. Trish was supported by Jessica, who was adopted by Trish's mother to improve Trish's image after Jessica's family died. Trish eventually left her mother's care and started her own radio talk show Trish Talk. She convinced Jessica to use her powers for heroism and helps her to hunt down Kilgrave. Trish does not have powers, but trains in martial arts in order to defend herself as well as putting up a security system in her apartment.

Video games[edit]

Toys[edit]

In 2015, Marvel Legends features Hellcat in the Infinite Series Age of Ultron Thanos Build a Figure series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miss America Magazine #2 at the Grand Comics Database.
  2. ^ Patsy Walker (Marvel, 1945 series) at the Grand Comics Database.
  3. ^ Miller, Jonathan (May 2010). "Beware the Claws of Patsy Walker: The Hellcat Cometh". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (40): 66. 
  4. ^ Marvel : MC (Brand) at the Grand Comics Database.
  5. ^ Englehart in Miller, p. 62
  6. ^ Cassell, Dewey (August 2006). "Talking About Tigra: From the Cat to Were-Woman". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (17): 26–33. 
  7. ^ Englehart in Miller, p. 63
  8. ^ Abnett, Dan; Lanning, Andy (2009-04-09). "MyCup o' Tea". MySpace Comic Books. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  9. ^ She-Hulk #1 (Vol. 3)
  10. ^ Get Familiar with Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!
  11. ^ Leth & Williams Get Their Claws Into "Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!"
  12. ^ Amazing Adventures, Vol 2. #13-15 (1972)
  13. ^ The Avengers #141 (Nov. 1975)
  14. ^ The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976)
  15. ^ The Avengers #150 (Aug. 1976)
  16. ^ The Avengers #151 (Sep. 1976)
  17. ^ The Defenders #44-46 (1977)
  18. ^ The Defenders #92 (May 1981)
  19. ^ The Defenders #95 (August 1981)
  20. ^ The Defenders #111 (September 1982)
  21. ^ The Defenders #125 (November 1983)
  22. ^ Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #1-14 (1993)
  23. ^ Thunderbolts Annual 2000 (May 2000)
  24. ^ She-Hulk Vol 2 #7
  25. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #10
  26. ^ Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1–5
  27. ^ Marvel Divas #1–4
  28. ^ Young Allies #1–6 (2010)
  29. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 3 #2
  30. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 3 #3
  31. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 3 #5
  32. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 3 #6
  33. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 3 #7
  34. ^ She-Hulk Vol. 3 #8-9
  35. ^ Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! #1
  36. ^ Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! #8
  37. ^ Avengers (vol. 2) #1-11
  38. ^ New Ultimates #1
  39. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (January 29, 2015). "Marvel's 'Jessica Jones' Enlists 'Grey's Anatomy' Alum". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 

External links[edit]