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Wildcat in JSA Classified #27 (August, 2007)
Art by Matt Haley and Jerome Moore
|First appearance||Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942)|
|Created by||Bill Finger|
|Alter ego||Theodore "Ted" Grant|
|Team affiliations||Justice Society of America|
Justice League of America
|Abilities||Expert combatives fighter|
World champion boxer
Peak physical condition
Nine lives at any given time
Surprising physical strength
Wildcat is the name of several fictional characters, all DC Comics superheroes, the first and most famous being Theodore "Ted" Grant, a long-time member of the Justice Society of America (JSA). A world-class heavyweight boxer, Grant became entangled inadvertently in the criminal underworld and developed a costumed identity to clear his name.
Modern depictions 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 has been a mentor to younger heroes, particularly the second Black Canary.
Other characters have taken Grant's name and identity, including his goddaughter Yolanda Montez, who served as a temporary replacement for him, and his son Thomas "Tom" Bronson, a metahuman werecat who is tutored by him as a second Wildcat and a JSA member in late-2000s stories.
Ted Grant briefly appeared in an episode of Smallville played by Roger Hasket. Grant’s Wildcat was also a recurring character on the third season of Arrow played by J.R. Ramirez. He was a retired vigilante who was training Laurel Lance to become one. Wildcat will also appear on the DC Universe streaming service show Stargirl played by Brian Stapf.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 Reception
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Fictional character biography
Wildcat was a member of Tomahawk's Rangers, who fought for independence during the American Revolution in the 18th century. His first appearance was in Tomahawk #92 (May/June 1964). He was created by France Herron, Fred Ray, Murray Boltinoff, and Dan Spiegle. His choice of pseudonym has no connection to Ted Grant or the ensuing superhero legacy. Subsequently, Ted Grant is usually referred to as the first Wildcat.
Theodore "Ted" Grant
Theodore "Ted" Grant is a normal human who was magically given nine lives. He remains at the peak of human condition due to his extensive workouts. 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, the Atom, and the Guardian.
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, so he encouraged his son to participate in sports. Orphaned during the Great Depression, Ted Grant found himself unemployed in the big city. One night, he saved "Socker" Smith, the heavyweight boxing champion, from a mugging. "Socker" took Ted under his wing, and soon Ted became a heavyweight boxing champion in his own right. He also became tangled unknowingly in his manager's sinister plans. His mentor, "Socker" Smith, was killed by Grant's managers Flint and Skinner who used a syringe, loaded with poison, in a boxing glove. The dose was only intended to slow down Smith, but the duo misjudged the potency. When Grant was arrested for the crime, Flint and Skinner, afraid that he might know what had really happened, arranged for the young fighter to be killed. Grant escaped the attempt and survived, but the policemen with him were killed. As a result, he became a fugitive. Later, he came upon a child who had been robbed of his Green Lantern comic. The boy, describing the mystery-man Green Lantern, inspired Grant to create the costume of a large black cat. He took the name Wildcat and vowed to clear his name. He brought Flint and Skinner to justice; the criminals were forced to confess, clearing Grant's name, and obtaining justice for Smith. Using the identity of Wildcat, Grant continued to fight crime.
In the pages of All Star Comics, Wildcat had a few adventures as a member of the Justice Society of America (JSA). In the 1980s, when the All-Star Squadron was published, it 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 JSA 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 real mastermind of the disaster: the second Psycho-Pirate. But 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. He soon discovered that his goddaughter had recently become the second Wildcat.
An Earth-One version of Ted Grant existed pre-Crisis and teamed up with Batman, himself a retired world heavyweight champion like his Earth-Two counterpart, on several occasions. This Grant had a relatively minor career, and his early years, such as his origin, were not chronicled. 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.
After the Crisis, the injuries that Ted had sustained were downgraded from paraplegia to less severe injuries from which he recovered quickly. He was also still a former heavyweight champion of the world. In addition, Ted is credited with being an expert at combat, though he prefers to trade punches as part of his brawling style. Even in his advanced years, on several occasions Ted has knocked out experienced fighters with a single punch.
Later, 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, that of an elderly, sickly man. However, following the universe being reset at the end of Zero Hour, Wildcat, along with the Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, and the Golden Age Hourman Rex Tyler were de-aged and restored to health.
In the wake of Zero Hour, Wildcat retired from active crime fighting and again became a full-time trainer in his role as a professional boxer. In private, he continued to train younger superheroes in the martial arts. In addition, new details were revealed about Wildcat's past, one being the existence of two sons. His eldest son Jake was kidnapped by the Yellow Wasp and later murdered by the Killer Wasp. His youngest son Tom was raised exclusively by the boy's mother without Ted's knowledge.
Twice during his post-Zero Hour retirement, Ted was severely injured defending innocent lives. He received the first injury defending patrons of the bar Warriors, run by the ex-Green Lantern Guy Gardner. Later, he was injured in rescue operation during a planet-wide snowfall. On both occasions, he was treated on site at Warriors and miraculously recovered from his injuries.
It was later revealed that Ted possesses "nine lives", the 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. Ted was given nine lives as opposed to being turned into a cat as King Inferno wanted. Since then, Ted has lost his nine lives as a result of a variety of deaths, many of which occurred off-panel. In JSA #34, Mordru told Ted that he had nine lives for every "cycle", although Mordru did not define a cycle's duration. This meant that Ted had somehow regained his spent lives. In JSA #36, this was confirmed. Ted gained nine lives at any given time, meaning that he had to be killed nine times in rapid succession to be killed permanently.
The New 52
In the continuity of Earth 2 and featuring in the story Earth 2: Worlds' End, Ted Grant appears as a boxer living in the same World Army refugee camp as Dick and Barbara Grayson during Darkseid's invasion of Earth. After Barbara's death, Ted trains Dick in offensive and defensive fighting techniques and joins him on a mission to recover his lost son.
Born with metahuman powers due to the machinations of the villainous Doctor Benjamin Love, Yolanda Montez was the goddaughter of Ted Grant, who was a good friend of her father "Mauler" Montez. As a result of the prenatal treatments given to her mother, Yolanda was born with retractable claws on her fingers and toes and cat-like agility. Initially, she concealed her abilities and lived a normal life. She later became a journalist working for "Rock Stars Magazine". When Ted was injured in the Crisis, Yolanda used her powers to become the new Wildcat. She then joined Infinity Inc. afterwards. She and her team mates were later killed by Eclipso, who would later possesses her cousin Alex.
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. 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 the death, Ramirez was himself caught, and later killed by Killer Croc in the ring. The operators, Lock-Up and Ernie Chubb, were eventually apprehended by Ted and Batman.
Thomas "Tom" Bronson is Ted Grant's youngest son. Tom's mother Marilyn had a one-night stand with Ted, and never told him of Tom's existence. Despite the fact that his father was not involved in his life, Tom is not bitter towards Ted. However, he did tell Ted that he had no intentions of becoming the next Wildcat as he was not a fighter himself.
It was revealed that Tom is a Metahuman that can change into a were-panther at will, similar to the Wildcat featured in Kingdom Come. When Ted was attacked by Vandal Savage, Tom changed into his were-panther form and managed to fight against Savage until help arrived.
In Justice Society of America 80 Page Giant Sized (2010), it was revealed that Tom's mother had the same powers as her son, but would change involuntarily every month. After a minor battle involving Ted, Marilyn, and the first Huntress Paula Brooks, Ted took Marilyn to see Dr. Mid-Nite who cured her of the involuntary aspect of her power, allowing her to change at will instead. While she is unconscious, Ted told Dr. Mid-Nite to "fix her and send her on her way" to protect her from his dangerous walk of life. However, Dr. Mid-Nite discovered that she was pregnant and revealed this to his now conscious patient. She ultimately decided to withhold this information from Ted, but her motivations were unclear. She then raised Tom herself.
Over time, Tom slowly forms a bond with Ted and eventually, after some initial reluctance, agrees to share the Wildcat title with his father. At this point he is introduced and inducted into the Justice Society. In a team-up with the Justice League, he talks to Vixen and indicates the presence of enhanced senses.
Later, Tom, now calling himself Tomcat, parted ways with Ted and joined the All-Stars, an offshoot team created by the younger members of the JSA.
Powers and abilities
Ted Grant is an expert combatives fighter and a world champion boxer at the peak of his physical condition. He is also highly skilled at other martial arts, such as Capoeira, Hapkido, Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo. He was given "nine lives" as a result of a magical spell, which explains his longevity; these nine lives have not only kept him young, but also restore him to life if he is explicitly killed. He is also surprisingly strong and superbly agile.
DC: The New Frontier
Wildcat cameos as the world heavyweight champion, defending his title against Cassius Clay.
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 and with the other offspring of the Justice League. It is not really clear whether or not he dies when the UN unleashes a nuclear attack against the metahumans at the end of the comic.
Wildcat is portrayed as boxer (not superhero) Ted Grant in Prez Rickard's world in The Sandman: Worlds' End. 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.
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 the prequel comic to the second game, Wildcat is first seen becoming a parental figure for Black Canary and the alternate Green Arrow's wedding. When the League of Assassins' Suicide Squad kidnaps Black Lightning's daughters, and Canary and Arrow's son Conner Quinn, as well as taking Alfred's corpse and ever since the terrorists killed the original Blue Beetle Ted Kord, Wildcat is among of the Insurgency members to join the raid on Ra's hideout, located in South America. Wildcat later battles the impostor Batman, but was fatally shot to near-death by the impostor's dirty tricks, until Conner Quinn return to save Wildcat's life, blasting the impostor Batman with a sonic scream he inherited from his mother Canary. Due to receiving severe wounds, blood loss, and extremely small chance of full recovery caused by the impostor Batman, a near-dying Wildcat is sent to Gotham General Hospital. Batman visits the unconscious Wildcat and pulls out the life-support system to trigger Wildcat's resurrection ability. He then has Wildcat take him to the isolated Dr. Mid-Nite so the latter could perform open heart surgery on Superboy.
In other media
- Ted appears briefly 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.
- Ted Grant appears as a recurring character in the third season of Arrow portrayed by actor J.R. Ramirez. Grant runs the "Wildcat Gym" as a place to help kids on the streets by helping to steer them right by training them to box. He trains Dinah Laurel Lance to box, providing her the foundation she later needs to become a skilled combatant when she trains under Nyssa al Ghul, and eventually develops a friendship with her. He used to be a vigilante who fought street crime in the Glades, but gave that up after his partner, Isaac Stanzler, beat someone to death; something he felt was morally wrong. He helped Arrow and his friends to defeat Stanzler and his murderous vigilante actions. He later helps Team Arrow stop Daniel Brickwell's siege of the Glades. Ted was wounded in the battle and his fate was left vague, though producer Marc Guggenheim has stated that the character did not die. Tom Bronson is also mentioned in Ted's original appearance as being one of Ted's students.
- The Ted Grant version of Wildcat will appear the upcoming DC Universe series Stargirl portrayed by Brian Stapf.
- In Justice League episode "Legends", a character named Catman voiced by Stephen Root is based on Wildcat. The Catman, real name T. Blake (not to be confused with Thomas Blake, another character with the same name of DC Comics), was an alternate-Earth superhero and a member of the Justice Guild of America (based in Justice Society of America). In the 1950s, he was a member of the legendary team of superheroes known as The Justice Guild Of America. He was often paired up with Black Siren during field missions. He had a Cat-Cycle that he would ride as well and has retractable claws and a grappling hook. He was also quite athletic and was quite a skilled martial artist as well. He fought crime alongside his teammates until he was killed in a nuclear war. The Cat Man encountered by the Justice League was a projection of Ray Thompson's mind.
- The character appeared in the cartoon series Justice League Unlimited. The actual Ted Grant iteration of Wildcat appeared in the latter series voiced by Dennis Farina. He had a prominent role alongside Black Canary and Green Arrow in the episode "The Cat and the Canary" where he was competing in Roulette's Meta-Brawl after he became less involved in missions, leaving him time 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 to let her to fight her mentor; if Black Canary won, Roulette would ban Wildcat from MetaBrawl forever, but if she lost, 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 via an unseen stunner that put the archer in metabolic stasis. This helped Wildcat see the horror of the match and quit; Wildcat is seen later in therapy with Martian Manhunter. In subsequent episodes, Wildcat appears among the League's front-line fighters.
- Wildcat appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Golden Globe-nominee R. Lee Ermey. He was previously Batman's mentor as he was seen training with him yet he does not want to give up fighting crime. In the episode "Enter the Outsiders!", he helps the Dark Knight fight the Outsiders, Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho, working for Slug. They later found Slug's hideout, but ended up captured and were about to be fed to the giant turtles. Wildcat was released because of his trash talking, but Slug left Batman for the giant turtles. Wildcat fought and defeated Slug, and threw him in the polluted river. Wildcat persuaded the Outsiders not to consider themselves freaks. Slug emerged from the polluted river, Black Lightning and Metamorpho reactivated Wildcat's heart. Wildcat later trained the Outsiders to box. He appeared again in the sub-plot of "Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!" to help Batman against Bane. At first, he thought Bane was a pushover because he was extremely frail and scrawny without Venom. He was unsure whether to punch Bane, or feed him a protein shake, but after seeing Bane enhanced with Venom, he began to think twice. Wildcat used one of Batman's batarangs to cut Bane's Venom-strengthening tubes. This was done on a set of train tracks, 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 is an adult, helps him face his greatest regret: not being able to help the original Black Canary. He and 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 ends up getting into fisticuffs with them. The two teams later join together to help Batman take down Ra's al Ghul. Additionally, Ted appears in a non-speaking cameo in the two parts of "The Siege of Starro!", first among the heroes possessed by Starro, and later as one of the heroes that have already broken free of the mind control and battle against Starro's titan form. The Crime Syndicate counterpart of Wildcat appears in episode "Deep Cover for Batman" in flashbacks.
- Wildcat also appears briefly in the Young Justice cartoon series. In the episode "Humanity", 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.
- Wildcat appears as a gym teacher at Super Hero High in DC Super Hero Girls, voiced by John DiMaggio.
- The character 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 Justice Society of America which 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.
- Wildcat makes a brief appearance in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
- Wildcat appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold video game, voiced again by R. Lee Ermey.
- Wildcat appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Ken Webster.
- Though Ted Grant does not physically appear in Injustice: Gods Among Us, his Wildcat costume is featured in a display case in the background of the Hall of Justice Stage.
- In Batman: Arkham Knight, there are posters for a cancelled boxing match featuring Ted "The Wildcat" Grant vs. Albert "The Goliath" King appearing on many places of Gotham City.
- Wildcat is mentioned in Injustice 2 by Batman when fighting Black Canary. If Batman depletes Black Canary's first health-bar, one of the random dialogues that he may say is "What has Wildcat been teaching you?".
Wildcat briefly appears in Robot Chicken DC Comics Special seen fighting alongside the Justice League against the Legion of Doom. He is shown being confused over his fight against Darkseid and is quickly disintegrated by the villain.
- Catwoman: Year One (February 1989)
- Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #185 (November 2002)
- Guy Gardner Warrior #38 (January 1996)
- Final Night #1–4 (November 1996)
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 (September 1985)
- Eclipso #13 (November 1993)
- JSA #46–51 Princes of Darkness (May–October 2003)
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #2 (March 2007)
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #3 (April 2007)
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #4 (May 2007)
- 52 #23 (October 2006)
- JSA Classified #39 (August 2008)
- Birds of Prey vol. 1 #78 (March 2005)
- Sandman (vol. 2) #54 (October 1993)
- "Guilty". Arrow. Season 3, Episode 6. November 12, 2014.
- Holbrook, Damian (December 17, 2018). "DC Universe's 'Stargirl' Casts Brian Stapf as Wildcat". TVInsider. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
- "Interview". Collider.com. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Wildcat is number 71". IGN. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
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