Wildcat (comics)

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Wildcat
Wildcat grant.jpg
Interior artwork of Wildcat from an unspecified DC Comics publication.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942)
Created by Bill Finger
Irwin Hasen
In-story information
Alter ego Theodore "Ted" Grant
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
Suicide Squad
All-Star Squadron
Justice League of America
Abilities Expert combatives fighter
World champion boxer
Peak physical condition
Nine lives at any given time
Superb agility
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-2000's stories.

Publication history[edit]

The Ted Grant version of Wildcat first appeared in Sensation Comics #1 and was created by writer Bill Finger, and designed by illustrator Irwin Hasen.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Tomahawk's Rangers[edit]

Wildcat (real name unknown) 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 "Wildcat" superhero legacy he started, and by convention, Ted Grant is usually referred to as "Wildcat I".

Theodore “Ted” Grant[edit]

Theodore “Ted” Grant is a normal human who, at some unspecified point, was magically given nine lives. He remains at the peak of human condition thanks to extensive workouts consisting of intensive 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 first donned the Wildcat costume 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, so he encouraged his son to participate in sports and paid for coaching that would have continued into the young man's college days, except that he and his wife died. 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 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 both killed. He became a fugitive and came upon a child who had been robbed of his Green Lantern comic. The kid, 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 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, himself a retired world heavyweight champion like his Earth-Two counterpart, on several occasions. This Grant had a relatively minor career, and much of his early years, such as his origin, was left un-chronicled. 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. 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 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 combatives, 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.

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, that of 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 de-aged, possessing bodies that were in their 50s in terms of their health.

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

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. It was in the wake of Zero Hour as well, that new details were revealed about Wildcat's past: one being 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 Wildcat stopped the Gambler just after coming out of retirement. Though Ted knew about Tom, he did not enter the boy's life until later 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. He received the first injury defending patrons of the bar Warriors, run by the ex-Green Lantern Guy Gardner.[3] Later he was injured while a participant in rescue operations during a planet-wide snowfall.[4] On both occasions he was treated on site at Warriors which has extensive medical facilities and recovered from his injuries.

Wildcat 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, Wildcat has lost his nine lives as a result of 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 his path to becoming Batman. He also helped mentor Dinah Laurel Lance, who would later become the Black Canary, teaching her a variety of boxing techniques suited to her build. He did this mainly without the knowledge, or consent, of her mother Dinah Drake Lance, the original Black Canary, who was strongly opposed to her daughter following in her footsteps.

A darker development was the revelation in JSA #52-54 that Wildcat willingly framed an innocent man who was executed for the murder of his girlfriend. Wildcat was attacked by the latest version of the Crimson Avenger, who after "killing" Wildcat (who survived because of his nine lives) reluctantly left the hero alone after Wildcat attempted to justify his illegal action by pointing out that the man he framed had murdered his girlfriend's killer in cold blood. This act prompted Wildcat's decision to frame the man for a murder he had not committed in order to punish him for one he had.

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. It was also revealed that he was descended from an English Duke, which allowed him to defeat the Gentleman Ghost, who could only be killed by those of noble blood.

The New 52[edit]

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—who in this reality was never Robin or Nightwing—in fighting techniques and self-defence, and joins him on a mission to recover their lost son.

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. 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. She concealed her abilities and lived a normal life. Yolanda became a journalist, working for "Rock Stars Magazine". Ted was 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), which 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 he has not met named 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. He says that he does not believe he will ever be the next Wildcat because he hasn'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 a 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, who had more than a one-night stand with Wildcat, 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 cures her of the involuntary aspect of her power, allowing her to change at will instead. While she is unconscious, Wildcat tells Dr. Midnite to "fix her and send her on her way" and leaves. He does this not out of rejection, but to protect her from being involved in his dangerous way of life. However, Dr. Midnite discovers that she is pregnant and reveals this to his now conscious patient. She ultimately decides to withhold this 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" code name with his father. At this 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 becomes 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 to battle Darkseid's forces.

The Justice Society splits into two independent teams and Tom decides to join the All-Stars team, Wildcat chooses the other. It is not known if this is the result of friction between Tom and his father.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Ted Grant is an expert combatives fighter and a world champion boxer at the peak of his physical condition. 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.

Other versions[edit]

DC: The New Frontier[edit]

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

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 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.

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.

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]

Animation[edit]

Wildcat as seen in Justice League Unlimited.

The character appeared in the Justice League cartoon series and in 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.[12] 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.

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.

Live-action[edit]

J.R. Ramirez as Ted Grant and Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance in Arrow.

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, 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 beat someone to death; something he felt was morally wrong.[13] He later helps Team Arrow stop Daniel Brickwell's siege of the Glades. Tom Bronson is also mentioned in Ted's original appearance as being one of Ted's students.

Film[edit]

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.

Video games[edit]

Ted Grant appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold video game, voiced again by R. Lee Ermey and in DC Universe Online, voiced by Ken Webster. Though he does not physically appear in Injustice: Gods Among Us, his costume is featured in a display case in the background of the Hall of Justice Stage. He does not appear in Batman: Arkham Knight, but posters for a cancelled boxing match featuring Ted "The Wildcat" Grant vs. Albert "The Goliath" King appear on Miagani Island.

Toys[edit]

Wildcat was the first figure released in the ninth wave of the DC Universe Classics line and was available in his black and blue costumes.

Parodies[edit]

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.

Reception[edit]

IGN listed Wildcat as the 71st greatest comic book character of all time stating that, due to his age as a superhero, he is almost more mystifying than The Spectre.[14]

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. ^ "Guilty". Arrow. Season 3, Episode 6. November 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Wildcat is number 71". IGN. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 

External links[edit]