Thursday, November 18, 2010


As I've mentioned in early posts Marvel tended to be somewhat weaker than DC than crafting villainesses. Thus, while at DC FLASH was one of the few long-running superheroes to have no villainesses in his sixties' rogues' gallery, SPIDER-MAN was pretty much typical for both his time and his publisher. In the span of that decade Spidey had just one feminine enemy, and she's simply the one female in a group of guys: Princess Python of the Circus of Crime.

The issues #194-195 of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, written by Marv Wolfman and pencilled by Keith Pollard, corrected that deficit in 1979. Wolfman commented in interviews that he had actually conceived the Black Cat as a foe for another Marvel series from which he'd just departed, SPIDER-WOMAN. Following the character's design by Dave Cockrum, the Cat debuted in the SPIDER-MAN title. Over the intervening years the character became a major figure in the SPIDER-MAN mythology.

To be sure, though the cover of #194 shows her pouncing on the hero, at that time she's not in his league in terms of power. Throughout the two-part story she usually fights a little (jumping so as to land on his head or somesuch) and then runs away. At the end of #194 the Cat seems to have her namesake's ability to induce bad luck in those who cross her path, for the issue ends with a wall collapsing on Spidey. Later, the "bad luck" vibe that is only implicit in Wolfman's scripts is given a literal spin by other raconteurs.

Over the long haul the Cat probably causes the hero more problems from her getting *into* his head rather than from jumping *on* his head. But that's another story.

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