Monday, July 11, 2011

Claws of THE CAT! Rare 1972 Wally Wood Character Art! 1972 Marvel Comics!

Wow! Here is artist Wally Wood's character design sketch for the then-new and groundbreaking super-heroine, THE CAT! Wally drew this around 1972, for the debut issue of Marvel's female feline fury, and reportedly even drew her nude (hence the carefully-placed white-out and touch-ups on the art)! Notice that Wood came up with a new design that didn't lean too much on previous cat-characters such as Catwoman, or various jungle queens! The Cat was one of many attempts by Marvel to bring forth a captivating she-hero such as later attempts like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, and others! Altho the Cat didn't fare well, she was to hang around the sidelines, in typical Marvel fashion, later to return as the tiger-striped Tigra, the were-woman! Marvel never wasted an interesting character then!  FUN FACT: This series had tons of girl power behind it, with Linda Fite providing the script, and Marie Severin on interior art duties! Click to enlarge!


7 comments:

Booksteve said...

Wood often drew female characters naked in order to place shadows, lines of motion, etc correctly. They were inevitably covered up in the final product. Was always intrigued by THE CAT because logically, in all ways except for the title's feminist slant, Wood was the perfect artist. Some of the interior work has clear touch-ups by Marie making me wonder if it wasn't so much a case of Wood inking Marie but Marie brought in to salvage the art. The fact that both were absent already by issue two could lend some credence to that theory.

I've also speculated elsewhere that this version of The Cat morprhed into Wolverine as Romita's advance sketches of each of the two characters look very similar and not that much like the eventual published versions.

Al Bigley said...

Thanks for that!

Never occurred to me how similar Wolverine and Cat were in the visual department!

And, odd that Wally had just done some of those DR. DOOM stories in AMAZING ADVENTURES, and was left alone, then...Maybe it was decided he just wasn't right for straight superhero strips?

Al Bigley

shadzane said...

Not only did the Cat return as Tigra, her discarded "catsuit" returned as the costume for Hellcat!

Anonymous said...

I don't have a lot of comics with Wally Wood art, but of those that I do -- wow! He was a master of shadows -- and his zaftig women surely pleased the eye. Pretty sure he co-creatd Power Girl as well -- he inked her first appearance. I do believe that Marie Severin drew both Claws of the Cat 1 and 2. She commented that she didn't draw the outfit as tight as Wood inked it. Jim Mooney inked the second issue -- and the results weren't as dynamic. The Cat had a good first issue, IMHO, but issues 2-4 were vastly inferior to her debut. Interesting that Greer is missing the claw insignia on the cover (and in the sketch above) and that the outfit Hellcat wore also lacked the insignia.

kcekada

Kirk G said...

Holy Crap, Booksteve,
I believe that you're right about this being a prototype or concept art for Wolverine's first appearance. Was there any thought to using The Cat in Hulk 181?

Someone should look further into this.

Kirk G said...

Perhaps the lack of the claw insignia is a sign that Wood did indeed picture her naked?! Anybody got any scans of the interior artwork? I thought Wood only did the cover. Was I wrong?
The Dr. Doom three part "Doomsman" & "The Other" has been reprinted in a "Marvel Comics Artwork of Wally Wood" hardbound graphic novel that is hard to find. I don't think he drew any of the female supporting cast as naked in it, but it might bare some scrutiny...

Thomas Williams - Damon Savich said...

This series loomed very large in my childhood. My brother, Jim, really loved the character and many trades were made back n forth, until we both had full sets of the four issue series. Why it was cancelled, I'll never know, now will I understand the idea to transform her into "Tigra", then have the classic Golden/Silver Age "Romance" heroine, Patsy Walker, ultimately find "The Cat" costume at Avengers headquarters and become "The Hellcat". A lot of things were never explained as to how Patsy gained instant power and agility once the costume was donned. Anyway, I am 52 years-old now, and not long ago sent my brother Jim a full set of the four "Claws of the Cat" issues, along with Marvel Team-Up #8 featuring "Spider-Man and The Cat" vs. The Man-Killer. Now, as a comic shop owner and eBay, Amazon, Facebook seller... I can't help picking up every issue of any title that includes the character. I have several full sets of the original series, too... again, because every time I see one I buy it. I have long professed to be a Spider-Man and Vampirella collector, but I think maybe the original "Claws of the Cat" may be one of my favorite of all time. GO figure!