Top 10 Cat-Themed Comic Book Characters
This week, we are paw-sitively excited to be taking a look at the Top 10 Cat-Themed Comic Book Characters. These heroes, villains, and vigilantes are known for their keen sense of feline flair, with the grace, ferocity, and cat-titude of their namesakes. Who needs nine lives when you get comic book reboots?
Read along for all de-tails as we see which feline fighters and cat burglars clawed their way to the top of this countdown. Let’s get started!
Honorable Mention: Mister Tawky Tawny
Mister Tawky Tawny is a member of the Marvel Family from DC Comics, often appearing as a supporting character to Captain Marvel, aka Shazam. He is anthropomorphic and is a tiger first and foremost, though some versions of the character see him with shapeshifting abilities wherein he can turn into a man or a giant Smilodon.
He is capable of human speech, and sometimes Shazam tries to share power with Tawny. He was written out of continuity in Crisis on Infinite Earths, but reappeared in the New 52 and DC Rebirth.
10. Bronze Tiger
Bronze Tiger is a supervillain and antihero who first appeared in DC Comics’ Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter (based on a novel). Also known as Benjamin Turner, Bronze Tiger turned to martial arts to channel his rage after an incident wherein he murdered a burglar as a child.
While he has no metahuman powers, he is a lethal weapon with lightning-fast reflexes. He is proficient in Jeet Kune Do, Karate, Kung-Fu, Taekwondo, and more. He has even bested Batman in hand-to-hand combat. Bronze Tiger had live-action appearances in the CW’s Arrow, and made an animated appearance in a straight-to-DVD Suicide Squad animated film.
Greer Grant Nelson, now known as Tigra, was formerly a non-powered crimefighter known as The Cat. Two years after her Marvel comics debut, she mutated into a tiger-powered hero in Giant-Size Creatures #1. She was introduced alongside 70s favorites Night Nurse and Shanna the She-Devil, originally aimed to attract new female readership.
The Tigra persona itself was a mantle, passed down by a race called the Cat People. Greer was saved from death by accepting the role of the Tigra, giving her striped fur, razor-sharp claws, and even more feline features in addition to incredible grace, speed, and strength granted by the Cat People. In 2019, Hulu was developing an animated series titled Tigra and Dazzler, though that seems to be on hold currently.
8. White Tiger
White Tiger is an identity that has been passed to several street-level heroes, including Hector Ayala, his niece Angela Del Toro, and his sister Ava Ayala, as well as an actual tigress evolved by the High Evolutionary. The White Tiger’s powers are granted by Jade Tiger amulets that grant speed, strength, stamina, and other superhuman physiological abilities.
When wearing white, the amulets allow her to camouflage herself. White Tiger has been associated with teams like the Heroes for Hire, the New Avengers, and Captain Britain’s Mighty Avengers. Ava Ayala was created by Christos Gage in Avengers Academy. Hector was Marvel’s first Latino superhero, and is the first Puerto Rican superhero in comics.
Patsy Walker debuted in Miss America Magazine #2, published by Marvel’s precursor Timely Comics. She then had her own self-titled teen romance comedy book before being integrated into the superhero universe. When Patsy became Hellcat, she actually adopted Greer Grant’s abandoned identity and costume of The Cat. She made her re-introduction in Avengers #144, then later joining the Defenders.
Patsy married Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan, and the couple briefly became occult investigators. She eventually killed herself and was resurrected after being trapped in hell and developing psychic powers. Hellcat can summon her costume at will, has martial arts and gymnastics skills, has retractable claws, and can sense mystical energy.
One of Wolverine’s most notable foes, Sabretooth is a beast-like mutant with razor-sharp fangs and claws, and superhuman senses. His codename is taken from the sabre-toothed cat, but he has also been known as the Slasher, El Tigre, and even Wolverine in some universes. He was experimented upon by the Weapon X program and many of his memories of his childhood appear to have been tampered with.
Sabretooth is known for his relentlessness and feral behavior, tracking Wolverine down every year on his birthday to try to fight him. He is an expert tracker thanks to his superhuman senses and also has an accelerated healing factor much like Wolverine’s.
One of Wonder Woman’s most notable archenemies, Cheetah is a mantle that has belonged to a number of characters across DC Comics continuity. Priscilla Rich, Deborah Domaine, Barbara Ann Minerva, and Sebastian Ballesteros have all worn the mantle, the former two being women in cat costumes and the latter being supernatural cat-human hybrids.
Barbara Ann Minerva is the current Cheetah, a former archaeologist cursed in a ritual that required the blood of a virgin- which she was not. Cheetah in her current incarnation has enhanced strength, extreme speed, and heightened senses that allow her to challenge Wonder Woman. Priscilla Rich and Deborah Domaine did not have any notable superhuman powers.
Wildcat is a mantle belonging to several DC Comics characters, most famously Ted Grant, a world-class heavyweight boxer and longtime member of the Justice Society of America. Other Wildcats include Grant’s goddaughter Yolanda Montez and his son Thomas Bronson, a metahuman werecat. Ted Grant is an excellent boxer but is also proficient in martial arts like Capoeira, Hapkido, Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo.
A magical “nine lives” spell has given him a longevity beyond human lifespan, keeping him young and resurrecting him when he dies. He is known for clashing with Power Girl and for mentoring Black Canary. Wildcat has appeared in the CW’s Arrow series, and he will appear in the upcoming DC live-action series Stargirl, due to his affiliation with the JSA.
3. Black Cat
Felicia Hardy is a fictional cat burglar from the world of Marvel Comics. She has been an enemy, ally, and love interest to Spider-Man, created by Marv Wolfman and Dave Cockrum. She is the daughter of a famous cat burglar named Walter Hardy, and she decided to train in martial arts and acrobatics to follow in his footsteps.
Black Cat also has the subconscious ability to affect probability fields, which results in bad luck when she crosses someone’s path. Her love of Spider-Man motivated her to become an antihero, though she did try to corrupt Spider-Man at times and has lapsed back into her criminal tendencies. Sometimes she has cat-like abilities like night vision and retractable claws.
2. Black Panther
The mantle of the Black Panther has been tightly kept to the royal family of Wakanda, belonging most famously to King T’Challa, though his sister Shuri has taken the role at times. Black Panther is the protector of his nation, granted powers through Wakandan rituals involving a heart-shaped herb as well as a mystical connection with the Wakandan Panther God Bast.
T’Challa has superhuman senses, strength, speed, agility, stamina, and more, and was granted additional magic-resisting abilities when he forged a new connection with a different Panther deity. In addition to his powers granted by being the Black Panther, T’Challa is also a skilled politician, scientist, strategist, and hunter. Thanks to the stores of vibranium at his command, he is also one of the wealthiest people in the world with access to extremely advanced technologies.
Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Selina Kyle originally appeared as “The Cat”, but has since become Batman’s most enduring love interest and complex character foil. She’s not your typical cat burglar, though she did begin as a villainess before becoming an antihero who does the wrong things for the right reasons.
Possessing no superhuman abilities, Catwoman is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, gymnastics, and the use of tools like bullwhips and climbing pitons. She was actually put on hiatus from 1954-1966 due to the Comic Code Authority taking issue with the portrayal of female characters. She consistently ranks in the top comic book heroes and villains of all time.
Catwoman has had a number of iconic costume changes and live-action appearances, including Julie Newmar and Michele Pfeiffer’s near-legendary portrayals. Overall, Catwoman has stolen Batman’s heart time and again, and proves she has what it takes to claw her way to the top of this list.
So, was this a purr-fect countdown? Or should we cat-nip this one in the bud and start over? If we missed someone that you think should be on the list, be sure to Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us in the comments.