THE LEGACY OF BILL FINGER….CAT-MAN

Cat-man was created by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney and first appeared in Detective Comics #311 ( Jan. 1963).

Detective Comic #311
Detective Comic #31

Thomas Blake, a world-famous trapper of jungle cats who turned to crime because he had grown bored with hunting and had squandered most of his fortune. Blake was a wealthy animal trapper and a contemporary of Bruce Wayne. An inveterate gambler, Blake had lost most of his fortune but was still part of Gotham’s elite social circle. Tom and Bruce’s discussion of their boring lives during a dinner party led an eavesdropper to joke that they each put on costumes and fight crime. The suggestion lingered in Blake’s mind even as he acknowledged that, in Gotham, he’d never be more than a second-rate Batman. The prospect of being a villain appealed to the hunter far more, allowing him to match wits with the Dark Knight rather than follow his lead. Searching for a gimmick, Blake patted the head of his panther Felina and recalled the long-absent Catwoman. “She was a mere woman! Think what I, a MAN, could do. Imagine what I with my knowledge of cat lore can do. Yes — cats will be my CATegory of crime. I shall become — the Cat-Man!”

Inspiration
Inspiration

He became a burglar who committed his crimes in a catsuit made out of an ancient African cloth he believed gave him a cat’s nine lives. His costume was modeled after Catwoman’s disguise. Cat-Man wore a yellow costume and tights with orange gloves, boots, tights and cape & cowl. The initials “CM” were emblazoned on his chest in orange. He also carried an orange satchel, a “kit-bag” that carried various Batman-inspired tools, from a cat-line to a catarang.

Museum Heist
Museum Heist

And, for his getaways, he drove a heavy duty feline-themed “cat-car“. Cat-man is a “gimmick” villain who’s crimes revolved around “cat” themed items, such as cat statues, “cat’s eye” emeralds, etc. His weapon of choice was (of course) a cat-o-nine-tails.

The gataway
The getaway

 

Cat-man even had a Cats lair similar to Batman’s Batcave and a giant robot cat!

Cat's Lair
Cat’s Lair

An encounter with Batwoman resulted in Cat-Man falling hard for the beautiful heroine and inviting her to join him as “the king and queen of crime.” She sneered at the proposal, but Blake would have another chance to make the offer.

Batwoman
Batwoman

Batman and Robin discovered their adversary’s true identity and trailed him to an underground catacomb, where the Cat-Man seemed to perish when he plunged into a raging underground river.

6908

Cat-Man resurfaced Detective Comics #318 , miraculously unscathed by his plunge into the cataract, and he launched a new series of crimes revolving around fictional cats. Robin couldn’t help but wonder why Blake hadn’t simply relocated to a city without costumed crimefighters but Batman observed that “he’s in love with Batwoman, remember ? I think he hopes to win her by proving he’s a better man than I am.”

Cat-man and Cat-woman
Cat-man and Cat-woman

Indeed, Cat-Man even orchestrated a chase between him and his beloved so that he could save her life. Even as she acknowledged his evil, Batwoman admitted that she couldn’t “help having mixed feelings about him.” For a time, Blake seemed to have won the woman of his dreams when Batwoman broke her ties with the Dark Knight and agreed to be the Cat-Man’s partner. If she’d questioned his feelings for her before, Batwoman had all doubts erased by the huge portrait of her that hung in Cat-Man’s subway tunnel lair and the Cat-Woman costume that Blake had created for his queen.

from Bat to Cat
from Bat to Cat

Having ingratiated herself into Blake’s confidence, Batwoman summoned Batman and Robin for another inconclusive duel. Cat-Man was seemingly killed when his speedboat hit a buoy and exploded.

The death of cat-man?
The death of cat-man?

 

Cat-Man survived and once again returned to Gotham for Batwoman in Detective Comics #325.

The Return of Cat-man
The Return of Cat-man

But after several encounters between the two, Cat-Man grabbed her and prepared to throw his beloved to her death. “I love you — but I love freedom more! I cannot allow you to capture me!” The swift action of Batman prevented Kathy Kane’s premature death and Thomas Blake was taken into custody after more than a year as a fugitive.

Captured
Captured

Catman in other media:

Scott Cleverdon: (voice) Thomas Blake “New Adventures of Batman”

Thomas Blake
Thomas Blake

Non-speaking: Catman “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies”

Public Enemies
Public Enemies

Thomas F. Wilson: Catman “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”

Batman: Brave and the Bold
Batman: Brave and the Bold

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Source: DC Wiki,   Bill Finger Appreciation Group

Brave and the Bold
Brave and the Bold

 

Thomas ODonnell

Thomas ODonnell

My love of comics started at the age of 5, when visions of mythic beings fought their way across my TV screen. Batman '66, Super Friends, Wonder Woman, and Superman '78 filled my early childhood with imagination and adventure. Soon enough I found the spinner rack! Batman, Justice League and DC's Who's Who kept me coming back for more. I've seen the death of hope, justice broken, a light extinguished, and a universe torn! A kingdom come, the lightning return, a triumph of evil and a multiverse reborn!
  • Tom Bruggeman

    ripoff of a ww2 era character in name and costume