Wildcat is the name of several DC Comics superheroes. The most famous of these is the first one, Ted Grant, a long-time member of the Justice Society of America.
Wildcat (real name unknown) was a member of Tomahawk's Rangers, who fought for independence in the American Revolution during the 18th century. His first appearance was in Tomahawk #92 (May/June 1964), and was created by France Herron, Fred Ray, Murray Boltinoff and Dan Spiegel. 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".
Ted Grant is a normal human who was, at some unspecified point, given a magical "nine lives," none of which he has left. He remains at the peak of human condition due to extensive, regular exercise. He is a world-class boxer who trained Batman in the art.
Ted Grant donned the Wildcat costume beginning in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942), the same issue in which Wonder Woman and Mister Terrific premiered.
Wildcat in the 1940's; art by Irwin HasenAs an orphan, Ted Grant took up a position as a heavyweight boxer, and eventually became tangled in his sinister managers' plans. As a result, his mentor "Socker" Smith was killed by a boxing glove loaded with a poison needle by Grant's managers Flint and Skinner. 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 he might know what had happened, arranged a hit on the young fighter. Ted Grant survived, but the policemen with him were dead. He became a fugitive and came upon a kid who was robbed of his Green Lantern comic. The kid, describing the mystery-man Green Lantern, inspired Ted to create a costume of a large black cat. He took the name of Wildcat and vowed to clear his name. He brought Flint and Skinner to justice, as the villains were forced to confess and Grant's name was cleared. Wildcat continued to fight against crime.
He became a member of the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron. 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, but he soon discovered he had a god-daughter who became Wildcat II (see below).
An Earth-One version of Ted Grant existed pre-Crisis and teamed up with Batman on several occasions, himself a retired world heavyweight champion like his Earth-Two counterpart. This Grant had a relatively minor career, and much of his early years were left unchronicled as to his origin, although his origin is likely similar to the golden age Ted Grant. Initially, this variant of Wildcat was thought to have been a resident of Earth-B (an attempt to rectify discordant stories in Brave and Bold that did not fit neatly on Earth-One), however his later appearance in a few outside stories verified his existence on both mainstream Earths. 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, although it was still said Post-Crisis that Batman received some training from Ted Grant.
Post-Crisis, Ted later recovered from his injuries sustained during the Crisis, and joined the re-formed JSA as they entered a limbo state to save the world from an oncoming onslaught initiated by Hitler decades before. Later he and his fellow teammates were released from this dimension, and regained prominence as the forefathers of the heroic community. He recently claimed to have magically acquired "nine lives" early in his career, and has in fact survived several otherwise fatal injuries. Wildcat was also one of the many combat instructors sought out by a young Bruce Wayne on the path towards becoming Batman. He also helped mentor Black Canary, teaching her a variety of boxing techniques suited to her build (mainly without the knowledge - or consent - of her mother, the original Black Canary, who was strongly opposed to daughter following in her footsteps).
In the post-Crisis rebooted continuity, Ted Grant never experienced paraplegia. He was also still a former heavyweight champion of the world. He also appeared in an issue of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman titled "The Golden Boy".
He appears as a central character in JSA, where he is killed only for it to be revealed he has nine lives, and has done since 1945: hence how he can be over 70 years old, yet an athletic and powerful boxer. (It does not explain how he keeps his public identity as the same person, a famous boxer, for over fifty years, or how he explains away his youthful looks.)
Ted is one of the three original JSA members on the current team, and is seen as a kind (if rowdy at times), avuncular figure by the other teammates. He frequently scraps with the similarly rowdy Power Girl and may be attracted to her. Ted Grant has had several notable relationships with women, including Irina (the mother of Ted's son, Jake. After Jake was kidnapped by the Yellow Wasp, they soon parted ways), Selina Kyle (as well as training her in boxing, Ted and Selina have shared a mutual attraction and had a torrid affair at one time) and Queen Hippolyta (Ted and Hippolyta shared some romantic encounters, alluded to in John Byrne's run of Wonder Woman- where Hippolyta travels back in time to WW2. Ted was also visibly shaken up after Hippolyta's death in the DC crossover, Our Worlds at War).
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
In February 2006, as seen in issue #9 of the ongoing series JSA: Classified, Ted recently lost the last of his extra "nine lives", when he was "killed" by his Justice Society ally Jay Garrick, the original Flash. The two did this intentionally in order to permit Ted to escape control of the Spear of Destiny, which can permit the holder mind control over superpowered individuals, and thus save the world from the spear being used to dominate Earth.
In the new Justice Society of America series, it's been revealed that Ted has a son that he never met before by the name of Tom. Tom's mother was revealed in #2 as 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, but states that he does not believe he will ever be the next Wildcat (stating that he hadn't been in a fight since the 8th grade, and lost that one).
In JSA #3, it was revealed that Tom is a metahuman. When Wildcat is attacked by Vandal Savage, Tom turns into a werecat, very similar to the Kingdom Come version of Wildcat.
In issue #4 Tom (after some initial reluctance) agrees to share the "Wildcat" codename with his father, and is introduced to the Justice Society.
Spoilers end here.
Alternate versions of Wildcat
Born with meta-human Powers due to the machinations of the villainous Dr. Love, Yolanda Montez became the god-daughter of Ted "Wildcat" Grant, a good friend of her father, "Mauler" Montez. Due to 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". In Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 (September 1985), Ted was injured in the Crisis and Yolanda used her Powers to become the new Wildcat. She joined Infinity Inc. shortly afterward. She fought the good fight for years before being killed by Eclipso (Eclipso #13 (November 1993)), alongside her other teammates in the Shadow Fighters. Yolanda's cousin Alex later became Eclipso in the JSA: "Princes of Darkness" storyline.
Hector Ramirez first appeared in Batman/Wildcat # 1 (April 1997), and 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.
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 (with the other offspring of the Justice League). It is not really clear if he dies or not at the end of the comic, when the UN unleashes a nuclear attack against the metahumans.
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