National Comic Book Day is September 25th, and we want to celebrate with some of our favorite comic book characters. There are plenty of famous superheroes and villains in comics that take inspiration from the animal kingdom. Batman & Robin, Spider-man, Hawkgirl, Raven and tons of others draw influence from creatures found in nature. But we cat fans hold a special place in our hearts for the characters that craft their personas around powerful felines. They’re strong, agile, stealthy, and ready to save the day–or rule the world.
Here are 9 of the best cat-themed comic book characters for National Comic Book Day.
Everyone’s favorite cat burglar and sometimes-hero, sometimes-villain has to be the most iconic cat-themed comic book character of all time. Catwoman is one of Batman’s nemeses, and their relationship can be pretty complicated. Selina Kyle, as she’s known when she’s not clad from ear to toe in leather, has catlike reflexes, agility, and sharp wits that make her a very powerful adversary or ally. She’s been in tons of comics, video games, and movies including the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises where she was played by Anne Hathaway.
2. Black Panther
If you’re the king of the nation of Wakanda by day, what do you do with the rest of your time? Well Black Panther wears a costume and fights to keep his subjects, and sometimes the rest of the world, safe. He first appeared in comics in 1966 and recently appeared in the film Captain America: Civil War, and he’s getting his own movie soon. He’s an excellent tracker and possesses the agility of a Panther, as his name implies.
3. Black Cat
Felicia Hardy is the daughter of a world renown cat burglar, so choosing a cat as her alter-ego wasn’t much of a stretch. She had a fling with Spider-man, but being the strong, independent lady criminal that she is, she won’t be tied down. At one point she had the superpower to give her enemies “bad luck,” which caused freak accidents to happen to them and played on the stereotype that black cats are bad luck. Of course, we know that black cats aren’t bad luck and deserve forever homes as much as any other cat.
4. Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)
When your nickname is Kitty, it’s not that much of a surprise that your superhero name is cat-themed. Shadowcat is a mutant with the ability to phase through solid matter. She’s made many appearances in the X-Men films, but first appeared in comics in 1980. The artist who created her actually named Kitty after a fellow student in college, and not after a cat. But sometimes our kitties can get under doors and through tight spots, almost like they’re walking through walls. So Shadowcat’s powers may be inspired by cats after all.
5. Hellcat (Patsy Walker)
Patsy Walker was trained by the likes of Beast and Captain America, so you know that she means business. She can summon her costume at will, which is pretty handy for a superhero, and she can use a force field and sense mystical energy. You may have seen the most recent non-magical version of her character known as Trish Walker in the Netflix series Jessica Jones. Hopefully she’ll be donning the costume and becoming a full hero in an upcoming season.
Cheetah and Wonder Woman go way back as enemies to when the catlike villain first appeared in comics in 1943. Since then, a few different women have taken up the Cheetah mantle. Though the original didn’t have any super powers and just wore a cheetah costume, later versions of the character were physically transformed to look like a cheetah and had superhuman abilities.
Sabretooth’s sharp claws and long fangs definitely resemble the prehistoric saber-toothed cats you might find in a museum. This villain is usually portrayed as a bloodthirsty monster bent on fighting the X-Men’s Wolverine to the death. His super powerful sense of smell, strength, and catlike agility make him an incredibly deadly hunter. I’ll stick to my cute, cuddly house cat and just be glad that this mutant and the saber-toothed cats he resembles aren’t around to terrify us.
8. Bronze Tiger
Bronze Tiger may not have any superhuman abilities, but he does have a really cool tiger head mask that he wears while assassinating his targets. He’s a martial arts master who first appeared in the DC universe in 1974 and has since been a member of both the Suicide Squad and the League of Assassins. And even though he doesn’t have superpowers, he was able to defeat Batman in combat.
There have been four different Lion-Manes, three male and one female, in the history of the character, but he or she is usually a were-lion, sometimes transformed by the power of a meteor. Lion-Mane has had several fights with Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and even worked alongside Cheetah and Catwoman in different versions of the character. The half-human half-lion has superhuman strength and ferocity much like the big cat that inspired the character.
Who’s your favorite cat-themed comic book character? Which characters should we add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!