And so, the 5th of 6 modest galleries for the days during which the blogger is unavoidably preoccupied elsewhere. This one concerns the feline-powered superkids that British comics threw up between the second half of the 60s and the middle of the 80s. Bless them all.
1. from The Leopard From Lime Street, by Tom Tully, Mike Western & Eric Bradbury, as first published during the spring of 1969 in Buster & recently collected in a splendid edition by Rebellion Press.
2. from Catch The Cat, a mid-80s strip in Bunty, with art by Hugh Thornton-Jones, set during the Nazi occupation of France. The above scan comes from 2014’s The Best Of Bunty Annual.
3. from The Cat Girl, created by artist Giorgio Giorgetti, who appeared in Sally from its debut in 1969 and then transfered to Tammy.
4. from Billy The Cat & Katie in The Beano Book 1975. Created and originally drawn by David Sutherland, Billy debuted as the protector of the town of Burnham in 1967, while Katie took her first bow at the turn of the 70s.
5. Versions of all of the above except Marie Bonnet’s Cat appeared in Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell’s Zenith: Phase Three in 1989’s 2000AD. Things did not go well there for these beloved childhood favourites, although it ought to be said that their suffering was touching, convincing and meaningful. (The more time passes, the more I’m convinced this was Morrison’s defining, greatest work.) I’ve opted for a somewhat more cheery scene from 2015’s HB collection of Phase Three, in which Leopardman makes his first appearance in the strip.
You can, if you’d choose, access other galleries here at Them Darned Superpeople, here.
5 thoughts on “Smalltown UK Feline Superheroes: A Modest Gallery Of Sweetly Little League Costumed British Crimefighters”
Oh, how I remember the Leopard of Lime Street – the biggest crime was the blatant Spidey rip-off. At least Billy the Cat was its own animal. I’d love to read a collection of The Cat, it looks terrific.
Hi Martin! – you are of course quite right. The Leopard Of Lime Street was a Spider-Man rip-off. But it did have its own charms. Some of the art was quite lovely, and in particular, it at times really captured smalltown suburbia in the 70s. I think it also captured a sense of quiet wonder when it showed Billy Farmer forgetting himself and using his powers in everyday settings. As well as a sense of menace when his glowing eyes manifested themselves while he was in his civvies. So, yes, a rip-off, and yet right from the start, I think it added to the tradition too.
I’m hoping for a collection of all the strips actually, but I’m with you 100% on the French resistance supergirl! Cat Girl also featured some great British settings, amongst other virtues, while Billy & Katie could feature some surprisingly expansive storytelling, especially in the annuals.
Maybe it’s just because Zenith was the first Morrison I ever read but I agree. Although DOOM PATROL is close to my heart, Zenith is really fabulous.
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Fabulous, yes, and – still – rather terrifying too, which surprises me. None of Morrison’s other cosmic tales have ever seemed convincingly threatening to me. But Zenith Phase 3 remains wonderfully bleak and unsettling. Bless its rain-splattered pages 🙂
Also: “The Protector of Burnham!” 🙂
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