Subject 10: Felicia Hardy AKA: The Black Cat
It's rough to figure out what to write every week. After the Suicide Squad movie controversy and raging… I promised last week, I'm not even gonna going there. Instead maybe something completely different, a character with some long term movie potential… Non-confrontational… The Black Cat!
Everyone has a favorite character, for me it’s Black Cat. I remember the first time I became aware of the character, it was in a little comic shop called Fantasy 5 and Dime. They had a print by artist Charles Vess, Spider-Man and the Black Cat. I was still pretty young then, new to comics, had to ask who she was. I wasn’t really into superhero books at that point. Amazing Spider-Man #194 was the first book I hunted down because it was a first appearance of a character.
One of the problems back in the late 80’s was you couldn’t jump on the internet and just google a character and piece together their key appearances. It was work, digging through back issues, talking to people. Most of Felicia’s appearance back then were in things like Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-man. Not something Overstreet bothered to list and Wizard wasn’t even a thing yet. We have it so easy now with the internet.
Rather than a convoluted series of cameos to untangle. Black Cat is pretty straight forward. Her first appearance is ASM #194, she’s on the cover, her second appearance is #195. Simple. Some people may or may not know she was originally conceived to be a Spider-Woman villainess… Which didn't end up happening.
Where Felicia get’s a little tricky is all the places she pops up that you don’t know about… Her trajectory changes from bad to good to neutral and back to bad again. I'm going to try and stick to interior appearances as much as possible. With hundreds of appearance across all the Spider-Man books and the Ultimates Universe, there's no way to cover everything. Many are little more than cameos anyways.
Black Cat has initially three, two issue story arcs in Amazing Spider-Man. Amazing Spider-Man #194-#195, #204-#205 and #226-#227. Then it's off to Spectacular Spider-Man #74-76 Spectacular Spider-man is a good place to start looking for Black Cat appearances. She appears throughout the Spectacular Spider-Man series. Spectacular Spider-Man #116 has been a book that has gone up and down over the years, due to Sabertooth. However, Black Cat's is also in it.
Amazing Spider-Man #316. This is a well known book because of Venom, not because it’s the first meeting of Venom and Black Cat AND they fight… Well sorta. Venom wipes the floor with her… So not much of a fight. But Felicia’s troubles don’t end there, she also gets some unexpected news about Peter and MJ! As if getting thrown a beating from Venom wasn’t bad enough, now her heart is broken too. This is also one of 2 time I’m aware that Todd McFarlane drew the Black Cat. the other being ASM#306. You should read Shaun's breakdown of the book here.
What if #21 (1990). What if Spider-Man Married the Black Cat, nuff said.
Amazing Spider-Man 341-343 (1990). Spider-Man's Powerless and the Black Cat shows up to protect him… Sorta. A lot of Spider-Man's rogues are out of Felicia's league. She does what she can.
Beavis and Butt-Head #10 (1994). One page gag of Black Cat and Silver Sable having a cat fight. I'll totally admit to pumping his book all day, even though I only own one copy.
Uncanny Origins #10 (1997). A retelling of her origin, not a reprint. About 20K copies printed. So not a huge print run and found in your LCS dollar bins. I always liked the stylised artwork on the cover.
Venom Vs Carnage #1-4. She's in these issues, not sure why she doesn't remember Venom from ASM#316 or both of them from Maximum Carnage… Bad writing I guess and worst, it appears no one was editing…. Just bizarre.
Black Cat has had several mini series bearing her name. Two, four issues mini series simply called Black Cat. She also appeared in two, three issues mini series. Claws and Claws 2 where she teams up with everyone's favorite mutant, Logan/Wolverine. Issue #3 of both Claws and Claws 2 seem to be the harder to find, the print run is lower than the first two issues.
She has appearances throughout the Heroes for Hire vol 2 series, but they are little more than covers and cameos. She hardly appears inside… She does have a great line in issue #7 or #8 “Why don't we just call ourselves Heroes for $#@% Free!” or something like that… I'm pretty sure it's #7.
Spider-Man Black Cat: Evil that Men Do #1-6 (2002-2006) Written by Kevin Smith and Drawn by Terry Dodson. That’s enough reason to pick it up, however it's probably a little too mature for some younger readers.
Amazing Spider-Man #606-607 (2009). These should already be on most folks radar since they have J Scott Campbell covers. Felicia does appear in both issues. It's a two part story.
Defenders #7-12 (2012). Issues #7 and #8 are probably the only ones of interest. She's in the book up until issue 12. The appearances are probably larger than her Hero for Hire cameos. Issue #7 has interior art by Terry Dodson.
Superior Spider-Man #20 (2012). Black Cat appearance. This is pretty key for her. It’s the issue where Otto Octavius throws her under the proverbial bus. It starts her on the latest direction of revenge against Spider-Man. There's 3 covers for this issue, a regular cover, a 1:50 Campbell cover and an exclusive store variant.
Felicia shows up frequently throughout the 3rd vol of Amazing Spider-Man (2014-2015), so here's a couple of them.
Amazing Spider-man Vol 3 #1. Back up short story were Felicia breaks out of prison.
Amazing Spider-man Vol 3 #2. Midtown Variant, first appearance of Black Cat’s “new outfit”. Not really that major, she makes an out of costume cameo inside.
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #3. First major appearance since Superior Spider-Man #20.
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #4-6. Black Cat and Electro vs Spiderman and Silk… basically that's what these 3 issues boil down to. Issue 4 as everyone should know is Silk's first in costume appearance. There's several variants for issue 4, including a Campbell exclusive with 3 different cover variations.
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #18.1 This issue has a Yasmine Putri Black Cat cover, which is probably in my top 5 favorite Black Cat covers… Easily in my top 10. Felicia beats up a bunch of thugs inside and even tangles with Spider-man. She's still not buying the whole SpOck story.
Silk Vol 1 #3. I'll be honest, I stopped reading this book during volume 2. I just couldn't watch Felicia reduced to the job of putting over Silk. Come on, Felicia’s way more interesting than Silk. Silk’s just female Peter Parker, literally. I love Black Cat, but not enough to buy Silk every month. If Black Cat wasn’t second fiddle, maybe… Also I'm still pretty steamed about volume 1 issue #3 where they are supposed to fight… Except it only last a page or two. I demand more than that! All 3 covers are pretty sweet in my opinion, regardless.
Howard the Duck Vol 6 #1. Black Cat was also used to put over Gwen Poole… Which I was less than thrilled about. Black Cat and GwenPool, how do you mess that up? I'll give you a hint, the art. It wasn't Gurihiru which was a major problem.
Spider-Man #5 (2016) Black Cat tries to kill Myles. It's the most recent interior appearances I’m aware of at time of writing this.
There’s a couple of cover appearances like the Turner/Aspen cover for Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #15. Due out today is a Guillem March cover for Amazing Spider-Man Vol 4 #16 with Felicia “Venomized”. I don’t believe we’ll get a Venomized Black Cat interior appearance any time soon… It's so bizarre… I’m still baffled how that wasn't already a thing.
Felicia's already had a brush with the silver screen, but not in costume. We will very likely see her again before too long. I wouldn't be surprised to see her on the small screen either, like Netflix Defenders in a distant season. One things for certain, it's only a matter of time before Black Cat will get her big break. If you're investing in the long game. Books like ASM#194 and some of her other appearances should pay off down the line… Depending on how cheap you can find them.
Till next week…
Black Cat made a few appearances towards the end of 2016.
Venom #2-5. She appears and could have a larger role in this series as it progresses.
Deadpool:Back in Black #2 and #3. Issue 2 is a cameo and issue 3 is a full appearance.
Amazing Spider-man Vol 4 #25. Artgerm variant cover. Just a cover appearance, no interior appearance.
Marvel Adventures Spider-man #42. Somehow this got left off the original article. Black Cat vs the Puma.
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 3 #3 Frank Cho variant. Good luck finding it.
Hawkeye vs Deadpool 0-4. Black Cat's the main villainess in this story.
Amazing Spider-man 792. Cameo of Venomized Black Cat. FINALLY!
Venom 159. Venomized Black Cat get's devemonized. BOOOOOO!
Amazing Spider-man 793. Team up with Venom vs Venomized Spider-man.
Venom 160. Black Cat Team Ups with Spider-man, Venom and Anti Venom.
Venom-Inc Omega. Black Cat Team Ups with Spider-man, Venom and Anti Venom, beef with Spider-Man from back in Superior Spider-Man finally squashed. YAY!