The best fighters can pick themselves back up to keep swinging. Ted Grant was such a fighter, so much so, he gained powers that allowed him to do this even when death should take him down. Who is he? The Wildcat! Who are we going to talk about? The Wildcat! So how does a boxer from the 1940s go on to live roughly the same lifestyle in the modern day? Let’s find out!
Theodore “Ted” Grant, was born to a father who wanted the best for his son and made sure he’d have the skills to take on the world. Sadly, both of Ted’s parents would die while he was a teen. One night, he’d rescue the life of heavyweight boxing champ, Socker Smith. Impressed, Smith would further train Ted to become an even better fighter. Becoming a boxer in his own right, Ted would unknowingly get involved with some illegal actions due to his manager. This would result in Socker being killed and Ted framed for his murder. Ted would be inspired by a Green Lantern comic to don a mask and become the vigilante Wildcat to make things right.
Clearing his name and capturing those responsible for Socker’s death, Ted would realize he had a knack and interest for crime fighting. His new life eventually got the attention of the Justice Society of America where he’d use his fighting skills to help the world. Through his adventuring, he’d find he’d been blessed with nine lives that allowed him to stay relatively young far longer than any normal person and able to come back from fatal damage. He’d end up sent into Limbo to fight alongside his JSA teammates until he could return, appearing as a fit man in his 50’s.
Deciding that he would do better as a mentor, having trained a young Batman and Black Canary years prior, Ted would retire from heroics to become a combat trainer. In his place, Ted’s goddaughter Yolanda Montez, a metahuman with the ability to pop claws out of her fingers and toes, would take on the mantle of Wildcat until she’d be killed by the villain Eclipso years later. While retired, Ted would learn he had not one but two sons.
One son, which was kidnapped by an old enemy who’d transformed his son into half-wasp/half-man. The other was still human and had become the target of Vandal Savage as he went after the children of all Golden Age heroes. This son, Tom Bronson had developed his own metahuman powers, he was a wear cat with a human/cat hybrid form, Tomcat. Metahuman powers seem to always have some sort of poetic justice. The father and son would fight off Savage and the two would go back and join the JSA. Fighting alongside one another and Ted’s teammates, young and old.
In the New 52, Ted Grant would train Dick Grayson on Earth 2 to become a better combatant. While Yolanda Montez would become the Avatar of Red, similar to Animal Man of the old Earth 1. She would unite with the Avatars of the Green and Grey, Green Lantern and Solomon Grundy respectively to fight the New Gods. She would be captured by Darkseid and transformed into a monstrous attack animal.
There you have it! Wildcat is another one of those golden age heroes who could truck with gods because he could fight well. He fought well enough that the best fighters in the world came to him to learn. Two Justice League members gladly call him mentor, that’s nothing to sneeze at, no wonder he could be shoulder to shoulder with the mightiest of the mighty. See you next time!
Sensation Comics #1
Justice Society of America
Infinity Inc. (For Yolanda Montez stories)