Remake & Reboot: Comic Series for DC’s WILDCAT

With the advent of the New 52, DC spanned the four corners of the globe to find 52 notable heroes to base series off of. While it resulted in some interesting new solo titles like The Shade and Demon Knights, we also ended up with almost ten Bat-related books. As DC begins to rotate out the under-performers to try some new blood, I’d argue that DC has a real contender in their midst who’s never gotten a fair shake: Wildcat.

This prize-fighter turned crime-fighter has become a key member of DC’s Justice Society, and emerged as a trainer to the stars including Batman,  Catwoman and Black Canary. Wildcat has always been written with an air of brutish male chauvinism, but when done correctly it comes off as simply old-school values. I’d argue that the time is right for DC to finally give Wildcat a shot at the title — a comics title, I mean.

The Concept:

Although he’s a name character in the DC, it might surprise you that he’s never had his own solo series — neither a mini or an ongoing. The closest thing boxer-turned-hero Ted Grant has had is two team-up minis — Batman/Wildcat and Catwoman/Wildcat. So for this first outing, I’d set it up as a limited series that uses the revisionist-era New 52 to come at Wildcat from a different angle.

In keeping with his boxing origin, I’d place Ted Grant as a champion boxer that drops a fight — and drops out of the business — after learning he has metahuman abilities. Thinking that his abilities make it an unfair fight against his normal human opponents, Ted Grant purposely loses what would be his last fight and draws the ire of the underground betting community that lost a lot because of him. Grant is framed for murder by this shadowy organization; the murder of his opponent’s girlfriend, who unbeknownst to them was also an old flame of Grant’s. Grant then dons the Wildcat mask in an effort to ferret out the truth behind her murder and parlaying his boxing skills to real-life combat.

The Creators:

Writer / Artist – Dean Haspiel: Dean Haspiel has been a prominent comics creator for years, and worked with greats like Harvey Pekar while also doing his own work. When it comes to the Big Two he hasn’t really been given the chance to tell his own story, and in keeping with DC’s recent trend to let other artists write their own work (J.H. Williams 3, Francis Manapul, David Finch, Tony Daniel) Haspiel is a clear contender. Although he has no boxing background that I’m aware of, the NYC native looks like he could handle himself in a fight and understands the hard knocks life can give you.

Co-Writer – Jonathan Ames: To head off any admonishment saying more “name” recognition is needed to launch a first-time Wildcat series, I’d invite author Jonathan Ames. The two worked together previously on the Vertigo OGN The Alcoholic as well as Ames’ recent television series Bored To Death, so I could easily imagine Ames assisting Haspiel without getting in the way of Dino’s vision. As a bonus, Ames is a part-time boxer himself.


  1. I could get behind this. Easy.

  2. Hmm I’m not sure about the metahuman angle. I always liked the really early idea of a simple former boxer taking to the streets. I’d say way back in his hey-day he was dubbed the Wildcat in the ring and had a celebrity status as an anti-drugs campaigner, having seen what it did to young sportsmen. One day he is told to drop a fight by a mob-boss who has money riding on the other guy and he wont. Instead the mobster puts money on Grant and sets it up so Grant kills the guy. On top of that drug tests were carried out on him which the gangsters organised to be announced as positive. He was banned from ever fighting and his name stained. He went into early retirement and hid in Suicide Slums.

    I’d love to see a story of a washed up boxer in his old age, running a beaten down gym and hitting the bottle pretending he doesn’t need anything else out of life. Until mafioso gangs start to encroach on the ghetto around the gym and unlike the regular hoods they don’t know ol’ man Grant will give them the smack down. He starts fighting back. An old man’s one man war on organised crime. Wearing an old promotional costume he hits the streets as the Wildcat. Now and then bumping into long-forgotten friends and fans from the old days (such as a young man who grew up in the same slum as him named Alan Scott or one of his heroes as a young man, The original Flash). I just like the simple idea of a retired guy kicked ass to protect his neighbourhood.

    Not sure who would draw it but Haspiel would still be cool on art.

  3. the best Wildcat, ever?

    Darwyn Cooke’s take on him in DC New Frontier

  4. Ok, I’ll play.

    The metahuman ability is kind of essential (think what happens to the ex-con who runs the boxing club in The Wire) but perhaps it can be latent or is deeply connected with his boxing ability. In short he’s smartest fighter in the world.

    The on-going story would be how he applies the sweet science to solving mysteries and thwarting criminals.

    Having him “past his prime” boxing-wise would be a crucial detail as well. Explains why he isn’t prize-fighting but is also a good alibi for crime fighting (“Ted Grant can’t be the Wildcat. He’s too old!”).

    Art selection works. Ames could probably do this without calling it Wildcat and it would sell.

  5. This could be good. I mean, any more Wildcat is a good thing, right? I just worry about not having the ties to the JSA, given that we’re getting the Earth 2 book in the coming months. But I am always up for more Ted Grant!

  6. I would definetly read that . Wildcat is one of the greatest old style heroes and he deserves a shot at his own series .

  7. Wildcat will never ever ever be able to support his own series.

  8. Remember when DC use to mini series of characters that were not Batman related, yeah we have The Shade, but a Wildcat mini I’d buy. I’d buy a mini series of any of the JSA heroes, Jay, Allan or even Cater (ugh the new Hawkman sucks). One of the great books of the 90’s was Sandman Mystery Theatre. Do Wildcat in that vein.

  9. One of my favorite Wildcat stories was the episode from JLI, the one where Wildcat beats the crap out of Green Arrow. It captured both heroes perfectly.