For a while Catman was very popular. He was one of Batman’s main villains. Then for whatever reason he fell off the grid and became a comically third-rate member of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Eventually so obscure no one even knew who he was. Then a few years ago in the “Secret Six” comics Catman returned as a powerhouse - beefy, hot and bisexual. No longer a third-rate villain but an interesting anti-hero. The changes writers and artists put these characters through can in some ways mirror the changes we go through.
“Is it true you used to be fat?” (The Huntress)
"I used to be messed up. Then I wasn’t, so much. That’s all.” - Catman *
Some superheroes are villains forced into a life of heroism by the government to stay out of jail. This is the case of the Secret Six. The Secret Six is a government run organization comprised of villains trying to stay out of jail. Catman, aka Thomas Blake, is one of the villains. Catman was a world class trapper and hunter. He got bored and turned to crime. He got caught by Batman. Then Blake became a third-rate villain, lazy and fat. He decides to go back to Africa and live among the lions he once hunted. Blake’s health and fighting ability improved. This is where the Government found Catman. The pride of lions Catman lived with was killed by the Society of Villains; Catman seeks revenge through the Secret Six.
Catman’s story is interesting – for whatever reason to become fat and lazy then to find change again. There are other stories like that – real life stories. Go to meetings for Alcoholics, Addicts, or Overeaters and you’ll hear stories like that. These stories are inspiring. People do get messed up and do recover. It is possible to hit a bottom and climb your way back up. It takes dedication, determination and discipline. It takes acceptance of the issue and it takes a positive attitude. But there must be Balance between the Physical (exercise), Emotional (sharing with friends) and Spiritual (connecting with the inner self). Also, Trust that whatever is messed up can get cleaned up.
First Appearance: Detective Comics #311, January 1963
Creators: Bill Finger (writer) & Jim Mooney (art)
*“Which Reason Knows Not Of”, Birds of Prey, #11, DC Comics, June 2011