1972 was a time of attempted expansion and experimentation for Marvel Comics. In the month that The Cat #1 was released, the publisher put 49 comic books on the newsstands, nearly double what they had done one year prior. There were five series launches from Marvel on the stands that month, including Night Nurse #1, Chamber of Chills #1, Shanna, the She-Devil #1 and Supernatural Thrillers #1. Created by Roy Thomas, Marie Severin, and Wally Wood and with the early issues written by Linda Fite, The Cat was an underappreciated part of this early 1970s Marvel moment, which would lead to another of those moments when the character, Grant Greer, would become Tigra in 1974. A quintessential early 1970s Marvel debut, there's a The Cat #1 (Marvel, 1972) CGC VF+ 8.5 White pages up for auction in the 2022 September 4-5 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122236 at Heritage Auctions.
Three of the Marvel debuts this month, The Cat, Night Nurse, and Shanna the She-Devil were aimed at female readers, according to a Roy Thomas interview in Alter Ego. "[Stan] wanted to do some books that would have special appeal to girls. We were always looking for ways to expand our franchise. My idea…was to try to get women to write them. And of course, if we could get a woman to draw them, too, that was great. Stan tapped Marie …for The Cat. ..Linda Fite was working on staff, had done a couple of X-Men back-up features."
Perhaps in interesting contrast to this, according to the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, inker Wally Wood inked the Cat as if she was nude on the cover and interior story of this issue, and Severin had to then modify certain details to make the character look like she was wearing a skin-tight catsuit instead of adventuring as a naked woman.
As Tigra, the character would go on to become a memorable part of classic 1970s/80s Marvel and beyond. There's a nice copy of The Cat #1 (Marvel, 1972) CGC VF+ 8.5 White pages up for auction in the 2022 September 4-5 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122236 at Heritage Auctions.
The Cat #1 (Marvel, 1972) CGC VF+ 8.5 White pages. Origin and first appearance of the Cat (Greer Grant, who later becomes Tigra). Wally Wood cover and art. Marie Severin art. Overstreet 2022 VF 8.0 value = $89; VF/NM 9.0 value = $195. CGC census 8/22: 89 in 8.5, 272 higher.