An entry from my defunct Marvel blog of the 00s, first of a series on bad comics that I worked on.
Ran into some connectivity problems late yesterday, so our special series on Bad Comics I Had A Hand In is beginning a little bit later than planned. But we’ll be running this exciting new feature for the next week or so, or until I get bored with it, whichever comes first.
Today’s inaugural entry is the NIGHTCAT one-shot. Nightcat was an aspiring singer whose sleazy manager cut a deal with Marvel similar to the arrangement that had created the Dazzler a decade earlier: Marvel was to create a persona for her, and a comic book, and then she’d perform in the costume. This was a licensing deal, so there was plenty of money to spend, but very little time to get the project done, as tends to be typical of this sort of thing.
The Nightcat costume was designed by Jim Lee, then the super-hot artist of X-Men (as opposed to the super-hot artist of Batman). The painted cover, which was also used as the album cover of Nightcat’s debut album, was by Joe Jusko.
The book itself was scripted by Stan Lee, who had some involvement in putting the deal together, and plotted by Jim Salicrup and Barry Dutter, who were the go-to guys when it came to plotting books that Stan was going to script in those days. Denys Cowan did breakdowns for the double-sized issue, in a rush as I recall, and the finishes were handled by Jimmy Palmiotti in one of his first solo gigs at Marvel. I was the assistant editor, and Bob Budiansky the editor. This was typical of the sorts of custom comics we’d do in the Special Projects division of Marvel back in the early 90s.
Nightcat was a dumb comic all around (yet not so dumb that some similar origin concepts wouldn’t make their way into the Catwoman movie years later), both wanting to be “edgy” and “street”, and yet not wanting to offend anybody or be too daring. As a result, it’s something of a string of cliches and odd beats. The thing I remember most clearly is a last-minute addition to the book, when the manager had lined up some partnerships with assorted people to promote Nightcat, and wanted them all added into the book at the last minute. That page in particular is a scream looking back at it, as all of these guys in the space of two panels sidle up to the newly-debuted Nightcat and pronounce how they’re each individually going to help market her.
Nightcat’s career went nowhere, and outside of one appearance on a late night talk show (not the Tonight Show or Letterman, but one of the other short-lived ones from the early 90s–I forget which after so many years) I don’t know that she ever performed in the outfit.