Tiger Girl and Kitten. Artist: Jack Sparling.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Gold Key Comics
First Appeared: 1968
Creators: Jerry Siegel (writer) and Jack Sparling (artist)
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Like Dell, its predecessor in publishing Western Printing's comic books, Gold Key Comics subsisted mostly on properties licensed from other companies, such as Walt Disney Productions and Walter Lantz Studios. There were exceptions, such as Magnus and Turok, but Tom & Jerry and Yogi Bear were the norm. But in the wake of the Batman TV show's success, Gold Key briefly gave an appearance of being about to launch a superhero line, by …

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… introducing first a revival of The Owl and then a new character, Tiger Girl, who debuted in her own title with a cover date of September, 1968.

As in the case of The Owl, there was a Tiger Girl in the 1940s. But the earlier one, a jungle adventurer in Africa, published by Fiction House (Sheena, Kaanga), was completely unrelated to Gold Key's, who was American, urban and, in at least a minor way, super-powered.

Tiger Girl was Lily Taylor, an aerialist with the Dingaling and South Circus, which, unlike most such institutions, seemed permanently based in a single location, Ralston City. Aside from unnaturally fast reflexes, she shared a mental link with the circus's star Bengal tiger, Kitten, who was her companion when she went out superheroing. No explanation of these extra abilities was ever given. Her secret was shared by the other circus performers, evident from the fact that two of them, Titan the Great (strong man) and Laughing Boy (clown), showed up just when she most needed rescuing.

Despite the fact that Titan was in love with Lily, her snarky-but-affectionate bantering partner in her adventuring persona was Ed Savage, (no relation) (him either), an agent for W.A.A.V. (War Against Arch-Villainy). Since it was the late '60s, with initialed agencies littering the landscape in all American media (even comics, e.g., S.H.I.E.L.D. and T.H.U.N.D.E.R.), W.A.A.V.'s evil counterpart was I.N.F.A.M.Y., whatever that stood for. For a cat themed hero like Tiger Girl, I.N.F.A.M.Y. fielded a dog-themed villain named Wolf Hound.

Tiger Girl's comic was drawn by Jack Sparling, whose credits include DC Comics' Eclipso. Dell's Naza and the newspaper comic Claire Voyant. The writer was no less a personage than Jerry Siegel, who co-created Superman himself. Along the lines of the Batman TV show, Siegel used a "camp" writing style, which included very lame attempts at humor, which he'd experimented with earlier when he wrote Archie Comics' Mighty Crusaders and related titles. Quasi-seriously, however, Siegel characterized Tiger Girl as an outspoken feminist when feminism wasn't cool (which it didn't really become until the '70s).

Tho it hadn't yet become a standard feminist demand, Tiger Girl might have done better as Tiger Woman. As it is, she lasted only a single issue. The whole abortive line, such as it was, then sank without a trace.


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Text ©2006-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Western Printing and Lithographing.