Black Cat Costume History
Marv Wolfman originally created the Black Cat to be a villain for Spider-Woman, but he was reassigned to Spider-Man before she could be put in a comic. The Black Cat would then undergo a series of revision before making her debut in the 1979 issue of Amazing Spider-Man #194.
Felicia Hardy comes from a wealthy New York family. Her father Walter was constantly away on “business”, so she spent a lot of time with her mother Lydia. Her mother constantly pushed Felica and was never satisfied unless Felicia came in first, doing her best was not good enough. Although this attitude was not healthy for Felicia’s childhood, it would help her excel in future endeavours. During her freshman year at Empire State University, Felicia was raped by her boyfriend. To not feel like a victim and exact revenge, she trained extensively in combat and acrobatics. However, before Felicia could get vengeance, her ex was killed in a drunk driving accident. With no escape for her rage, Felicia turned to her father’s profession of being a world famous thief. Felicia would not wear a catsuit or call herself the Black Cat until later in her cat burglary career. She took on her famous identity when she needed to break her father out of prison before he died.
It was during this attempted prison break that the Black Cat first crossed paths with Spider-Man. This would be the beginning of a long complicated relationship between Felicia Hardy/Black Cat and Peter Parker/Spider-Man. These two adversaries would rotate between friends, lovers and enemies. Peter Parker was able to reveal his secret identity to the Felicia and finally be in a relationship that did not involve hiding part of his life. However, the Black cat was in love with Spider-Man and not Peter Parker.
Originally the Black Cat had no superpowers beyond her training. The bad luck “accidents” that occurred around her were actually well laid traps prepared ahead of time. After realizing that natural skills would not be enough to fight alongside superpowered individuals like Spider-Man, the Black Cat searched for a way to gain superpowers. The Kingpin endowed her with psionic ability to affect probability fields which gave her jinx power, but unbeknownst to her these bad luck powers would prove fatal to Spider-Man if he was around her for too long. This gift from the Kingpin would lead to Black Cat and Spider-Man’s break up. When Spider-Man enlisted the aid of Dr. Strange to remove the hex that was now on him, Spider-Man was not only cured, but the Black Cat lost her bad luck powers. In their place, she now had super strength, agility, balance, vision and retractable claws (Not a bad trade off).
When Felicia returned from a long absence, after breaking up with Spider-Man, she found Peter and Mary Jane Watson Married. Felicia did not take this well and began harassing the newlyweds and dating Flash Thompson. However, she did help save the life of a powerless Spider-Man from the Scorpion. After this heroic act, she would lose her own powers to a device used by the Chameleon. When the dust settled; she became friends with both Mary Jane and Peter, teamed up with Spider-Man on several occasions, and started her own P.I. company in Los Angeles called Cat’s Eye Private Investigations. She specialized in body guarding, background checks, bounty hunting, and installing burglarproof security systems.
Black Cat would not return to Spider-Man comics on a regular basis until after the “One More Day” storyline, which rewrote Spider-Man’s history. It appears that much of Spider-Man and Black Cat’s past remained intact, but she has no memories of Spider-Man’s secret identity and her bad luck powers have returned.
It may be hard to believe, but in a skin tight costume that could get her arrested for indecent exposure, the Black Cat has many gadgets that were designed by the Tinkerer hidden away. Her earrings are wired to help increase her balance and agility. Although she has excellent vision, she wears contacts that allow her to see ultraviolet and infrared lighting. This might explain why her mask doesn’t actually cover her face. She wouldn’t want to limit the view of those expensive lenses. The tips of her white gloves contain a steel micro-filament that can be extended like a cat’s claws. These talons can slice through almost anything and help her scale walls. The fur on her gloves are more than a fashion choice. They help conceal a grappling hook (designed by her father), that she can use to swing across buildings, walk across like a tightrope, climb walls or wield as a weapon. The fur on her boots was just for looks. Hopefully it is faux fur, and some poor animal didn’t have to suffer because of Felicia’s alias choice. The fabric itself contains micro-servos that enhance her natural strength. Perhaps her bosom looks like it is about to pop out, because all the electronics are stored there? This provocative look that both shows every curve of her body and prominently displays her breast is purposefully used to distract foes. Many opponents have been hit or victims stolen from, because their eyes were not focused on the appropriate area.
After many years of wearing the same costume, Black Cat made a slight change to her look. Felicia decided that having the V cut stop at her bosom wasn’t distracting enough, so her new outfit would have the cut continue all the way down to her bellybutton. She also went wild with the white fur. Her costume was now able to double as a mop. This look did not last very long and she soon reverted back to something closer to her original costume. Perhaps she realized that having most of your torso exposed is not a good ideas when crawling through tight spaces.
Black cat continually returns to her classic costume. There are slight variation added, but usually this is just in the details added to the fabric or perhaps a gadget she might need for a particular caper. More strands of fabric might be added to the fur, as opposed to a white bushy blob. The fabric can have more lines adding depth to the material, instead of just silhouetting of the body. These newer versions of the original costume are a solid black. The white glove and boots have been replaced with a solid black. This is more practical for stalking in the shadows.
Ultimate Black Cat
For the Marvel Ultimate Universe, Felicia has the the power of endowing herself or others with good or bad luck. She also possess superhuman agility, some might say the agility of a cat. In this universe, she actually has black hair, so the distinctive long white hair of the Black Cat is a wig. She also takes the name Black Cat much more serious in her costume choice. Her large goggles give the appearance of having cat eyes and she actually has cat ears on top of her head. Her costume contains a lot more black fabric to help her hide in the shadows. She still has the trademark white fur, but her boots and gloves are black. Rather than having all her tools hidden in a skin tight outfit, she wears a utility belt. It is hard not to notice the blending of the Black Cat costume in the regular Marvel Universe and Catwoman from DC Comics.
Black Cat Halloween costumes are very liberal in their interpretations of the comic book character. Rather than a black bodysuit, they are a simple short dress. They do have the correct mask and add some white fur to the top. One version contains stitches, which makes it look more like the Catwoman from Batman Returns.
If fans want something closer to the outfit worn by Black Cat in the comics, it is up to them to make their own costumes
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)