Cat-Man makes his debut in Detective 311 (Jan. 63), in a story by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney.
Thomas Blake is introduced as a member of the same social club as Bruce Wayne, having just returned from a sojourn in Africa. Parallels are drawn between the lives of Wayne and Blake, just as in the introductory story of the Cavalier.
Bored, Blake decides to turn to a life of crime, and names himself Cat-Man, after his hunting interests, as well as in honour of Catwoman, referred to in this story as “reformed.”
When he comes into confrontation with Batwoman, Blake immediately starts trying to romance her, but she rebuffs him.
A few rounds with Batman, a giant, robotic cat, and Cat-Man appears to die by drowning, but the story as much as tells us he will be back.
In hindsight, this story introduces three of the concepts that later Cat-Man stories will build on – his parallels with Batman, his romance with Batwoman, and the nine lives idea, casually floated in conversation in this issue.
Two alien criminals come through a really funky space warp to Earth, pursued by an alien bounty hunter, and little alien creature called Zook. J’onn gets caught in the middle of the whole thing.
Zook, although he will stick around, is really a peripheral character for much of this story, which centres on the lawmen and the chase.
The trip they take back to their planet is certainly the most vibrant scene this series has had.
As I mentioned, Zook stays behind, sort of adopted by the Martian Manhunter. Diane Meade also gets to know the creature, which becomes important in the following issue.