Today I’m finally here with a guide for all Patrons of CK that I’ve been preparing for by adding guides to Heroes For Hire and Spider-Man, Peter Parker (2018-Present)! I needed both guides in place because both of those titles housed this character while she was a stray with no title of her own, but that all changed started in 2019. I’m happy to share the August 2022 Patron’s Choice: Guide to Black Cat, Felicia Hardy!
Felicia Hardy is not who you think she is.
Or, at least, she’s not who I thought she was.
That’s true whether you know her from her origins or from her most-recent appearances, because Black Cat has been at least three distinctly different characters in her comic career – so much so that her current incarnation feels completely disconnected from her debut, even if her arc from start to finish makes sense.
(I know this because I’ve now read every panel she has ever appeared in to put together this Guide to Black Cat!)
I think many folks assume that Felicia Hardy is Marvel’s Catwoman – a cat burglar villain turned vigilante through the power of her attraction to the flagship hero.
That’s not entirely wrong, but Felicia Hardy was only ever a cat burglar for her first four appearances in Amazing Spider-Man (1963) in 1979 and she was never a villain until 2015! We barely even see here do any burgling on-panel between 1980 and the mid-00s unless it’s for her job as a security consultant. Instead, she quickly gave up her life of crime due to an obsession with Spider-Man. As she was originally written, all Felicia wanted to was to be Spider-Man’s partner in adventure and in romance.
Curiously, she has no interest at all in who Spider-Man was under the mask. In fact, when Peter first reveals his apartment and identity in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #74, Felicia reacts with a combination of distaste and horror. To her, the fantastical life of a hero or vigilante is a necessary escape from the dull routine of civilian existence. To think about the regular person beneath the spider-webbed mask ruined her fantasy. [Read more…] about Patron’s Choice: Guide to Black Cat, Felicia Hardy
Today I am swinging in with a guide for all Patrons of CK that began as an unexpectedly-sticky update to an existing guide before I realized it had become a tangled web and I needed to spin some of it off into its own page. Of course, I’m talking about a Guide to Spider-Man, Peter Parker (2018 – present)!
When I started making notes for this guide, I thought I’d simply be catching up on the collections of Amazing Spider-Man (2018), its 2022 relaunch, plus Peter David’s various flashback Symbiote Spider-Man series.
Those two things alone would make for a guide’s worth of content, but as I continued making notes I realized there was so much more – including Spider-Geddon, Tom Taylor’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Joy Kelly’s Non-Stop and Savage Spider-Man, several digital series, the upcoming End of the Spider-Verse crossover, and even more!
Marvel has released fifty Peter Parker Spider-Man series and one-shots in the past four years.
I’ve worked for many years to figure out the best way to untangle the massive bulk of my main Guide to Spider-Man, Peter Parker. Just the thought of adding all of this material to its table of contents made me shudder. About halfway through outlining I realized it was time for Mr. Parker to graduate into a second guide page for his most-moden era.
Never fear, non-Patrons – I’d never keep a major Marvel guide like this one exclusive for very long! That is not a part of my mission statement for Crushing Comics. This guide will have a brief window of exclusivity with my Patrons while I update the main Spider-Man guide and make sure they match up perfectly. It will be available to all readers in time for the debut of Dan Slott’s new adjectiveless Spider-Man series launching at the top of October.
Believe it or not, not only was I surprised this turned into its own guide page, it wasn’t even the guide page I set out to build when I planned for this week! If yesterday’s Guide to Heroes for Hire was an hors d’oeuvre, this is an appetizer to the massive reading order I’ll be back with tomorrow – which references the runs in this guide several times.