West Coast Avenger
Greer Grant was married to William Nelson, a police officer in New York City. Unfortunately, her husband ran afoul of a rogue organization of cops calling themselves the Brethren of the Blue Fist. William Nelson was killed, but the Brethren were never uncovered.
Greer Nelson was the lab assistant of Dr. Joanne Tumolo, who was developing a process to enable a human being to attain his or her full physical and mental potential. Out of financial desperation, Dr. Tumolo had accepted private funding for the project from Malcom Donalbain, an eccentric former executive of the Brand Corporation, who planned to create an army of women warriors to serve him. Not trusting the test subject that Donalbain had coerced her to use, Tumolo had Nelson secretly undertake the experiment alongside the other woman. Donalbain’s test subject, Shirlee Bryant, and Greer Nelson emerged from the battery of treatments with superhuman physical capabilities.
When Bryant died in a test of her abilities, Donalbain had his henchmen set off dynamite charges in the laboratory to make it appear that Bryant had died accidentally in an explosion.
Greer as the Cat
Tumolo was injured in the explosion. Believing her mentor to be dead, Nelson determined to stop Donalbain’s plans. She donned one of Donalbain’s specially designed cat costumes, and calling herself the Cat, thwarted Donalbain’s plans and sent him to jail. Nelson soon learned that Tumolo had not been killed but had been hospitalized for apparent brain damage. During this time, Greer, donning the costumed identity of the Cat, became a hero in the Chicago area, battling villains such as the Owl, Man-Killer, Commander Kraken, and Man-Bull.
Unknown to Nelson, Tumolo was a member of the Cat People, a race of humanoids magically evolved from cats in Europe during the Middle Ages. Prior to the explosion Donalbain had engineered, Tumolo had become aware of a plot by the subversive organization Hydra to steal a bacterial culture that had been developed by Tumolo’s ancestors. Hydra had discovered the secret of Tumolo’s ancestry and suspected her of possessing the formula for “The Final Secret,” or the Black Plague. Tumolo had chosen to feign brain damage in order to evade Hydra, but Hydra abducted her from the private home where she had apparently been convalescing. Nelson put on her Cat costume and pursued them. Hydra agents fled from the Cat’s attack, but during the confrontation managed to shoot her with “alpha radiation,” an unknown form of radioactivity. Dr. Tumolo revealed the truth about the Cat People, who performed rites upon Greer to save her life, resulting in her possession by a cat-soul. Greer was transformed into Tigra, a new incarnation of the Cat People’s greatest champion. In this new identity, Greer defeated Hydra and continued her career as as an adventurer and also became a private investigator.
Although she was able to use the cat’s-head amulet to change back to her human form, Nelson became so accustomed to and enamored of her feline form that she seldom made the transformation. Moving from Chicago, she became a full-time adventurer, encountering and defeating such menaces as the Rat Pack, Kraven the Hunter, Tabur, and the Super-Skrull. She also briefly worked with Red Wolf, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. Tigra was among the handful of costumed crime-fighters that the telepath Moondragon coerced into vying for Avengers membership. She was elected to membership and served for several months, all that time doubting she was worthy of membership in the group. Although she proved herself while in battle with the Molecule Man, she decided to resign her active membership. Moving to San Francisco, she became friends with Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman.
Months later, when Hawkeye moved to Los Angeles to form a West Coast branch of the Avengers, she was invited to join. She made a staunch addition to the team, despite the fact that the human and feline sides of her personality had become at odds with one another, causing her behavior to become somewhat erratic.