It's a Cat, It's a Car... It's the Jaguar!

Back in the 90s, I'm not sure why, but a lot of comics were taking environmentalist stances and were usually met with reader apathy. Animal Man and Aquaman went that route and didn't fair too badly. But then there was Impact's Jaguar. Remember kids, save the rainforest!

Background: The original Jaguar was archaeologist Ralph Hardy who found a magical Incan belt that gave all the powers of the animal kingdom, including jet-powered flight. The Incas WERE more advanced than the Europeans who displaced them! The belt had another perk as well: It ripped Ralph's moustache off his face whenever he was the Jaguar. Move over Clark Kent, now for some REAL secret identity madness.

Revamp Method: Gender change.

Why Keep the Impact Jaguar?
1. She's a girl
Aside from Fly-Girl, Archie doesn't have any female heroes. So it's easy to understand why someone had to get the ol' sex change for the Impact line. If DC's Archie heroes are going to get shunted in via their very own fictional city like Milestone's Dakota (I suggest DeCarlo), they really need to represent the other half of the population. Maria DeGuzman, filial inheritor of the rainforest-protecting mantle of the Jaguar, might be that half.

2. She's feral
I like feral cat women. They're usually slinky and sexy, and the fight for realz. I like Tigra. I like Hellcat. I like Julie Newmar. So why shouldn't I like Jaguar?

3. Tracy Dickerson
Though the university environment shifted between realism, All-New Atom craziness (cyborgs in the basement), and Porky's, the highlight was always spoiled snob Tracy being outrageously awful to our heroine. The Flash Thompson of the socialite set, and politically incorrect to boot. A rare thing in those days (still is outside of Mark Millar/Garth Ennis comics).

Why NOT Keep the Impact Jaguar?
1. Too much like the post-Crisis Wonder WomanBill Messner-Loebs drew a little too close to George Perez' Wonder Woman revamp with this. Maria is an immigrant trying to fit in. She's from an Amazon-related culture (though a different Amazon). And of course there's the super-strong, invulnerable thing. She could be humiliated more easily than Wonder Woman, but I'm not sure that's a good thing.

2. Her hobbies
I understand the idea of making the character's life boring so that being the Jaguar is then exciting, but butterfly collecting and lacemaking make for pretty dull subplots!

3. Potential copyright infringement
Well, they've been in business for decades and never said anything, right?

I'll admit to finding the Impact Jaguar a little dull, but the actual Jaguar doesn't win any prizes from me either! Probably in need of a whole new revamp. Tomorrow: It's the Comet!


Anonymous said...

Since lacemaking and butterfly collecting *do* make for dull subplots, in her revival she should get involved in the exciting, controversy-filled hobby of scrapbooking!

Siskoid said...

Yes, scrapbooking.

And the Bronze Age Jaguar would have taken up Artex and macramé.

SallyP said...

Honestly, my first thought was, what the heck is Captain Marvel doing in a book with Lois Lane? Then I actually read the article.

Lacemaking and butterfly collecting? Does this mean that she makes her own butterfly nets?

Siskoid said...

I keep seeing Captain Marvel too.

A major influence on the Archie heroes, it seems. The Fly has a similar origin.

Ami Angelwings said...

If she finds her hobbies dull to the point that she would prefer to be the Jaguar, why doesn't she just get new hobbies? :D

Jack Norris said...

Cooler if you pronounce the name the way the Brits do: the JAG-ewe-ahr.

Diabolu Frank said...

This was the only !mpact book I collected for any length of time. I thought Lee Moder's art was great, as were Mark Beachum's photo-hybrid covers. The Loebs-Moder team were responsible for turning me into a Wonder Woman diehard, and got the job based on their work here. I preferred the teen drama flavor of this book to the rest.

As for bringing her back-- please no. As with the !mpact Fly, the creative team made the character. Also, there are way too many cat-women in comics. Better to solve the Fly/Fly-Girl matter by making THE Fly a girl. Best of both worlds, and I bet the costume would work better on a woman besides.

I do hope the next Jaguar is a Latino male. Not enough of those in comics.

Siskoid said...

The Fly as a girl from the get-go would be interesting, though I guess it's been revealed that the Archie heroes will appeare pretty much "as is".

Hopefully, there's some reinvention to it.

Diabolu Frank said...

If not, yech. The costumes alone...

Anonymous said...

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Levitra said...

I honestly thought this was about Captain Marvel, but then I did read the article and I understood what this was about.

Siskoid said...

They really do look alike!

Well... until he turns into a girl.


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