Thomas Blake was the product of a rich, sadistic father and an actress-turned-trophy wife mother. His father was obsessed with grooming Thomas to be a man and constantly derided him for being too close to his mother. His father wanted a man and not a mama's boy. The real target of his father's abuse, however, was his mother. When Thomas was nine years old, she had enough and intended to leave, but Thomas' father would not allow it. Thomas grabbed a hunting rifle to come to her aid, but his father caused the gun to go off and shoot his mother in the chest. As his father phoned the police to turn him in for the murder, Thomas stabbed him with a hunting knife and let his father bleed out.
Despite everything, Tom Blake grew up to become very much like his father. He too became a world-famous trapper of jungle cats, but he turned to a life of crime because he had grown bored with hunting and had depleted most of his fortune. He became a burglar who committed his crimes in a catsuit made out of an ancient African cloth he believed gave him a cat's nine lives. His costume was modeled after Catwoman's disguise. Catwoman helped Batman catch the criminal because she was not pleased with him copying her costume. The two costumed criminals would have a competitive, love/hate relationship for many years afterward, which included Selina Kyle being wrongly accused for Catman's crimes at least once. His weapon of choice was a cat-o-nine-tails (a multi-tailed whip).
Catman was created by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney in the pages of Detective Comics and first appeared in Detective Comics #311 back in 1963 as a Batman villain.
The debut of Catman as a new villain for Batman was not met with much success. He went on to appear only very occasionally in the decades that followed without gaining any credibility or momentum to raise his status.
On the D-List
Catman cemented his status as a D-List villain in 1992 by being included in the membership of the Misfits, a team of criminals whose group identity was that they were less than notable or popular characters. Now, Catman was openly established as a low-rent villain in the DC Universe. This culminated in 2001 after Kevin Smith's Green Arrow relaunch in Brad Meltzer's The Archer's Quest, which portrayed Thomas Blake as reduced to an overweight and depressed slob missing his glory days.
Secret Six Revival
The character soon found new life thanks to Gail Simone. She portrayed Thomas as a man who had hit rock bottom and undergone a journey to rebuild himself. Simone's revitalized Catman proved to be wildly popular with readers and became one of readers' favorite things about the new Secret Six team. Catman's status elevated so much that he quickly became regarded as one of DC's more dangerous fighters and one of its best trackers.
Major Story Arcs
The Archer's Quest
For further details: The Archer's Quest.
Unfortunately for him, his rivalry with Batmen was mostly one-sided. His exploits often met with humiliating failure at the hands of Batman. His only reputation became that of a joke. Eventually, he just gave up and made a deal with the federal government to testify with information he had on Monsieur Mallah. In return, he was set up with a new life in San Francisco under witness protection. He lived the easy and somewhat pathetic life, letting himself go physically and sitting around in his own costume.
Years later, Thomas was hired by the Shade, a friend from baccarat games, to attend the funeral of Oliver Queen to ensure certain funeral instructions were carried out as the request of the departed. This led to Thomas being tracked down by the recently resurrected Ollie due to pictures surfacing of his presence at the funeral. Thomas was interrogated by Ollie and Roy Harper for the reasons why until the Shade appeared to explain.
This last humiliation was the final straw. He returned to Africa to regain his confidence and pride by living among a pride of lions. Living like this put him back in prime physical shape and reawakened the formidable abilities he had let wane. He would have gladly spent his entire life living in the jungle amongst his feline family, but Dr. Psycho and Talia al Ghul found him with an offer of membership to the Secret Society. He turned them down. For that insult, he became their enemy. He found his pride of lions dead four days later.
For further details: Infinite Crisis and Villains United
When Scandal and Deadshot came to him wih an offer to join a group opposing the Secret Society, Thomas readily accepted. He was after vengeance now, and the Secret Six could deliver that to him. He didn't care about much else, though he was suspicious of their mysterious benefactor, Mockingbird. He participated in the missions the Secret Six were given and surprised everyone by proving to be more capable and dangerous than he had ever been before. During all this, he mistook Cheshire's advances and after sleeping with her, discovered what she really wanted was for him to impregnate her. She did give him something in return, and that was the secret that it was really Deadshot who killed his lions. Catman nearly killed Deadshot for this, only to be interrupted by the Secret Society's attack and Cheshire's betrayal.
Catman survived the assault and stuck with the remaining members of the Secret Six, who decided to continue on as mercenaries. They were given one more opportunity to cause problems for the Secret Society by taking part in the Battle of Metropolis. One look at the carnage happening there was all it took for Catman to pass on it. The fight didn't involve them, and they weren't going to help clean up the Justice League's mess.
Six Degrees of Devastation
For further details: Six Degrees of Devastation and One Year Later
While Catman was recruiting Mad Hatter as the group's new sixth member, the others were each attacked by assassins. It was discovered that they came from Cheshire, who was apparently still alive. When they tracked her down to a temple in the Himalayas, Catman was introduced to his new son, Thomas Jr. That was the only thing that kept Cheshire alive, because with the price on his head, he would likely be dead soon anyway. He left both Cheshire and the baby alone. It turned out the one responsible for the assassins was Vandal Savage, and the only reason that none came after Thomas was that Savage wanted him to give a son to his daughter Scandal. The Secret Six took the fight to Savage and left him for dead. At the very least, Savage let go of the notion of Catman fathering a child.
Later, while working a protection job for a general in Azerbaijani, Thomas met and developed an attraction to Helena Bertinelli. However, the Secret Six and the Birds of Prey would come down on opposite sides of the general's plans. This led to Catman and Huntress fighting it out, and Huntress stabbing him in the leg. There were still no hard feelings, even after the Secret Six's job went south and they didn't get paid.
For further details: Unhinged
After murdering some poachers in Africa, Catman came back to the Secret Six feeling unsettled that killing and hurting people didn't bother him. The Secret Six had been hired to retrieve a stolen item along with the thief, Tarantula, and bring both to Gotham City. Just before taking the job, Catman was called by Huntress, who warned that the job was a trap meant to set them all up for death. He didn't take her warning and came to Gotham City to confront Batman about it. This confrontation was really a distraction for Batman while the rest of the Secret Six proceeded with the first part of their job. He fought well against Batman and left, having made his point that Batman and everyone else is wrong to worry about him. But he soon finds out the danger was very real when they all discovered that what had been stolen was a Get Out of Hell Free card created by Neron. Like everyone else, Catman was tempted to have the card for himself, since he was so sure he was bound for Hell himself. This issue was put to rest when the card was seemingly destroyed along with Tarantula and Junior in a big battle on the bridge leading into Gotham City.
Battle for the Cowl
For further details: Battle for the Cowl
He was then seen defending Gotham against evildoers together with Rag Doll and Bane. He and the rest of the team seemed surprised when the civillians referred to them as heroes.
Cats in the Cradle
Catman receives a call saying that unless he kills all of the Secret Six his son will die. Catman says, no, he is going to track them (the kidnappers) down and he will kill them and get his son back. He tracks down his son's kidnappers. He killed all of them, and when he reached the employer, he discovered that Thomas Jr. had been kidnapped because Cheshire, his mother, had killed the man's wife and child while they were in Qurac on mission work (Cheshire blew up the entire country of Qurac). The man revealed that Thomas Jr. was safe, he had been adopted by a normal family, and would grow up away from the dangers of having such infamous parents, and that if Catman truly wanted him safe he would leave Thomas Jr. alone. Catman agreed, but still killed the man in the end. He says "Thomas Blake, Jr. My son. Wherever you are. Rest in peace. Rest in peace."
Catman is later seen working with Calculator during his bid to take over the Ünternet.
The Darkest House
When the Secret Six travel to Hell to retrieve Rag Doll, Catman comes face to face with his father. He learns that his father is eaten every day by his mother and then reborn out of her droppings. Catman delights in his father's torment, and then exchanges pleasantries with his mother before leaving to rejoin his teammates.
In the Flashpoint universe, Catman is killed by Grodd.
Powers and Abilities
Catman's former life as a game hunter and his life in the wild have made him into an exceptional tracker. Even without metahuman senses, he is able to follow and identify scents. Catman is a very talented fighter with skills good enough to combat Batman and Bronze Tiger, some of the greatest fighters in the DCU. He has a preference for using bladed weapons like knives or these specialty blades he holds like claws. Other weapons in Catman's arsenal include is his diamond-tipped Catarangs, sharpened to penetrate many things. These were copied from Batman's very own Batarangs.
Catman's partner in crime at times is his tiger Rasputin. Rasputin is considered a weapon by many, and Catman has a strong bond with the Siberian tiger.
Batman: the Animated Series
For further details: Batman: the Animated Series
He appears (without costume) in Batman: The Animated Series. He battles Batman and Catwoman, but he is defeated.
Batman: the Brave and the Bold
For further details: Batman: the Brave and the Bold.
He appears on Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Legend of the Drak-Mite", where he is attempting to sell a rare tiger, but is foiled by Batman and Ace, the Bathound. He acts as he did in the Silver Age.
He also appears on "Time Out For Vengeance" where he is riding a giant robot Cat causing havoc with high-tech equipment but is easily beaten by Batman who then disappears.
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
For further details: Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Catman has a cameo as one of the many villains trying to collect the 1 billion dollar bounty on Superman's head.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold - The Videogame
Catman has a major appearance in the Wii version of the game. He steals a diamond that has the ability to turn people into cats. Batman and Robin follow him to the Gotham City Zoo, where it is revealed that he is working alongside Catwoman. Catman and Catwoman then start turning the GCPD into kittens, only to be stopped by Batman and Robin.