Originally Talky Tawny was a real tiger who became somewhat domesticated after a gifted recluse befriended him in Africa. Talky was fed a serum which gave him the ability to speak.
In modern appearances Talky Tawny was just a stuffed tiger doll until magic from Lord Satanus turned him into a real tiger to assit the Marvel Family in their battle against Satanus' sister Blaze. When the tiger grown to full size, he was accused of murder. To prove his innocence, the village hermit gave the tiger a serum that gave him the ability to speak, walk and think on a human level. Years later, after hearing a great deal of the city from the hermit, Mr. Tawny decided to travel to America and live there. He sneaks onto a boat and travels to Fawcett City, home of Captain Marvel. At first, Tawky thought he could simply fit in with other humans, but he caused panic and got into trouble with the Big Red Cheese himself. Captain Marvel manages to get Mr. Tawny a job at the city's museum as curator, a position which enables him to supply information of the animals of the jungle.
Tawky Tawny was created by CC Beck and Otto Binder. After Fawcett Comics folded, they prepared six sample strips for a newspaper starring Tawky Tawny but they were rejected.
Throughout the original run of Captain Marvel under Fawcett Publications, C.C. Beck and Otto Binder used Tawky as the "common man" of the comic, where he dealt with the everyday problems, like racism, schemes, and personal problems. Tawkny Tawny's early appearances are more anthropomorphic and cartoon in nature compared to his later and continually updated and changed appearances during later years.
Major Story Arcs
During Final Crisis, Tawky Tawny was treating Freddie Freeman to "Tiger Tea" acquired from his last adventure. After Freddie leaves to try to join up with the All-Star Squadron, Later, he joins with the part of the Squadron that was fighting in Bludhaven just in time to help Freddie fight against Mistress Marvel. He was about to use a weapon that Dr. Sivana's son had built, but is stopped by the new and improved Kalibak. The two tiger-man were clawing at each other until Kalibak knocked Tawny out with his club. But the talking tiger soon regain concoousness and deal a fatal wound on the son of Darkseid. Tawny braces himself for the attack from Kalibak's Tigermen, but instead finds them bowing to him. It's unknown if he went with them on the newly contructed Earth-51.
The Monster Society of Evil, & Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!
In the Jeff Smith re-telling featured in the Monster Society of Evil volume Tawky Tawny is characterized as an "ifrit", a creature who changes between human and animal. He is also depicted as a homeless man who could transform into a tiger. Tawky was a friend to Billy when they were both living on the streets. It wasn't until two anthropomorphic crocodiles starting attacking citizens did Tawky show his true form. Tawky was a voice of wisdom for Billy and Mary Marvel. He was the one who revealed Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind's plan to take over the magical realm. This version of the character didn't use much physical force, but was mainly a source of information for the young Billy. It is theorized that he lives on Earth-5 of the The DC Multiverse.
Later in the series, " Billy Baston and the Magic of Shazam!" which follows up Jeff Smith's book, Mr Tawny gets wounded by Mr. Mind and is stuck in an in-between form of his human and tiger forms. When he is confrotned by Billy's landlord, Ma Potter, he makes the claim that he is "Mr Batson"'s brother-in-law, living in the apartment and taking care of Billy and Mary while their "father" is gone on an extended business trip.
During Flashpoint, Tawny is initially seen as a tiger on a leash being led by a character named Pedro, but during an event where Captain Thunder is summoned, Tawny grows larger and sports golden armor upon the Captain's arrival. Tawny is the last of the "great Khandaq striped tigers" and was given to the Marvel family as a gift from the wizard Shazam. Tawny appears as a house cat to those outside of the Marvel Family.
Tawny is a live tiger at the local zoo. Billy Batson leaves the Vasquez house and goes to see him and bring him a burger with no pickles. Billy sits close to the tiger and considers him the closest thing to family. Tawny picks up the scent of Freddie and Billy turns around ready to be confrontational. Freddie thanks Billy for defending the other kids and tells him this happens often. Mary even was happy Billy stood up to the three bullies.
In " Tiny Titans" Mr. Tawky Tawny is the Titans' math teacher and is Mary Marvel's pet for the Pet Club.
He appears in Captain Marvel cartoons, in Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Young Justice.
In Young Justice episode "Alpha Male", he is a an Indian tiger captured and experimented on by the Brain. He later saved Captain Marvel from being tortured by the Brain. Tawky went on to help save the other animals under the Brain's control, and Captain Marvel named him "Mr. Tawny".