Created by Ruth Atkinson, Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 (cover-dated Nov. 1944), published by Marvel precursor Timely Comics. Redheaded Patsy Walker, her parents Stanley and Betty, her boyfriend Robert “Buzz” Baxter, and her raven-haired friendly rival Hedy Wolfe appeared from the 1940s through 1967 in issues of Miss America, Teen Comics, Girls’ Life, and the namesake teen-humor series Patsy Walker and its spin-offs: Patsy and Hedy, Patsy and Her Pals, and the single-issue A Date with Patsy.
Attesting to its quiet popularity, Patsy Walker (along with Millie the Model and Kid Colt, Outlaw) was among the very few titles published continuously by Marvel from the 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books, through Marvel’s 1950s iteration as Atlas Comics, and into the 1960s Silver Age of Comic Books.
Following Patsy’s high-school graduation, in issue #116 (Aug. 1964), the title switched from humor to become a young career-gal romantic adventure. Patsy Walker lasted through issue #124 (Dec. 1965), with Patsy and Hedy outlasting it to its own #110 (Feb. 1967).
Patsy and Hedy made a cameo appearance in Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), establishing them in the Marvel Universe.
The superhero-team comic The Defenders #89 (Nov. 1980) further established that the earlier stories were fictional works published within the fictional Marvel Universe itself, and written by Patsy’s mother Dorothy Walker though based upon Patsy’s own life and friends.
Walker was reintroduced in The Avengers #141 (Nov. 1975), having resumed her maiden name of Walker, and accompanied the Avengers on a couple of adventures. Shortly thereafter in The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976), she adopted the name Hellcat, taking on superheroine Greer Grant Nelson’s costume from her discontinued identity as The Cat. The name “Hellcat” itself had originally been proposed for Nelson. The suit’s look was later adapted slightly.
Actress Rachael Taylor plays the character in the television series Jessica Jones as a former model and child star who is Jones’s best friend and now works as a radio host. Marvel had offered the character to Rosenberg to fit a best friend role that she had wanted to include, to which Rosenberg replied “We can do that. That will work.” Speaking about the character, Loeb said, “what’s most important is the relationship between her and Jessica, and how these two women who are, in some ways, sisters, in terms of their friendship, could be that different, and yet believe in the same kinds of things. That question of, what is it to be a hero and the responsibilities that you have when you have abilities, is something that brings them together, but also continually pushes them apart. I think we’re very lucky to have Melissa as a writer because she really grasps the insight of what it is to have a friendship with a woman, and the way that two women can actually be competitive and friendly, and love each other and hate each other, and have a history with each other.”
All episodes are set to premiere Friday November 20, 2015 on Netflix.