A comic-book super-villain created by Linda Fite and published by Marvel Comics. Shirlee Bryant first appeared in The Cat # 1 in November 1972.
Shirlee was hired by Malcolm Donalbain as a spokes-model for his fitness club. Although Donalbain suffered from severe haphephobia, Shirlee served as arm candy in his meetings with potential investers and partners.
Donalbain learned of some work Dr. Joanne Tumulo, a University of Chicago professor, had done on the "nervous system and motor responses." There was nothing she could do for him, but he became fascinated by a private experiment she was conducting 'to allow ANY woman to totally fulfill her physical and mental potential -- despite the handicaps places upon her." Donalbain realized he could use Dr. Tumulo's process, a battery of chemical and radiological baths, in his chain of clubs. He agreed to subsidize further work, since Dr. Tumulo had expended her own funds. He chose Shirlee to be his "first lovely guinea pig."
Dr. Tumulo had her own choice for the experiment, her assistant Greer Nelson. She was unimpressed by Shirlee and decided to cancel the experiment, until Greer persuaded the doctor to allow her to undergo the process as well, in secret. "Both women were conditioned to receive the maximum amount of stimuli -- to perceive physical and mental impulses with an almost psychic ability." All their faculties were improved -- vision, hearing, physical strength and agility, and mental prowess.
Donalbain had Shirlee clandestinely copy Dr. Tumulo's designs, and built a duplicate of her equipment according to Shirlee's specifications. Once that was complete, he revealed his ultimate plan to Shirlee: dressed in yellow catsuits with blue gloves, sashes, and boots, his trainees would form a secret army of superwomen. Using his nationwide chain of health clubs as a front, Donalbain's force would slowly subjugate the entire nation. Although Shirlee donned Donalbain's uniform, one of dozens from his wardrobe, she objected to its design. "Okay, okay -- I'll wear the mask, too -- but I still think it looks like a Hallowe'en costume." Donalbain had realized he couldn't have hundreds of super-powered women running around without restraint. To ensure his control, he had also obtained a special collar. "Adorn your lovely neck with this accessory," he requested. The studded blue collar, the "will-nullifier," rendered Shirlee helpless to resist his wishes. "At last," he exclaimed, "the perfect woman! Totally obedient -- and strong enough to do anything I command!"
The cat costume gave its wearer improved night vision, through special eye-coverings in its mask. The cat-ears were acoustically coupled to the wearer's ears through folded hyperbolic horns molded into the cowl, for enhanced hearing. The gloves and boots contained retractable case-hardened steel claws, with which the wearer could dig into surfaces for climbing or engage in hand-to-hand combat
He commanded her to perform acrobatic feats to demonstrate her new powers, but she couldn't handle them and died in a fall. Dr. Tumulo's protégé, Greer, adopted the "Cat" nom de guerre and costume and put a stop to Donalbain's plans. She wrecked his equipment, accidentally setting his building on fire. Donalbain committed suicide rather than face her claws.