The Marvel Comics superheroine known as Hellcat has probably one of the most colorful and diverse backstories of any comics character ever created. Hellcat's alter ego, Patsy Walker, began her comic book existence all the way back in 1944, appearing as a typical teenage girl of the day in the second issue of Marvel's Miss America Magazine. She proved to be rather popular with young girls, so she received her own series, simply called Patsy Walker, and in fact was often compared, and favorably, to Archie and his exploits under the Archie Comics banner. The love triangle that existed between herself, her rival Hedy, and BMOC Buzz Baxter was often compared to the Archie-Betty-Veronica triangle that sustained many a comedic episode of Archie's own series.

Her own run as a stand-alone teen heroine came to an end in 1967, and she was married off to long-time boyfriend Buzz (take that, Hedy!). The two characters seemed destined to vanish from the pages of comic books forever, and blissfully, wedded.

However, Marvel Comics never forgot their less-used characters, and always tried to find ways to have them slip into some of the more popular comic series running at any one particular time. Thus, Patsy Baxter was re-introduced--the first non-superpowered Marvel character to do so--in an X-Men spinoff series that focused on The Beast.

While her husband was stationed on a top secret Air Force project, Patsy inadvertently discovered The Beast's secret identity, and used that information to extract a promise from The Beast. As Patsy's mother had written comic books, Patsy had grown to love the colorful costumed antics of superpowered heroes, and thus asked that The Beast promise to help her become a superheroine in her own right.

When Patsy's marriage to Buzz fell apart, she sought out The Beast, then a member of The Avengers, and held him to his promise. Patsy had found, and secretly confiscated, a discarded costume worn by a superheroine once known as The Cat. Patsy donned the costume, and took the sobriquet Hellcat and with The Beast's help, joined The Avengers for a short time.

After several missions, one of her teammates, Moondragon, expressed interest in helping Patsy to unleash her full potential as a superheroine. Together, the duo took a temporary leave from The Avengers for a series of extensive martial arts training sessions on Saturn's moon, Titan. There, her minor (and mostly latent) psionic abilities were enhanced by various means, thus granting Patsy low-level telepathic and telekinetic abilities, as well as a means to psychically augment her own athletic prowess.

Upon Patsy's return to Earth, she encountered The Defenders, who offered her membership in their group. Patsy accepted, The Defenders being more loosely organized than The Avengers, and eventually became one of the core members. Not long after Patsy joined, Damion Hellstrom, known as The Son of Satan, joined The Defenders for a brief stint. During the long struggle to purge Hellstrom of his demonic aspects, Patsy fell in love with him, and they quit The Defenders, renounced their costumed crimefighting ways, and were wed in Ohio.

Patsy's ex, Buzz, now known as the super-villian Mad-Dog, crashed the wedding along with the evil super-team known as Mutant Force. However, Patsy, Hellstrom, and the members of The Defenders present were able to stop Mutant Force and subdue Buzz Baxter. The newlywed couple then moved to San Francisco to take up careers as investigators of occult phenomena.

Patsy and Hellstrom often aided the West Coast Avengers, with Patsy oftentimes donning once again her Hellcat costume. During this time, however, Hellstrom's demonic nature reasserted itself, and the sight of his human body being possessed by Hellstrom's demonic form temporarily drove Patsy insane. For nearly a year, Patsy languished in a near-vegetative state. An angel of death known as Deathurge sensed her anguish and suffering and granted Patsy her wish for her spirit to be separated from her body, effectively killing herself ... at least on the "normal" plane of existence.

However, Patsy's spirit ended up in the realm of the demon known as Mephisto, and thus became a pawn in a long struggle by various demons to gain dominance in Hell. She was resurrected by the Grim Reaper as part of this struggle, and, infused with the Reaper's hatred for The Avengers, fought against her former teammates. A last minute hex cast by The Scarlet Witch removed the Reaper's influence from Patsy, thus turning the tables and allowing The Avengers to send the Reaper back to the bowels of Hell, and enabling Patsy's return to the world of the living.

However, Patsy's prior depressive state returned; she was unhappy with what she perceived as her many failures in life: two failed marriages, membership in two superhero teams that seemed more harmful to her teammates than beneficial, and a return to a life that seemed pretty dead.

So, of course, she became an author, penning a popular autobiography about her life, death, afterlife, and rebirth. As part of a book tour, she returned to her hometown to find that it was overrun by demons, led by one Nicholas Scratch and aided by Patsy's old high school nemesis, Hedy. Patsy once again donned the costume of Hellcat and, with the aid of The Avengers, drove Scratch and his demon Sons of the Serpents cult out of town for good.

Some time later, some of Scratch's minions, seeking revenge, attacked Patsy. During the attack, she uncovered a grander plot that revealed that the dread demon Dormammu was attempting a coup d'etat of Hell itself. She allied herself with her former nemesis, Mephisto, and together the two managed to unite all the disparate factions of Hell together to defeat Dormammu. At the conclusion of the battle, Mephisto wished to retain Patsy as an advisor in the underworld but Patsy, re-dedicated to the notion of fighting evil on Earth, convinced Mephisto that she would better serve his interests back on Earth. Thus has Hellcat been reborn yet again, and is currently hopping between membership in both The Avengers and The Defenders.

Information from this writeup adapted from the Toonpedia website,, as well as various responses to the Captain Comics Q&A column run by Scripps Howard News Service.

And I, too, doff m'hat to you facty :)