The Cheetah is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain in DC Comics publications and related media. Commonly regarded as the archenemy of Wonder Woman, the Cheetah first appeared in 1943 in Wonder Woman #6 (volume 1), written by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston. Since then, the character has undergone several updates as comic book continuities have evolved and shifted. Indeed, there have been four different Cheetahs since the character's premiere, including Priscilla Rich (the Golden Age Cheetah), Deborah Domaine (the Silver Age Cheetah), Barbara Ann Minerva (the modern age and current Cheetah), and Sebastian Ballesteros (a male usurper who briefly assumed the role in 2001). In 2009, Cheetah was ranked as IGN's 69th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
Prior to the 12-issue DC Comics series Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985 (which is regarded as the starting point for DC's modern continuity), there were two women who donned spotted cat costumes to fight Wonder Woman as the Cheetah: socialite Priscilla Rich and her niece Deborah Domaine. While modern incarnations of the Cheetah possess superhuman powers, Rich and Domaine do not.
The first woman to become the Cheetah, in Wonder Woman #6 (October 1943), is Priscilla Rich, a 1940s-era blonde Washington, D.C. debutante of aristocratic upbringing who also has an overwhelming inferiority complex and suffers from a split personality. After being eclipsed by Wonder Woman at a charity event, Priscilla retreats to her room and collapses before her makeup mirror. There she sees an image of a woman dressed like a cheetah. "Horrors!" she cries, as she gazes at her evil inner-self for the first time. "Don't you know me?" replies the reflection. "I am the REAL you — the Cheetah — a treacherous, relentless huntress!" The image commands her to fashion a Cheetah costume. "From now on," intones the reflection, "when I command you, you shall go forth dressed like your TRUE self and do as I command you..."
Priscilla was a member of Villainy Inc., a criminal association between several of Wonder Woman's female foes.
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