There are a number of variants on the concept of DC Comics’ character the Cheetah. While these characters aren’t numerous, understanding who’s who requires a good understanding of comic book minutia.
So let’s explain things in a calm, collected manner.
Cheetah cheat sheet
Cheetah has been around for 70+ years and through many continuity upheavals. Let’s review things chronologically.
In Wonder Woman vol. 1 #6, the titular heroine clashes with the Cheetah – Priscilla Rich. The Cheetah is a gifted costumed thief with mental health issues. She is one of the few Wonder Woman foes to have clashed with her several times. One such clash was as a member of the Villainy, Incorporated super-group.
The DC Universe is reinvented as the Silver Age of comics begins. There are now two main versions of Earth. Earth-1 has the brand-new versions of DC’s heroes, such as Barry Allen as the Flash or Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. The 1940s/1950s characters and stories, OTOH, took place on Earth-2.
Thus, the 1943-1948 Priscilla Rich becomes known as the Earth-2 Cheetah or the Golden Age Cheetah.
The Wonder Woman of Earth-1 clashes several times with the Cheetah of Earth-1. The Priscilla Rich of Earth-1 is a zany, costumed thief with armed henchmen in gorilla costumes.
One 1977 appearance (Wonder Woman vol. 1 #230) is different. This is discussed in the Earth-1 Cheetah profile.
The Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Super-Friends features a new version of the Cheetah, which is probably the best-known one. This version of Priscilla Rich is Wonder Woman’s arch-enemy, and a member of the Legion of Doom.
A new Cheetah, Deborah Domaine, arises on Earth-1. She is the niece of the Earth-1 Priscilla Rich. This version of the Cheetah is a super-powerful, psychologically damaged terrorist and criminal.
One gets the sense that this version was meant to be a revitalized, high-profile arch-foe of Wonder Woman, perhaps capitalizing on the name/costume recognition from the cartoons. However, her career was cut short by…
Crisis on Infinite Earths. The DC Universe is destroyed and recreated. Earth-1 and Earth-2 are gone, replaced by New Earth.
A Cheetah did exist during the Golden and Silver Age of New Earth, and she was Priscilla Rich, but the details are scarce. She apparently was closer to the Earth-2 Cheetah.
A reinvented version of Wonder Woman enters the DC Universe thanks to George Pérez. This is one of the more thorough and convincing character modernizations after the Crisis, and all Wonder Woman characters — including her foes — are reinvented.
A new version of the Cheetah soon arises – Barbara Minerva. She’s by far the most developed version of the character overall. For a spell her abilities are stolen by a man named Sebastian Ballesteros, whom Minerva apparently killed in revenge.
After that, I wouldn’t know.
Versions of the Cheetah
Writeups.org has extensive coverage for the pre-Crisis versions of the Cheetah. Coverage for the seminal Pérez era is still on the to-do list.
|Golden Age Cheetah aka Priscilla Rich of Earth-2|
|Silver Age Cheetah aka Priscilla Rich of Earth-1|
|Kitten, the apprentice of the Super-Friends Cheetah|
|Bronze Age Cheetah (Deborah Domaine of Earth-1)|
|The Marvel Comics Cheetah (Esteban Carracus), however, is a completely different character without any common ground. But he has a moustache, so there’s that.|