THE SILVER SCORPIONMedium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1941
Creator: Harry Sahle
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There is a popular impression that Wonder Woman was the first of the superhero women. Not so — she was anticipated by The Woman in Red, The Blue Lady, The Black Cat and quite a few others, both color-themed and non-. The Silver Scorpion was one of the
former. In fact, she came a full four months before the flood of female superheroes, when more than a half-dozen, including both famous ones such as Phantom Lady and obscuros like Nelvana of the Northern Lights, all hit the stands in the same month.
Unless you count The Black Widow, whose claim to hero status is clouded by the fact that she worked for Satan, Scorpy was the first female superhero from Marvel Comics, which now publishes The Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, She-Hulk and many others. She was also their first superhero named after an arachnid, a field that now includes Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl and, of course, Spider-Man himself.
The Silver Scorpion debuted in Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April, 1941), where The Fin, The Blue Diamond and Captain Daring were among the resident heroes. Her introductory story was drawn and possibly written by Harry Sahle (Candy, Air Man). In it, a young lady named Betty Barstow underwent an experience similar to the ones that also made superheroes of Miss Fury and Batgirl.
Betty was working as secretary to private detective Dan Harley. She attended a costume ball wearing a superhero-style outfit, and on the way took it into her head to do a little more for her employer than just answer the phone and bring coffee. She paused on her way to investigate a case Dan had turned down. She solved it, brought in the bad guy with her jiu-jitsu skills and decided she liked it. She kept on superheroing; and the detective skills of her boss, like those of the later Blonde Phantom's boss, were insufficient to penetrate the mystery of her secret identity.
Scorpy continued in Daring Mystery #8, but that was the final issue. The title was changed to Comedy Comics, and the new stars were The Comedy Kids, Li'l Professor & Rudy the Robot, and the like. The transition was sudden, but not so sudden all the superheroes disappeared immediately. A few, including The Fin, Captain Dash (formerly Daring) and The Silver Scorpion, appeared in Comedy Comics #9.
But that issue, dated April, 1942, was the last of the series. Sahle stayed with her from beginning to fast-arriving end.
Decades later, she was retro-fitted into a newly-created superhero group set back in her time, called V-Battalion, hitherto unknown to readers because they kept themselves unknown to everyone, Other contemporary members were Citizen V and The Destroyer. with a new '40s guy, Iron Cross, created for that purpose. After the war, they busied themselves with the hunt for Nazi war criminals, still avoiding publicity, and have now been fully incorporated into The Marvel Universe.
The only reason she hasn't been completely forgotten is because Marvel doesn't let that happen to an old superhero very often — not even to one who made only three appearances back in her own time.