SUN GIRLMedium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1948
Creators: Unknown writer and Ken Bald, artist
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Marvel Universe. At a company where even The Thin Man (a '40s character whose super power was to slip under doors) could be revived as a member of The Liberty Legion, Sun Girl hasn't had so much as a single new adventure since 1949.
Sun Girl was introduced in Sun Girl #1 (August, 1948), as part of a minor line of female superheroes that already included Namora, The Blonde Phantom and Miss America. It isn't known who wrote the three Sun Girl stories in that issue, but the artist on all has been identified as Ken Bald (Venus).
Sun Girl didn't seem to have a secret identity, or in fact, any name other than the one in her logo. As Sun Girl, she was apparently a popular personality throughout the world. No explanation was given as to why she wore a costume to fight crime, nor for the accoutrements she used in doing so, such as her "sunbeam ray". She was adept at various forms of martial arts, but again, no explanation was given. It was implied she'd been superheroing for a long time.
Aside from the three issues of the Sun Girl title (the last dated December, 1948), she appeared in a couple of late issues of Marvel Mystery Comics (where Sub-Mariner, The Angel and many others started) and a single crossover with Captain America. Probably the most prominent use of the character (and at four issues, certainly the lengthiest) was as The Human Torch's sidekick, a role she performed in Human Torch #s 32-35. The last of those issues, dated March, 1949 — a mere seven months after her introduction — was her final appearance for decades.
She was next seen in Saga of the Original Human Torch, a 1990 mini-series summarizing that character's career in four issues. There, writer Roy Thomas (The Invaders, Infinity Inc.) cast her as Mary Mitchell, merely the Torch's secretary, a job she'd sought because she was secretly in love with him. She became Sun Girl only to get closer to him, seizing the opportunity when Toro, the Torch's regular sidekick, took a leave of absence to visit his ailing mother. No mention was made of her world-spanning fame or her credentials as an independent adventurer before she'd even met him.
Many comic book fans decry the disrespect shown throughout the industry to superhero women, who tend to be killed off, de-powered and whatnot far out of proportion to their numbers. Virtually ignored since the 1940s, and dismissed as a no-account female stereotype in her one modern appearance, Sun Girl could be a poster child for that disrespect.