Ursula Zandt, also known as The Silhouette, was the first female costumed adventurer and a former member of the Minutemen.
Ursula Zandt was born in Austria on September 4, 1917 to a wealthy aristocratic Jewish family. She and her family left Austria after it was taken over by the Nazis. She lived in the Austrian town of Linz where she lost most of her family. Growing up in a Nazi-overrun orphanage with her young sister Blanche she was aided by the orphanage's pharmacist Gretchen. Ursula held Blanche close to her, reading her verses from A Child's Garden Verses. Despite understanding their grave situation, Ursula tried to cheer her up.
She started loving Ursula and started planning the escape of the siblings, but Blanche was taken into a sealed-off room. Ursula poisoned and killed the guards and entered the room to find her sister, brutally tortured and eventually murdered by a mysterious man in a black mask. Gretchen saved her life by shooting the man down, and the two fled to the United States to begin a new life and became lovers. This traumatic experience would set the course for Zandt's crimefighting career under the pseudonym "The Silhouette".
In 1939, the Silhouette made the headlines after exposing a crooked publisher who was trafficking child pornography, as told in Hollis Mason's book Under the Hood. The article stated that she gave a punitive beating to the entrepreneur and his two lead cameramen. She then went on to hunt down the child trafficking industry. She ran after two kidnappers who were carrying a boy inside a rolled carpet in Chinatown. Silhouette made a public appearance in Vogue.
As Gretchen was dabbling in the new science of psychotherapy, Ursula used to record hours of narration about her life in audio tapes.
Later that year she read the ad in the Gazette asking for other masked adventurers to step forward, and joined the Minutemen shortly after.
She questioned Larry Schexnayder and Captain Metropolis's interest in image and publicity rather than essence; she proposed to hunt down the child trafficking ring, but Larry found it a "sad" case, while they should be after crime bosses. This forced Zandt to continue investigating alone. Leaving after a Minutemen meeting she was joined by Hollis Mason (who wanted to know her better) and Mothman to investigate the disappearance of a boy from the Midway. Hollis went on in helping her when not working for the Police or the Minutemen and managed to establish a strong relationship with her. Despite their "rules", he decided to reveal his full name and job, and gave her the number of his call box.
In one of her endeavors, Ursula entered a movie theater where high-class men were watching child pornography. She managed to rescue a girl but she fell in her darker side and wanted to kill everyone there. She took the girl and attempted to leave, but she was shot, and the girl was killed. She called Mason and made her way to a church. Mason deserted his beat, hot-wired a car and drove her to her doctor, who was actually her girlfriend, Gretchen.
Expulsion and deathEdit
Laurence Schexnayder persuaded the group to expel her to minimize the P.R. damage. She was voted out 4 to 2 (even Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis voted against). Hollis announced to her their decision but they would continue to work together. She handed him a file with murdered kids to look up in the police files. Two weeks later Hollis sent her what he could gather. She left with Gretchen for a Motel in Marina Bay and announced to Hollis she would return with the results of her investigation. She had found some leads and suspected Rolf Müller, a circus strongman.
Six weeks later, she and Gretchen were found murdered by the Liquidator in a brutal vengeance killing in that motel. When the Minutemen learned that the Liquidator was back in New York, Sally Jupiter herself broke into his hideout and killed him. Byron Lewis arranged for them unmarked graves so that they wouldn't be defiled by haters. Sally and even Eddie Blake paid their respects.
Nite Owl and Mothman continued her work, while the Comedian went to Boston and investigated the effect found on her and found her leads to Meuller. Meanwhile, he made Nite Owl suspect Hooded Justice, leading to latter's death.
In the 2009 film adaptation, it is implied that Zandt's murder was a hate crime, as the two women were found in a morbid, bloody embrace, and the words "Lesbian Whores" were written on the wall in their blood.
She wore black pants, heels, and a black top, as well her hair was just as black, but she wore a red belt that showed brightly beneath her shirt. She was notably never seen without a cigarette.
In the Before Watchmen prequel, her attire is quite unlike what is seen in her few appearances in Watchmen: She wore a fedora hat, occasionally a coat, and was armed with two pistols.
Hollis Mason believed that she was one of the few who wanted to do something meaningful. Her experiences gave her courage and strength not expected from women of her small stature, causing many to underestimate her.
Induced from Sally Jupiter's comment much later, it appears that she never told the group her real name, it was only revealed to the press after her death. As a Jew, she was greatly bothered by Hooded Justice's pro-Hitler stance, but Laurence Schexnayder managed to sweep the incident under the rug.
In an interview with Probe, Sally Jupiter admitted that she didn't like Ursula as a person, and she wasn't easy to get along with. Even though she had voted to expel her along with everybody else, she reflects that they shouldn't have done that because it wasn't fair or honest since she wasn't the only gay person in the group, yet they threw her out just the same.
- "This Extraordinary Being" (photograph)