Ursula Zandt, also known as Silhouette, was the first female costumed adventurer and a former member of the Minutemen.
Ursula Zandt was born in Katzenbuhl, Austria on September 4, 1917 to a wealthy aristocratic Jewish family. Her father, Gregor Zandt, was a smart and well-respected doctor who invested the family's money in gold and diamonds to ensure long-term financial security for him and his family. In 1925, Zandt broke her leg while skiing and was placed under the care of her father. When she was fifteen years old, Zandt heard a police officer whistling at her. Furious, she ran across the street and slapped the officer, for which she is arrested. In 1935, she and her family left Austria after it was taken over by the Nazis. They move to New York City and blend into upper-class Manhattan society. After her parents died, Ursula developed a wild streak.
Joining the Minutemen
In 1939, the Silhouette made her debut after exposing a crooked publisher who was trafficking child pornography, and gave a punitive beating to the entrepreneur and his two lead cameramen. Her heroism made the headlines, with the article mentioning the brutal beatdown she gave to the perpetrators involved. Her actions garnered the attention of the Minutemen, which she later joined.
Tensions in the Team
During her time with the Minutemen, Zandt never told the group her real name. She also had a difficult time connecting with the other members of the team. Zandt had a unfavorable view toward Sally Jupiter and vice versa; they would often make snide comments toward one another. As a Jew, she was greatly offended by Hooded Justice's pro-Hitler stances, but Laurence Schexnayder, the team's manager, managed to sweep the incident under the rug. Despite her aloofness with the team, she managed to get along with both Mothman and Nite Owl, and was even closer to Schexnayder.
Fighting the Liquidator
In December 1945, the Silhouette joined up with Dollar Bill and Mothman to apprehend a serial killer known as the Liquidator. A high speed chase ensued, leading the combatants all the way to upper Manhattan. While crossing the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey, Liquidator struck another car, which immobilized his vehicle. The costumed heroes caught up to the killer and begin to attack him. During the fight, Silhouette grabbed Liquidator and sent him spinning off the bridge and into the icy waters below. Mothman attempted to rescue the plummeting villain, but was too late.
Expulsion and Death
On May 13, 1946, the press revealed that Zandt was living with another woman in a lesbian relationship. Laurence Schexnayder persuaded the group to expel her to minimize the P.R. damage. In a majority vote, she was unanimously voted out.
Six weeks later, she and her lover, Dawn DeCarlo, were found murdered in a motel by the Liquidator, who had survived his fall, in a brutal vengeance. Following her death, Silhouette's real name was revealed to the public.
In an interview with Probe magazine, Sally Jupiter admitted that she didn't like Zandt as a person, and she wasn't easy to get along with. Even though she had voted to expel her, she reflects that she and the others who voted her out 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.
Silhouette's acts of heroism as well as her sexuality reveal and subsequent death were made public by former teammate Hollis Mason in his book Under the Hood. In an interview on The Martha Edwards Show, Mason expressed regret for the way he acted the day he voted Zandt out from the team.
In 1985, Rorschach mentioned Zandt in his journal regarding her expulsion from the Minutemen and her eventual demise at the hands of a minor adversary seeking revenge. In 1987, Martha McCormick published a biography on Zandt titled Run for the Shadows: The Story of Ursula Zandt.