Silk Spectre is the name shared by a mother and daughter fictional superheroine pair who are central characters in the 1986-87 comic book limited series Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. They are often said to be modified versions of the character Nightshade from Charlton Comics; however, Alan Moore has stated that he found Nightshade "boring," and that Silk Spectre was modeled on sexier characters, such as Phantom Lady and Black Canary. (also an alias shared by a mother and daughter.)
The first Silk Spectre was former frizzy haired, redhead waitress and burlesque dancer Sally Jupiter (her real last name was Juspeczyk, which she changed to hide her Polish ancestry), who entered action sometime around 1938 when she was only 18 years old. In her time, she was a sex symbol by whom criminals didn't mind getting caught. She was an action heroine version of a pin-up girl and, even in her old age, she seemed proud of her sex symbol status, apparently enjoying male attention as indicated by her career as a dancer and her reaction to learning of a Tijuana bible that was based on her, much to her daughter's disapproval.
She was soon invited by Captain Metropolis to join the Minutemen, a group of costumed heroes. On October 2, 1940, after a meeting of the Minutemen, she was sexually assaulted by Edward Blake, alias The Comedian. He was thwarted in his attempt by fellow Minuteman Hooded Justice, who gave him a vicious beating. The event would have a profound impact on Sally's life. Her agent, Laurence Schexnayder, persuaded her not to press charges against the Comedian for fear of damaging the group's image. More celebrity than vigilante, Silk Spectre provided a cover for Hooded Justice's homosexuality by being his glamorous girlfriend. In an interview, she admitted that she didn't really like The Silhouette, a.k.a. Ursula Zandt, who was constantly pestering her about her Polish heritage, but later expressed regret that she was expelled from the group simply because she was a lesbian, especially since there were men on the team who were gay (though she did not identify them).
In 1947 Sally retired from crime-fighting and married her agent, Laurence Schexnayder, while keeping in touch with Hollis Mason (Nite Owl) and Nelson Gardner (Captain Metropolis). In 1949 she gave birth to her daughter Laurel Jane, commonly known as Laurie. It was known to both parents that Laurie was not Laurence's child, but the Comedian's, from a second encounter, and this led to conflict in the family, leading the couple to divorce in 1956. While not explicitly stated, it is implied that Sally's second sexual encounter with the Comedian was consensual, and that, despite his earlier attack on her, she did have feelings for him.
Shortly after these events, Laurie and Dan Drieberg adopted new appearances and identities, now calling themselves Sam and Sandra Hollis, and sporting blond hair. They visited Sally Jupiter - now living in a retirement home - and Laurie told her mother that she had realized the truth about her father. The issue was put to rest for Laurie, who accepted that the situation between her mother and the Comedian was too complicated, and forgave her. "Sam and Sandra" left soon afterwards, indicating that they would continue to adventure, although Laurie expressed the wish for a better superhero identity, a more protective leather outfit, a mask, and a firearm. This parallels the Comedian's change from a gaudy yellow clown suit to paramilitary gear, even the aforementioned firearm. After watching them leave, Sally picked up an old photograph of the Minutemen, which included the Comedian, and kissed his half of the picture as tears rolled down her face.
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