, Sherry, just as she goes on stage. Artist: Al Hartley..


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1956
Creators: Stan Lee (writer) and Al Hartley (artist)
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It isn't quite true to say the 21st-century output of Marvel Comics consists of all superheroes, all the time. But — close enough. But back in the 1950s, Marvel published a pile of material in other genres, such as …

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… westerns (e.g., The Rawhide Kid), jungle heroes (e.g., Lo-Zar), funny stuff (e.g., Homer the Happy Ghost), alliteratively-titled women in traditional female roles …

Yes, that was once a genre at Marvel, ranging from the gloriously glamorous Millie the Model to the merely mundane Tessie the Typist, with Nellie the Nurse in-between. Sherry the Showgirl fell toward Millie's end of the spectrum. Actually, the whole genre was part of a larger genre of young female protagonists such as Della Vision, Patty Powers and Patsy Walker, whose major raison d'etre was to provide an excuse to fill comic books up with cheesecake, i.e., pictures of attractive women, or as many comics fans like to call them, "good girl art".

Sherry (surname Storm) debuted in Sherry the Showgirl #1, published by Marvel during its "Atlas Comics" period and dated July, 1956. Like many "pre-Marvel" Marvel comics, including The Black Knight, Doctor Droom and The Blonde Phantom, it was written by Stan Lee, who also co-created many of the properties that make Marvel what it is today, such as X-Men, The Avengers and Thor. The artist was Al Hartley, who was better known for his work on Archie.

Debuting with Sherry was her cast of supporting characters, including boss Nick Brandt (owner of The Silver Slipper Club, where she worked), boyfriend Steve Saxon (the club's band leader) and arch-rival Hazel Hale (who sold cigarettes at the club, but aspired to Sherry's job).

Sherry lasted only three issues as the star of her own comic, and the fourth, dated February, 1957, was retitled Showgirls. Aside from Sherry, stars of that title included Millie and a couple of others. But with #5 (April, 1957) it was switched back, and Sherry was the sole star for three more issues, ending with #7 (August, 1957). Meanwhile, Showgirls was revived, with the same lineup, for two more issues, dated July and August, 1957.

That ended Sherry's run, either as the star or as one feature among several. She never got involved with the superhero universe, which is the surest way for an off-genre character like Sgt. Fury or Fin Fang Foom to find a place in Marvel comics of the 21st century, so she remains a half-forgotten denizen of the 1950s.

But maybe that's a mere oversight. Her surname suggests a relationship with Sue and Johnny Storm, but no such relationship has been established in the comics. Given how small and convoluted the average superhero universe is, any issue of The Fantastic Four could feature a visit from now-elderly Aunt Sherry, who dabbled in show biz in her youth.


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Text ©2009-11 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.