The first female black superhero introduced to the comic book world was Butterfly. She opened the gateway to many female black superhero characters. She not very well known and she was short lived. She had only two appearances in a comic called Hell-Rider. The character debuted in the first issue of Hell-Rider which was published in August 1971 a black and white superhero action comics series. The creator of the comic book series was Gary Friedrich who worked with other various comic book artists such as Mike Esposito, Ross Andru, Rich Buckler, Dick Ayers, John Celardo, and Syd Shore. Butterfly was the first female hero who was Ms. Marian Michaels a singer and by late night the super-heroine Butterfly.
So Butterfly’s real name is Marian Michaels who worked in a Las Vegas Nightclub as a cabaret singer. Her outfit was a revealing skintight outfit with wings. Under the Wings she had bright strobe lights that she used to blind her enemies and then defeat them. She introduced as a friend of one of Brick Reese’s (Hell-Rider) friend of one of his clients. She appeared first in the investigation of the Claw that was a group of cat costume wearing drug dealers selling heroine. The group was attempting to use their profits to create a army outside of Los Angeles in the desert. She assisted Hell-Rider and defeated the claw. In the second comic she was also part of the battle against the Brothers Of the Crimson Cross which was a fictional white supremacist group. These two incidents were the only known appearance of Butterfly. Unfortunately, the comic series ended after a very short run.
This was an interesting find for me. I was always under the assumption that Storm was the very first black female superhero. Butterfly is an interesting character to me because, she fights crime without super powers but, her own skill and power which is very empowering. It is sad that the comic series had a short run but, I would have loved to see a revival of this character. It would be interesting if she was recreated into modern superheros. Buttefly is an important and symbolic female superhero which I was surprised that their is not a lot of information about her in the internet or never mentioned as the first female black superhero. To me for female black history month I wanted to mention someone who has been forgotten and unknown to many individuals and hope for a revival. Many people do not know of her but, I hope with this blog she may indeed in the future be revived and we can see a modern resurrected version of the Butterfly.