In 1939, a retired marine lieutenant named Nelson Gardner sought to apply his military training to the problem of urban crime. When he learned of the exploits of a vigilante called Hooded Justice, he created his own persona, Captain Metropolis, acquired a headquarters, and sought out people who, like him, were driven to put on masks and fight crime. As luck would have it, he soon learned of Larry Schexnayder, an enterprising publicist who was arranging fake heists to be thwarted by his young client, who called herself Silk Spectre. As luck would have it, Schexnayder was eager to create a team, afraid that the "superhero fad" might otherwise fade. And so, Gardner contacted the pair and suggested an alliance.
Shortly afterwards, the newly-minted Minutemen held auditions. While many of the respondents to their recruitment ads were unsuitable - like the Slut, Liberty Lassie, and the Iron Lid - they eventually recruited the mysterious but brutal Hooded Justice; the sadistic young Comedian; the brilliant inventor Mothman; the children's avenger Silhouette; the bank mascot Dollar Bill; and the seemingly tireless Nite Owl.
At the start, the team was troubled; their first official outing, in which they had intended to break up a supposed Italian fifth column of weapons smugglers, nearly went off without a hitch - until they discovered that the supposed weapons were actually just Chinese fireworks. Additionally, some of the Minutemen, particularly Silhouette, felt that Gardner and Schexnayder's search for headline-grabbing crimes detracted from fighting real crimes.
Additionally, there was considerable in-fighting; Silk Spectre made little secret of her disdain for Silhouette, while Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice bickered constantly (the result of their being a poorly-closeted gay couple.) Within a year of the team's founding, Comedian was booted out after Hooded Justice caught him attempting to rape Silk Spectre.
During World War II, the Minutemen were confined to the homefront - none of the team's men were deemed eligible for military service - but they still managed to do some good, fighting against a collection of costumed criminals that included Captain Axis, the Screaming Skull, and Moloch. However, the team was also becoming more fragmented, with Silhouette, Nite Owl, and Mothman conducting several operations independent of their confederates (this was in part due to their increasing dissatisfaction with the team's direction, as well as Nite Owl's accidental discovery that Silhouette was a lesbian.)
In 1946, Silhouette's lesbianism was exposed in the press. Terrified that further exposes might reveal that Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice were a couple, Larry Schexnayder called for an emergency meeting, during which Metropolis, Justice, Dollar Bill, and Silk Spectre voted to expel Silhouette from the team. Compounding the scandal, six weeks later, Silhouette and her lover were murdered by a former enemy calling himself the Liquidator.
- 14 Appearances of Minutemen (Watchmen)
- 4 Images that include Minutemen (Watchmen)
- Team Gallery: Minutemen (Watchmen)
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