Today we meet one of the most Obscure Marvel Women (OMW) of the Original Marvel Universe (OMU). The issues that feature this costumed heroine are so rare as to be nearly impossible to find. Furthermore, the stories have never been reprinted, nor are they likely to be any time soon. She has not even been seen since the end of the Golden Age, but she embodies the spirit of that bygone era like few others. Hers is a story that needs to be told.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross was born in 1917 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from college just as the specter of war was looming over Europe once again. She took a job as a clerk in the Public Relations Bureau of the War Department, where her consistently excellent performance brought her to the attention of her superiors. Then, in the autumn of 1941, she was recruited to work with the costumed hero Captain America as his liaison with military and domestic authorities. In this capacity, she assisted Captain America and his sidekick Bucky with many of their earliest missions.
After the United States entered the war a few months later, Ross found her work with Captain America limited by his involvement with the Invaders, which often took him overseas. Thus, that summer she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps as an officer candidate. Following her training, she was assigned to the Quartermaster Corps, where inspection tours of supply depots around the country served as a cover for her work with Captain America when he was on the homefront.
In the summer of 1943, Ross enlisted in the newly-formed Women’s Army Corps and continued to work with Captain America occasionally until his sudden disappearance towards the end of the war. When a new hero took over as Captain America, Ross was one of the few people to know of the switch, on account of their close working relationship.
After the war, a third man assumed the role of Captain America when the second was killed in battle, and Ross worked with him as she had his two predecessors. However, in 1949, when his sidekick, the second Bucky, was crippled by a gunshot wound, Captain America revealed his true identity to Ross and asked her to be his full partner in crimefighting. Finding the prospect exciting, Ross agreed.
Thus, Betsy Ross donned a gold-and-green costume and, after a brief period of intensive training, went into action as the Golden Girl, causing a sensation in the press. As the pair faced many perils together, Ross became quite intimate with her partner, Jeffrey Mace, who had served in the wartime Liberty Legion as the Patriot before taking over as Captain America. Before long, they surrendered to the sexual tension that boiled over from their life of thrills and danger and they began a torrid affair. Mace, in fact, broke up with his longtime girlfriend Mary Morgan to be with the more glamorous Ross.
After several months, however, Betsy Ross decided to retire her costumed identity. Never entirely comfortable in the role of super-heroine, she also realized that, as she was now in her early 30s, she wanted to settle down and have a family. Soon after, Mace gave up being Captain America and the two were married. They moved to Boston, where he resumed his career as a newspaper reporter and she became a housewife.
First Appearance: Captain America Comics # 1
Final Appearance: Captain America Comics # 73.