Now isn’t this a comic we all wished we owned? Or could go back to tell our grandparents to spend their ice cream money on.
The first thing that jumped out at me was Wonder Woman being presented as a hero we already know and love. Yes, William Moulton Marston’s going to give us Wonder Woman’s background. But at the same time, there’s a strong notion that Wonder Woman just saved our cat from a tree and gave us a hug. (This is what all Golden Age superheros do after they punch Hitler.) In a way, Wonder Woman’s set-up reminds me a lot of how Brian Michael Bendis wrote in Jessica Jones to the Marvel universe as an already existing hero who’s background was still a mystery. Of course, back when Marston wrote, I assume that’s what everyone else did too.
I think the opening paragraph’s very pivotal in setting up who Wonder Woman is. It’s as if I’m seeing Marston’s editorial pitch:
At last, in a world torn by the hatreds and wars of men, appears a woman to whom the problems and feats of men are mere child’s play — a woman whose identity is known to none, but whose sensational feats are outstanding in a fast-moving world! With a hundred time the agility and strength of our best male athletes and strongest wrestlers, she appears as though from nowhere to avenge an injustice or right a wrong! As lovely as Aphrodite — as wise as Athena — with the speed of Mercury and the strength of Hercules — she is known only as Wonder Woman, but who she is, or whence she came, nobody knows!
First, Wonder Woman’s set up as superior to men. And here I don’t think Marston meant “men” as “humans,” but really “men” as “male humans” given women’s limited roles — especially when it came to power in politics and business — in 1942. Humanity’s problems are nothing to Wonder Woman. Not only can she beat them physically, but she also pounces them with her superior mind. Clearly, Wonder Woman could easily solve World War II.
Second, I think her coming out of nowhere is particularly interesting. Did Americans (and other Western cultures) of the 1940s long to be saved from their problems by others? (This is a particular contrast to the somewhat Americans-do-for-America or World-working-together sentiments of today.) Granted, you know Wonder Woman supports America’s side because she dons red, white, and blue, plus the stars and the eagle. Not to mention, Wonder Woman worshiped and was given gifts by the Greeks gods, who at the time, most schoolchildren were familiar with. And she’s beautiful and wise.
Third, Marston promises us he’ll give us all her secrets so she’ll be familiar. I like that Marston knows his audience. Clearly, he wants girls to read this. He wants them to love Wonder Woman the same way he does. These are American girls in an uncertain time, and Wonder Woman is the hero they can imagine helping their fathers, uncles, and brothers fighting in World War II. And keeping them safe… Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: All-Star Comics #8”