Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #1

Wonder Woman Wednesdays

Sensation Comics #1Sensation Comics #1’s the first Wonder Woman comic to make me scratch my head. I keep wondering what Marston’s doing here.

Okay, Diana takes Steve back to America in her invisible jet. Diana gets a lot of crap about the invisible jet, so much so that later writers just gave her the ability to fly. Far more practical. Except when having to haul around wounded soldiers (or your friends). Here her jet makes complete sense, especially since we already know the Amazons have a magic sphere which gives them access to building invisible jets. (Wow, invisible jet engineer would be incredibly frustrating. I just set the bulkhead there? Where’d it go? Or worse, on the assembly line, when you trip over the invisible screw you dropped weeks ago and didn’t notice.)

As I talked about last week, it’s a pretty good move to have Diana become an army nurse. Her job puts her on the front lines. Or as close as a woman could be in those days. This also makes sense.

On the other hand, my head scratcher was Wonder Woman’s first job — theater/circus performer –, random people’s reactions to her, and how she became a nurse if looked at through the lens of Diana being a new immigrant to America. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #1”

Wonder Woman Wednesdays: All-Star Comics #8

Wonder Woman Wednesdays

All-Star Comics #8Now 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”

Announcing Wonder Woman Wednesdays

Wonder Woman Wednesdays

Back some time ago, I started collecting the hardbound archives which reprint Wonder Woman’s original adventures, starting at All Star Comics #8. Unfortunately, older comics tend to get pushed further down my ‘to-read’ pile for this week’s pull list or something modern I’ve been meaning to read. I also sometimes find myself ill-at-ease with Golden and Silver Age writing styles. So I’ve decide to push myself with Wonder Woman and her tales. Each Wednesday, I will make a post about Wonder Woman and her comics all the way from the beginning.

Wonder Woman fascinates me on many levels, including:

1. Wonder Woman is the first woman of superheroes and marketed toward young girls. She was very popular.

2. There’s a lot of muddled gray areas around the authorial intent of Dr. William Marston and his beliefs about women’s superiority and submission and his own personal interests in bondage and polyamory.

3. A lot of people bitch about Wonder Woman not being as great of a hero or as iconic as Batman and Superman when they’re supposed to be part of the DC Trinity.

4. Wonder Woman’s been relaunched, rewritten in a lot of different directions, and sometimes seemingly throw up to the editorial with a “I give up” sigh. Her movie’s been canceled again and again.

5. Wonder Woman’s become an icon for LGBT people, especially gay men. This largely has to do with the Lynda Carter TV show.

6. Wonder Woman theoretically could again be a big seller with women and gay men, who are not considered the primary audience of modern comic books.

7. Why does my friend Steve always skip the Wonder Woman-focused episodes of the Justice League cartoon?

In my posts, I may talk about the issue at length or I might focus on a certain theme in the issue or in Wonder Woman’s comics in general. Normally, I rate each issue I read; however, given the way Golden Age comics are, I may forgo a rating as I’m a modern consumer. I am committed to learning more about Wonder Woman through her stories.