Wonder Woman #2 comes with an introduction about the creative team. Here William Moulton Marston takes off his mask and reveals the man behind the pen name. He’s also pictured with H.G. Peter and two editors. Unlike Wonder Woman #1, this shows an all-male team, instead of making motions of the women involved.
In the first story, Marston sets the stage with a conflict between Mars (Ares) and Wonder Woman. In the tradition of the lies adults tell children, Marston explains to his young readers that World War II rages on at the behest of Mars. Mars craves war and wants to keep it on the planet. Whereas Aphrodite, Wonder Woman’s goddess, only wants love, and unfortunately, Mars is currently winning this battle.
In Sensation Comics #12, we stay in the world of ridiculous. The ridiculous world of Hollywood. However, instead of being an off-world tale, we have the second resurrection of Baroness Paula Von Gunther. We all missed her and her wacky Nazi antics very much. This also is the last issue in Wonder Woman Archive Edition Volume 1.
Colonel Darnell receives a letter from Supreme Pictures saying they want to produce a film about Wonder Woman. The film’s for patriotism you see. However, Wonder Woman doesn’t exactly have a P.O. Box or phone number. So Diana calls Etta, who then uses the metal radio to signal Wonder Woman.
At first, Wonder Woman refuses to star in the picture. But then Darnell reminds her how the film will serve America (and Steve’s already in Hollywood on a case), and she agrees. On one condition, that Diana Prince, Etta, and Beeta Lambda Sorority accompany her to California. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #12”
In Sensation Comics #11, Marston has held in his cabinet of curiosities long enough. They’re back and with full-force. And I also say, with a breath of relief, that even though his fetishes are on display, this is the least offensive tale I’ve read in a while. Yes, cabniet of curiosities is open, but the young girls and boys reading this aren’t going to get it. It’ll go right over their heads.
Most all of Wonder Woman’s tales have taken place in America (with brief trips to Paradise Island, Europe, and Mexico) and very much centered on the fact that Wonder Woman’s here to protect American interests. However, Sensation Comics #11 marks a departure from this. Notably, this is the first tale which mentions Wonder Woman’s membership to the JLA. Her missions with them is where she met Queen Desira of Venus. And in this tale, Queen Desira calls on Wonder Woman to help her friends over on Planet Eros.
There’s a funny moment where Wonder Woman reminds Desira that she does not possess a space ship. (Logic in comics?) But Desira has that solved. You see when people sleep, their astral bodies can go on any adventure, including one to the light-years away Eros. Wonder Woman brings both Etta and Steve along for the trip because Etta insists she come, and for some reason, Wonder Woman thinks the people of Eros will respect Steve’s position in the U.S. Army. Okay, Wonder Woman, I guess that’s a fine excuse to bring your crush. (Steve’s also treated like the “girl” in this scene as he goes to Eros only half-dressed in his uniform because he was being too slow.) To protect her secret identity, Wonder Woman falls asleep in Etta’s dorm room. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #11”
In Sensation Comics #10, Wonder Woman helps Steve Trevor take down some Japanese and German spies who are attempting to blow up a train carrying soldiers. This is all fine and dandy and pretty much Marston’s standard Wonder Woman plot. But not so fast. There’s a twist.
(Sidenote: This tale features quite a bit of racist stereotyping as the main villain, who actually gets a lot of face time, is Ishti, a Japanese spymaster of some sort. He talks in broken English and stutters over his “s”es. There’s also a brief appearance of a train porter, who’s black and indistinguishable from the porter in the last issue.)
The last story in Wonder Woman #1 may be the most offensive story written yet. Okay, actually, I don’t think it’s any more offensive than the one about the circus’ elephants earlier this issue.
In this story, Mint Candy, brother of Etta and solider in the US Army, is targeted by Japanese spies in order to get information about his division’s orders. In a very convoluted plot, Mint hits his head after a fall from a sabotaged motorcycle and Etta and Diana head to the Candy family’s ranch in Texas to cheer him up. Etta wants to set Mint up with Diana, and Diana just wants information to save America from the Axis.
Mint’s portrayed as something of a Gomer Pyle-like character. He’s simple-minded, but is always trying to do his best to help out his country. While the text never says he’s not good enough for Wonder Woman, it’s implied. But that’s okay because he ends up finding true love away. He also serves as Steve’s damsel-in-distress proxy for this tale.
In this tale from Wonder Woman #1, Diana and Steve go to visit Baroness Paula Van Gunther in prison. Some Allied boats keep getting sunk, and no one knows how the Axis are coming across the information of where the boats are going to be. They figure Paula will know. Interestingly enough, this is the first Wonder Woman story which relays on a male character to help save Wonder Woman. Granted, the male character is Freddy, the prison warden’s young son who’s probably about 10-years-old. Which is why I’m okay with it, if we’re aiming this story at young girls and Freddy is otherwise portrayed as the annoying younger brother of Mabel.
In the second story collected in Wonder Woman #1, Diana and Steve go to the circus, which is having a fundraiser for the army’s benefit. The circus turns into the most racist comic I’ve ever read. Unlike other racism featured in Wonder Woman, yellowface drawings and blackface with jive dialog, the entire plot is racist and full of ethic stereotypes of Burmese, along with another Japanese spy.
Wonder Woman #1 was published in the summer of 1942 and was the first full-length comic book featuring only Wonder Woman stories. It’s composed of four stories, and so I’m choosing to spread out this issue into four blog posts because Wonder Woman #1 is important.
As an introduction, there’s a biography of Miss Alice Marble, associate editor of Wonder Woman. Which is basically a fluff piece on how she’s making sure Wonder Woman stays true to herself and as a hero for girls. Plus, how even grown women love Wonder Woman. While Marble was famous for playing tennis, her secret life a spy on Nazis was perhaps far more interesting. She retired due to being shot in the back while obtaining Nazi financial information in Switzerland. Now that’s some serious real life bad guy fighting. Interestingly enough, this all took place after she started editing Wonder Woman.
In addition to Marble’s bio, there’s also a page called “Who’s Wonder Woman?” where Greek gods — Aphrodite, Athena, Mercury, and Hercules — are used to explain Diana’s powers and beliefs as an easy introduction for new readers.
The first tale is a retelling of the origins of both the Amazons and how how Wonder Woman came to be in America. Some details are rehashed, some are new, and others have been edited. I felt like Marston had an editor’s red pen scribbled all over his original story. Here there is little to none of his cabinet of curiosities, and while there are still some ridiculous elements, the tale feels a lot tamer and less full of wacky what were they thinking moments. Wonder Woman’s original origin story appears in All-Star Comics #8.
Sensation Comics #9 marks the return of one Diana (Prince) White. That’s right, she’s back like a bad rash. Just kidding. But maybe Wonder Woman will learn a lesson about how you just can’t buy someone else’s identity. Or not.
Unfortunately, this issue also contains more racism in the drawings (Dr. Cue) and an overtly sexist character (Dan White) who’s never really called on it.
Diana and Steve are out to lunch together, and suddenly, this guy starts harassing Diana. He’s basically calling her a hussy for cheating on him. But Diana’s never met him. Dan White starts saying, “Don’t you remember our baby?” And Wonder Woman’s like “I’ve never had sex with a man, much less given birth.” Steve’s basically “WTF, Diana? Do you have a secret life?” Confusion abounds. Steve punches Dan in the face so Dan runs away.
Confusion until Diana remembers that Dan White is the name of the other Diana’s finance, now husband. D’oh. This is why you can’t buy someone’s identity, Wonder Woman. Unless the person’s dead and the body’s hidden; then you can make a delightful TV show about it.
Okay, normally, I make it a policy not to review comics like Sensation Comics #8; comics which are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, or ablist, except to point out how very peeved I am. I’m not letting Sensation Comics #8 off the hook, despite continuing my review below. That said, Sensation Comics #8 depicts the first black people in Wonder Woman’s otherwise white world. These black people are workers in a hotel, and because it’s 1942, you guessed it, Peter drew them in black-face and Marston gave them “uneducated” dialog. And throws in some classism or just segregation over how black people are the only ones who take the stairs. FAIL.