Sensation Comics #16 is both the most offensive and the most entertaining plot that Marston has written in a while. There was a lot of heart-and-soul in this comic. It’s essentially a romantic-comedy with a spy-catching thriller stuck in there too. Think Wonder Woman as a Liam Neeson character catching spies while stuck in 27 Dresses. Or something like that.
The comic starts with Diana receiving a telegram from Etta announcing that she is getting married. Marston spends about half a page with Diana, Steve, and even Colonel Darnell laughing about Etta getting married. That’s right, even Etta’s best friends, whose butts she’s saved again and again, can’t believe anyone would want to marry her.
I mean, who needs enemies when you can have friends like Diana and Steve?
This makes me even more glad that Etta marries Steve. Because seriously, what a bunch of assholes. I hope every night when Steve closes his eyes, he feels guilty for being such a jerk. (Yes, I *know* DC messed with the worlds that the Golden Age stuff is supposed to take place on.) And of course, the only reason Etta sent the telegram is because she wanted Diana there. She even lets her bring Steve along. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #16”
Paula may have reformed last story from Wonder Woman #3, but now she has to prove that her devotion to Wonder Woman is true. And it is literally a trial by fire.
But first, Colonel Darnell is distressed that his best secretary Diana Prince is missing. Steve’s a little bit like ‘oh, well, I found her horse and clothes and Paula’s car.’ Oh, Wonder Woman, you can really do better than Steve.
Good old Kibby Maxwell shows up as he’s the last eyewitness to see Diana Prince and Paula. When Darnell and Steve ask Kibby if he remembers Paula and have him look at a photo of her, he remembers seeing her lurking around the munitions factory that his mother Ann works at. (A little 1940s culture with woman working at the munitions factory as all the men are off at war.)
Steve heads over to question Ann about Paula. She says Paula pretended to be a government inspector, and then some Nazi guy (who we never see again) calls Ann into the warehouse. Where she’s hit over the head. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesday: Wonder Woman #3, part 4 of 4”
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.
But, of course, Aphrodite has a great champion who’s currently turning the tides of war toward peace. Wonder Woman. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Wonder Woman #2, part 1 of 4”
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.)
Wonder Woman, especially as Diana Prince, is an obsessed stalker in this story. There’s no question about it; she stalks Steve because she’s jealous. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #10”
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.
The story’s framed by a doctor at the army hospital finding a parchment dropped by Wonder Woman. He realizes it’s ancient and sends it to the Smithsonian. The parchment contains the story of the Amazons and how they came to inhabit Paradise Isle, among other things. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Wonder Woman #1, part 1 of 4”
Here in Sensation Comics #6, Marston’s cabinet of curiosities seems to get the better of his storytelling. We see the first appearance of Wonder Woman’s famous lasso; the first time she’s allowed to return to Paradise Island; and the first time she rides a torpedo. I read this issue aloud to Jason, and he made the comment that Marston seemed to be inserting his fantasies every couple scenes.
The cover for issue #6 says it all really with Wonder Woman riding on a giant kangaroo and having lassoed a bad guy. Yes, this issue will be just as ridiculous.
At the beginning, Diana gets two weeks vacation as Darnell’s off to England, a newly promoted Major Steve Trevor’s in charge, and Diana and Lila get in yet another fight for Steve’s affections around the office. Hippolyta, like any empty-nester, demands her daughter return home. Diana’s thrilled given she was told she could never return. However, Athena and Aphrodite have decided she’s done such a wonderful job in the world of men that Diana deserves a reward for her efforts.
Wonder Woman comes home just in time for the athletic trials. Trials which involve the Amazons riding giant kangaroos, lassoing one another off them, and carrying their tied-up opponents off the field. Yeah, whatever Marston was smoking, where can I get some? Superhero comics are by nature on the ridiculous side, of course; but Marston pulls out all stops here. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #6”
Sensation Comics #5 takes Wonder Woman on adventures in the Navy. That’s right, her position as the military’s savior is not just limited to the Army. Diana doesn’t discriminate.
Here we see Diana filling in as Colonel Darnell’s date — this would be the second time she’s gone to parties accompanying him — since his wife couldn’t make it. Being the Colonel’s date gives her the honor of breaking a champagne bottle against the Navy’s newly commissioned submarine, the Octopus. However, Diana notices it’s too heavy to be champagne. It must be a bomb! So she throws the bottle into the ocean — pretending that her extra strong throw worthy of a World Series’ winning baseball team was just a silly accident. Oops. And good thing she did, as the bottle explodes on impact into the ocean.
Then Diana faints. Because that’s what a human woman would do! (I bet Etta wouldn’t have.) Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #5”
This week on Wonder Woman Wednesdays, Sensation Comics #4 warns all us girls about sexual exploitation/assault, the consequences, and how we can overpower what’s been done to us physically and mentally. Or as Wonder Woman warns us at the end, “It just makes a girl realize how she has to watch herself in this man’s world!”
Would a young girl reading Sensation Comics #4 recognize this in the tale? No. No more than a child reading Little Red Riding Hood would interpret it as a tale of stranger danger and sexual awakening. To me, however, it’s pretty clear.
In this plot, several women tied to government work go missing; Wonder Woman and Colonel Darnell investigate; and separately Steve decides Eve should go undercover. Turns out Baroness Paula Von Gunther runs a Nazi spy school for girls and brainwashes government typists into being her slaves/spies. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #4”