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 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.
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.
Sensation Comics #7 was one long milk ad. I was pretty sure I’d see a milk-mustached Wonder Woman at the end of this.
Interestingly enough, expect for stopping some robbers in the first issue, this is the first time Diana’s gone on a mission for civilians.
On her way to meet stay with a friend in Baltimore, Diana goes missing. What actually happens is she stops to buy milk for a poor woman and her little girl. The woman tells Diana that her son died of malnourishment, and soon her daughter will join him because she hasn’t had milk in weeks. The price of milk has skyrocketed for no reason and they can’t afford it anymore.
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.
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”
This weekend, I attended the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival. It was a wonderful and delightful experience. A gorgeous painting of Wonder Woman tied up in her rope — strong and proud — was part of the collection. Always exciting for the fan geek within. The main stage performance that night was called Cabinet of Curiosities and featured a mixture of theater, burlesque, cabaret, and puppetry. It was beautiful, self-affirming, and grotesque.
I realized as I read Sensation Comics #3 that Wonder Woman’s story is both an affirming tale for young girls to read about a female superhero and a Cabinet of Curiosities. As a modern reader and an adult, I find a lot of the Cabinet of Curiosities-angle ridiculous. And I think I’m still rather on the fence about young girls venturing into Marston’s Cabinet of Curiosities. I understand the feeling that Wonder Woman’s adventures there are not so innocent, but at the same time, I was also a young girl reading Anne Rice’s Cabinet of Curiosities, which are far more explicit. Diana being tied up as a hostage is innocent compared to Rice’s Belinda and her lover, the pedophile children’s book author/illustrator she runs off to live with. I have a hard time pointing my finger at Marston for being inappropriate or thinking that children need to be protected because I remember myself at that age. But enough about my tween years.
Sensation Comics #3 feels like the first real Diana story. Yes, once again, Steve’s job and foiling Nazi’s plots fits into the narrative, but this adventure was about Diana, her fellow secretaries, Etta, and Etta’s schoolmates. Oh, I should note that Diana changes jobs as soon as Steve’s discharged from the hospital. She becomes the secretary for Steve’s boss, Colonel Darnell. Yes, the Amazons have their own form of shorthand. Continue reading “Wonder Woman Wednesdays: Sensation Comics #3”
Wow, just when I thought things couldn’t become stranger in the world of Wonder Woman. I suppose at least she’s wearing practical coolots This is the first issue where Wonder Woman gets tied up (twice) and the first appearance of Etta Candy, Diana’s human best friend and future wife of Steve Trevor.