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”
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 #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 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.
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.
From my “favorite” person and DC Senior Story Editor, Ian Sattler at HeroesCon:
A serious topic came up about how characters who are minorities who happened to be legacy characters like Ryan Choi are killed off so their caucasian counterparts can return and how they feel like they are being cheated or sidelined out of their roles. Sattler took a more serious tone. “It’s so hard for me to be on the other side because it’s not our intention. There is a reason behind it all. We don’t see it that way and strive very hard to have a diverse DCU. I mean, we have green, pink, and blue characters. We have the Great Ten out there and I have counter statistics, but I won’t get into that. It’s not how we perceived it. We get the same thing about how we treat our female characters.”
First, green, pink, and blue characters are NOT characters of color. For example, Martin Manhunter (green) is in the majority on his planet and written the same way they’d write a white human dude. There’s no institutionalized racism for green, pink, and blue characters. There’s no history of oppression. There is no racism. It’s incredibly, jaw-droppingly offensive to say otherwise. Do NOT argue with me on this point, instead please read White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh.
Second, I want to see your counter statistics. I want to see your blog post on DC.com. I don’t believe your so-called statistics (that you can’t provide) given statistics that fans have put together. For instance, Chris Sims has a great post about The Racial Politics of Regressive Storytelling, concerning the same relaunch of legacy DC characters. (Also, I didn’t even know who the Great Ten were. That’s how many books they’re in, and I even read one of them.)
Third, let’s address, “It’s not how we perceived it.” Of course, you didn’t. Stop being defensive that everyone’s calling you or your colleagues racist. We know that DC writers (read: Geoff Johns) love Silver Age characters and that’s why they brought them back. But the heart of the problem is with your (and the rest of the staff who agrees with Sattler) perception. Our perceptions as human beings are often flawed due to our personal biases. That’s why those stats you mentioned above and the perception of others, who are not like you, are important.
Fourth, I’m sorry, but are we women being too whiny for you? (To see what Sattler says about women, see the Emerald City ComicCon post.) Just because you hired the fabulous Gail Simone, doesn’t mean everyone forgot about the stats of her Women in Refrigerators project. Finally, some stats.
Fifth, why do they still let Sattler talk in public as a representative of the company?
Dear comic book reader, before you start pledging yourself to Marvel, don’t forget they had their own race fail when Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort addressed a question about why characters of color and women weren’t leads on their teams or starring in their own books:
“Because we’re an American company whose primary distribution is centered around America, the great majority of our existing audience seems to be white American males … whenever your leads are white American males, you’ve got a better chance of reaching more people overall.”
Time to start voting with our dollars. Take a look at your pull list next time and ask yourself how diverse are the books you’re reading? Are there minority and women characters in them? How do they treat the minority and women characters inside the pages? How diverse is the creative team? And so on. Because I guarantee those in accounting and sales crunch the hard numbers.