Give Peace a Pass

Give Peace a Pass

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

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Out of Their League

Out of Their League

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

The history of Wonder Woman, at least in my lifetime, seems to have been one abrupt shift after another as the powers-that-be at DC Comics see the need to reinvent the world’s most prominent super-heroine every few years. We’ve covered a number of these start-from-scratch revamps on this blog already, particularly occurring in the last few years. But this habit of trying to “fix” Wonder Woman goes back a long ways. We’ve  seen Wonder Woman abruptly renounce her powers and become a karate-chopping mod detective in 1968, along with a sudden scrapping and replacement of her entire supporting cast. We’ve seen the mod era just as suddenly erased in 1973 with the return of Wonder Woman’s longtime writer-editor from the 1940s through the 1960s, Robert Kanigher, who took a similar scorched-earth approach, killing off Diana’s erstwhile mentor and erasing her memory of the whole period. As we’ve seen, the next few issues were a little weird, not only returning Wondy to her previous status quo, with her old costume and powers, but actually retelling Kanigher’s old WW stories from the 1940s with new art.

And now, abruptly again, that oddly retro period stops with entirely new management on the title: Julius Schwartz, mastermind of the superhero revival of the Silver Age and longtime Justice League of America editor, took over editing Wonder Woman, bringing in a reliable roster of writers to tell the next batch of tales: Len Wein, Cary Bates, Elliot S! Maggin and Martin Pasko. Appropriately enough, the next eleven issues would be all about Wonder Woman earning her way back into the Justice League after a long absence.

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The Origin of Everything

The Origin of Everything

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

Having exhausted the ostensibly original content in Wonder Woman #211

last week (actually slightly tweaked and reillustrated stories from the late 1940s), we turn our attention to the wealth of reprinted material that filled out that issue’s 100 pages. Most, but not quite all, of these stories boil down to “How Wonder Woman got” this or that item associated with her, and many of those stories boil down to young Diana being assigned three daring feats to perform to prove her worthiness. But enough generalizations—let’s take a look at the stories! All of these were written by Robert Kanigher during his 21-year original run as writer-editor of Wonder Woman, from creator William Moulton Marston’s death in 1947 up until the start of the “mod” era in 1968.   Read more

Twice Told Tales

Twice Told Tales

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

WONDER WEDNESDAY

It seems like we just had the end of an era, but here we are at the end of another one. When DC abruptly decided to call it quits on the Emma Peel-like, fully human “mod” Wonder Woman of the late ’60s and early ’70s, longtime old-timey WW writer Robert Kanigher was put back in charge. After hastily disposing of Diana’s erstwhile supporting cast, he quickly gave her the powers and costume back, wiped her memory of the “mod” years, and put her back into the mousy Diana Prince secret identity. But then he promptly ignored the new status quo he’d set up to just retell his own stories from the 1940s, with new art by Ric Estrada. In the letters pages he made it pretty clear that this was just the way it was going to be, and when people asked if WW was going to rejoin the Justice League, his answer was a clear no.

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The Littlest Amazon

The Littlest Amazon

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

We now continue with our look at the weird period in the mid-1970s when writer/editor Robert Kanigher

reclaimed control of the Wonder Woman comic book after the ill-fated “mod” experiment of a nonsuperpowered Wonder Woman. Kanigher not only went right back to basics with the old powers, costume and secret identity, but he even started retelling his own stories from the late 1940s, with very slightly updated (but still retro by ’70s standards) art by Ric Estrada. Read more

Winter Wonder Woman

Winter Wonder Woman

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

It’s that time again. ’Tis the season to dig up another one of Wonder Woman’s very special Christmas stories from the 1940s, by Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter. This one’s from 1945’s Sensation Comics #38, reprinted in the hardbound Wonder Woman Archives vol. 5.

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Till Kanga Come

Till Kanga Come

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

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Wonder Wall of China

Wonder Wall of China

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

Now that Robert Kanigher was back in charge after the

sudden end of the mod Wonder Woman experiment, the first thing he did was restore the old status quo: star-spangled outfit, magic lasso, invisible jet, the works. He also gave her a new job as a guide at the UN, nameless Asian and African-American roommates, and even a long-lost black sister. But no sooner did he set all that up than he abruptly wiped away even that little bit of newness and started presenting the same style of stories he used to write when he took over the Wonder Woman series in the late 1940s, after the death of creator William Moulton Marston. Suddenly Wonder Woman was the most old-fashioned comic that DC was putting out. Read more

Hey, Soul Sister

Hey, Soul Sister

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

One of the many troublesome things about Wonder Woman being an undervalued property at DC Comics is that the vast majority of her comics have never been reprinted or collected. Up till now I’ve largely focused on the ones that have been reprinted, just for convenience’s sake, but having reached the end of the mod era I come to a stretch of never-reprinted issues, which in a way are more interesting to discuss anyway.

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The End of an E.R.A.

The End of an E.R.A.

WONDER WEDNESDAY

On Wednesdays I look at various chapters in Wonder Woman’s history. Click here for previous installments.

Well, this is it—finally the end of the mod era of Wonder Woman of the late 1960s and early ’70s, as seen in Diana Prince: Wonder Woman vol. 4. The bold experiment of making the superpowered Amazon princess into a regular karate-chopping human fashionista detective draws to a close.

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