The Best and Worst of Wonder Woman
Best Post-Golden Age Attitude:
Issues (First Series) 183-184
(July-Aug and Sept-Oct 1969)
As a kid picking up my first issues of WW, I adored the Wonder Family: Wonder Queen, Wonder Tot, and Wonder Girl. But Wonder Woman? She was icky.
First of all, she wore a GIRDLE and a longline strapless bra -- ew! How uncomfortable! Second, she constantly mooned over that horrible Steve Trevor, who kept whining about her having powers. She actually said that if she married him, she'd GIVE UP being a heroine so she could be a wife!!!!
In a TV Guide article Isaac Asimov once wrote about the TV show, Bewitched, he said that he could get into the program only because Darrin kept his wife firmly in line.
I think that's one of the reasons why I didn't like so much of the show. Sure, Darrin married Sam without knowing she was a witch, and she was wrong in not telling him, but once he found out he should have let her express her natural heritage, and have been proud of her that she was so respected she was even elected Queen of the Witches for a time.
But no. He had to whine, whine, whine and whenever she used her powers -- even to get him out of a jam -- he berated her for it or at the very least, wasn't grateful for her help. My estimation of Samantha Stevens has always been a low one because of the way she cowtowed to Darrin, and my opinion of Wonder Woman followed the same lines.
Compare and contrast to today's TV Sabrina, the Teen-Aged Witch series, in which Sabrina and her family delight in her powers and encourage her to learn more about them. When they get into weird situations they gleefully join in, adding to the mayhem if they can. If Darrin were to appear, they'd laugh him out of the house and tell him to get a life.
It was difficult for this kid to find issues of WW in the BX, my only source for comics, and if I even saw any of the putrid "Return to the Golden Age" issues that followed the Wonder Family run, my memory has expunged the horror.
But I was a fan of DC's other heroines that I could find. The Legion women (even though Jim Shooter confused the archetype of "boss lady" for his own version of "iron-assed bitch" in Saturn Girl's case; well, Shooter's always had a problem depicting female characters)... and Supergirl. When Supergirl guest-starred in Wonder Woman I picked up a copy and came back to the Wonder Fold... in case anything interesting happened.
Just in time! Diana went mod and then lost her powers, running through the splendid Diana Prince era with panache (for the most part), intelligence and imagination (up to near the end of the Sekowsky run). I was quite intrigued.
And then came issues 183-184, the Ares War. Apparently the Amazons' excuse of having to leave Earth to renew their "magical" (ha!) powers was just a ruse for them to dig in deep in the battle for another dimension's freedom from the war god. These issues showed what happened when actual war broke out.
Sure, it was Sekowsky writing (the story is uncredited, but I go with my instincts on this), which meant you couldn't always tell what was going on. But what Sekowsky lacked in professional writing skills he more than made up for in emotion, in earnestness. He told a story from his gut.
Diana rose to the duties of general without missing a beat. Her Amazon warriors were every inch as determined, as skilled, and as smart as she was.
Look at them in this panel! This was what cemented me into the title forever. Not only the lead character, but every last one of her people was a hero. They all stood for what she stood for. And they were all women.
I'd never seen anything remotely like it in my life.
Later writers brought in the concepts of scheming Amazons, of entire sections of the Amazon society mutinying, of the Queen being deceptive, dishonest and power-mad. Shame on those writers! Heroism and personal integrity is what garners lifelong fans. And of course the entire concept of the princess of the Amazons centers upon the fact that Diana -- powered or unpowered -- is the focus, the epitome of her perfect and loving society.
If you're looking for back issues, these were reprinted together in WW #198 (Jan-Feb 1972), with a much better coloring job, no ink smears (such as in my copies of the original) and a cute little Di Prince bondage promotional sketch by Giordano at the very end.
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