ISSUE #122: May, 1961. WF explained by the de-aging of Diana, so unfortunately this little disaster is IN CONTINUITY. 26 pp. Members of WF in story: just Diana in all three ages.

WW 122"The Skyscraper Wonder Woman!" "A book length thriller! Introducing: Wonder Tot!" You KNOW the Tot's my favorite, so it had to be good, right? Well... if you like three-eyed green aliens who shriek "EEEYEHHHH!" every other balloon, this story's for you!

Although it does have a kooky little "Diana Prince changing to WW" scene. Steve contacts Diana via intercom but mistakes her voice for that of WW and rushes into Diana's office. Diana shoves her coat in his face and demands that he help her into it. "With Steve's gaze curtained off by the coat, Di changes into her secret identity with a speed no human eye can follow... and... by ventriloquy, she imitates the sounds of receding footsteps outside..."

Steve: "Wonder Woman?! What happened to Diana? She asked me to hold her coat -- then rushed out!"

WW: "She's getting terribly absent-minded, isn't she? I'll have to speak to her about it!"

Hm.

Apparently at some time in the not-so-distant past, WW had stopped a rebellion on the planet Saturn against its rightful ruler by his brother, the Sinister Seer of Saturn. That's the green guy with three eyes that I spoke of earlier. He also has scales and fishy ears. Anyway, since the rightful democratic Saturnian government patterned itself after the Amazon's ethics, the king (? some democracy) exiles his brother instead of having him killed -- but he exiles him to the very desert where SSS has been stockpiling weapons. Uh oh!

So when Steve asks WW to retrieve a space capsule from orbit, SSS has a duplicate ready. When WW opens it back on Earth with her lasso, the capsule reveals a small WW doll, which quickly begins to grow in one of those patented Kanigher triptych sequences. WW follows it, setting all damage back to rights, and the giant WW robot or doll does a King Kong on "the world's loftiest structure." In a maneuver that breaks every law of conservation of energy, WW finds herself magnetized to the doll and zooming into the sky. Then rockets in the skyscraper-sized doll kick in, and before long (EEEYEHH!) Diana finds herself on Saturn.

This is when one of those contests kicks in, where WW can't battle the villain, so he graciously makes a series of "impossible" contests that, if she wins, he'll capitulate and return to banishment (like that worked the first time). This time the villain threatens to destroy her if she doesn't win against his three challenges.

Both contestants get silver shovels to dig for certain objects. Instead of digging, the doll tries to bury Diana, but she uses the desert sand to create a series of glass domes, and then melts her shovel to make mirrors of the glass (coating the glass on the wrong side, if you're paying attention). She confuses the doll long enough to get the objects and win the first contest.

Now WW is magnetized to an "age-clock" which de-ages her to a Wonder Girl, wearing the WG costume and hairstyle. WG merely has to race the doll across a lake which the doll turns into ice. WG cuts a circle around the doll, sending her to the bottom of the lake, and wins. EEEYEHH!

Another de-aging and "I -- Wonder Tot!" Blindfolded, the kid just has to avoid the doll for sixty seconds to win. The doll throws lightning bolts at her from her eyes, but the Tot deflects them with her bracelet and blows the doll to smithereens. The Tot re-ages to Woman status and catches SSS before he can take it on the lam. She puts him in some kind of suspended animation where he'll sleep for a year. "By that time, perhaps, when he awakens, all thoughts of evil will have left him!" Interesting rehabilitation technique, Di: letting him sleep on it, the bad boy!

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ISSUE 123: July, 1961. WF explained by looking through a photo album of Diana and Donna (spoken of as if she's a separate person so I consider this the first Donna Troy appearance), so it's IN CONTINUITY. 25 pp. Members of WF in story: Diana, Donna and Hippolyta.

WW 123"Amazon Magic-Eye Album!" Diana and her mother look at family albums, where each picture triggers a mini-movie in QuickTime Pro or something similar. Luckily back in those days they used a "unique, automatic, multiple-lens magic-eye Amazon camera."

The first adventure is that of Diana as Wonder Tot, complete with little Wonder outfit. As Hippy quizzes the hapless WT in astronomy (and WT gets the name of one of Mars' moons wrong due to poor comic book editing or poor home schooling), a giant roc swoops down, knocks Hippy unconscious, and goes after the Tot. Luckily, at this time in her life she owns a magic lasso as well as her Wonder outfit, and she lassos the bird, twirls it and snaps it back to the sky. In another sequence, the Tot throws herself off a roof, thinking she can fly. Mommy has to remind her that she can't, and begins to teach her to glide on air currents. WT tries to solo, but can't do it until Mommy's test flight in an experimental Amazon plane gets hit with one of thsoe pesky meteors that were always falling around Paradise. WT zooms up to the seemingly-doomed craft and lifts and dips with it "until the fire had been WHIPPED out!" After Hippolyta cries, "MY BABY!-- MY BABY!" she says, "I know now I don't have to worry about YOU in the air any more!"

So: Diana or the real WT? Except for Diana referring to this sequence as being of her, I think that a good case can be made for this to be a third sister, since WT had her lasso and a Wonder suit. Personally, I think it was the Tot and not Diana, but you may think what you will.

Next adventure of course is Wonder Girl (referred to as a separate, non-Diana person) and Mer-Boy. Having mastered the harp, WG is now keen on playing a legendary Magic Flute. She has to find it first, and literally bumps into Mer-Boy on her way. Seems he wants to win a priceless pearl gown for her, but has to win a music contest to do so. They go after the flute separately, and Mer-Boy finds it first, hanging from (oops) a basket containing a giant undersea cobra. He can't stop playing but won't run because he doesn't want to lose the flute to Wonder Girl (a reasoning he repeats about ten times). It isn't until M-B has attracted every giant, rampaging creature in the environs through the Mermaid Ballroom that the judges shout that Mer-Boy has won the contest. "Now, drop that infernal flute!"

In triumph, the merboy does let the flute go in WG's general direction, but a rampaging whale swallows it and the gown. Someone get that merboy to a shrink!

Third and last story involves WW in a blank picture that she doesn't remember, so she projects herself (don't ask) into the picture to relive it. It's pretty much a nightmare kind of unearthly place, with columns pinning her and earthquakes and such, but no real plot. It's a weak way to end the story, but it does indeed do so.

Was this issue printed on cheaper paper than the others? I declare, my issue's just shredding as I carefully thumb through it.

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ISSUE 124: August, 1961. WF explained by (get this) splicing film, but a record of the adventure exists in the real world so it is IN CONTINUITY but somehow Diana and Hippolyta think it was accomplished by special effects. 25 pp. Members of WF in story: all of 'em! Well, except Nubia. Okay, there was Diana, Hippy (called "Wonder Queen"), Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot.

WW 124"The Impossible Day!" Diana Prince and Steve investigate caves with prehistoric cave paintings depicting dinosaurs vs the Wonder Family. Steve says, "How could cavemen living thousands and thousands of years ago... know anything about WONDER WOMAN and her family?" Apparently he's acquainted with all four. Keep that in mind. Yeah yeah, Diana thinks that it's a picture of herself at different ages with WQ, and Steve reiterates her thought though he spoke differently just the previous panel. Oh, Diana, you're so vain, you probably think that picture's about you...

Diana remembers she and her mother playing with spliced film, calling shots of WT and WG as Diana in younger days (when they clearly depict the WG of recent stories, and the WT who wore a Wonder outfit complete with lasso), and then they persist in thinking that an enormously complicated adventure could have been accomplished with just spliced film and no computer work whatsoever. Who's been playing with their minds, I ask?

On a family glide, the four emerge from the clouds that we learn perpetually surround Paradise Island, concealing it from the Outer World, just to find, "Another nuclear test explosion, Mother!" Let's repeat that: "Another nuclear test explosion, Mother!" right off the shores of their home. Ah, everyday life during the Cold War years.

They don't mind the dangers of absorbing the radiation themselves, but are concerned that fallout not drift to PI, so they "draw it through the rain cloud and 'wash' it!" (Ow. Bad science makes my stomach hurt. Radiation heading your way, kids? Don't worry, just wash it away! Gamma rays and halflives run when faced with water!)

Multiple ManOf course the explosion spawns a green-skinned, badly-dressed man "fashioned out of unknown elements... assuming multiple shapes..." called Multiple Man. Go ahead, confuse him with Multi-Man, the adversary for the Challengers of the Unknown (and the Doom Patrol). And make note that Multiple Man makes a later appearance in the title when there's no talk of splicing film. My theory is that they're all the same guy.

Anyway, the Wonder Family goes up against Multiple Man in several scenes. In one, Wonder Tot traps MM in a giant clamshell and smashes it to bits. Then Wonder Girl confronts a revived MM and coats him with lead. Hippy makes a bracelet out of the lead holding MM and then starts to have fits of destructive paranoia. Realizing the problem, she quickly kisses her sleeping daughters goodbye and sets herself to exile as guardian against MM in the far past. Her daughters soon follow and MM turns into a dinosaur. Wonder Woman tries lassoing him, and when a strike of lightning travels up her lasso, it seemingly disintegrates the menace for good.

Of course some neighboring cavepeople saw the battle and immortalized it on the walls of their cave where Steve and Diana could find it. My guess: the lightning strike caused some kind of slight brain damage to the members of the Wonder Family, making at least Diana and Hippy think it was a made-up adventure, even though the solid evidence is that it indeed took place with four members of the Wonder Family participating. Four.

For a wacky look at this ish -- not for kids! -- check out this blog.

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ISSUE 126: Nov, 1961. WF explained by it just being a story about Wonder Tot IN CONTINUITY. 14 pp. Members of WF in story: Wonder Tot and Hippolyta.

cover missing"Wonder Tot and Mister Genie!" We skipped an issue because although it had Mer-Man and Hippolyta in it, I couldn't really call it a Wonder Family issue. Even though Mer-Man hopped on land for the first time. Instead, we come to the first appearance of Mister Genie in an issue that heralded the first appearance of National Periodical Publications, Inc. That's right, National Comics had become National Periodicals, but not yet DC Comics.

Note that nowhere in this story is it mentioned that this Wonder Tot might be Diana as a child. Oh, the introduction might imply it, but it doesn't state uneqivocably, and Wonder Tot is called just that throughout, not "Diana." She also wears the Wonder costume and has a magic lasso.

WT prances into a room balancing a golden apple on her head. Hippy asks her where she's been, and she says, "Out!" What has she been doing with herself? "Nothing!" Where'd she get the golden apple? "From the DRAGON, Mommy!"

Mr. GenieA strong wind had knocked her from her bed but provided a great day to practice gliding, so that's what WT did. On a nearby island she found an orchard where golden apples grew, guarded by a doom-proclaiming dragon -- who doesn't stand a chance against the Amazon child.

The dragon dispatched far out over the ocean, Wonder Tot wanders the island's beach and comes upon a treasure chest. When she opens it, Genro the Genie emerges from it, swearing how over the ages he's been trapped he first thought to reward the person who freed him, but lately he's decided to imprison them instead. He throws WT into the chest and sits on it.

Dum diddly-dum. Ever the studious Amazon, Wonder Tot wonders how she can work to better herself while trapped in the chest. She decides to practice her ventriloquism, and fools Mr. Genie into thinking she's escaped. When he rises, she jumps out of the chest and trips him until he falls back into the chest.

Poor Mr. Genie begs her to free him and he'll grant any wish. Since her ponytail's come unstuck, she wishes for a star hairclip. While riding the spaceways they travel through a time belt (at least they theorize that it is, though it could be some kind of illusion/mind-altering hoodingus) and Wonder Tot ages to a Wonder Girl and then a Wonder Woman (complete with costume changes), and since WW doesn't have a ponytail, she releases Mr. Genie from his oath and directs him back to Earth. They go back through the time belt, she de-ages to WG -- who has to battle a hostile spaceship -- and then de-ages to Wonder Tot who badgers Mr. Genie for that star clip he promised her!

A meteor shower threatens the two of them, and WT pulverizes the stones to protect Mr. Genie. He takes a pretty sliver of one and it becomes her new hair clip. He tells her that if there's anything she wants, she should come back to visit him on his island.

The next day Queen Hip asks her daughter where she's been. "Out!" What has she done? "Nothing!"

"I'm afraid to ask what 'nothing' means THIS time!" the queen mugs.

Stories don't come much cuter than this one. Mr. Genie is every bit as adorable as the Tot.

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ISSUE 128: Feb, 1962. WF explained by time viewing, so this one's NOT IN CONTINUITY. 12 pp. Members of WF in story: Diana as WG, WT and WW; Hippolyta.

WW 128Tsk, tsk, tsk. Just two issues before the comic had advertised that DC's comics were still just 10 cents! Last issue they went to the astronomical price of twelve cents. Let me tell you, kids, back in those days two pennies made a difference! I started buying comics when they were twelve cents and the jump to fifteen just about broke me. It was all I could do to afford one or two comics a month at a time when I got ten cents a week allowance... and the Beatles were putting out albums that needed to be bought. Thank goodness for (good for nothing else) older sisters to pool money with (for the Beatles albums, silly, not the comics) and for good report cards that brought bonuses!

ANYWAY, inside front cover has the sob story letter from DC explaining the price change, and then we get to the main story: "Origin of the Amazing Robot Plane!" where we have to hear Diana Prince think such marvelous lines as "I -- as a CHILD -- speaking to ME as an ADULT!!" and "I as a TEENAGE Amazon!" At any rate, Hippy must have been bored, because she sent tapes of Diana in the past (who had been watching themselves in the future) asking herself (as an adult) how she got her robot plane, and older Diana sends them time-tapes back. Yes, it makes one feel nauseous to contemplate it, but just remind yourself that this is all totally out of continuity, and you'll make it with lunch intact.

Diana as Wonder Woman can glide, but she needs faster transportation that can also handle space travel. Hippy petitions Athena, who arranges a series of tests for Diana to earn such a vehicle.

Is this the first time we hear Mer-Man's adult name of Manno? I don't believe so, but it could be; definitely the first time within a Wonder Family story. (And yes, the name is different from that of the merboy Diana hung around with as a child. As you recall, his name was Renno. Maybe mer-people changed their names when they reached adulthood. Maybe his name was Renno Manno. Maybe he had a sister called Womanno and a mother named Ethel Mer-Man. Who knows?)

Diana has to save Manno from various dangers with living seaweed, giant clams, deadly currents, waterspouts and such. She spots Pegasus and thinks that that's the "steed" Athena had promised. She sets about to tame him, battles a giant pterandon or whatever while doing so, and by the time the fight's over, Pegasus responds to WW's orders. They fly through a cloud and Pegasus mysteriously becomes the "Robot" Plane, which explains why it responds to WW's vocal orders.

But of course since this story is out of continuity, it explains nothing. Besides, there were dozens of these "how WW got the Invisible Plane" stories throughout the Golden Age and Silver Age, and every last one of them contradicted each other. Fmeh.

FYI, one of the lettercol letters says that Steve Roper is the handsomest man in comics and WW is smart for liking him. WW's answer agrees. Isn't Steve Roper a newspaper comic strip hero? Could this be an untold story too hot for the comics of 1962? The lettercol also claims that WW has to answer the challenge of the other Amazons once a year in order to remain Wonder Woman.

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