Monday, March 30, 2009

Wonder Woman and Feminism: An Overview

I'm clearing out some old links and found this article from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Tim Hanley, a masters student, is writing his thesis on the history of Wonder Woman.

He talks in particular about Wonder Woman's role as a feminist icon:
Although she started out ahead of her time in the 1940s as the original Amazon princess feminist, she certainly didn’t stay that way.

This is especially true from the 1950s through to the ‘70s when Wonder Woman regressed as a superhero. With comic books being blamed for the moral decline of American youth, Wonder Woman in the 1950s spent more time mooning over her boyfriend Steve Trevor than fighting bad guys. In the ‘60s, her intriguing origin story was revamped and she lost many of her powers. In the ‘70s, she started a clothing boutique and became completely helpless in the face of male advances.

“By the early 1970s, Wonder Woman became a feminist icon in the wider world and the image stuck, even though that image wasn’t really borne out in the comics,” explains Mr. Hanley.
Though tere's not much new for hardcore Wonder Woman fans, it's a nice primer on the character and how she's related to feminism over the years.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wonder Woman vs. Lois Lane

Superman cracks me up. Why don't they write him like that anymore?

Thanks to Stormantic for pointing out that this exists.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wonder Woman vs. Dr. Poison: Sensation Comics #2

Last time, I promised that we'd meet Wonder Woman's first costumed villain in this issue. What I didn't tell you is that we also get to meet Etta Candy for the first time and get our fist glimpse at William Moulton Marston's bondage fetish.

The story opens with Steve Trevor's being kind of a baby about being laid up. He has valuable information concerning the identities of foreign spies and wants to get back to Intelligence HQ to share it. Apparently, they can't debrief him in the hospital or something. Wonder Woman, posing as Steve's nurse Diana Prince, feels duty-bound to keep him settled, but her plans go awry when the foreign spies kidnap Steve and her with him. She decides to play along to find out where their hideout is.

At the hideout, they meet the ringleader behind the kidnapping and Steve immediately identifies the ghoul-faced physician as Dr. Poison.

When Poison threatens Steve, "Diana" nearly blows her cover by snapping the ropes she's tied up with, but her captors - while impressed - don't make the connection that she's super-human. Stupid captors.

Unfortunately, Poison holds a scalpel to Steve's throat until Diana allows herself to be recaptured. I'm still giving Steve the benefit of the doubt in this issue. He seems pretty helpless, but he's also still seriously injured, not only from crashing on Paradise Island, but from over-exerting himself last issue and being buried beneath an exploded building for a bit.

Anyway, Diana's taken to another room and hogtied.

Oh, Marston. This isn't quite as kinky as the book would later become, but if you know the direction it eventually took you can see the roots of it here. At first read though, the scene makes enough sense to the story that it feels pretty harmless.

Once the guards leave, Diane wastes no time in breaking free and changing into her costume.

Oh, Marston. Lucky they didn't check your bag too, WW.

Worried that Dr. Poison will kill Steve if she attacks directly, Wonder Woman decides to escape and come up with another plan. Oddly enough, when the outside guards see her, their first connection is to her role as a stage performer, not a super-hero. That doesn't keep them from shooting at her though.

So, what's Wonder Woman's plan? It's revealed slowly, but we learn first that it involves a woman named Etta Candy who attends the Holliday College for Women.

Oh, Marston.

Now, if you're like me, you're wondering, "Who is this Etta Candy person and if she's Wonder Woman's friend, why is this the first time we're hearing about her?"

All becomes clear when Wonder Woman finally tracks Etta down.

Apparently, Wonder Woman's been going through the real Diana Prince's things and found a reference to Diana's friend Etta from the hospital. Maybe an old, pre-appendectomy photo, because Etta explains that she started pigging out after she had her appendix removed and could eat whatever she wanted. There's something not quite right about that story, but we'll let it slide. I don't know enough about appendectomies to call BS on it.

Wonder Woman has Etta round up all the hot, athletic girls at Holliday and recruits them into an army to rescue Steve. The girls march up to the bad guys' hideout and offer to put on a dance for the spies. "We're just girls and we want men!" Wonder Woman explains.

Too bad for the spies, the dance quickly becomes violent.

This is also the first direct example of Wonder Woman's inspiring other women. Yes, she's inspiring them to distract a bunch of thugs with an impromptu social gathering, but it's a start.

With the goons subdued, Wonder Woman rushes off to rescue Steve and the two of them confront Dr. Poison. Then, in a sudden plot twist...!

What the-? I totally didn't see that coming. Not enough of an expert on delicate hands, I suppose. (Although I did go back and check some of the panels where Poison wasn't wearing gloves and damned if those hands aren't delicate!)


Who the heck is Princess Maru? Not important, apparently. It's enough for us to know that she's eeeevil. And probably Japanese. But while Wonder Woman takes Steve back to the hospital, Etta has Maru totally under control.

And proceeds to spank her.

Oh, Marston...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just Cruising for Amazons... Blog Shout Out

Saw this, as well as some other great comics stuff over at Comics All Too Real. Hell, I'd watch Lost again. There is some funny stuff on this blog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wonder Woman vs Kitana

Okey, I am not a huge fan of this concept... DC heroes don't use lethal force. Mortal Kombat characters only use lethal force. I trimmed the clip of Wonder Woman versus Kitana, because they did at least give Diana some bad-ass moves. The video is worth watching just for the last attack. :-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wonder Women!

It's been a while since I posted a Wonder Woman drawing so here she is with a WAVE and a WAC!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome to all the new followers!

I have been very behind in my blogging. Darn work getting in the way of the really important stuff! We have with us:

betvale, who is at MySpace, here.
Joe Bloke of The Fit Birds Blogspot, among others.
AgentOrange of, I believe, mocksure. (Sorry, I was not sure if this was your blog or a link through your profile.)
and poppifields, who may not have a blog.

Sorry for any confusion. I am still battling with the new Follower tool.

Again, welcome all.

Cheetah Cheetah Pumpkin Eetah

I received this awesome ATC (Artist Trading Card) from my pal and artist extraordinaire Brian Gubicza aka "Goobeetsa."

Cheetah, Wonder Woman's arch nemesis!

Now I owe him a Wonder Woman ATC in return!

Click HERE to check out Brian's blog!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wonder Woman Comes to America: Sensation Comics #1

Sensation Comics #1 picks up right where All Star Comics #8 (Wonder Woman's introduction) left off. It opens with Diana's transporting the still-unconscious Steve Trevor back to the US. There she plans to help save the world from the Nazis and the threat they pose to the Amazonian ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality.

We also get our first look at Wonder Woman's plane, though here it's not invisible, but merely "transparent." I guess that plastic version in the TV show was more accurate than I thought.

She lands in an abandoned field outside of Washington and finds a place to hide her plane, then she delivers Trevor to the military hospital.

Shortly after that she foils a robbery and draws enough attention to herself that she gets an offer to perform her "Bullets and Bracelets" act before an audience. She makes a bit of dough that way, but when she reads in the paper that Trevor's recovering, she quits the act and goes to the hospital.

It's disconcerting to see, but she really does seem to be smitten with Trevor. Like, lovesick smitten. She stands outside the hospital and thinks about how she's going to get past security. "Steve... Steve... I've got to see him - be near him - but how?"

I don't know why that bothers me like it does. I guess, deep down, I don't want Wonder Woman to need anyone that badly. But what's the harm really? Is it weakness to be in love? I don't believe so. And Trevor really is a good, capable guy (at least at this point in the comic).

Probably though, I'm reacting to Diana's not knowing Trevor at all. She's all ga-ga over him, but she's never actually talked to him. And all he's said to her was some delusional mumbling about her being an angel who rescued him.

Then again, he's the first guy she's ever seen and she's clearly heterosexual. Maybe it's natural that she thinks she's in love with him. It's just different from the modern Wonder Woman I've gotten to know. Then again again, contrasting those differences is a big part of my reason for going back and reading these early adventures.

Anyway, she decides to try to get into the hospital.

I always thought that Diana Prince was a name Wonder Woman created for herself, but she bought it from this gal and replaced her in society. That's weird. I wonder if they ever followed up on the real Diana Prince.

Anyway, once Steve Trevor wakes up, he learns about a Nazi plot to bomb Americans with a new poison gas and discharges himself from the hospital. Wonder Woman finds out about it too and decides to help.

"The impetuous darling." She really is giddy about him, isn't she?

Trevor bravely flies his plane into the poison gas bomber and bales out at the last minute. His 'chute doesn't open, but fortunately Wonder Woman is close by.

Together they defeat the Nazis, though Trevor is injured again in the process. Back in the hospital, he can't stop talking to his new nurse Diana about his infatuation with Wonder Woman.

And so we have another fake love-triangle like the one between Lois Lane, Superman, and Clark Kent. This one's a bit easier to take than Superman's though, at least at first. Diana needs to disguise herself to stay close to Trevor. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if Wonder Woman was hanging around all the time, but the hospital might.

As the series progresses though, I imagine it'll be more and more difficult to explain why she keeps up this ruse. We'll see.

Next time: Wonder Woman gets her first recurring supervillain.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome to Eyemage!

Hello all, say "hi" to Eyemage, our latest follower, whose blog Striding Away from Yesterdays has some very cool artwork. Check it out.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Wonder Woman Gallery

I've shared a couple of these before on my blog, but I like them enough that I want to share them here too. A couple are ones I just found recently though.

And I totally count costume-making as art, by the way.

This is my favorite Wonder Woman picture ever. It's exactly what Wonder Woman is about for me. Photo by Joe Green.

By Clio Chiang.

By Jo Chen.

By Ryan Dunlavey.

By Richard Cox.

Welcome New Followers!

Two more have joined our legion!

D0nnaTr0y has a few blogs, the more comic/sci-fi related one is Bottomless Cup. I have not had much time to look at her blog, but it seems up our alley.

Next, the esteemed Lubbert-Das from Lubbert-Das. Lots of cool art and other stuff on his blog.

Go take a look at these blogs. It is Hera's will!


JLU Action Figure

One of the most prominent versions of Wonder Woman in recent history has to be her Justice League Animated appearance and the subsequent action figure representations released in conjunction with said appearance.

This figure has been released and re-released about a dozen times now, and any fan of the action figure series likely has two or three laying about due to the constant multi-pack addition of our favorite super-heroine.

This later release came with a clear stand, which is pretty much a necessity if you want her to stand upright.

Based on Bruce Timm's designs for the cartoon series, this Wonder Woman is a very simple action figure (limited pose and POA,) but beautiful nonetheless.

If you don't already have one, don't worry. She's stayed in heavy rotation in the Justice League action figure series for what seems like decades now, and she is sure to either be on a shelf somewhere or on her way back (now exclusively at Target) real soon!

How about another Wonder Woman drawing!

Wonder Woman rescues Steve Trevor yet again!

This drawings is actually a bit of a parody of an old Wonder Woman comic cover.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A few "dressed as Wonder Woman" pics.

Here are some famous(ish) people dressed a Wonder Woman:

Olivia Munn

Kim Kardashian

Vida Guerra

Attack of the Show: Wonder Woman

I think this is funnier than the previous post.

Short "blooper" entry:

Attack of the Show: Wonder Woman

This hovers between funny and stupid. It is from the G4 network's Attack of the Show. It ends a little abruptly, btw.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Villains: Giganta

Giganta first appeared in Wonder Woman #9. She was an ape that the evil scientist Dr. Zool transformed into a bad tempered strong-woman. The current Giaganta has been revamped as Dr. Doris Zeul, and first appeared in 1997. This new Zeul captured a comatose Wonder Woman and attempted a mind switch with our beloved Amazon. Fortunately Wonder Girl saved the day (those teens were good for something). It appeared Zeul was dead, but her "self" was in her machine. Her assistant transferred her to a gorilla named Giganta. They then captured a circus strong-woman named Olga so that Zeul could be human again.

Giganta's ability to change size was apparently an invention of the Super Friends cartoon, likely to make an enemy for Apache Chief. This ability is carried on in Justice League Unlimited. Wonder Woman #1 vol. 3 explains that Olga had this ability when Zeul took over her body.

Wonder Woman slugs Giganta in JLU episode "A Distant Shore"

Much of this information gleaned from The Wonder Woman Wiki.

An Introduction

Hi. My name on the interwebs is Sun and Heir and I do a little blog called Knight and Stars. Knowing of my love of comics in general and Wonder Woman in particular, Darius was kind enough to issue me an invitation to contribute here. Real life has conspired to keep me from it until now, but I reckoned a proper way to start was by introducing myself.

This is a Jim Lee sketch done in 2007 at a Con

I'll be dropping in from time to time to post a pic or comment on an issue or just share an anecdote about everyone's favourite Amazonian princess. My first two real crushes as a boy (geez this shows my age) was Linda Carter as Wonder Woman and Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

Another sketch from Jim Lee of Hippolyta this time, circa 2006

Just to keep things from getting too terribly serious around here I'll also be posting certain covers that make me smile. Most people know that the creator of Wonder Woman was William Moulton Marston and that he was an inventor of some of the bits that are in polygraphs, he lived with both his wife and girlfriend and was a psychologist. Now, it was WMM's wife, Elizabeth's idea to make his superhero a woman and he truly wanted her to be strong and independent. However he worked something into WW's origin that he enjoyed as well:

"The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound ... Only when the control of self by others is more pleasant than the unbound assertion of self in human relationships can we hope for a stable, peaceful human society. ... Giving to others, being controlled by them, submitting to other people cannot possibly be enjoyable without a strong erotic element"

Marston had to have some sort of "kryptonite" for his Wonder Woman and he chose that if Diana was bound by a man she would be utterly powerless. So began the "Bondage Covers,*" of Wonder Woman. When I worked in a comics store we could automatically raise the price on a back issue of Wonder Woman if she was bound in some way on the cover.

No one says it was right or terribly nice, but it continues to a degree to this day. Even though this part of her origin has been completely tossed, bondage WW covers outsell regular covers almost 3 to 1. I myself happen to find them humourous because of the way DC did them in plain sight without anyone "seeing" them for what they were. Especially after the Comics Code went into effect.

As I said earlier, this will only be an occasional thing along with my other contributions. I look forward to meeting all of you I don't already know.

*Suffering Sappho I hope everybody takes this post with a wink and a smile as it's meant.

Wonder Woman Theater

Super F*R*I*E*N*D*S

Remember the one where Superman and Robin were on a break?

Wonder Woman is sort of a dork

Maybe the Invisible Plane's not such a good idea.

"She can tie me up anytime."

"This lasso has squeezed the truth right out of me."

Dressing Up Like Wonder Woman Saved My Marriage!

Really cool short film. About six-and-a-half minutes. Take the time; it's worth it. Guest-starring: Batman.

Wonder Woman Animated Movie

I just got this today, and the wife wanted me to write a review, so here goes. Pardon my spelling of the Greek name :-)

This DVD is the origin story of Wonder Woman; how she is born, why she wants to leave Themriscyra, how she learns to love man's world.

When Steve Trevor's plane is damaged in combat, he crash lands on a Themriscyra which has been accidentally made visible by Queen Hipolyta. Immediately Diana and Artemis are headed towards the crash site; Artemis with a platoon of Amazons. They finally capture Trevor, and Hipolyta determines he is not a threat. An emissary is to be chosen through trial of skill, and Diana enters secretly. Of course, she wins.

Well, that's the part we all know. The real problem is that Ares, the God of War, has been released and plans to turn the world into a constant battlefield. Diana's secondary mission is to defeat Ares.

Enough of the story. I don't want to spoil anything. How about the movie in general?

The voice talents are very good. A few big names. Rosario Dawson plays a shit-talking Artemis. The other actors were recognizable, but few I knew by name. The animation was good, but it appears they intentionally broke from the Justice League Bruce Timm style (even though he is the producer). It is still animated to that same standard—it wasn't turned into the, in my opinion, poor animation of Marvel's shows.

The two disc set has some nice features. It has a digital copy option. There are featurettes on the upcoming Green Lantern animated movie, as well as Justice League: the New Frontier, and Batman: Gotham Knights. There are interviews with the cast members and production team, and some historical looks at Wonder Woman which I have not watched yet. Additionally there are two episodes of Justice League Unlimited; "A Distant Shore" and "Hawk and Dove" which both feature Wonder Woman prominently.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Introducing Wonder Woman

If you'd asked me a year ago when Wonder Woman's first appearance was, I probably would've said Sensation Comics #1. I would've been wrong though, because about a month before she appeared in Sensation, DC introduced her in a back-up feature to All Star Comics #8.

Wonder Woman is a character full of potential that's only now starting to be realized in her monthly comic. I'm aware though that I say that as someone without a whole lot of historical perspective about her. I've read the earliest issues of George Perez's '80s reboot and then sporadic parts of Phil Jiminez and Greg Rucka's runs. It's been only recently that I've become interested in learning about her history and really studying how her writers have portrayed her over the last sixty years.

To start that exploration, I figured the best place would be the Golden Age stuff by her creator William Moulton Marston. I'll skip the usual intro about how simultaneously odd and revolutionary Dr. Marston was. I'm sure it's important to why he wrote Wonder Woman the way he did, but I'm not as interested in that as I am tracking her character development. Which brings us to All Star Comics #8.

The first thing I noticed about the Wonder Woman back up story is how cool its structure is. It's really four stories in one, and only three of them are comics. It begins with Steve Trevor's crash on Paradise Island, goes to an illustrated prose flashback to the founding of the island, then shows another flashback in comics form telling how Trevor came to crash there, and wraps up with the famous contest in which the Amazon princess (unnamed for most of the story) tricks her mother into letting her be the Amazons' emissary to America.

The second thing I noticed is that my preconceived notions about Steve Trevor were incorrect. I've always heard that Steve was pretty useless - and maybe he became that way later on (he certainly was in the Wonder Woman TV show) - but he's actually very competent here. He begins his adventure by trying to shut down a Nazi spy ring operating in the US. He's already figured out who their leader is and thinks he knows where their headquarters are. All that remains is to round them up, so he hides out near the suspected HQ and ambushes the leader as he drives past.

I guess we could fault Steve for not taking back up, but c'mon. When did James Bond, The Shadow, or John Carter ever call for back up? As in any good adventure story, the hero's job isn't completely easy though. Steve's plan doesn't go exactly as he wanted and he's knocked unconscious.

He eventually wakes up in a US plane that the spies have rigged to run by remote control. Their plan was to fly their own bomber above the robot plane in order to bomb US bases and make it look like an American was doing it. Having an American pilot at the controls would only add to the illusion, especially if - as I suspect - the spies intended to crash the robot plane once they were done.

Fortunately, Steve wakes up and takes back control of his plane.

Turning their own plane against the spies, he chases them to sea, determined to catch them once and for all. Unfortunately, he runs out of gas during the chase and has to crash land on Paradise Island. I guess running out of gas could be considered a blunder, but Steve makes it pretty clear as he starts the chase that he's willing to give his life for even the chance of catching these guys.

On Paradise Island, Steve's plane is found by a couple of Amazon women: the princess of the island and a warrior named Mala. They take him to the Amazons' doctor. We can tell the doctor's really smart because she wears goofy-looking glasses.

Queen Hippolyte tries to cure her daughter's lovesickness with a history lesson about how dangerous men can be. Then the two of them learn about Steve's mission via the queen's Magic Sphere. And though Hippolyte doesn't want her daughter having anything to do with Steve, she see the importance of his fight against fascist tyrants. She consults her patron goddesses to be sure.

I love the logic behind this. It sounds kind of silly to 21st century ears, but as a '40s pulp adventure it makes perfect sense. I'm curious to see if DC addresses Wonder Woman's staying in Man's World after World War II (I have no idea if Marston was still writing the comic at that time), but as a way of getting her into Nazi-fighting mode, it's great.

It also explains why Wonder Woman wears a costume inspired by the American flag.

Her star-spangled costume becomes problematic after she's rebooted in the '80s sans Nazis, but for now it's all good.

A couple of other notes about the story. The princess goes nameless until the last page. I'm not sure how that works. It's pretty weird.

Secondly, the princess' friend Mala is also the last competitor she has to face in the contest. And she appears prominently in a later issue when Diana goes back to visit Paradise Island. I don't remember a Mala being that important in the post-Perez mythology, but it's interesting to me that we've already got a recurring Amazon character other than Hippolyte this early in the series. I'm curious to see how long she lasts.

Next time: Diana comes to the US and gets her secret identity in the weirdest way I've ever seen.