Friday, June 3, 2016

All-Star Comics #8/Sensation Comics #1: Finally, A Woman...

All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Page 67 Panel 8: Diana in her Wonder Woman outfit for the first time.I have met some pretty cool classic ladies already with Lois Lane in Action Comics and Catwoman in the Batman mags, but Wonder Woman is the first to get her own gig (though not officially until her self-titled title began in 1942).

Now, I grew up believing that Wonder Woman made her debut in Sensation Comics #1 (I can't rightly tell you where I got the notion, though), so you can imagine my disappointment that this issue begins with a paragraph summary of Wonder Woman's origin instead of depicting that origin story. WTH?

So, of course, I went online to figure out what was going on. There I discovered that Wonder Woman actually made her first appearance in All-Star Comics #8 with a 9-page origin story.

Yay, I was saved. That mag was in my collection, too.

Most Amusing Panel Prize:

It can't be identity theft if you sell your credentials, but I seriously had no idea Wonder Woman bought her Diana Prince identity.

Sensation Comics (1941) #1 Page 8 Panel 3: Diana proposes changing places with Diana Prince so they can both be near the man they love (national security be damned).

Surprising Details (or rather, More Details I Poorly Remembered):

All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Page 61 Panel 5: Hippolyta reviews the story of how the Amazons came to be on Paradise Island, from her Magic Girdle to her Amazon bracelets.
I had forgotten that the bracelets the wonder women/Amazons wear are part of their compact with Aphrodite to remember never to allow themselves to be enslaved by men again.

Diana's mother, Hippolyta, and her "magic girdle" come straight from the Grecian myths of Hercules and the Amazons.

One reason I favor this origin story is because Diana is the composite of all the best qualities of the Greek Gods. but she is fashioned from the clay by her mother (a detail not present in this story). She is a woman designed by a woman for women.

All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Page 60 Panel 5: Diana is reluctant to leave the side of the comatose Steve Trevor; the nurse suspects Diana is in love.So, it is a little hard for me to embrace the fact that Diana is willing to sacrifice herself almost entirely because she has fallen in love with a comatose man.

A COMATOSE MAN!

Sure she learns a bit about him and the mission that caused him to crash-land on Paradise Island from her mother's magic spy-glass the Magic Sphere, but come on! Taking Steve Trevor back to America, we are told, will cost Diana her heritage/home, and her family, and "her right to eternal life." Talk about self-sacrificing woman-hood!

All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Page 67 Panel 7: Diana reveals herself as the champion who has earned the right to take Steve Trevor home (at the expense of her own eternal life, but what the hey. What's a little eternal life between friends?).Eternal life. For a guy she's never even spoken to.

Moulton creates an interesting blend of female stereotypes with feminist premises in Wonder Woman. His Diana is endowed with the ideals of "woman-hood," both the good and the bad.

She is ultra-feminine in a skimpy uniform (designed by her mother, who knew?) who likes to "window shop" because she's a girl and that's what girls do. Yeah.

Sensation Comics (1941) #1 Page 3 Panel 2: Wonder Woman does a little window shopping after she has dropped Steve Trevor off at Walter Reed hospital.





She also competes and proves her prowess, winning the right to take Steve Trevor back to the States (the "last citadel of democracy") on a mission -- given to her by two Grecian Goddesses (Aphrodite and Athena) no less -- to "fight the forces of hate and oppression."

All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Page 66 Panel 4: Since her mother has forbidden her to participate, Diana takes on a disguise to compete for the right to take Steve Trevor home.


Now that's a heroic mission, fighting the forces of hate and oppression.

Final Notions:

All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Page 66 Panel 2: Hippolyta accepts the mission from the Goddesses to find the best Wonder Woman "to fight for liberty and freedom and for all womankind."
There is all this potential in the Wonder Woman story to depict a truly feminist/matriarchal alternative to the traditional roles for women in Western culture, but that potential is swiftly undermined by Diana's primarily romantic motivation -- not because it is heterosexual romance, but because it is romance in its most simplistic form: a woman willing to sacrifice everything for the man that she loves (for no good reason).

If only Moulton had focused Diana more on her Goddess-given mission instead of on acquiring the love of a man she barely knows.




All-Star Comics (1940) #8 Cover
Series: All-Star Comics (1940)

Issue #: 008

Copyright: DC Comics

Cover Date: December-January 1941

Cover Price: 10¢

Page Count:  68 pages

Print Release: 22-October-1941

Digital Release: 25-June-2011


Writer:
William Moulton Marston (as Charles Moulton)
DC Comics Logo
Penciler:
Inker:
Colorist:
None Listed
Cover Art:
Source Links:
Story Title:
Wonder Woman: “Introducing Wonder Woman”




Sensation Comics (1941) #1 Cover
Series: Sensation Comics (1941)

Issue #: 001

Copyright: DC Comics

Cover Date: January 1942

Cover Price: 10¢

Page Count:  16 pages

Print Release: 26-November-1941

Digital Release: 25-June-2011


Writer:
William Moulton Marston (as Charles Moulton)
DC Comics Logo
Penciler:
Inker:
Colorist:
None Listed
Cover Art:
Source Links:
Story Title:
Wonder Woman“Wonder Woman Arrives in Man’s World”




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