Happy 75th Anniversary, Wonder Woman

I’m a day late with this one because I only knew the month, not the actual publication date as that’s something that they tend to leave out of history books.  I was waiting for DC to post something (which they did, and I missed until this morning — go figure).  Regardless of this, and regardless of some of the screwball things they’ve done with her in recent years, I couldn’t let this milestone pass without some formal acknowledgement of the 75th anniversary of my favorite superhero: Wonder Woman.

WW intro

This is the first page of her origin story, which was the backup story printed in All-Star Comics #8, which featured the induction of Doctor Mid-Nite and Starman into the Justice Society of America.  The large image at the top of this page would be used to grace the cover of her next appearance, Sensation Comics #1.  She’d shortly get her own Wonder Woman solo title, and the rest is history.  Right from the beginning, she was a character far different than any other.  She’s one of only three superheroes whose title survived the post-WWII culling and rebooting intact and enjoyed continuous publishing.  The others were Superman and Batman, with other heroes of the era such as Captain America being reintroduced into later comics.  Heroes such as The Flash or Green Lantern were rebranded, their costumed identities passed off to new characters.  While Superman and Batman found amazing success, Wonder Woman spent a lot of years proving herself and hanging on to marginal sales to avoid cancellation by her fingernails.  Her career on both sides of the page since then has been full of highs and lows, triumphs and misunderstandings, the sum total of which has built a legacy that’s fascinated me for decades.

Everyone has their starting point when it comes to characters with a long legacy.  Lynda Carter’s performance was always there for me, running in the background as I grew up.  She gave me an awareness and appreciation of the character.  Ultimately, it was George Perez who made me fall in love with her, just as he himself had done when it came time to reboot her in the mid-80s.  It was his characterization and origin that kickstarted the era where I followed her and her counterparts quasi-religiously.

ww-tv-comic

The torch has since been passed to a new generation, and while I don’t really enjoy most of what they’ve done with her in the past 10 years or so, I also acknowledge that I’m not the target audience.  I’m can’t say I ever was, and that’s fine by me.  All I know is her popularity is at an all-time high.  This will afford her the time to grow and evolve even more into a character who continues to speak to her audiences.  Her journey has certainly been strange enough right from the beginning, and she’s bounced back from far, far worse than anything they’ve done recent memory.  To my mind, she’ll be around in one form or another long after all of us are gone.  Here’s to another 75 years, Diana.

2 thoughts on “Happy 75th Anniversary, Wonder Woman

  1. Happy 75 years, Diana! Of course I’m late too (even more). In any case, I loved this post, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the older versions of Wonder Woman. I have watched the Gods and Mortals DVD that came with the book the other day, the book is now on my bedside table so shouldn’t take too long to go through it 🙂

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    • Very cool! Some of the books about her history will probably help considerably. I know they helped me when I finally tried to put things together. I highly recommend the one by Les Daniels. Pretty much any comic history book by this guy is good. A more recent one I’d recommend is Tim Hanley’s Wonder Woman Unbound. Once you know how she was created and some of the trials she faced along the way in the real world, it paints a bizarre picture, but it helps to make some of the really screwball stuff make sense.

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