Jul 20, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 512: Wonder Woman v.1 #257, July 1979
Today is mine and my lovely wife's twentieth wedding anniversary. One of the great things that she brought to our joining together was a small, but very cool, collection of comics she'd had since she was a little girl. I thought that today I would read one, as a way of paying tribute to the most wonderful human being I know.
I was a bit flummoxed when I first got my hands on these comics. There were a lot of Disney and Archie comics, but sprinkled about for flavour were some cool superhero titles. Like this issue of Wonder Woman - published by Whitman? Now, many years ago, I figured out for myself that these comics were more than likely packaged together and distributed by Whitman, but, coincidentally, as I was reading the back matter of this issue, the question is actually posed to Bob Rozakis in his "Ask the Answer Man" column. He verifies that these comics were published as special value packs. I remember such things, but haven't seen any for many moons.
Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman is really pretty great. Unlike many of her incarnations, this one strides across the page like the Greek goddess that she is. Her thoughts and actions are epic. The comic begins with the invocation-like list of the deities that have gifted WW with her powers, echoing the beautiful opening captions of the earliest of her adventures, and calling to mind the incantations that Alan Moore takes up in his meditation on Wonder Woman in Promethea. This poetic aspect of the character is one that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves. More than most of the mythic superheroes, Wonder Woman is one that almost self-consciously has her origins in language. She is a created figure, going by her original origin (I'll be honest, I have no idea if she's still meant to have been molded from clay in the newer iterations of the character), and where narratively she is sculpted from clay, figuratively, she's sculpted from words. This is something Marston understood very well in his original scripts. I'd urge you to have a look, even at just those opening captions. They're really quite lovely.
In this issue, Wonder Woman is faced with the menace of Multi-Man, an old Challengers of the Unknown villain, who has one of the most ridiculous costumes I've ever seen.
(Also, we have a variation on the Wonder Woman being restrained theme here, though it's glass spheres and sleeping gas, rather than shackles and chains.)