Last year I saw the Wonder Woman movie and was blown away. I loved the character, her team, the action and adventure, the romance, the humor. It was awesome. I spend most of my time reading so I don’t see a lot of movies, but I do watch a few of the superhero ones. This one stood out. This one was special.
If this scene didn’t give you goosebumps then you are not human.
When I find something interesting, it is entirely possible that my personality insists that I immediately go off the deep end and obsess in a manner most unnatural. This was the case here. I had signed up for DC a year or so previously after seeing Suicide Squad where I had a mini-obsession and read every Suicide Squad comic (see a pattern here?). I also watched Doom Patrol Season 1 but didn’t end up reading their comics as I was waiting for season 2. Other obsessions interfered and I let my membership lapse. And then I saw Wonder Woman…
Team Wonder. Just please don’t call her “Wondy”.
So I signed back up and started diving. I immediately fell in love with Golden Age Wonder Woman. The art, the stories, the energy, it just felt amazing to be there at the start of the comic book industry. And there was rather hilariously inappropriate stuff that I could not believe anyone could have gotten away with in the 40’s. I guess being at war meant things could slip through the cracks in a way the 50’s simply wouldn’t allow. It was overall a lot of fun and I was immersed in Golden Age lore.
After only 14 issues, there were huge gaps in Wonder Woman’s main title. There are also a lot of missing issues of Sensation Comics and Comic Cavalcade. The positive spin on this is I have a lot of Golden Age goodness to look forward to when it is uploaded. The negative spin is I leapt right into the Silver Age with no context, and what a difference it was! From “Wonder Women of History” with its positive feminist message we got “Marriage a la Mode”. Bit of a step backwards, even if the marriage customs were interesting.
My mother-in-law better not get any kooky ideas.
Now, Golden Age writing was not big on continuity but Wonder Woman’s powers were pretty steady and on the level. In the Silver Age, it was more like “anything goes” and the next thing you know she was lassoing volcanos and throwing them into the ocean. Of course, any media that “jumps the shark” adds new kids in the mix, and here we had the earlier adventures of Diana as “Wonder Girl”, “Wonder Tot”, a single issue of “Wonder Mite” where she was regressed to an infant so she could babytalk to another infant to help solve a mystery, as you do. It was all extremely silly, but also a lot of fun. Perhaps my favorite nonsense was when Hippolyta used film footage of Diana at different ages to create a team-up movie of Diana with her younger selves. Apparently, the creative team got tired of explaining it and later issues just had team-ups with no explanation whatsoever. It was still really enjoyable, even with Diana’s love triangle between Steve Trevor, a bird-man, and a mer-man (at each age level as well. For example, there was mer-man, mer-boy, and a mer-mite. Silly, yet fun).
This type of thing happened a lot. Every time she went swimming, actually.
And then, all of a sudden, it got gritty. Amazons and Valkyries heading into battle against Ares and dying horribly. Where did the lighthearted romantic sillyness go? No idea, but now it’s time for honorable battle and glorious death!
Hee hee. I have a crush on a bird-man. Oops, time to kill or be killed! No time for love.
And then there was really cool stuff where Diane lost her powers and became a martial-arts expert fighting international espionage while running her mod fashion boutique (it almost feels like those words do not belong together in a sentence). It was weird, out of nowhere, and it was a lot of fun. Also, my mind exploded when Wonder Woman teamed up with Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Like, what is even happening right now? I don’t care, because I am so psyched about this improbable team-up!
Il Met in… wherever the hell this happened.
Following this, Wonder Woman regained her powers and costume but immediately became a drama queen. Wow, we sure are going all over the place with this character!
She should have a team up with the “Batman is a teenage girl” meme.
And then there was a crisis and my beloved Golden/Silver Age Wonder Woman was no more.
I understand it had to be done. I get it. It just took a bit getting used to. Fortunately, it was so well done that I was more than able to forgive. Perez’ (Perez’s?) run was amazing and lengthy. How good was it? Well, I no longer stopped to take screenshots of goofy things that made me laugh. That’s how good! This is the run you need to read to understand modern Wonder Woman and the movie as well. Highly recommended.
It was a bit jarring after Perez left. There was some weird stuff for a while. While enjoyable, it just felt like a different Wonder Woman every few issues. But once things settled out, the rest of the modern era has been just, um, Wonderful. There is actually so much good stuff that I don’t have the kind of jarring memories as I do from weird or silly stuff from the previous eras. It’s just a steady run of good stories from great authors drawn by great artists. For example, Gail Simone, one of my favorite writers, has awesome stuff like this:
Brilliant. That’s the kind of woman you marry. #marriagegoals
Now I should clarify that I have not read every appearance of Wonder Woman, but instead my goal was to read 1) Every Issue with her name in the title, and 2) Every issue where she was the focus of the issue, such as Trinity. There are some titles, such as Bombshells, where she is a strong supporting character but is kind of phased out after her origin so I did not finish the run. Ame-comics was another such run. Maybe I’ll go back and finish them out, but they are not WW focused. I did read some of the crossovers such as Crisis on Infinite Earths, War of the Gods, 52, Infinite Crisis, Identity Crisis, Final Crisis, and Dark Nights Metal so I would know what is going on, but I wouldn’t count any of them as Wonder Woman issues. That was my set of reading rules, because God forbid I could just enjoy casual reading without obsessing about it and creating a set of rules. Hey, what’s it like to be a regular person ‘cause I have no freakin’ idea?
So after over 1,000 issues here is my take: Wonder Woman is awesome. I guess I didn’t need to read all those issues to know that, but it is nice to be certain. My favorite superhero, even given my lifelong love of Marvel (Hiss! Back, fiend! Hiss!!!). I grew up watching Superfriends and the Wonder Woman tv show but then all that faded into the distance until in 2020 when I decided I might want to watch Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
And that is the moment eveything changed for me.
In case you are wondering what my favorite issue is, I cannot say as I loved almost all of them. I can say, however, that this was definitely my favorite cover and always will be.
If you don’t love this cover, you are wrong.
My reading list is below. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know. It is actually exciting to think there are other issues out there, secretly hiding, just waiting for me to find them. The asterisks mean there are missing issues in between that haven’t been uploaded. Also, the reason there are higher totals than the numbers in some runs is that the annuals and other specials are sandwiched in there, which makes reading them flow nicely and is much appreciated.
Sorry for the long post. Here’s a potato.