Wonder Squad | Book Club 13: The Golden Age

:wondersquadron2: Greetings, Wonderlings! For this months reading activity, you are cordially invited to join us on an archaeological quest, back to when a uniquely rebellious and inspiring character armed w/ a message of peace and humanism, would make her debut in to a world at war: Welcome to Golden Age Wonder Woman!

We’ll be focusing on these specific issues, but the entire run is open for discussion. Also, please feel free to stop by these :face_with_monocle: points of interest.

:books: This activity will be running ALL month long!

:balance_scale: Reading begins: Right now!

:balance_scale: Discussion begins: As soon as you‘re ready! Did you enjoy it? Have you read it before? What did you think of the dialogue, plot or artwork? Anything at all about the reading you’d like to discuss—don’t be shy! Drop your thoughts below when you’re ready. :purple_heart: See ya soon!

:wondersquadron2: You can join or learn more about the Wonder Squadron HERE.


If you’ve got a min, stop by this Golden Age Wonder Woman Spotlight (complete w/ polls and a quiz!) courtesy of our friends and resident historians at :dc_history_club: #dc-history-club

Heres a movie we recommend, too…

Ps. :balance_scale: Handy omnibus (collecting all of the above issues) available w/ DCUI Ultra right :arrow_right: HERE.


A wonderful character (I know, it couldn’t be helped) with an equally intriguing backstory.

Top 5 most important comic book character in history, according to polls.*Number of respondents, 1, me. Margin of error 0. In no particular order

Silver Age Flash
Wonder Woman


:face_with_monocle: I agree with these findings! :00_wonder_woman_gold:

:drum: It had to be done. I get it.


Yay! We’re going back to the Golden Age! :partying_face:

I enjoyed (almost) everything I have read from that era, and I absolutely love H.G. Peters’ art.

This is a good list. You must have accidentally typed it out of order, but it’s still a good list. :grin:


No order at all


Hey @SpookySteveTrevor2.0 As it turns out, they are not listed in any order! :rofl:


Who knew? And honestly other than Superman being #1 by a mile, you can argue for a lot of different orders


Glancing at the history club entry on the subject, if you haven’t been there, it’s got polls and quiz’s. Best poll question, skirt or shorts.


lol, Honestly, I saw “No particular order” and ignored it. :laughing: My brain made the executive decision to believe that he CLEARLY :00_wonder_woman_gold: :nail_care: saved the best for last on purpose.

That’s one of my faves too. Personally, I prefer the shorts.


The movement of the skirt, the whole 1940’s of it, hard to beat


This is factual! I agree. :purple_heart: I should’ve clarified—for practicality I prefer the shorts, but mostly because I always wore shorts under my skirts when I was a kid because I knew I’d want to go play. So that’s where my head goes.


I read somewhere, possibly a note from Marston or H.G. Peters, that she is actually wearing bloomers because they are more practical active wear than a skirt would have been.

The earliest stories look like this:

The bloomers/skirt look didn’t last too long and was quickly replaced by shorts more like a modern spandex superhero would wear.

The cover of Sensation comics #1 is probably my favorite look. That cover is iconic!


“Nothing like a good right hook to settle an argument!”

Our ambassador of Truth :laughing:


Oh my Greek Gods, I’ve FINALLY read through the list! I had no idea it was the norm for Golden Age comics to be over 40 or even 50 pages. That takes a minute to get through. To get through the first couple of easy questions - yes, I enjoyed these stories and no I haven’t read them before.

Now for some more details. I think the origin as told in All Star Comics is probably the weakest of the three. Not that it is bad, it provides moments and story beats that have since become iconic. It just feels like it is really exposition heavy, even by this era’s standards. Sensation Comics was better and is the first major example from this list that shows how unintentionally silly Golden Age stories can be. What I mean is they had a very “let’s get from point A to point B in any way possible” mindset which can lead to bizarre interactions and hilarious scenes. In Sensation Comics #1, Wonder Woman gets her Diana Prince alter ego by technically committing identity fraud, purchasing it from the real Diana Prince. That just feels weird but also funny.

Of course, you have the first 14 issues of the first Wonder Woman volume. There are moments, through visuals and dialogue, that do unfortunately remind me this was from the 1940s. Got a few moments of someone saying something jarringly sexist in the blink of an eye. I also remember one panel where there was a black person speaking in a very…um, uncomfortable way. But I don’t want to give these moments too much attention. It happened, we know it’s bad, let’s just not let it get in the way and move on as best as we can.

Aside from those moments, there are some things in these comics that did legit impress me. The biggest being the story development of the Baroness, Paula. Starting off on the Nazi side but then being reformed by the Amazons and even becoming them was the most complex arc from this set of comics that I wasn’t expecting. Credit where it’s due. I was amused by the debut of Psycho and the first Cheetah. While I think the Cheetah’s motivations were kinda weak and half baked, the confrontations between her and Wonder Woman were fun. There were some stories told in these comics that, if they were brought back and revamped today, still wouldn’t quite feel like Wonder Woman stories. I think Shamrock Land would fit in better with the Shazam family’s adventures. But a big part of why I feel that is because it has been decades since these stories and we have a firm feeling of who Wonder Woman and what kind of stories we want to see from her.

The only other major critique I can give regarding these issues is I don’t think Charles Moulton fully understood Greek Mythology and the Pantheon. Small things like calling one god by their Greek name and another by their Roman name I can let slide. But then you have Aphrodite as the only patron for the Amazons which is a weird choice. Yes, Amazons are beautiful. But a lot of the skills and abilities the Amazons are shown to have logically shouldn’t come from the goddess of love and beauty. Then you have Ares called Mars which as I said isn’t a big deal to call him by his Roman name. But he is LITERALLY living on Mars with a bunch of his generals and slaves and they apparently have spaceships. It is a WEIRD interpretation. And I did notice that the gods barely have anything to do with WW stories during this era. I’m not sure why exactly that was the case, because if you read Greek mythology then you know these gods would regularly get involved in the mortal world to varying extents. It does feel like something is missing from these early issues because of it, some sense of gravitas and weight.

Overall, I do enjoy these comics. Not perfect from my perspective. But nothing so bad that we should ignore them. We do so a lot of traits and characters that will go on to have such important roles in current WW stories.


I was also surprised. It was a lot different in those days. I almost think comics were a harder sell and needed to be worth the coin, or perhaps it was only profitable to sell longer issues. Whatever it was, for page count those comics delivered!

I think half of the fun in these comics is the bizarre and often illegal methodology that the heroes use to solve the problems. There were no common plots or storylines to draw on and not an awful lot of worry about continuity so it was an anything goes kind of atmosphere. I find it fun to read.

Yes. I will note that the omnibus editions I have actually changed some of that uncomfortable dialogue and art. I am not sure how I feel about it. I am more comfortable reading it, but I also feel uncomfortable about censoring the past even if it is uncomfortable.

I was also impressed by Paula’s character development. I assumed anything Golden Age would just revert to the status quo with every new issue. I read them out of order and I was puzzled as to how the big villain became an amazon. Paula was heavily featured in later comics as the chief scientist of the Amazons and is one of the great Golden Age characters.

So true! The name Charles Moulton is actually a combination of the publisher Charles and the writer/creator William Moulton Marston. Marston was an absolute character and I highly recommend reading Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman as it will blow your mind (well, it did mine at least). But his weird approach to mythology doesn’t make an awful lot of sense so I just try not to think too much about it when reading.

I am so happy to hear that. I love Golden Age Wonder Woman so I am excited when there is any buzz about them on the forum, and I enjoyed reading your write-up.

Your post deserves this:


Hooray! Also - Giganta’s origin in the Golden Age is WEEEIIIRRRD! I enjoy when comics do something crazy involving primates, especially gorillas, but this…I don’t know what to say


Paper was also more ‘plentiful’ and ‘easier’ to find. I remember when I started out doing volunteer work and handbooks, directories and guides were good ways to both promote an organization or to do a tie-in with an event we were sponsoring, and also to sell advertising in to local merchants to raise funds and pay for the promotion without having to do so ourselves (meaning the group). Those were the days. But in any event, when I would approach publishers, they taught me about paper costs (newsprint being the least expensive, B&W versus spot color versus four color costs and that the most expensive thing in printing was literally turning on the presses, then the plates, then the ink, with the least expensive thing being the paper. The war effort not only ended up trashing a lot of GA comic books, which were pulped for the paper, to the angst of collectors for the past 30-50 years, and changing the dynamics of paper costs to where we are today, and it’s a scarcity issue, even as Bezolandia and other on-line merchants continue to create more and more cardboard packaging/delivery box material for landfills.


Also: bonus brownie points for your very prescient polling.

That’s been on my list to watch since it came out theatrically. I also really like Luke Evans as a actor generally and am curious on his take, but even when I had my three months of HBO Max from the Black Friday sale, I still didn’t get to it. I’ll have to make it more of a priority. Have you all discussed the Tim Hanley book, I found that a great read but it’s been a while since I read it, I think I own the digital epub, or I may have borrowed from my library.


I :heart: this. You’ve given me an idea, @SpookySteveTrevor2.0!! :bulb: Thank you.


I have to agree with you there!

I prefer her later incarnation involving a circus strongwoman (although there was still a brief gorilla involvement, so I guess that will always be a part of her).