[personal profile] lego_joker posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Well, this is shaping up to be an absolutely delightful summer. Why, just last night, one of my oldest and dearest e-friends spotted me the cash for that movie no-one can shut up about these days!

Image result for The Boss Baby

Just kidding, just kidding...

As of this writing, I've got experience with a fairly wide swath of Wonder Woman stories - read the first Golden Age omnibus cover to cover, read the post-Crisis relaunch all the way up to #150 (for those playing at home, that's all of Perez, Loebs, and Byrne, plus most of Luke), saw just about all her DCAU appearances and the DTV movie at least once, and her Brave and the Bold mini-sode a lot more than just once...

But we mustn't forget that these are nothing but trivia questions for geeks and other niche-feeders, far as the general public's concerned. To them, there was but a single "classic" Wonder Woman, now passing Gadot the torch: the ineffable, inestimable Lynda Carter.

I'm not sure how to feel about the lack of scholarship - professional or otherwise - surrounding Carter's Wonder Woman. On the one hand, it is Diana's 75th anniversary, so you think she'd be getting at least half the spotlight that's been lavished on Adam West and Burt Ward the last decade or so. On the other... I don't want to sound mean, but the show really did run out of steam in the later seasons, and by the finale it had pretty much become a colorless Bionic knockoff. West's Batman at its worst could (usually) at least promise some balls-to-the-wall stupidity and unforgettable Special Guest Villains; Wonder Woman, on the other hand, took itself juuust seriously enough for that to not be an option.

The first season, though... the first season was absolute magic, and anyone who says different can go eat a thumbtack.

Yeah, yeah, I know - the Tournament and the Bullets and Bracelets are way more Iconic, but this is probably the point of comparison I'll be keeping in mind when I go to the theater. The whole point of the franchise is, after all, the interaction between Amazon and Man, and I could probably write a whole thesis on how Diana's First Contact with Man's World has changed - in both specifics and tone - over each retelling.

But since I just spent the last three months writing an actual for-a-grade thesis, y'all will be getting some disjointed, half-coherent ramblings instead. Ain't life fun?

So. The five minutes posted above correspond to roughly three pages from Sensation Comics #1. Here's the first:

So from the very outset, Marston was aware people would take issue with Wonder Woman's... modesty (or lack thereof). Being a Harvard-educated intellectual, he of course prepared the classiest and most thought-provoking of rebuttals: nu-uh, you're just jealous, you old bags!

On a less Discourse-y note, I like to think at least one of those bank robbers took "First Ass Kicked By Wonder Woman" as a point of pride, later on in life. Maybe even gave an interview for some Wonder Woman: The Early Years documentary...

This is the contrast I find most interesting between Golden Age Wonder Woman and... well, just about every other version to come down the pike, Carter's included. The Golden Age Diana might've been a weirdo, but she was not naive. Seconds into her new crimefighting career, she's already slinging wisecracks like a pro, and there's pretty much zero Fish-Out-Of-Water stuff. You can even see it in her design - H.G. Peters constantly drew her with eyes half-lidded, like she's already figured everything out and is just waiting for everyone else to catch up.

And why wouldn't she be? Marston's Amazons were Utopians without irony, people who'd developed every benefit of Man's World with none of the drawbacks. Their olive-branch to Man's World isn't a both-sides-have-something-to-learn-gig; it's an act of pure charity, from a race objectively superior to our own.

This, obviously, would be a pretty hard sell for anyone besides literal children - so it's a good thing that once upon a time, those, not forty-five-year-olds, were the ones reading comics by the millions. Alas, times changed, cancer claimed Marston, and Wertham rose to ruin pretty much everything forever. Even after the Comics Code lost power, Wonder Woman would never be quite this savvy again - and maybe that's for the better, but I can't help but imagine Marston's Diana would've rolled her eyes at a counterpart too wide-eyed to even know what money is.

(For those interested, Bluefall, Chairwoman Emeritus of All Things Wonder Woman, posted her speculations on the Amazons' economy here.)

On yet another hand, there are those who've argued that Carter's disarming warmth is something sorely missing from most modern portrayals of Wonder Woman, perhaps even superheroines in general. Diana is, after all, a diplomat - and while sass and savvy can be useful for that line of work, it's always wise to keep a slot open for sincerity. What jaded Man's World politico would be able to see that coming?

Speaking of which, it's time for Man's World to send out one of its slicker scoundrels...

Here we see - spoiler - Diana's first named villain. I'm not gonna deny that Kale is a pretty skeevy Jewish caricature (rare in Golden Age comics, where most of the hotshot creators were Jews), but he represents my favorite part of any superhero origin - that given the right circumstances, being a superhero is fun. You get to save lives, everyone loves you, and if you're really lucky it'll even help pay the bills as long as your agent isn't an ass who tries to run off with the gate the first chance he gets!

And what the hell - I'm always a sucker for loudmouth showman-types, good or evil. Kale's TV counterpart Ashley Norman, played by Oscar winner Red Buttons, is far and away the funnest character in Wonder Woman's pilot movie, maybe even the whole damn show. Want more proof? Just watch him om-nom-nom every setpiece on Diana's opening night!

(Come the '80s, one might even say this character re-manifested in what is objectively George Perez's greatest contribution to Diana's mythos - but that's a post for another day...)

Perhaps none of you will be surprised to know this pilot was handled by Stan Ralph Ross, one of the key writers on Batman (among other things, he handled the lion's share of Catwoman and King Tut episodes). That's apparently the extent of his association with Wonder Woman, which does make one wonder... what might things have been like, had he stayed on? Would the show's star be burning even brighter today? Would it have just abandoned colorless crime stories in favor of lazy, unfunny camp, as Batman's final season had? Are these things even mutually exclusive?

Well, whatever the case, this pilot remains one of my go-to comfort foods, and we were truly blessed to have Ms. Carter in the tiara for those three-and-a-half years. If all goes well, here's to hoping Ms. Gadot will be wearing it for many, many more...

Date: 2017-06-02 09:13 pm (UTC)
sarahnewlin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sarahnewlin
People are fighting on Twitter/Tumblr about Gal being a Zionist. Its extremely messy.

Im glad the film is getting critical acclaim. My friend called it and Dark Knight two of the greatest superhero films of all time.

Date: 2017-06-03 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] remial
Its extremely messy.
not surprising, both environments are horrifically toxic

Date: 2017-06-03 01:38 am (UTC)
bradygirl_12: (wonder woman (batb--bullets 'n' bracelet)
From: [personal profile] bradygirl_12
The first season is the only one I'll watch. It was the epitome of Wonder Woman, even setting some episodes back on Paradise Island, and the Amazon message of womanhood and peace was charmingly preached by Lynda Carter's WW.

The subsequent seasons? No mention of the Amazons or their philosophy. It was more the Diana Prince show with Wonder Woman making an occasional guest appearance. Very generic spy stuff, nothing unique like Season 1.

Ha, Diana, if you think those 1941 dresses have a lot of material, you should have seen ten years ago Twenty! The 19th Century! :)
Edited Date: 2017-06-03 01:45 am (UTC)


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