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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, October 6, 2014


Posted this on a WONDER WOMAN forum-topic.


Some of the zeitgeist that made Wonder Woman able to sustain two features at once was a consequence of World War II boosterism.  Both Wonder Woman and the Sub-Mariner were in part popular because even though they were not Americans, they made America's cause their own. In an inversion of the trope in which godlike Americans go to Europe to save the Allies, they're godlike Allies defending Americans and other Allies-- and Wonder Woman even drapes herself in the stars and stripes to reduce any sense of her "foreign-ness." It may not be a coincidence that neither character has enjoyed anything like the sales/popularity they once enjoyed.

Wonder Woman was also at her most popular when she was aimed at kids, the primary purchasers of comic books in the Golden Age.  Her fame and the complexity of her original setup could make it possible for her to enjoy success with an older audience-- but it would have to be in a format that modern adults would buy, and that ain't the floppy magazine format.


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A. Sherman Barros said...

Hi Gene,

Indeed, I agree with your view. I was a huge fan of Wonder Woman when I was a kid. I can't really explain why, but I am sure much of it had to do with the character's innerent sexyness. I fell in love with it in the 70s, when I read the comic book in portuguese translation (from Brasil), and WW was always teasing us with becoming powerless by having her wrists bound together. Then, of course, there was Linda Carter and the candy-coloured TV Series (wich I loved, and still do).

I think WW was great when she was both strong and sexy and somehow carefree. I stopped reading the character in the 80s, during Byrne's run, when she became a grey cog on the feminist bureaucratic machine.

Curiously, the Submariner was also one of my favorite characters at the time (along with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, although I have always been more prone to DC than to Marvel), and is now one that I don't feel very interested in reading anymore.

Again, I can not pinpoit precisely why. But your post sure made me think.