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September 13, 2007

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Brian Disco Snell

Green Arrow?? Ah, yes, I remember that era well. In an apparent bid to boost Wonder Woman's sales, every cover for a year or so had a different Justice Leaguer "introducing" the lead story to us. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when you believe that sticking Green Arrow (who at the time couldn't even carry his OWN book) on your cover will trick people into buying it...

Mark Engblom

True...but when I look around, things haven't changed all that much. DC is now sticking the word "Countdown" on covers, hoping to trigger some sales based on the non-success of the "Countdown" title.

mark weinstein

Mark,

Very interesting-- and amusing—observations with your “shrinking Wonder Woman” piece. I have a few WW comics on microfiche and in EVERY story she gets tied up. Like a rorshach test, I suppose one could psychologically analyze a particular comics writer by how writes her adventures. I also enjoyed the Monster Underwear post above. Growing up I never gave a second thought to their clothing (do they buy off the rack or have them custom made?)—I was just looking at some old FFs with Dragonman in them, and now that I think about it, Dragonman was an android so he wouldn’t have genitalia and underwear would be unnecessary.

As an aside, I read the JLA story “Journey into the Microworld” in a JLA 93 when I was a kid and it made a lasting impression on me with its tale of a planet where negative thoughts become reality. It’s one of my favorite stories.

Mark Engblom

Hi Mark!

Oh yeah...those old Wonder Woman stories are a bizarre hybid of fairy tales and fetishes, mixing the cartoonishly whimsical with the deeply weird. I wonder how many little kids of the Golden Age era innocently reenacted the nutty stories cooked up by creator Bill Marston.

Glad you liked the Modest Monsters piece, too. You know, that thought did occur to me...wondering where the monsters even GOT such big underpants.

As for Dragon Man, I suppose drawing monsters with underwear was second nature for Jack Kirby by that time (having drawn so many of the monsters I spotlighted).

Sounds like an interesting old JLA story. I'll have to track down the reprint mag. Thanks!

Alton

It's telling that the shrinking motif starts in 1946. Of the 13 covers you show, 11 date from the postwar period 1946-1963. You say a 'long drought' then occurred. One of the two covers you show from after that drought reprints a 1956 story.

Wonder Woman first appeared in 1941. Her career of heroic deeds began as thousands of women entered factories and began building bombers to beat the Nazis. In the process, these women began changing ideas about what women could do.

In 1946 it seemed all that change would go back into a box. The threat was conquered, men returned from the war, thousands of Rosie the Riveters left their jobs at the factory, tract houses sprawled across new suburbs and everyone started making babies. The conventional pre-war gender roles of housebound women and breadwinning men were re-asserted. For a time.

And during that time, an iconic female warrior appeared smaller. 'How did I get here?' she asked, ten years after winning a war. 'How did I become the woman in the bottle?'

Mark Engblom

A great analysis, Alton. This was the theme bouncing around in my head, but I didn't lay it out as clearly as you did. Thanks!

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