View Poll Results: Preferred day to start the discussion of an issue

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  • Monday

    1 50.00%
  • Tuesday

    0 0%
  • Wednesday

    0 0%
  • Thursday

    0 0%
  • Friday

    0 0%
  • Saturday

    2 100.00%
  • Sunday

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Default The Wonder Woman Golden Age Reread

    I have participated in reading circles in several different fannish groups (both online and meatspace), and they are often interesting and fun. One great variant is a shared rereading of a book or series, so why not try something similar?

    Since the omnibus Wonder Woman—The Golden Age is readily available in volume 1 and 2, why not start there, at the very beginning?

    We read one issue/story per week and discuss it, with discussion starting on Saturdays. Most Golden Age stories are rather short, so we could likely speed up the tempo, but part of the fun is to have the opportunity to do a close read and discussion in depth.

    The contents of "Wonder Women—The Golden Age volume 1" for those following via individual issues, together with the schedule (I will edit that as needed).

    Schedule; the current discussion in bold, the coming discussion in italics.

    19 January: All Star Comics #8: "Introducing Wonder Woman"
    26 January: Sensation Comics #1: "Wonder Woman Comes to America"
    2 February: Sensation Comics #2: "Dr. Poison"
    9 February: Sensation Comics #3: "A Spy at the Office"
    16 February: Sensation Comics #4: "School for Spies"
    23 February: Sensation Comics #5: "Wonder Woman Versus the Saboteurs"
    2 March: Sensation Comics #6: "Summons to Paradise"
    9 March: Sensation Comics #7: "The Milk Swindle"
    16 March: Sensation Comics #8: "Department Store Perfidy"
    23 March: Sensation Comics #9: "The Return of Diana Prince"
    30 March: Wonder Woman #1: "Who is Wonder Woman" & "The Origin of Wonder Woman"
    6 April: Wonder Woman #1: "Wonder Woman Goes to the Circus"
    13 April: Wonder Woman #1: "Wonder Woman Versus the Prison Spy Ring"
    20 April: Wonder Woman #1: "The Greatest Feat of Daring in Human History"
    27 April: Sensation Comics #10: "The Railroad Plot"
    4 May: Sensation Comics #11: "Mission to Planet Eros"
    11 May: Sensation Comics #12: "America's Guardian"
    18 May: Wonder Woman #2: "The God of War" & "Mars, the God of War"
    25 May: Wonder Woman #2: "The Earl of Greed"
    1 June: Wonder Woman #2: "The Duke of Deception"
    8 June: Wonder Woman #2: "The Count of Conquest" & "Wonder Woman Campaigns for War Bonds and Stamps"
    15 June: Sensation Comics #13: "Wonder Woman is Dead!"
    22 June: Sensation Comics #14: "The Story of Fir Balsam"
    29 June: Comic Cavalcade #1: "Mystery of the House of the Seven Gables"
    6 July: Wonder Woman #3: "A Spy on Paradise Island"
    13 July: Wonder Woman #3: "The Devilish Devices of Baroness von Gunther"
    20 July: Wonder Woman #3: "The Secret of Baroness von Gunther"
    27 July: Wonder Woman #3: "Ordeal of Fire"
    3 August: Sensation Comics #15: "Victory at Sea"
    10 August: Sensation Comics #16: "The Masked Menace"
    17 August: Wonder Woman #4: "Man-Hating Madness"
    24 August: Wonder Woman #4: "Mole Men of the Underworld"
    31 August: Wonder Woman #4: "The Rubber Barons"
    7 September: Wonder Woman #4: "The Treachery of Mavis"
    14 September: Sensation Comics #17: Riddle of the Talking Lions
    21 September: Comic Cavalcade #2: "Wanted by Hitler, Dead or Alive"
    28 September: Sensation Comics #18: "The Secret City of the Incas"
    5 October: Wonder Woman #5: "Battle for Womanhood"
    12 October: Wonder Woman #5: "Etta Candy and Her Holliday Girls"
    19 October: Wonder Woman #5: "Mars Invades the Moon"
    26 October: Wonder Woman #5: "The Return of Dr. Psycho"
    2 November: Sensation Comics #19: "The Unbound Amazon"
    9 November: Sensation Comics #20: "The Girl with the Gun"
    16 November: Comic Cavalcade #3: "The Invisible Invader"
    23 November: Sensation Comics #21: "War Against Society"
    30 November: Wonder Woman #6: "Wonder Woman and the Cheetah"
    7 December: Wonder Woman #6: "The Adventure of the Beauty Club"
    14 December: Wonder Woman #6: "The Conquest of Paradise"
    21 December: Sensation Comics #22: "The Secret Submarine"
    28 December: Sensation Comics #23: "War Laugh Mania"
    4 January 2020: Comic Cavalcade #4: "The Purloined Pressure Coordinator"
    11 January 2020: Sensation Comics #24: "The Adventure of the Pilotless Plane"
    18 January 2020: Wonder Woman #7: "The Adventure of the Life Vitamin"
    25 January 2020: Wonder Woman #7: "America's Wonderland of Tomorrow!"
    1 February 2020: Wonder Woman #7: "The Secret Weapon"
    8 February 2020: Wonder Woman #7: "Demon of the Depths"
    15 February 2020: Comic Cavalcade #5: "Mystery of the Crimson Flame"

    Easiest way to get all these stories is via the Wonder Woman Golden Age omnibus volumes that DC has released. Hardcover omnibus volumes 2 and 3 have come out, but softcover and digital versions are only available for the initial volume.

    HC Wonder Woman: the Golden Age Omnibus vol 1: all the stories
    Wonder Woman: The Golden Age vol 1: the scheduled stories up to and including Wonder Woman #3.
    Wonder Woman: The Golden Age vol 2: the second half of the scheduled stories, from Sensation Comics #15.

    They can probably also be ordered from your favourite comic book outlet. The latter two volumes are also available digitally from Comixology.
    Last edited by kjn; 05-17-2019 at 03:35 PM. Reason: updated schedule

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member AmiMizuno's Avatar
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    There is also the third one.
    Please sign this so we can at least show DC we want Legend of Wonder Woman part 2.

    https://www.change.org/p/comic-fans-...part-2-back-on

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Good to know, though it isn't available on Comixology in Europe.

  4. #4
    Incredible Member Fuzzy Mittens's Avatar
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    Well it sounds far more interesting than the going in circles arguments that have been a frequent thing of late. How about saturday since it gives a couple days breathing room after the latest issue?

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    That's why I had the poll!

    Another question is if we should make individual threads for each week, or use this thread only. I think I'd prefer a unitary thread, but have no strong feelings either way.

  6. #6
    Incredible Member Fuzzy Mittens's Avatar
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    I have no strong preference either way on that. A single thread is fine so long as therese someone establishing the start of the newest reading every week

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member WonderScott's Avatar
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    Intriguing idea kjn, as I have not read all the Golden Age stories, let alone in order to see how different Wonder characters and concepts were introduced and have changed over time periods.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Since Fuzzy Mittens preferred Saturdays, and it's one of my preferred days too, Saturdays it is!

    So we have until then to get and read "Introducing Wonder Woman" from All Star Comics #8! Once Saturday comes around, feel free to post your thoughts and impressions here in this thread.

    I'll update the first post with a schedule.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member My Two Cents's Avatar
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    I think the reading list will need adjusting as the reading moves on.
    Some of those Wonder Woman books have more than one continuous
    story covering the four part 52 pagers.
    I don't believe covering more than one story a week would be good.

  10. #10
    Incredible Member Fuzzy Mittens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Two Cents View Post
    I think the reading list will need adjusting as the reading moves on.
    Some of those Wonder Woman books have more than one continuous
    story covering the four part 52 pagers.
    I don't believe covering more than one story a week would be good.
    That would make sense. Though it raises the question of how things like the Giganta issue should be presented.

    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    Since Fuzzy Mittens preferred Saturdays, and it's one of my preferred days too, Saturdays it is!

    So we have until then to get and read "Introducing Wonder Woman" from All Star Comics #8! Once Saturday comes around, feel free to post your thoughts and impressions here in this thread.

    I'll update the first post with a schedule.
    You might also want to update it with links to places people can pick it up either in physical or digital form to make it easier for people coming in to follow along with us

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Two Cents View Post
    I think the reading list will need adjusting as the reading moves on.
    Some of those Wonder Woman books have more than one continuous
    story covering the four part 52 pagers.
    I don't believe covering more than one story a week would be good.
    No problem to split up the Wonder Woman issues into individual stories; I was on the fence myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy Mittens View Post
    That would make sense. Though it raises the question of how things like the Giganta issue should be presented.
    I think we can make that one in one week; better than splitting up a discrete story. It's rather far into the future anyway: not even part of the Wonder Woman The Golden Age Omnibus HC volume 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy Mittens View Post
    You might also want to update it with links to places people can pick it up either in physical or digital form to make it easier for people coming in to follow along with us
    Will do!
    Last edited by kjn; 01-16-2019 at 08:36 AM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Is it Saturday? At least it's Saturday here, so lets get started!

    This is only for discussing "Introducing Wonder Woman" from All Star Comics #8! Feel free to post your own thoughts on theories on this story! On Saturday 26 January we will go on to "Wonder Woman Comes to America" from Sensation Comics #1.

    I'm going to assume that people have read this story, so no recap or similar.

    The opening presentation of Wonder Woman reminds me of the classic introduction to Robert E. Howard's Conan stories. I'm not sure how common that style of openings was in the old pulp stories or radio serials, but a quick check showed that writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs or CL Moore didn't use it.

    There is a lot of text, and in some ways the it reads like the script is put directly before us through the captioning boxes. It's not as much an illustrated story as say Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, but it has a lot more focus on verbal storytelling than is common in most comics of today.

    With the exception of Hippolyta and Diana, nearly everyone of the Amazons is golden-haired, tall, and athletic. Names are also extremely sparse. Diana is only "the princess" or "daughter" (from Hippolyta) until the second to last panel, where Hippolyta tells her to become known as Diana, implying that Wonder Woman had another and unknown name earlier on the island. Hippolyta is only called the queen" or "mother" (from Diana), except by Athena and Aphrodite. The doctor is simply "doctor". The only Amazon called by name by another Amazon is Mala, and then she isn't present. I'm not sure if it's some quirk of Marston's, or if one can speculate about some form of name taboo on Paradise Island.

    The name of Diana is mentioned as coming from Diana's godmother, the goddess of the moon: i.e. the Roman Diana (Greek Artemis). That implies a rather strong personal connection to Artemis for Diana; lets see if it comes back later on.

    For having been in a airplane crash, Steve Trevor was extremely lucky to get a concussion as the worst injury. And it's not like a concussion would cause a man to lose consciousness for days. Poor Trevor spends more of the story unconscious than conscious.

    The way that Diana falls in love with the unconscious Trevor feels extremely dated, and is probably the strongest marker that the intended audience was boys more than girls. For all his quirky gender theories, I think Marston was deeply mired in the patriarchy of his day and its memes.

    The Amazon backstory feels rather sparse, but it calls back the original tale of Heracles (here called Hercules; Marston switches liberally between Greek and Roman names). Note that Aphrodite is the clearly most important goddess here, gifting them the girdle, helping the Amazons free themselves, implied to have created Paradise Island, told them to wear the bracelets, and to keep aloof from men. In comparison, Athena (mentioned as goddess of wisdom) gave them the Magic Sphere. Note that the sphere was mentioned as the reason the Amazons could surpass the invention of Man's World. In a way, Marston gives contradictory messages here: we are informed that the Amazons are more scientifically advanced than the rest of the world, but they are so because the Magic Sphere told them the inventions of Man's World.

    We also see very little of technology on Themyscira: it is more presented as a classical idyll. There is the contraption that the Magic Sphere is mounted on and the guns that Mala and Diana use, but nothing else. The Amazons e.g. fill amforas with water, so no implication of running water in their houses. Anything else (advanced airplanes) we are only told about.

    From the Amazon backstory we go to how Trevor ended up on the island. For being the "most valuable man in the Army Intelligence Department", he is extremely sucky at field operations. The attempt at writing English with an impression of German from the villains is mostly comical to me, since I studied German a long time ago.

    Aphrodite and Athena tell Hippolyta to send the strongest and wisest Amazon to Man's World. Marston puts some extremely heavy-handed American jingoism into the mouth of Athena.

    Bullets and Bracelets is mentioned here in the very first adventure, so I think it holds its place as Diana's signature move. I note that the tournament only seems to cover strength and agility feats, and little about wisdom.

    Story-wise, it's more interesting than good. Marston does a lot of exposition and crams in a lot of ideas, but the writing isn't that good and not a lot happens either when viewed as a story. The double flashbacks are also rather clumsy from a narrative standpoint. The personalities of both Diana and Steve are drawned very sparse, which I theorise actually is a bit of a feature in wish-fulfillment stories (which superhero tales are at core): it makes it easier for the reader to project themselves into the story.

  13. #13
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    I think Marston recognized that boys made up the majority of the comic readership at the time, so he begins with a focus on Trevor. Here is a US military soldier that the little boys are supposed to identify with as the story begins and then through his plane crashing we are introduced to this whole other fantasy world and eventually to our new protagonist, Wonder Woman. It’s subtle but clever for 1941. The biggest thing I have to keep in mind is the context of the times in which these comics were created. Compared to Superman and Batman’s first appearances, WW’s is much more sophisticated, but again, it’s being produced for an audience predominantly made up of children, so it’s not overly high-brow. HG Peter’s art is very unique and helps define the “look” of WW and her world. WW is not overtly sexy here despite her costume. That comes later as artists begin to accentuate her curves more in the ‘70s and Lynda Carter becomes the public embodiment of the character. I do like the notion that all the Amazons are considered equal in strength and ability so a contest has to be held to determine who is the best among them. WW herself will say that any girl could be a “Wonder Woman” with the right amount of discipline and training. When Perez decides her abilities and powers come from the gods it then gives her an unfair advantage against the other Amazons in that contest. Here, in the original, Diana is basically on equal ground with her sisters, but it’s her extra effort and discipline that gives her the advantage here, not divine gifting from above. An eight-page feature at the back of “All-Star Comics” #8 isn’t much room to set up a whole world and develop characters, but Marston and Peter do an admirable job because when it’s over you want to know more about Wonder Woman and this little introduction serves as a great prologue to what will be her official introduction in “Sensation Comics” #1.

  14. #14
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    "Introducing Wonder Woman" was one of the first DC preview comics. And my theory is that they decided to put this preview in ALL-STAR COMICS after they had already planned for WW to debut in SENSATION COMICS. Likely this was a 13 page story originally, which would have appeared in SENSATION COMICS No. 1. But when they decided to make it a preview and squeeze it into ALL-STAR, they had to cut some pages to bring it down to 9 pages. That's why the flashback is two pages with set type. This seems to be the solution they arrived at when they had to edit down the story. When you get to WONDER WOMAN No. 1, you'll see a much fuller version of the flashback.

    They may have also had to do some cutting and pasting for the regular style comics sequences. Most panels look like they were reduced in size. If you compare the size of the lettering in this story, with the regular stories after it, you can see that the lettering is much smaller. This is also why the comic seems to be packed with long dialogues and narrative captions, in order to fit in everything from the original version of the story. Comics in general had a lot more words than they do in present day, but this particular story is jam-packed.

  15. #15
    Incredible Member Largo161's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    "Introducing Wonder Woman" was one of the first DC preview comics. And my theory is that they decided to put this preview in ALL-STAR COMICS after they had already planned for WW to debut in SENSATION COMICS. Likely this was a 13 page story originally, which would have appeared in SENSATION COMICS No. 1. But when they decided to make it a preview and squeeze it into ALL-STAR, they had to cut some pages to bring it down to 9 pages. That's why the flashback is two pages with set type. This seems to be the solution they arrived at when they had to edit down the story. When you get to WONDER WOMAN No. 1, you'll see a much fuller version of the flashback.

    They may have also had to do some cutting and pasting for the regular style comics sequences. Most panels look like they were reduced in size. If you compare the size of the lettering in this story, with the regular stories after it, you can see that the lettering is much smaller. This is also why the comic seems to be packed with long dialogues and narrative captions, in order to fit in everything from the original version of the story. Comics in general had a lot more words than they do in present day, but this particular story is jam-packed.
    Astute observations. One of my takeaways upon rereading was that there’s too much story for nine pages.

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