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  1. #61
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    Inside front cover pages for SENSATION COMICS 1, 2, 3:
    chbaQqxT8C54ZaMsoMXM3bweeiO7DibtDfY8wHGsgOPw--lPwLdUc7nAk1fyiXs1o-6n8aNjyjMb=s1600.jpgdJWHODCKYBVq3ZpMOYzpXcAa40MDQolt_V9kpzkn_mYhG9ewD5LWlhPs56GpMeU9GZC0WLNew7gUhA=s1600.jpg1BQ7FCS-rhsaVMMwjzd_yCQ2hi5m4HbQ-L3S6ngeBcyd4c9oTuj9SrF2WzKxHwPRSeTQg9QZZC0x=s1600.jpg

    Note: All the Wonder Woman stories thusfar were untitled when they were originally published--story titles were invented for them later in the ARCHIVES.

    In this early run, Wonder Woman is a feature that unfolds like a soap opera, in that each story is another chapter in the lives of these characters--which wasn’t always the case with super-heroes at the time and it was more common for each story to stand alone with no reference to the events before or after it.

    Nevertheless, there are some gaps that we have to fill in, like with Etta and the mental radio. It’s pretty interesting that Marston introduces a simple form of the lie detector (the other thing he's famous for) with Diana giving the women blood pressure tests. As yet, Wonder Woman doesn’t have her magic lasso which would make this kind of thing easier.

    The inter-office politics between Darnell and Trevor are first developed here, with Trevor’s secretary--Lila Brown in the comic book, but Erna Dollar, in the daily strip--as well as Darnell's growing affections for Miss Prince. There is more room to develop this strand of the story in the newspaper strip, where Diana and Erna are strong adversaries.

    In the SENSATION story, Diana Prince writes her “shorthand” in Amazonian--er, her own system--while in the strip it’s in Greek letters.

    The hazing that Eve Brown receives from the “Beeta Lamda” sorority might seem harsh, but it’s probably true to most initiation rituals in American colleges. Olive Byrne attended Tutts University, where Marston was her psychology professor, and even if he might not have had intimate knowledge of sorority life, I’m sure Olive would.

  2. #62
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Cool! I really appreciate your effort to place these stories into their historical contexts, Jim Kelly!

  3. #63
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    When was the newspaper strip published? Was it running concurrently with the comics or did it start a couple of years later? There are some plot holes in the comics that I’ve heard were explained in the news strip, particularly Diana’s friendship with Etta and the Holiday girls.

    I think this is the first story that doesn’t end with Steve back in a hospital bed!
    When I read this again, I thought Diana’s “sobs” at the beginning of the story about Steve being discharged from the hospital were probably an act where she’s playing on his ego in order to get him to hire her as his secretary. But I’m saying that in 2019 looking at a story that was written in 1941, so maybe she really is crying and upset that he’s leaving and she won’t be able to be near him.

    I didn’t realize that Diana Prince started out as General Darnel’s secretary. I had always assumed she was Steve Trevor’s. It’s intresting go back and read these original stories again and see how they originally played out vs the memory you had of them when first read them as a kid. I think when her origin is re-told in WW #1 she’s Trevor’s secretary, right? We’ll see in a few weeks, I guess.

  4. #64
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    The newspaper strip started in 1944. So it was a few years after the comic book--and when the USA had been involved in the war for some time. Marston and Peter were able to flesh out some details that they had skipped over in the original comics. Just like how Siegel and Shuster were able to give a fulller version of Superman's origin story in the comic strip than they had in the comic books.

  5. #65
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    Back to school with "School for Spies" from Sensation Comics #4! Feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on this story! Next Saturday, 16 February, we will go on to Sensation Comics #5 and "Wonder Woman Versus the Saboteurs".

    More prejudices about femininity rears its ugly head, as Diana consciously sets out to make Steve Trevor jealous over that Colonel Darnell has a soft spot for Diana. The classic hidden identity love triangle à la Superman also has gained a fourth participant, we'll have to see if that gets developed further.

    Diana out-Batmans today's Batman by doing some proper detecting: both investigations into records and actual field work. We meet Paula von Gunther for the first time, and are exposed to more faux-German accents.

    The German spies are nothing if not determined to get Eve Brown into working for them, despite the results of "A Spy at the Office". She tells Steve Trevor about the recruitment attempt, but the spanking rituals for the Beeta Lamba sorority led by Etta Candy puts a wrench in the plans, but at least Eve proves capable, and escapes for her meeting with the German spy ring. Steve is disarmed when he confronts the spies, but manages to knock out three of the four. We get a chase with the German spy in the lead (in Steve's car), Steve on a motorcycle, Etta on another motorcycle, and then the Beeta Lamba girls in various cars.

    Meanwhile I think we get another flashback with Carla Swanson—the narrative is a little unclear here. She has been drugged and later hypnotised by Paula. Colonel Darnell vouches for Paula von Gunther, but he brings Diana to a masked ball Paula is throwing; Diana is of course disguised as Wonder Woman.

    Paula looks literal daggers at Diana, who allows herself to be gagged and bound by Paula. Diana is brought to a dungeon where she finds Carla, thinking of herself as Paula's slave. Diana's bracelets are chained together, causing Diana to lose her strength. After a tour through the caves (with lots of bound and sometimes punished girls in uniforms of shirt skirts and tops or bras), Diana frees Carla's mind from Paula's hypnosis.

    Steve gets all the interesting exclamations, this time "Suffering rabbits" as he finds the secret base in the mine, but he is also captured. He recognises Wonder Woman, and Paula orders both to be executed. The Beeta Lamba girls led by Etta invade the secret base, and Diana uses the bullets from the execution squad to break the chains on her bracelets, after which all is left is the mopping up.

    All the freed girls descend on Steve to thank him for saving them—and Wonder Woman. I think Marston is trying to tell the readers something here…

    The change in language since the 40s is also apparent, as Diana uses "queer" for strange and Colonel Darnell uses "gay" for fun and lively.

    Marston's slapdash style of storytelling is rather apparent in this story as well. Eve Brown plays an important role early in the story, but is then simply dropped from the narrative. And its unclear if Carla Swanson's meeting with Paula was a flashback or not. We also get the rather sudden introduction of the result of binding the Amazon bracelets together. But note that it doesn't make Diana powerless. She still has at least her empathetic and psychological abilities and her superior speed.

    Concepts introduced: Hypnosis as brainwashing, Amazons losing their strength with bound bracelets, Amazon psychological knowledge, female slavery, "woo woo"

    Characters introduced: Paula von Gunther, Carla Swanson
    Last edited by kjn; 03-10-2019 at 09:45 AM.

  6. #66
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    The binding of the bracelets make me wonder could it be used still or to dumb? For one the chain bracelets were a symbol of where women were chained to the house where she belonged or trying to chain her for she isn't a full human
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  7. #67
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    As far as weaknesses goes, I first thought the binding of the bracelets by a man rather silly, but having thought about it some more I can see its value. It is symbolically important, with its connections to slavery and female subjugation, and symbols lie at the core of magic and mythology. Another factor here is that it doesn't remove Diana's powers, only her strength. Her knowledge, skills, speed, and empathetic abilities remain here.

    I could even see a storyline where the bracelets being bound by a transwoman would be a key Chekov's Gun. And it sure beats Azzarello's notion of the bracelets as inhibitors.

  8. #68
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    I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but I’m really enjoying this Golden Age “re-read.” It’s been cool to go back and see how things really played out in print vs how the passage of time and my fuzzy memory tell me they did. Like reading through Sensation #3 today, it took me a minute to realize that General Darnell was actually COLONEL Darnell and Major Steve Trevor was really CAPTAIN Steve Trevor. I blame that last one on the TV show!

    This issue is an important one for the WW mythos because it gives Diana her first major “arch-nemesis” in Baroness Paula Von Gunther and it also introduces us to her “kryptonite.” Like the previous poster pointed out, chaining her bracelets together only made Diana lose her strength, not the rest of her abilities. She was still able to move fast enough to deflect the bullets of the Baroness’ firing squad and maneuver into a position so that the bullets would break the chain that had bound her bracelets together. Again, on the TV series, it was her “magic belt” that gave her the “strength of Hercules” and whenever it was removed, she was “just an ordinary woman.” Same concept in the comics and TV just with a different part of the costume. On TV the bracelets were just defense against bullets.

    I don’t know if that concept of chaining her bracelets together to make her weak would work in today’s WW comics. Diana (and the rest of the Amazons for that matter) don’t really wear bracelets anymore. Now, they’re pretty much arm bands that cover her whole lower arm rather than just her wrists. Here in Marston’s set-up (and something that Perez also carried over into his revamp) the bracelets were the manacles that Hercules and his army chained the Amazons with when they conquered them. Aphrodite (and/or Athena?) removed the chains but made them keep the manacles (re: bracelets) as a reminder of their subjugation so that they would never allow themselves to be abused at the hands of man again. That’s why WW would lose her strength when a MAN bound her bracelets, not a woman. Today the bracelets aren’t bracelets anymore. They’re arm guards and just part of the battle armor rather than being a symbol of their heritage and strength. And now that it’s been established that Diana is a demigoddess, does she even have a physical weakness anymore? Hell, Rucka had her actually get shot in his run and it just slowed her down, so does she even really NEED the bracelets anymore? I guess they’re used now to just deflect ammunition away from bystanders since Diana can apparently survive gunshot wounds. Azzarello tweaked the Silver/Bronze Age concept of Diana and the Amazons going “berzerk” if their bracelets were removed or destroyed, except he twisted it so that it was the bracelets that were keeping Diana’s god-like powers in check and when they were removed she was able to unleash unholy hell on her enemies.

    Baroness Von Gunther is probably one of my favorite WW villains. Her ruthlessness and distain for other people counterbalances Diana’s compassion and empathy. She’s WW opposite her working to undermine America just as much as Diana fights to help the United States. She’s a character that I wish writers would use today in the comics. John Byrne brought her back long enough to turn her into Dark Angel, but she really hasn’t been seen in the WW comics proper since the Golden Age. (She showed up a couple of times during the whole “Return to the Golden Age” era of the Silver Age WW but I’ve never been able to figure out if those were actual Earth-1 stories, or just rehashes of original GA stories.) I know a big part of her story is that she will eventually reform and become the Amazon’s chief scientist, but I think an unrepentant version of the Baroness would be a breath of fresh air to the comics. She would be a welcome diversion from the endless mythological villains!

    By the way in the first panel, Diana tells Darnell she’s going to send Eve to Holliday College. Is she paying for Eve’s tuition??? And then Etta has her chained by a dog collar to a chair to make her study? That brought back memories of seeing Princess Leia being chained/collared around neck to Jabba the Hutt!
    Last edited by The I.A.D.C.; 02-16-2019 at 01:53 PM.

  9. #69
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The I.A.D.C. View Post
    I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but I’m really enjoying this Golden Age “re-read.” It’s been cool to go back and see how things really played out in print vs how the passage of time and my fuzzy memory tell me they did.
    That was indeed one of the ideas I had behind this, given how often we refer to Marston's run here.

    Quote Originally Posted by The I.A.D.C. View Post
    I don’t know if that concept of chaining her bracelets together to make her weak would work in today’s WW comics. Diana (and the rest of the Amazons for that matter) don’t really wear bracelets anymore. Now, they’re pretty much arm bands that cover her whole lower arm rather than just her wrists. Here in Marston’s set-up (and something that Perez also carried over into his revamp) the bracelets were the manacles that Hercules and his army chained the Amazons with when they conquered them.
    I disagree here. While the bracelets have grown and now looks more like armour than manacles, I don't think it changes things that much. While artists have been lazy about putting the bracelets on the Amazons in civilian garbs, there are still visible often enough, and Diana gets the bracelets no matter which clothing she wears from most every artist. And in the movie every Amazon wears them, no matter what they are doing. I think they can still serve as reminders of their earlier slavery, and as symbols of their submission to their mission.

    Given the way Rucka depicted Diana being shot, it obviously hurt and slowed her down for a moment, so I can see her doing bullets and bracelets partly for fun, partly for being able to redirect the bullets where she wants them, partly for her own convenience, and partly because she might suddenly encounter some superpowered bullet.

    Quote Originally Posted by The I.A.D.C. View Post
    Baroness Von Gunther is probably one of my favorite WW villains. Her ruthlessness and distain for other people counterbalances Diana’s compassion and empathy. She’s WW opposite her working to undermine America just as much as Diana fights to help the United States. She’s a character that I wish writers would use today in the comics.
    Now that you mention it, Veronica Cale might be poised as Paula von Gunther's spiritual successor. She carries many of the same themes of ruthlessness and control, but does so in a package that speaks about the modern corporate culture and feminism, rather than the fear of spies and Nazis of the 40s.

  10. #70
    Extraordinary Member AmiMizuno's Avatar
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    I mean to be honest Neo Nazis is growing issue in Europe. So I would really like her back.
    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

  11. #71
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmiMizuno View Post
    I mean to be honest Neo Nazis is growing issue in Europe. So I would really like her back.
    I'm not sure I agree, neither in the trouble with neo-nazis nor if Paula's character can help.

    First, as long as the neo-nazis were just neo-nazis, they were basically a gang of thugs. Dangerous to individuals and some small groups, but not actively dangerous on a societal level. The real dangers is those that have evolved into modern fascists: neatly dressed, able to talk about and appear democratic, and clued into how to be populistic and opportunistic in their political stances. It is those who have become really dangerous, and are real or dominant political forces in Hungary, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, and so on.

    I don't think a character like Paula von Gunther can help in that regard, and an American comic book is probably not the best vehicle for that anyway. A character like Veronica Cale can however be used to interrogate some forms of far-right memes that are common in the USA.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    The real dangers is those that have evolved into modern fascists: neatly dressed, able to talk about and appear democratic, and clued into how to be populistic and opportunistic in their political stances. It is those who have become really dangerous,.
    I think that pretty much describes the Baroness! She doesn't necessarily have to be a Nazi threat, but (and this all my unprofessional, unpaid-for opinion!) she should be associated with, maybe even in charge of some kind of criminal organization that seeks global domination. The Baroness was always part of a larger global threat (in this case the Nazi movement) while Veronica Cale just seems to be interested in advancing her own personal agenda, not that of some worldwide criminal organization. The Baroness turned up in the beginning of an episode of the "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" cartoon and I LOVED that take on her. She was a criminal threat and opposed Diana's ideology (saying her "Amazon dogma sickened her.") and then was able to (briefly) tangle with her on a physical level. I like Cale but she is NOT Paula Von Gunther. The Baroness is the OG nemesis and (in my opinion) should be made a larger part of the WW mythos.

  13. #73
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    I thought Veronica Cale in the last Rucka run was more of a liberal/left, Hillary-like figure.

  14. #74
    Extraordinary Member AmiMizuno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    I'm not sure I agree, neither in the trouble with neo-nazis nor if Paula's character can help.

    First, as long as the neo-nazis were just neo-nazis, they were basically a gang of thugs. Dangerous to individuals and some small groups, but not actively dangerous on a societal level. The real dangers is those that have evolved into modern fascists: neatly dressed, able to talk about and appear democratic, and clued into how to be populistic and opportunistic in their political stances. It is those who have become really dangerous, and are real or dominant political forces in Hungary, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, and so on.

    I don't think a character like Paula von Gunther can help in that regard, and an American comic book is probably not the best vehicle for that anyway. A character like Veronica Cale can however be used to interrogate some forms of far-right memes that are common in the USA.
    Diana's comics aren't just about the U.S but about the world. Her dealing with a racist gangs. It would make sense. Unlike Batman or Superman, Diana isn't someone who is just America ally
    Please sign this so we can at least show DC we want Legend of Wonder Woman part 2.

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  15. #75
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    The solicit for GA vol.4 has hit! Release date to be 11.4.2019!!
    "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings" - Optimus Prime

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