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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Showcase of wonders

For some, the publishing event of the year might be the final adventure of some schoolboy wizard, but for me it was the Wonder Woman Showcase. And although I wasn't queuing at my local comic shop for my copy at midnight (because I knew it wasn't going to be delivered until around 10am), I was there to pick it off the shelf before it had time to get comfortable.

Just to point out how important this collection is, I want to remind you that while Batman and Superman have enjoyed reprint collections from throughout their history, Wonder Woman has not been so lucky. There was a collection of golden age adventures published in the early 1970's, and four volumes of DC Archives that got up as far as Wonder Woman #9, but nothing has ever been reprinted from the late 1940's to 1986 in any substantial form. Robert Kanigher was writer on Wonder Woman for over 150 issues and yet there has never been a collection of his work available until now.

But be warned: before you read this book you will need to rise above all thoughts of logic and continuity. There is no place for them here.

The volume opens with Kanigher's retelling of Wonder Woman's origin in Wonder Woman #98. This is a good starting point as not only does it give us an origin, it's also the first issue with full art by long time WW artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, and is arguably the point where Wonder Woman enters the Silver Age.

As an origin story, it's quite different from the usual version; the Amazons hold their contest to decide who will be sent into the outside world before Steve Trevor even arrives, and to avoid favouritism, all the contestants are dressed in Wonder Woman costume, including masks of Diana's face so that they will all look alike. But having won the contest, our heroine must prove herself by turning a penny into a million dollars, to finance the building of a summer camp to be donated to children's charities, because Pallas Athena is very big on healthy summer fun for children in rich first world countries.

The more bizarre aspects of the story start to become apparent when Steve Trevor arrives on the scene, parachuting down from his stricken aircraft. Since men are forbidden to set foot on Paradise Island, our plucky heroine launches herself into the air, and then catching Steve, she blows his parachute all the way back to America.

If at this point you are considering how many laws of physics this breaks then you should probably stop now, as it only gets worse. Wonder Woman's adventures with the penny she has been entrusted with, and her ultimate solution to her dilemma are so bonkers that I'm not even going to tell you about them. I wouldn't want to spoil the fun.

And that's just the opening story.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Walaka said...

Well, yeah, of course, because... Kanigher!

But what about the cover?

10:34 pm  
Blogger universalperson said...

What was wrong with that guy?

3:41 am  
Anonymous davidm said...

I remember reading an interview with Kanigher in the Comics Journal about 20 years ago which covered a lot of his career- from his perspective, which seemed to boil down to "I'm a genius and nearly everyone else sucks." As I recall, Stan Lee is engagingly modest in comparison.

8:44 pm  
Anonymous yankee_jones said...

Is that the one where she turns a penny into a bridge? I think this was the first Wonder Woman story I ever read.

12:32 pm  

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