By RazzaTazz 2 Comments
I have been unable to get at as many comics recently as I have been busier at school, but I ran across a couple of issues I had been meaning to have a look at and so finally got to them today. A while back I was looking at some selections from an anthology of romance comics called Heart Throbs, but in this case I actually managed to get my hands some actual issues of some of them from the early 70s. Alongside this was a humour comic where ‘mod girl’ Diana met Jerry Lewis. Reading them side-by-side though actually revealed something to me which I hadn’t thought of previously and that is how much the romance era affected the Wonder Woman title. Generally speaking when I regarded the change from the golden age Wonder Woman to the silver age mod girl, I had generally given it up mostly to the need to do something for a series which was in all honesty pretty weak (having read the entire first volume I can say that is my opinion that the worst stories in the history of the character came in the years preceding this reboot.) However, in choosing to reboot it seems as though the creative teams must have copied some other trends as opposed to only those in the super hero comics. While romance comics might seem like a strange part of the lineup in the modern day, back then they were in fact quite popular with such titles as Secret Hearts, Young Romance and Girls’ Romance. The introduction of romance to the mainstream was not really a new concept either as Lois Lane had been starring in her own series, most of which detailed the mishaps of her trying to get Superman to fall in love with her. Still with Diana who had already had an established series the changes were a lot more drastic. Steve Trevor was killed off, the costume was changed from the traditional one to the new mod girl version. The similarities to romance comics were a lot more subtle though. Generally speaking romance comics had peculiar dilemmas, mysterious yet attractive men, and women drawn like does caught in headlights. Out of the golden age each of these aspects became a lot more evident (as Wonder Woman herself was drawn with a look more in tune with contemporary makeup and she also dated a lot more.) The reasons behind these changes are beyond me to ascertain for certain, but I could take a guess. The romance comics were ones that primarily were read by females, and this expansion into a new demographic might have helped the title which would have been suffering due to poor writing. Essentially as boys stopped reading the series, someone else had to. The modern history of the publication of Wonder Woman does not do justice either to how important the title was to DC in those days. It was one of DC’s flagship titles, having been running since the 1940s. The new demographic would breathe new life into it, while making Diana a character much more like Batman would have appealed to the male readership as well. Or so they thought, the experiment was still short lived, but still led Diana into the modern age, helped at least in part by romance comics.