My goal was to read and review at least one issue out of every ten leading up until the silver age of Wonder Woman. In doing so I noticed a few things about Wonder Woman and her development:
1. Early Wonder Woman was actually a really strong female role model. Her actions may not be so well regarded in the modern day, but back then a woman holding a regular job was almost unheard of. Yet Lt. Diana Prince maintained her job in army intelligence while also doing her heroic exploits.
2. The backup stories were also pretty well geared towards girls. Most stories started off as historical comics of famous women, until the got changed into information pages on marriage and wedding traditions. The marriage/wedding tradition stuff was fluffier, but I still found it interesting.
3. It had good relations to fans. A lot of the stories dealt with Wonder Woman interacting with her fans which I thought was cool and was sort of a “breaking the fourth wall” reference to her readers.
1. Wonder Woman is too often depicted as madly in love with Steve Trevor. A lot of the stories had Steve desperately trying to convince Wonder Woman to marry him and she was completely spellbound by him, though she couldn’t marry him in order to protect her identity. Too many of the stories revolved around this plot device and not so much around fighting crime. In fact a lot of the crime she fought was as a result of something that happened while Steve was wooing her.
2. The golden age plot devices are overwhelming at times. Wonder Woman was almost able to manifest a new power at will when needed (dimensional travel, intangibility, using her lasso as a super powered whip to create a shockwave to keep a grandstand of observer aloft in the air.) There were also a lot of issues with the standard “trying to protect secret identity” plotline. Robots at the time were also much easier to design than they are today.
3. Races were depicted stereotypically and sometimes condescendingly. This is wrong in any time, regardless of what was accepted in society.
Another thing which I found quite amusing was this panel from one of the letters pages:
It seemed that fans back then had similar issues that I have today, poorly defined villains and a desire for a change in clothing.
Here are the links to the reviews in case anyone is interested: 6, 19, 24, 37, 44, 54, 68, 77, 83, 93, 101, 111, 125, 139, 148, 155, 164, 177