Mike Gold: The Wonder Woman Sensation
Back in the 1970s during my first tenure as a DC Comics employee, I rhetorically asked the question “who was relaunched more often – Wonder Woman or Captain America?” For you young’uns, in today’s lingo “relaunched” means “rebooted.” Even as a rhetorical question, people’s heads exploded. This, of course, did not stop us fanboys from counting.
It turns out in order to get a fair count we needed to summon the spirit of Milton Sirotta. Oh, okay, check it out here. Yes, I’m asking you to Google Googol.
My advice, offered at the time and I continue to offer today, was to treat Wonder Woman as though she were a genuine superhero and have her do all the other stuff the other superheroes, almost exclusively male, could do. It’s amazing how often she was just… lame. I’m not saying the mythological approach, as best presented by George Pérez although the present team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang is absolutely first-rate, is in any way wrong. Not at all. They-all use mythology in a manner similar to Jack Kirby’s Thor, and that’s about the highest praise I’ve got.
Wonder Woman did not get her start in the All-American Comics’ anthology title, Sensation Comics. She got her start a month earlier, in the DC/All-American hybrid, All-Star Comics #8. But it was Sensation Comics that was her launchpad to superstardom.
Wonder Woman quickly earned her own title, as well as a regular slot in Comic Cavalcade and the job of – wait for it – secretary in the Justice Society. As time wounded all deals, only the eponymous title survived the “Golden Age,” one of only three superhero comics to do so. And that’s about all of WW’s really, really strange creation history that I’m going to share right now.
Last week, DC returned Sensation Comics to the world as part of its much celebrated (well, celebrated by me, often, in this chunk of the Ethersphere) Digital First line. That means it’ll be reprinted, I think today, in traditional comic book form and then ignored by too many retailers who think “digital” is a four-letter word. Woe onto them: Sensation Comics is a pure superhero title. It is Wonder Woman the Superhero. Which is what she was created to be.
You couldn’t put this first story in better hands. Gail Simone is no stranger to the character and no slouch as a writer – in fact, she’s one of the best practicing the craft today. Artist Ethan Van Sciver is a fan-fave as well, and for good reason: he is great at handling superhero stories. He should be cloned.
Together, Gail and Ethan give us … well, a Batman story, except Batman isn’t in it, Wonder Woman is. Instead of the ever-expanding Batman family, we’ve got WW’s sisters-in-arms. We’ve got The Joker, The Penguin, Two-Face, The Riddler et al, and Wonder Woman is taking them all on, as any great superhero would.
This is one of the best superhero comics I’ve read in quite a while. More important, it’s the superhero comic Wonder Woman deserves.