Who's groovier, Michael Jackson or the Bee Gees?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Wonder Woman #203.

Wonder Woman #203, dogs attacking
As I roam the streets of Sheffield, people often say to me, "Steve, when's Vol 2 of your fantastic book Great Dominatrices of the World coming out?"

And I say, "I'm sorry. I think you must be mistaking me for someone else. The only woman in dominatrix gear I've ever encountered is Wonder Woman."

Sadly, when I first encountered her, Diana Prince had dumped the "role-playing" gear and was wearing far more sensible clothes, having already entered her Emma Peel phase.

And so it is that issue #203 finds her minding her own business, beating up men in the street, when she gets offered a job promoting a department store.

Sadly it turns out the owner's not a feminist and is therefore evil. He's underpaying his all-female workforce and doesn't even have an adequate sprinkler system.

Needless to say, Wonder Woman won't stand for shenanigans like not having a legally required sprinkler system and soon gives him and his men the good slapping he deserves.

Wonder Woman #203's so right-on it comes across like a send-up as Wonder Woman learns a valuable lesson in what it really means to be a women's libber, and a male chauvinist pig's put in his place by women from the local community centre. I wish I could claim all this social relevance makes it a great and stirring strip but it just feels ridiculous, with just about every line of dialogue from a female mouth being socially relevant and just about every line from a male mouth being proof of what creeps men are.

It also has to be said Wonder Woman comes across as a total blockhead, at first refusing to believe her new employer's a wrong 'un, purely because she likes the money he's paying her.

To make things worse, we even get the bizarre spectacle of her declaring at one point that she doesn't like women.

Clearly the tale's doing its best to tackle important issues of the day but that doesn't change the fact it's complete and total pants.

The truth is I don't want to see Wonder Woman dealing with department store managers who don't have sprinkler systems. I want to see her punching super-villains in the face.

It could be that I'm just an old dinosaur who hasn't yet caught up with the 1970s - but clearly I'm not alone in this as, just one issue later, she'll be back in costume, hanging around with Amazons and flying around in an invisible plane.

Granted, she'll also be up against people like Dr Domino, who has to be one of the most ridiculous villains in comic book history, but what can you do?

Wonder Woman #203, In the gut, big boy!
Yeah! In the gut, big boy!

12 comments:

Aggy said...

But this is a special "Women's lib" issue. Thats not patronising at all....

Boston Bill said...

I was disappointed that not one of these issues was included in the oh-so-sad 'Greatest Wonder Woman Stories' collection that I got out from the library. I'd also like to see how quickly she gets her powers back in the next issue (Hey, I just remembered, I can lift cars!)

Dougie said...

At the risk of sounding like a complete fruitcake, this is the only version of WW I like. Pity the stories are usually terrible.

Anonymous said...

This issue (and the one preceding it) were written by noted author Samuel R. Delany....one can only speculate how he got that gig.

Steve W. said...

Yes, I was reading up last night on the whole Delany/Wonder Woman involvement. There was more of a story to the whole thing than I'd dreamed.

Steve W. said...

Hooray! At last my review of Asylum of the Daleks is finally up! http://stevedoesdrwho.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/asylum-of-daleks-review.html

Boston Bill said...

I just noticed the blurb that says 'Women's Lib Issue' at the top of the cover dominated by a tied up blonde in a mini dress. Lord, the 70' were confusing to comic book companies!

Steve W. said...

It is striking that the cover's focus seems to be on her thrusting chest. That's dedication to women's lib for you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Diana could have called the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and the city fire marshal to report the lack of sprinklers, and called the Labor Department to report the employees being underpaid. But I suppose the authorities were all male chauvinist pigs, too.

Anonymous said...

You didn't have an opinion of the twist ending on that last (half) page, Steve?
Suddenly things aren't so clear cut, and Diana's wimmins lib seems a bit bourgeois as we discover she's succeeded in putting a couple of hundred women - mainly black, it seems - out of work...

Seemed like the whole point of the story to me, and an intriguing opening set up to a new direction. Which never happened, of course, as Delany had to move on.

-sean

Warren JB said...

"Wonder Woman #203's so right-on it comes across like a send-up as Wonder Woman learns a valuable lesson in what it really means to be a women's libber, and a male chauvinist pig's put in his place by women from the local community centre. I wish I could claim all this social relevance makes it a great and stirring strip but it just feels ridiculous, with just about every line of dialogue from a female mouth being socially relevant and just about every line from a male mouth being proof of what creeps men are."

Thank goodness modern comics are different.

http://slaymonstrobot.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/spoiler-saturday-you-know-who-doesnt.html

Steve W. said...

The more I think about it and other Bronze Age attempts at social relevance, the more I feel it's an endearing snapshot of its time.

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