Like the proverbial Phoenix itself, ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ returns, regenerated and reinvigorated after its semi-conclusive epilogue last episode. We reached our objective denouement by both completing our original purpose; a chronicle of Wonder Woman comic-book covers, charting her heroic history from the 1940’s through to modern day, whilst counting down to her 75th anniversary. Plus we managed to surface from the Ancient Amazon Archives, from whence we recounted these great tales of Herculean proportion, in fact the trek through the archives formed an epic tale all its own (why not visit the archives yourselves, fellow fans, and relive that Olympian Odyssey.)
But from any ending a beginning can be wrought, reborn like the aforementioned Phoenix, arising from the ashes of it’s predecessor in Greek mythology, just like Diana has done so many times in her very own munificently multifaceted mythos.
And so we begin a new chapter in the ongoing chronicles of Wonder Woman, and what better place to start than with an original take on Diana’s childhood and subsequent upbringing on the secluded tranquil paradise island known as Themyscira, home of the legendary Amazons.
Jill Thompson is an Eisner award winning writer and illustrator who has worked in the industry for nigh on 30 years. She has collaborated on titles such as Sandman alongside the inimitable Neil Gaiman, and in the eighties worked with the great George Perez, drawing Wonder Woman. Perez is highly regarded for his classic run on Wonder Woman in the 80’s and 90’s, revitalising the character for a modern audience. Thompson’s spouse is comic book writer Brian Azzarello, who was responsible for the highly acclaimed Wonder Woman run in 2011 after Diana was relaunched in DC Comics’ New-52 reboot.
Almost three decades later Thompson has returned to the venerable paradise island to retell the tale of Wonder Woman from a fresh and even more mythical perspective with ‘Wonder Woman: The True Amazon’
Thompson begins her story before the birth of Diana, back when the Amazons fought a war against nine armies led by Heracles and his father Zeus, who had disguised himself in a bid to seduce the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. Zeus’ wife Hera discovered her godly consort’s plan and, with the help of Poseidon, rescued the Amazons and delivered them to a secret island, where they thrived and prospered as immortals untouched by the outside world for millennia.
Hippolyta though longed for a child of her own, she would fashion a baby out of sand and clay and would nightly sing to it a sad and sorrow filled song, that eventually reached the ears of Olympus, the Gods upon hearing the melancholic strain cried tears of gold and silver that fell onto Themyscira, breathing life into the childlike sculpture.
And thus Diana was born, reckless and at times arrogant due to her being not only the sole child on the isle of the Amazons, but also one gifted with superhuman powers by the Gods of Olympus. It’s this supercilious and condescending attitude that takes centre stage in Thompson’s retelling of Diana’s childhood, spoilt from birth and treated as if she can do no wrong, Diana begins to believe that she actually is better than all else around her, a literal gift from the gods. That is until she meets Aletha, a stable girl who isn’t overawed by Diana like all the others, her friendship cannot be attained through the usual methods of boasting, and on occasion bullying which causes Diana, initially, to change her imperious attitude, in a bid to procure this seemingly unattainable Amazon’s affections, yet an even greater upset lies in her not too distant future.
‘Wonder Woman: The True Amazon’ is an astonishing piece of work from Jill Thompson, an alluring yet at times provocative take on the world’s first female Superhero. The story has a level of true emotional depth oft unfound in certain Superhero comics. The retelling may be seen as divisive by some, but Thompson adds a level of humanity to Diana that elegantly supersedes her demi-god status, which ultimately allows the story a much more poignant and emotive accessibility. Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Thompson’s astounding artwork that adorns the pages of her groundbreaking graphic novel. Breathtaking is a word that fits her visual style perfectly, each and every panel is a fully hand painted watercolour by Thompson, the book really stands out when compared to it’s modern counterparts. The True Amazon is truly a work of art, and cannot come more highly recommended.
Join us again next time for more ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ my affable Amazonian associates!
After our Herculean trek through the Ancient Amazon Archives reached it’s climactic crescendo in our previous instalment, we find ourselves, once more, basking in the alluring beauty of the legendary paradise island known as Themyscira. A warm breeze again caresses our skin as we cross the tranquil tapestry of forests, mountains and rivers that ultimately unfolds before us to form this awe inspiring isle of immortals.
Bird song greets our ears and a serene calm seems to hang over this ethereal island. As we move further inland, ancient baluster rise from the ground arranging a beautacious path that weaves it’s way towards an ancient city that defies mortal eyes with it’s diaphanous presence of elegance, gleaming incandescently in the golden hue of the sun. The Baluster give way to pennants softly swaying in the breeze, with each of these intricate vexillum vying for our attention with their Daedalian imagery of the Hellenic Gods and Amazons.
Our heartbeat quickens and anticipation heightens as we finally reach the majestically wrought marble gates that lead, ultimately, into the elysian rapture that is the city-state of Themyscira. Hanging conspicuously from a single strand of an unknown golden gossamer to the side of the grand gates is an elaborately detailed horn depicting Zeus’ nurturing goat Amalthea, softly blowing into the Cornu causes the Mycenaean styled gate to slowly reveal the magnificence of it’s interior, a vision so resplendent that it can only be relayed to mortal eyes through… ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ Precinct1313’s comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the Themysciran Titan.
And lo our odyssey reaches its conclusion as we find ourselves at the denouement of this quest to celebrate the creation and continuation of the world’s premier and most important fictional female character. The journey through the Ancient Amazon Archives has been filled with many tantalising tales of heroism, and heartbreak, a grand adventure that ultimately ends here with the 75th anniversary of Princess Diana of Themyscira, better known to the world as Wonder Woman.
DC Comics, that fine purveyor of the fantastic, have pronounced that today is their official celebration of Diana’s virtual birth, it coincides with the United Nations event naming the wondrous one as their ‘Honorary Ambassador For The Empowerment Of Women And Girls’ and you can count on Precinct1313 to commemorate this monumental occasion with a week long salute to our favourite fictional female.
You may have noticed that we spend a lot of our time here in Precinct1313’s legendary comic crypts discussing the awesome Amazon – Wonder Woman, in fact well over 50% of the articles emanating from these creative catacombs are about the Themysciran Titan, due to the fact that she is, without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite comic-book character.
In the past few days we have received several PM’s from readers asking us for our opinion on the recent news that the venerable Princess of Themyscira is bisexual. Of course our quick answer to this question would be, “Great Hera, where have you been for the past 75 years, this is not new, Diana has always been bisexual”. It may have been implied more often than actually spoken out loud, but the signs were always there, both from her humble beginnings in the 1940’s (where, let’s be honest the allusions were so obvious, you’d have to be blind to miss them) to the actual Greek mythology that she originates from.
If you don’t necessarily closely follow the comic book scene, allow us to enlighten you on recent events that have led up to this, frankly ridiculous furore. DC Comics, that bastion of scintillating superheroes, recently softly rebooted it’s universe of characters with an event known as ‘Rebirth’.
This event has been a huge success for the company, thanks not only to fantastic storylines, great art and a reverence for their characters lengthy history, but also because they had actually listened to their fans, who had been very vocal over the direction the company had been taking the heroes and villains over the years, some missteps had been made, and Rebirth was their attempt to bring their much loved characters back to a time when their popularity soared like the Man of Steel himself.
In fact Rebirth has turned out to be the most popular and profitable event in comics since forever, with DC Comics currently holding a huge market share in the comic book industry and soundly trumping their closest rival Marvel month in and out, they are currently holding 44% share in total comics sold worldwide, with Marvel sitting at 32%.
And one of their biggest hits has been the Rebirth issues of our favourite Hellenic Herald. Wonder Woman: Rebirth has been getting rave reviews each and every issue, the storyline by sensational scribe Greg Rucka has been sublime, alternating each issue between her origin story and modern day adventures, with awe inspiring art from Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott making every issue a majestic masterpiece.
Greg Rucka has recently proclaimed that ‘Yes, Diana has had same sex relationships’, in an interview with Comicosity he stated – “It’s supposed to be paradise (her home island of Themyscira) You’re supposed to be able to live happily, in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner, to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship, and in this case the only options are women. But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say ‘you’re gay’ they don’t know the concept exists”
The link to the full interview is above and if you have the time, it’s an interesting read. The context has always been clear though, Diana, though her origin has changed slightly over the years (child of clay or daughter of Zeus) spent millennia on an isolated island populated by just women. She had never met a man, so it was obvious that she would have had same sex relations with other Amazons, as stated earlier, this was always implied, and in some cases (Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman: Earth One being the most recent) was actually written about.
In the 1940’s when Wonder Woman was first unleashed onto the world, the suffragette movement was beginning to gain tract and Diana who emerged triumphantly from the mind of her creator William Moulton Marston was at the forefront of this. Marston specifically created a female superhero to counter the dominant male oriented comic book market, as strong and smart as her male counterparts but filled with compassion and love of nature and the world around her, basically a deeper more rounded creation than any of the male superheroes.
It was in fact Marston’s wife Elizabeth, and Olive Byrne (who lived with them, in an extended relationship) that inspired the creation of Diana. Marston was a psychologist as well as a writer, and it was through this that he determined that women overall were more honest than men in certain situations, and could work faster and more accurately.
In an interview in a 1943 issue of ‘The American Scholar’ Marston wrote – “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender and peace loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of perceived weakness. The answer was to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman, plus the allure of a good and beautiful woman”
Wonder Woman being bisexual doesn’t change the character in any way whatsoever, it has always been part of her make up, it’s her heritage and should have zero bearing on whether people derive enjoyment from her continuing tales of fortitude and heroism. DC Comics are not jumping on a bandwagon, they haven’t all of a sudden decided to make Diana bisexual to be hip and trendy, this is what she has always been. Wonder Woman is an extraordinarily important character, the original female Superhero, THE progenitor in her field, a shining example of inclusivity and empowerment and her sexual orientation should hold no relevance in this.
Our effervescent expedition through the ancient Amazon archives continues apace as we descend yet another level into what is a seemingly infinite array of chambers and corridors, with each and every recess literally crammed with untold millennia of encyclopedic knowledge pertaining to the deific Amazon race.
This new tier though appears more majestic than the three previous floors we negotiated, the palatial surroundings are bathed under an ethereal light that transcends even the anterior archives in elegance. Diaphanous silks drape across the walls, and each turn of the interminable passageways present us with an exquisite effigy of one of the founding Gods of Olympus, layered in gold and precious stones that denotes their importance to the noble race of warriors and artisans.
The hellenic architecture of the passages give way to an extraordinarily large Propylae gate that forms the entrance to an elegant repository that house the largest collection of tomes and parchments we have yet seen in our ongoing odyssey. One wall though contains a single volume, bound in leather and embossed in gold leaf this intricate book shimmers under the luminescent glow of the nearby torches. Carefully opening the tome, our eyes alight upon the magnificence of the interior narrative, an elaborate exposition that can only be translated through… ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ Precinct1313’s comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana Prince.
A scintillating six hundred issues into the astonishing adventures of the amazing Amazon, and DC merge the previous three volumes and return Diana’s foray into man’s world to its original numbering. This oversized anniversary special brings together a legion of tantalising talent to create a commemorative comic of epic proportion.
The cadre of comic-book composers gathered together for this illustrious issue include – George Perez, Amanda Conner, Gail Simone, Phil Jimenez, Jock, Adam Hughes, J. Michael Strazczynski, Nicola Scott and many, many more. Plus, an incomparable introduction by stunning seventies superstar of the original Wonder Woman TV series, the lovely Lynda Carter!
The anniversary issue comprises five different tales of the Themysciran Titan, with the highlight for this fevered fan being the short tale written and drawn by the amazing Amanda Conner. We find Wonder Woman teaming up with Power Girl and one time Batgirl Cassandra Cain to battle the inexplicable Egg-Fu! It also touches upon a power we rarely see used by Diana, her innate ability to empathise and to some extent converse with animals, as she gives Power Girl a look into why her pet cat is out of sorts in a heartfelt and amusing tale.
Join us again next time for more ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ my adventurous Amazonian associates!
Pushing ever deeper into the ancient Amazon archives we discover a seemingly forgotten pathway, heavily shrouded in near impenetrable darkness and coated in a fine layer of dust and cobwebs. Beyond this hidden path lies a small ornate room illuminated from some unknown and otherworldly source, and at its centre lies a magnificent manuscript that can only be translated through – “Classic Wonder Woman” Precinct1313’s comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Princess Diana of Themyscira.
This week’s tantalising tome is brought to you by those boundless bastions of comic book creation – Gail Simone, Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan. Released in July 2008.
The startling story secreted behind the colossal cover is the first part of a four issue mini-series entitled “Ends Of The Earth” and marks the beginning of Gail Simone’s legendary run on the awesome Amazon’s adventures.
Diana must brave the mystical demonic dimension known as the Black Horizon, this desolate plane has devoured many a great warrior who has encountered its perilous landscape. Bereft of many of her powers and fighting a growing bloodlust in her veins, Diana must journey through this dangerous dimension to reclaim her soul from a demon lord who lives at the edge of all existence.
Join us again next time for more Classic Wonder Woman, my astute Amazonian associates!
The ornate chambers of the Amazon archives are vast, stretching as far as any mortal’s eyes can see. We make our way deeper into the legendary library, stopping occasionally to survey the various parchments and tomes, the millenia long annals of Amazon deeds and feats are contained in this sacred place, and conveyed to you through ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ Precinct1313’s comic cover coundown to the 75th anniversary of the Themysciran legend.
This week’s tenacious tome is brought to you by the mythical maestros of comic book creation – J. Torres, Julian Lopez, & Marta Martinez. With the classic cover rapturously rendered by – Terry & Rachel Dodson. Released: December 2007.
Thirteen issues into Volume 3 of Diana’s daring adventures brings you a startling story entitled “Mothers and Daughters”, a crossover issue in conjunction with the mini-series “Amazons Attack”. After the cataclysmic events of Infinite Crisis, the Amazons return to Earth to find their Princess, Diana, illegally held in detention by the United States Government.
Led by their Queen, Hippolyta and her adviser Circe, and joined by Greek mythical creatures that includes, Pegasus, Hydras and Cyclops, the Amazons attack the USA, with Hippolyta hellbent on destroying the world of men. Unknown to Hippolyta and her sister Amazons though is that the whole event was orchestrated by Circe, who is using the war as a means to destroy the Amazons and their fabled home of Themyscira.
Join us again next time for more Classic Wonder Woman, my astonishing Amazonian associates!
The ancient Amazon archives reveal their deepest secrets to the outside world once more, as we continue on our journey to the 75th anniversary of Diana Prince. “Classic Wonder Woman” this week presents; Wonder Woman (volume 2) #213. Written by: Greg Rucka. Cover art by: J.G Jones. Interior art by: James Raiz. Released April 2005.
This week’s illuminating issue is titled “Counting Coup” and is part two of a thrilling tale that sees Olympus Gods, Zeus and Athena clash. With Diana enmeshed in the conflict she finds she must face the threat of Zeus’ bodyguard, the one hundred armed, fifty headed beast known as Briareos.
Another stunning issue from the awesome Greg Rucka, with an absolutely sublime cover illustrated by the talented J.G Jones. My favourite tales of the Amazing Amazon are always the ones that deal with the Olympic Gods and Greek mythology, and Rucka’s remarkable run on Wonder Woman wrought many great mythological narratives.
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astounding Amazonian associates!
“Hola” once again fellow fans of the amazing Amazon, and welcome back to Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana of Themyscira. This week we present you with; Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #36. Written by George Perez and Mindy Newell, with cover and interior art by Chris Marrinan and George Perez. Released in November 1989.
This weeks terrific tale is titled “Changes In The Wind” and we join Diana and her Amazon sisters as they prepare to celebrate one of their most sacred traditions “The Feast Of Five.”
One of the Amazon’s most revered and ancient traditions The Feast Of Five, is celebrated every year to pay homage to the five patron goddesses of Olympus who were instrumental in their creation. Apart from constant prayers and reverence to their creators, the occasion begins with a hunt, in honour of the goddess Artemis. This is followed by a harvest in praise of the goddess Demeter, after which a feast is held to eulogise their remaining creators. The Feast Of Five not only commemorates the goddesses who created the Amazons, but is also recognised as a holy birthday for the entire Amazon race.
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my admirable Amazonian associates!
‘Hola’ once more my Themysciran sisters and brothers, and welcome back to Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana Prince. This week we present you with; Wonder Woman #329, written by Gerry Conway, with cover and interior art by Jose Garcia Lopez and Don Heck. Released in February 1986.
Issue #329 marks the end of volume 1 of Wonder Woman’s amazing adventures, but the beginning of a whole new chapter for both the awesome Amazon and the DC Universe as a whole. The titanic tale secreted behind this classic cover is titled “Of Gods And Men”, and this special anniversary issue not only honours 50 years of DC Comics, but also forms part of the reboot of the DC Universe, through the Crisis On Infinite Earths storyline.
The Crisis On Infinite Earths saga was created to be part of DC’s celebration of 50 years of comic book publishing, but DC stalwarts Marv Wolfman, Len Wein and George Perez also saw it as a great opportunity to help bring continuity back into a comic universe that had become very convoluted and at times inconsistent with its own characters backstories. The series stood 12 issues in length and crossed over into every monthly comic that DC published, to make for an epic narrative that would have far reaching and dramatic influences on the heroes and villains of the DC Universe.
But fear not fellow fans of the astounding Amazon, for Diana will return in volume 2 and a brand new first issue, which will follow post-crisis Wonder Woman on all new adventures throughout the rebooted DC Universe. A new day dawns on the shores of Themyscira, and Precinct1313 will be there to help guide you through it!
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my adroit Amazonian associates!
Welcome back once more, my Amazon loving friends to another instalment of Classic Wonder Woman, as we continue to delve into the Amazonian archives, in our weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the Themysciran princess.
This week we present you with, Wonder Woman #179, written by the legendary Denny O’Neil, with cover and interior art by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano, released in December 1968.
The late 1960’s marked an interesting (though ultimately unpopular with the fans) turning point for our Greek heroine, with the popularity of television characters like Emma Peel (from English TV show, The Avengers) Wonder Woman underwent a dramatic transformation under the guidance of new writer Denny O’Neil. The tale enclosed in this startling comic entitled ‘Wonder Woman’s Last Battle’, begins with Diana being summoned back to Themyscira by Queen Hippolyta, who tells her that the magic of the amazons has been exhausted after their 10,000 years stay on Earth, and they must leave for another dimension to recuperate their powers. Wonder Woman refuses to leave and thus gives up her costume and performs the Amazon rite of renunciation, removing her powers. Returning to the world of men as Diana Prince, she would continue to fight crime relying only on her martial prowess and Amazon ingenuity.
This change in direction proved unpopular with the fanbase at large, and lasted only around two years before the return of the classic character. Wonder Woman was originally created by William Marston to be faster, stronger and more capable than the men around her, she was a female character of empowerment, the original proponent of women’s liberation and with her powers removed she had lost that edge. Looking back on that era now, writer Denny O’Neil said her change wasn’t necessarily a mistake, but was definitely badly implemented at the time.
Join us again in a weeks time for another classic WW cover, my adventurous Amazonian associates!