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!
Our Olympian Odyssey through the ancient Amazon archives continues expeditiously as we leave behind the Herculean Amphitheatre of knowledge we surreptitiously unearthed in our previous instalment, and guide ourselves through a small vestibule daedally draped in silken banners that portray the subjugation and eventual emancipation of the deific Amazons from their ancient adversary Hercules.
Upon closer inspection of the various Vexillum we notice one of them softly swaying back and forth, possessed of a zephyr of air from an unknown source. Pushing aside the intricate pennant we discover a set of majestic marble steps that lead upwards, twisting and turning erratically, triumphantly obscuring our vision of their eventual end.
After what feels like an eternity of elevation our perpetual pace comes to cessation as we find our progress halted by a lavishly engraved bronze Mycenaean style Lion Gate. Incisively running our fingers across a prominent carving of a Lioness, we discover a hasp ingeniously masquerading as one of it’s intricate incisors. Pulling the hasp towards us causes the Lion Gate to slowly open… instantly we move our hands to shield our eyes as blinding sunlight pores in through the now unlatched gateway, after months spent scouring the archives under scant torchlight, the suddenness of the solar rays scorch our eyes.
With the colossal Amazon archives now behind us, does this mark the end of our epic odyssey? or is it symbolic of a new beginning for Wonder Woman? these questions and more can only be answered through… ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ Precinct1313’s comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana of Themyscira.
A new day does indeed dawn on the paradise island known as Themyscira, as our Hellenic Herald embraces a new origin story, and siblings of Godlike stature. In September 2011, DC Comics relaunched it’s entire line of comic books, with the elaborate event being named ‘The New 52’ fifty two titles each following a classic DC character. Diana was no longer birthed from clay, moulded by her mother Queen Hippolyta, and given life by a pantheon of Greek Gods, but instead is the demi-goddess daughter of Zeus himself. Her original origin is revealed to be nothing more than an elaborate cover story to protect her from the preconceived wrath of Zeus‘ wife Hera.
DC brought on board sensational scribe Brian Azzarello to pen her ongoing tales of fantastic fiction, and astounding artist Cliff Chiang to bring her virtual soul to life. Together they succeeded in producing one of the most celebrated runs in Wonder Woman‘s long and varied history.
Join us again next time for more ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ my accomplished Amazonian associates!
Welcome back once more friends of Themyscira, to another instalment of Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the amazing Amazon. The tantalising tale hidden behind this weeks captivating cover is titled “The Princess And The Power” released in February 1987, written by George Perez and Greg Potter, with cover and interior art by George Perez and Bruce Patterson.
It’s been a year since the last publication of a Wonder Woman solo comic, ending her titanic run on volume one and following on from the major reboot of the DC Universe in the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” saga, Diana returns once more in volume two.
This classic comic sports an awesome George Perez wraparound cover that depicts the defeat and subjugation of the Amazon warrior race by Zeus’ son Heracles, who is aided and abetted by God of War, Ares.
With a brand new first issue comes a reworking of Wonder Woman and her sister Amazon’s backstory. A convocation of Greek Gods form in Zeus’ palace on Mount Olympus, where Artemis, Goddess of the hunt petitions Zeus to create a race of warrior women to lead mankind back once again, to the faithful worship of the Greek Gods. Zeus rejects the idea, and Artemis approaches Zeus’ wife Hera in private to get her blessing for the venture. With Hera’s support, Artemis gathers together Gods who are sensitive to her cause which include, Hermes, Demeter, Aphrodite, Athena and Hestia.
Together these gregarious Greek Gods cross the famed River Styx and enter the Cavern of Souls (also known as the Womb of Gaea, the Earth Mother) and extract the souls of women who have died at the hands of man throughout the generations, and reincarnate them as Amazon warriors. One soul however is left in the cavern, and Athena professes that this one has a special destiny, but her time is yet to come. This soul will eventually become Diana, moulded out of clay on the shores of Themyscira by her mother Queen Hippolyta, and given life, once more by the pantheon of Greek Gods.
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astute Amazonian associates!
Welcome back once more, to another instalment of Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of everyone’s favourite Amazon superhero. This week we delve into the Amazonian archives to bring you; Wonder Woman #216, Written by Elliot Maggin, with cover and interior art by Nick Cardy and John Rosenberger, released in 1975.
The story retained behind this classic cover, titled ‘Paradise in Peril’, tells the tale of a famous Greek tycoon’s attempt to set foot on the forbidden shores of the Amazon island of Themyscira, to assess what happens when man breaks Aphrodite’s law. His attempt is monitored by Diana’s fellow Justice League member Black Canary, who recounts the story throughout the issue.
The paradise island of Themyscira is the second home of the Amazons after they were displaced from their original Greek state by demi-god Heracles. The Amazons were forcibly removed from the splendour of the original Themyscira City and enslaved by Heracles and his men and their Greek home state was burnt to the ground.
Imprisoned Amazon Queen Hippolyta wept for her subjugated people and pleaded to the Gods for their salvation. Her prayers were answered by the Goddess of wisdom Athena, who pledged her support to the Amazons if Hippolyta sought revenge on her captors. The Amazons broke free of their shackles and escaped, though many of them refused to continue to worship the Gods of Olympus, feeling betrayed by their lack of intervention during their ordeal at the hands of Zeus’ son Heracles.
The Amazons who still followed Hippolyta and the Gods were separated from their wayward sisters and taken to the shores of their new home, a beautiful secluded paradise island, which they renamed Themyscira, in honour of their former home. As a penance for their subjugation they were to guard the doors to the Greek underworld of Hades for eternity, in return they would be granted immortality as long as they continued their duty to the Gods. Because of their imprisonment by Heracles and his men, and under the law set down by Aphrodite, no man was ever to set foot upon the shores of Themyscira.
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my adventurous Amazonian associates!
Welcome once more friends, to our ongoing classic comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the world’s first and most important female superhero. This week we bring you Wonder Woman #149, released in October 1964, written by Robert Kanigher, with cover and interior art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Within the pages of this amazing amazon archive, you will encounter the classic, The Last Days Of The Amazons, recounting the tale of Queen Hippolyta’s lost love and her call to the goddess Athena to help her fashion a statue in his image. But when the statue inexplicably is brought to life, the presence of man on Themyscira threatens the downfall of the island.
This issue takes place mainly on the paradise island of Themyscira, which is actually the second home of the Amazons. Themyscira originally was the city-state in ancient Greece founded by the Amazons themselves, ruled over by sisters Hippolyta and Antiope. After being betrayed by Gods, Ares and Heracles, the Amazons moved to a remote island and rebuilt their culture away from the prying eyes of man and under the protection of Zeus himself. The Amazons, separate from the modern world lived in a state of harmony with their surroundings, training themselves for centuries as warriors and artisans.
Join us again in a weeks time for another classic WW cover, my affable amazonian associates!