Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Worst Cover You've Never Seen--Wonder Woman #159 (1966)

I mean, just look at this thing:

It's not Ross Andru & Mike Esposito's fault, obviously--it's whoever decided to cram the right side of the cover with more verbiage than a Chris Claremont X-Men panel.

And what's with the multiple references to secret origins and the Golden Age? Well, there's a story there...

After taking over writing Wonder Woman from William Moulton Marsten, Robert Kanigher's run had become increasingly nuts, even by Silver Age standards. Wonder Tot cavorting with genies, Wingo the Bird-Boy, alien suitors, and, well, this:


Ah, but in that issue, the second feature was one of the oddest damn things you've ever read.

Wonder Woman is panicking about upcoming changes Kanigher is making to the book--yes, we're going completely meta here:

Kanigher is willing to take some swipes at himself (as well as fans who were displeased with his work):

Anyway, it turns out that Kanigher is planning to "fire" most of the supporting cast:

So, what's going to happen now..?

And so Kanigher addresses the masses:

So, from now on, Wonder Woman stories would be set in the Golden Age! They'd be retellings of her origins, and her first meetings with her classic villains!

Now that, in and of itself, isn't completely unusual. Just a few months earlier, Marvel had decided to set Captain America's feature in Tales Of Suspense in WWII, starting with a retelling of his origin. One gets the sense that creators weren't entirely sure what to do with Golden Age characters in the Silver Age.

But the Wonder Woman example goes even further, as Andru and Esposito were directed to make the artwork look as if the stories were actually produced in the Golden Age!! Take a look at these pages from #163:

Wild, huh?

This also created some confusion and continuity problems, as it had already been established by DC that it was the Earth-2 Wonder Woman who had been active in WWII. Furthermore, the "new Golden Age" stories weren't consistent with what was established as Wonder Woman-2's history. It was confusing, and pretty much no one liked it.

So, after a handful of issues, we were suddenly back to this:


Honestly, the "Emma Peel" Wonder Woman couldn't come fast enough...

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