My comic book reading plan has been hi-jacked once again by a woman. A couple weeks ago, I followed Hawkgirl into the 21st century and this past week I allowed Wonder Woman to take over the reading plan for a few days.
I did complete volume 5 of “Crisis on Multiple Earths”, but an unplanned buying spree will prevent me from moving on the volume 6 until I complete the current backlog.
I was bugged by the fact that even after Hawkgirl joined the JLA in 1977, she still did not get the coverage that I think she deserved and I do have theory about this, but it may sound of silly.
Anyway, first off… Wonder Woman. There was a sale on Wonder Woman with some titles going for 80% off. It ends today (6/5). One of the titles I bought was “Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 Years”. This is a collection containing nearly 20 issues. Normally it sells for $29.95 and I got it for $9.95. There are milestones issues from every period from the 1940s to the 2010s.
The two issues that I found the most interesting was one from 1968 and one from 1973.
Issue #179 from December, 1968 is very important because it is the issue where Wonder Woman lost her super powers because the magic of the Amazons has become exhausted after their 10,000-year stay on Earth, and that they must go to another dimension to rest and renew their powers. Wonder Woman refuses to join them and now she must live her life only as Diana Prince. In a very rapid and compressed timeframe, she becomes a martial arts expert/secret agent working with a mysterious Chinese monk to rid the world of criminals and the ugliness that comes from them.
So, for five years Diana Prince dressed in mod outfits complete with thigh-high patent leather boots and fought criminals and super villains without the super powers of Wonder Woman. The period in her life was known as the controversial “I-Ching Era”
Then in 1973, in issue #204 of Wonder Woman in a wild story involving the accidental of death of her mentor, the Chinese monk, her hanging upside down from a helicopter, a shark attack, and a bout of amnesia, Diana Prince becomes Wonder Woman once again. This is why I love comic books!
I also purchased the first six issues of Wonder Woman for .99 cents each. These titles were published between 1942 and 1943. In the past few months, I have read a number of comic books that were published in the early 1940s, and have to say the quality of art in the early Wonder Woman comics is much higher than for some of other titles I have read including the Superman stories in Action Comics and the JSA in All-Star Comics. Harry G. Peter, a newspaper cartoonist from San Francisco was the original artist for Wonder Woman.
Regarding the never-ending saga of Hawkgirl controversies. As I mentioned in a previous post, Hawkgirl finally joined the JLA in 1977, ten years after it was first suggested that she be made a member. There were a lot excuses made as to why Hawkgirl was not invited join, but none of them really made much sense. For example, there was a rule against duplication of powers and because Hawkman was a member therefore Hawkgirl could not be a member. Yet then what powers are they talking about? Flight? Superman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkman all had the ability to fly.
Anyway she finally became member, as I said, in 1977 and now there were three female members: Wonder Woman, Black Canary, and Hawkgirl. Then in December 1978, a year later, Zatanna becomes a member making it four women super heroes in the ranks of the JLA.
I was curious about something…
How many times between 1977 and 1980 did Hawkgirl appear in JLA issues? How many times did Zatanna appear? To find the answer I went to Comicbookdb.com
Between June 1977 and the end of 1980, a nearly four year period, Hawkgirl appeared in 19 out of a total of 40 issues. (see the listing)
Between the end of 1978 and the end of 1980, a near two year period, Zatanna appeared in 21 out of 21 issues. In other words, she appeared in every issue published in that two year period. (see the listing)
The accounting is slightly misleading because a character is counted as appearing even if they only appeared in one place in the book as say for example on the front cover. This was the case with Hawkgirl who appeared only on the front cover of issue #170 in September, 1979 and this counted as an appearance.
I have a theory as to why Zatanna got twice the coverage as did Hawkgirl and think the image of Zatanna below might explain why.
This image is from JLA issue # 171 from October 1979. An issue in which Hawkgirl did not appear. By the way, this issue is one those annual cross-overs where the JLA of Earth 1 meets the JSA of Earth 2 and in this issue there are two Hawkman – the Carter Hall one from Earth 2 and the Katar Hol one from Earth 1. Could they not have had one of the Hawkgirls appear instead – either Shiera or Shayera?.
In addition to the Wonder Woman comics, I also bought some single-issues of JLA. I bought #103 where the Phantom Stranger becomes a member of the JLA, #104 just because, #105 where Elongated Man joins the JLA, and #106 where Red Tornado is inducted in the JLA.