Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Ten Favorite Wonder Girl Moments (old school version)!

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Kicks a bulldozer's ass with precious little help from Aqualad ("The Beast God of Xochatan," Teen Titans #1, February 1966)  Superheroes fight.  It’s what they do.  They fight super-villains, they fight each other.  On The Adventures of Pete and Pete, younger Pete Wrigley and his personal superhero Artie (the strongest man… in the world!) do all superheroes much better and fought the Atlantic Ocean.  Here we see Wonder Girl doing her part in similarly unorthodox superheroics by beating up a bulldozer.  Well, she doesn’t exactly beat it up, but she does pit her strength against it and wins.  With little help from Aqualad, whose idea of doing his teammate a solid is sitting atop the bulldozer while she pulls it from the water.  He did tie the rope to it, but you’d think he’d be considerate enough to at least push from behind or else get his ass off the damned thing so Wonder Girl’s job is that much easier.  Little jerk.

Bob Haney, script/Bruno Premiani, art
Indomitable self-esteem, even in the face of her own mother's belittling comments (Brave and the Bold #60, 196-)  Wow.  Even her own mother denigrates her because of her gender.  It’s an all-too-common phenomenon for parents to project their insecurities onto their children, usually with negative behavior-skewing results.  But the wonderful thing about Wonder Girl is she doesn’t let it get her down.  That’s self-confidence.  Where does she get it?  Certainly not from Mom!

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Chooses the Titans' Peace Corps assignment (Teen Titans #1)  Here she is thrusting a small flag into a map at the Peace Corps headquarters.  What’s at stake?  The Titans’ posting, the location of where they’ll carry out their nation-building humanitarian mission.  Choosing just the right spot is a big responsibility, and we see how Wonder Girl makes it fun as well with some casual athleticism.  Never mind that the flag could have just as easily ended up in the ocean or some uninhabited area.

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Dances with her lasso ("The Million-Year-Old Teen-Ager!", Teen Titans #2, April 1966) You have to feel sorry for the boys in the Titans.  They’re so inhibited.  I wonder if it’s because they feel obligated to live up to the stiff-backed manliness of their adult mentors.  Wonder Girl has no such trouble.  She’s at home in her skin, at peace with herself—she might as well be, since we’ve already seen what a bummer of a mom she has—and that allows her to cut loose whenever she feels like it.

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Figures out a simple trick ("The Secret Olympic Heroes," Teen Titans #4, August 1966)  If you’ve read some of my other posts on the Teen Titans, you know I don’t think too highly of their intelligence.  Here we see Wonder Girl engaged in some rudimentary detective work, which would no doubt tax her teammates’ brains.  They’re all convinced someone has painted graffiti on the roof of one of the dorms in the Olympic Village, but Wonder Girl realizes it’s actually a projection and off she goes.  I can see how your ground-based Titan might make this mistake.  Especially since they’re not that bright.  Except Wonder Girl.  She might not spend a lot of time working calculus problems or reading Proust, but she knows the difference between wet paint and a beam of light.  By the way, this story takes place at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics!  I'll have to write more about that later!

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Mocks a fan's stupid request (Teen Titans #2)  The Teen Titans are kind of mean, aren’t they?

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Destroys property in Tokyo (Teen Titans #4)  Wonder Girl brings down the house in the Olympics Village.  I’m not sure her aggressive approach here will win her friends or do much for international relations, but the Olympics have always been less than pure in that regard.  Conceived as an apolitical contest between equals, they’ve long been politicized and commercialized.  So if Wonder Girl has to smash up a few athletic dorms to capture some bad guys, that’s just your tough luck, IOC.  You can deplore it all you want, but Wonder Girl doesn’t care.  LALALA, she’s not even listening!

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Shows up the boys (Teen Titans #1)  Again we see Wonder Girl’s joie de vivre contrasted with the boys’ more constricted approach to matters.  Wonder Girl enjoys being super.  I’m sure she enjoys just about everything about her life.  That’s a rare gift.
 
Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Zero inhibitions ("The Mad, Mod Merchant of Menace," Teen Titans #7, February 1967)  See a cardboard cut-out of Holley Hip, dance with a cardboard cut-out of Holley Hip.  Can you imagine Robin doing this?  Or Speedy?

And now for the single greatest moment in Wonder Girl history-- or DC Comics history, for that matter-- 

Bob Haney, script/Nick Cardy, art
Saves the Titans with her ponytail (Teen Titans #2) The Teen Titans have been fighting a caveman and are about to fall into a chasm.  Wonder Girl’s hands are “too small” to hold onto the tree for long, despite her immense strength.  A long ponytail might seem a vain affectation—or else the stuff shampoo commercials are made of—but Wonder Girl brilliantly finds a practical use for hers beyond the aesthetic.  She’s appropriately proud of herself, too.  Yes, Wonder Girl has some spectacular hair!

4 comments:

Gary Chapin said...

Great post, again. These types of pieces (wide ranging and yet narrow???) are really an strength of yours. Also, I keep feeling as if you and I had the same childhood. I remember buying these early Teen Titans issues at a flea market in NJ, used, just a few months before Perez and Wolfman's recreation.

MOCK! said...

These make me want to switch all my monthly comic dollars to buy back issues....

Joel Bryan said...

Gary-- Thanks! And no doubt! At the same time you were doing that in NJ, I was doing it in GA. My dad would obligingly drive me to a flea market on the outskirts of town-- he liked to buy fresh turnip greens there, so that part might be different-- and I'd pick through the comic boxes offered by one particular vendor.

I don't know where she got her stock, but she had ten or so years worth of random back issues offered at 4 for a dollar. Weirdly enough, I ended up finding and buying Cerebus #5 there, then trading it for the first few issues of the Perez/Wolfman Teen Titans!

Joel Bryan said...

MOCK!-- That's exactly what I've done via Comixology. I bought the first 20 issues of Kamandi there yesterday.