My Dad brought this comic home with him after a late night out, so it was discovered by me and my brother early the next morning. My Mom later said that they chuckled as they heard me tell my brother, “Let’s look around, maybe there’s one for each of us!”
The third of DC’s Famous 1st Edition Treasury-sized reprintings of classic comics, this one re-presented SENSATION COMICS #1, the second appearance of Wonder Woman. Second appearance because her first story had been truncated and rushed into the back of ALL-STAR COMICS #8 a few weeks earlier for some reason likely relating to a concern that somebody else would grab the trademark to the name.
This first full-length Wonder Woman tale establishes the tone of the series, which is a lot more fun and lively than you might think. If nothing else, Wonder Woman is enjoying herself, and not necessarily in a grim “punish evildoers and hurt criminals” way. She was just having a lot of good-natured fun.
It also introduces Wonder Woman’s Diana Prince identity, a persona that she purchases from an Army Nurse who just happens to look exactly like her whom she happens across. Almost more amazingly, they brought this other Diana Prince back a bunch of issues later to cause trouble for our Diana.
There’s also not a hint of the bondage and submission themes that would shortly become the bread-and-butter of the series. At this early point, it seems that creator William Marston was behaving himself, He intended Wonder Woman to nakedly be propaganda for his worldview, but in order for that propaganda to be effective, it needed to reach an audience. So for now, he was toeing the line.
Almost more than the stories in this issue, I was fascinated by the advertising for other contemporary comics, beginning with this full page touting Wonder Woman’s debut in ALL-STAR #8. I didn’t know who most of these super heroes were, but I knew that I wanted to know.
The rest of teh issue, like the other anthology comics of the period, was a mixed bag, and I was only interested in about half of it, the costumed adventurer strips mostly. The Black Pirate did nothing for me, but Mister Terrific, a guy who becomes a mystery man as an alternative to suicide because he’s so good at everything that he’s bored, held some strange appeal.
I also liked Little Boy Blue, about a trio of regular kids who adopted costumed identities to clean up their town. I was the least athletic, least physical kid around, somebody who would have had no business parading through the street in a super hero costume, and yet this story almost made doing so seem plausible.
Another cool vintage ad, this one for GREEN LANTERN #1 and ALL-FLASH #2, ALL-FLASH was a werid name, I didn’t yet realize that they couldn’t call it THE FLASH because that would have been too close to FLASH COMICS, the character’s anthology home.
And I knew who Wildcat was from BRAVE AND THE BOLD, so his origin story was pretty cool. I especially liked the sequence where fugitive boxer Ted Grant is inspired to adopt the costumed identity of Wildcat after a street kid tells him about the Green Lantern,
And one last ad before the book was done. It would be years before I would see any of the classic Fleisher Superman cartoons being hawked here.