Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to comics from one decade. This week’s decade: the 1960s! Today’s page is from Wonder Woman #183, which was published by DC (although the indicia reads “National Periodical Publications, Inc.”) and is cover dated July/August 1969. This scan is from Diana Prince: Wonder Woman volume 1, which was published in 2008. Enjoy!
In issue #178, Wonder Woman went shopping. This was apparently a huge deal. In issue #179 she renounced her “mystic skills,” and by this issue, she was caught up in all sorts of international intrigue with I Ching, her Chinese mentor, in what can justly be called The Most Awesome Wonder Woman Era Of All Time (Including The Current Whatever-The-Hell-Azzarello-Is-Doing Era). By this issue, Mike Sekowsky was writing and drawing the book, and Dick Giordano was inking it. I assume someone was coloring and lettering it, but DC doesn’t tell us who it was. So sad!
This era of Wonder Woman is surprisingly progressive, but you can’t really tell from this page. At the end of last issue, Diana learned that the man she thought she loved was actually lying to her, and Sekowsky recaps that in the first drawing at the top of the page. Sekowsky points out that Diana’s powers apparently “insulated” her from shock and emotion, which is kind of odd. She clocks Reggie (who was working for Dr. Cyber) in the face, and I’d be surprised if that shot didn’t kill him (we never see him again, so perhaps she did, although it’s not like Diana is some cold-blooded killer who would snap someone’s neck without even thinking about it, right, so surely she pulled her punch here?) It’s a dramatic drawing, but it doesn’t really do a good job of leading our eye, as the next “scene” is on the right of the focal point of Diana’s slap/punch … but this is a flashback, because Diana struck Reggie in the previous issue, so Sekowsky is recapping to a point. The scene really begins on the right, as I Ching calls to Diana as he bends over to help Reggie (why he does that when Reggie admitted he was a bad guy is unknown) and we see Diana in the foreground, running away and saying she never wants to see Reggie again. Sekowsky creates a nice line right here – it leads to the caption box in the center of the page, which leads to the wide shot of London and Diana running through the night. Sekowsky does a good job with the scene – it’s raining in London, so Big Ben is indistinct in the background, while Diana and the foreground are colored regretful blue. In the final “panel,” Diana leans on a stone wall (she’s on a bridge) and bemoans her fate. Sekowsky isn’t terribly subtle, but he does get across the major point – now that Diana has no more power, she’s “human,” and subject to all the swirling emotions that come with it. It’s certainly melodramatic, but in one page, Sekowsky does a fairly good job showing us the issues Diana is experiencing. Sekowsky doesn’t address this too much – on the next page, Diana is summoned to Paradise Island to fight for her mother’s life – but it’s a nice try!
So that’s the 1960s. Lots of interesting comics, a lot of progression in the medium, and still some stereotypical attitudes toward anyone who wasn’t a white male, which, to be fair, a lot of comics still have some issues with. But it was a pretty cool decade! Tomorrow we move onto the 1970s, which, as we all know from Greg Hatcher, is THE GREATEST ERA OF COMICS EVER!!!!!
You can already find some 1970s comics in the archives, if you need to prepare yourself!