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When Robert Kanigher Fired the Entire Wonder Woman Supporting Cast

This is "In The Spotlight So Clear," a feature where we spotlight times in comics where characters need to be cleared out of the way to make room for a new status quo. Like, for instance, you want to introduce a new Captain Superhero, you might want to first get rid of the previous Captain Superhero. Stuff like that.

Today, we look at the bizarre way that Robert Kanigher handled a change in direction for Wonder Woman.

Initially, William Marston wrote Wonder Woman's ongoing series as well as her appearances in Sensation Comics (and Comics Cavalcade). Marston eventually passed on most of the writing to Joye Hummel, his assistant. She continued to write the series under Marston's name. Once Marston passed away, Robert Kanigher took over as the writer on the series and he continued to be the writer on the book for a shocking TWENTY-TWO YEARS!

Kanigher mostly stuck with the standard types of stories throughout the 1950s, not TOO different than the stuff that Marston and Hummel were writing. Especially since Kanigher continued to work with H.G. Peter, the artist who co-created Wonder Woman with Marston (DON'T SPREAD THAT AROUND! DC DOESN'T WANT ANYONE TO KNOW THAT MARSTON DIDN'T CREATE WONDER WOMAN BY HIMSELF! SHHHH!). However, once Peter retired (soon before he died - he had drawn the book for 18 years!), Ross Andru and Mike Esposito took over the book and Kanigher slowly began to experiment a bit with the series in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

One of the things he did was start telling stories of Wonder Woman when she was a teenager...

Then he introduced Wonder Tot, stories of Wonder Woman when she was a toddler...

Two issues later, Kanigher came up with a really cool idea, which was to tell stories teaming Wonder Woman up with Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot (as well as Queen Hippolyta)...

Then he introduced Mer-Man and Bird-Man, two guys who fought over Wonder Woman...

We also saw Mer-BOY and Bird-BOY, who fought over Wonder Girl...

However, sales were a bit sluggish in the middle of the 1960s. Around this same time, comic book collectors were really beginning to start in earnest. Honestly, I think the success of Marvel Comics had a lot to do with it. You see, Marvel Comics pushed continuity, so early issues of Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four actually had impact on the current issues, so there had to be a market to sell those early issues. Around this time, then, the original comic books from the 1940s also got more attention. So Kanigher, willing to give things a shot, did a special issue (Andru and Esposito remained on the book on art duties) about the Golden Age...

In the issue, Wonder Woman gets trapped in a Golden Age Wonder Woman comic book story...

I guess the sales did pretty well on the book, so they decided to make the book ALL Golden Age stories. So Kanigher had to clear the slate.... in a bizarre way.

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