IDW’s ‘Wonder Woman’ collection reprints a Golden Age rarity
[Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss “The best in comics from the last seven days” — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
For a character who had just debuted a couple of years earlier, the prospect of a Wonder Woman newspaper strip was a clear sign of the Amazing Amazon’s immense popularity. However, in the crowded, competitive field of newspaper comics — where the first Batman newspaper strip lasted only about three years, ironically because it was vying for space against the successful Superman strip — Wonder Woman couldn’t establish herself. Still, IDW has restored what history has all but forgotten, and this August the publisher will reprint the strip’s 19-month run.
I’ve seen a few weeks’ worth of these strips here and there over the years, and they’re a lot like the Golden Age comics. This is hardly surprising, since they were written by creator William Moulton Marston and drawn by original artist Harry G. Peter. However, the newspaper format apparently allowed Marston and Peter to open up their storytelling styles, allowing for a slightly different pace and a more long-form approach.
For example, the strip included a version of the Cheetah’s origin which was roughly contemporaneous with the villainess’ comic-book debut (in October 1943’s Wonder Woman issue 6), but which reflected the practicalities of a daily strip. It may even have been the start of a longer, more distinct Cheetah story, since I’ve seen other Cheetah sequences which don’t appear to fit in with her Golden Age appearances. From what I’ve seen, the strip is a little more “mature” (for lack of a better term) in that it doesn’t seem aimed as much at kids as the comic books were. There were grown-ups reading the newspaper funnies too, after all.
Regardless, IDW’s collection offers another look at a unique Golden Age creative team. Marston and Peter are justifiably famous for Wonder Woman, and for many fans these are “lost adventures.” I’m eager to see them all in one place.