I wrote a thesis about Wonder Woman, and have just finished adapting that thesis into a book (I took out all the boring, thesisy stuff, I promise). Occasionally, I’ll post an interesting bit from the book, partly for shameless self-promotion, and partly because it’s just fun.
So in 1968, DC completely revamped Wonder Woman. She gave up her Amazon powers and her costume and became a normal human (albeit it one with mad kung fu skills). The new direction began here, with Wonder Woman #178:
A major goal of this change was to appeal to female readers, as you can tell from the following ad that appeared in other DC comic books:
Now, you would think that this female targeting would be reflected in all aspects of the book, but here are the advertisements from Wonder Woman #178. There were a few of the gender neutral variety:
But most of them were comprised of traditional “boy” items, such as toy vehicles:
Various types of soldiers:
And books to make you a he-man:
There wasn’t a single ad directed at girls specifically. Weird, right? If you were trying to reach a female audience, shouldn’t the ads have reflected your expected readership? What’s the deal?!
Yeah, I’m not gonna tell you what the deal is. I can’t spoil the book!! But man, old comic book ads are the best. Did you look at that astronaut toughness ad? I wish modern comics asked me “Friend, dare YOU risk 25¢?” Hell, it would just be fun if the ads referred to me as “friend”. Or offered me books for a quarter and three square feet of battlefield (with aircraft carriers AND planes AND destroyers AND more!!) for a buck thirty. Video games and DVD box sets are expensive!!
Anyway, I get a kick out of the juxtaposition of ads and audience in Wonder Woman #178… it just seems like a bizarre disconnect. OR IS IT?? Oh right, I’m not telling you…