The Winged Citizens of Venus OR Did Wally Wood Steal Designs From H.G. Peter?!

No.  Of course Wally Wood didn’t steal designs from H.G. Peter.  But their winged Venusians were oddly similar.

Wally Wood is a comic book and science fiction legend.  In the 1950s and 1960s he illustrated countless stories by some of the biggest names in science fiction, both in prose digests and comic book adaptations.  His interpretations of these stories were huge in terms of setting the standards for how we think of science fiction visually.  Wood also compiled the famous “22 Panels That Always Work”, a handy guide still used by artists today.  Plus he did a million other super awesome things, and then it all ended tragically… Wood was epic all around.

In 1951, Wood illustrated An Earth Man on Mars, a one-shot comic put out by Avon Periodicals.  In the comic, scientist Myles Cabot is transported to Venus, where he battles giant ant creatures and falls in love with Lilla, princess of the conquered humanoids.  It’s a pretty great story, really.  Myles teaches them how to make gunpowder and they build guns and tanks and take down their oppressive giant ant overlords.  The Venusians have antennae and wings, as you can see from Princess Lilla here:

However, six years earlier, H.G. Peter drew Venusians in Wonder Woman #12, where Wonder Woman meets Desira, Queen of Venus, and saves the planet from invasion.  While Peter’s Venusians didn’t have antennas, they were certainly winged:

It seems that Wally Wood’s An Earth Man on Venus stole from H.G. Peter’s Wonder Woman!!  Scandalous?!  Not so much.  If anything, it may have been the other way around.

Now, it was probably just a coincidence… sticking wings on someone is hardly a unique idea when it comes to aliens.  However, An Earth Man on Venus was an adaptation of Ralph Milne Farley’s 1924 novel, The Radio Man, which had all of the same elements in the comic, including the wings.  Peter might have been familiar with the story and swiped part of the design for his Venusians in Wonder Woman, but that’s just speculation.

However, Wood did have his Venusian princess bound at one point:

And lord knows that William Moulton Marston’s Golden Age Wonder Woman was chock full of bondage, including this scene with Queen Desira:

Coincidence?  A likely excuse!!

No, really.  It’s the most likely excuse.  Marston and Peter hardly had a copyright on someone getting tied up, much less a damsel in distress.  That’s all sorts of common.

Nonetheless, it’s a fun coincidence!!  If you’re interested, you can check out An Earth Man on Venus by clicking here, or read it and several other stories in Vanguard’s recent Wally Wood: Strange Worlds of Science Fiction.  Wonder Woman’s Venus adventure is reprinted in Wonder Woman Archives Volume 5 for a small fortune, or you can patiently wait for another 4 or 5 Wonder Woman Chronicles books to come out.

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