Wonder Woman Teaches Us About Waste Paper Salvage

I’ve been reading through All-Star Comics lately, and while Wonder Woman doesn’t do a whole lot in the book, she does have some fun sporadic appearances.  In this one page strip from All-Star Comics #24, illustrated by H.G. Peter, Wonder Woman teaches her incredulous mother about the importance of saving paper.  Hippolyte thinks that saving paper is just silly, but Wonder Woman soon straightens her out:

World War Two propaganda is such a good time.  Even the informative ones.  While Axis-bashing propaganda with its evil Nazis and racistly depicted Japanese soldiers gets most of the attention, all of the propaganda about war bonds, paper salvage, and other ways to help the war effort is fascinating too.

This is an impressively effective page.  Imagine you were seven years old, your country was at war, and you read this one page strip where your favourite superhero concisely explains why it’s important to collect and save waste paper.  You’d be ALL over it!!  I want to save my waste paper now, and the war ended more than six decades ago.

I really like how this strip is set up.  Hippolyte says what a lot of people were probably thinking: “What use is paper in a war?!”  Then Wonder Woman explains all of its uses, along with art showing the paper being used in war situations.  Hippolyte sees the importance of saving paper, and we get a nice, direct to the reader speech.  It’s really simple and really smartly done.  Good work, propaganda department!!

Wonder Woman was ALWAYS going on about ways to help out the war effort in the 1940s, but it was usually in the form of longer stories with a quick message at the end.  For example, Wonder Woman spent pages breaking up a milk racket so that we could learn that price gougers are bad guys and we should stick to our rations.  In another issue, Wonder Woman fought alongside American soldiers for the entire book to take down a Japanese base, and at the end we’re told to do our part and buy war bonds.  Those are fun stories, and effective, but I like the simplicity of this one page strip.  Getting right to the point is a nice change of pace.

So save your waste paper, readers!!  Every ounce counts!!

Published by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and the author of Wonder Woman Unbound, Investigating Lois Lane, The Many Lives of Catwoman, and Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale.

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