Every Monday until Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine comes out this April, we’re taking a look at a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.
In the Golden Age, romance didn’t play a huge part in Wonder Woman comics. Steve was head over heels for Wonder Woman, but Wonder Woman wasn’t much interested in his advances. She was fond of Steve, but his attempts to woo her were regularly rebuffed.
By the Silver Age, Wonder Woman and Steve were an item, but it was quite a bumpy relationship. As we can see in this panel from Wonder Woman #133 in October 1962, Steve didn’t react very kindly when Wonder Woman’s superhero gig required her to take off suddenly:
Steve blowing his top at Wonder Woman was a common occurrence in the Silver Age. He wanted all of Wonder Woman’s attention, and when he didn’t get it he exploded. It certainly wasn’t fun for Wonder Woman, as we can see from her tears, but she put up with it and constantly fought to show her love for Steve by submitting to whatever inane activities he came up with for her to prove her affection.
This power dynamic in romantic relationships was standard for the Silver Age. Just ask Lois Lane, who had to put up with a domineering Superman in at least four different series. Men in the Silver Age had a massive sense of entitlement, and lashed out when they didn’t get their way. All of the female characters just took the abuse, even Wonder Woman. While she’d originally been a unique and independent hero ahead of her time, by the late 1950s Wonder Woman was in the same boat as everyone else.
To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out this April! Be sure to come back next Monday, when we’ll look at Wonder Woman’s catchphrases, and also check out the sixth installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with Matt D. Wilson!