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.
Last week we looked at Wonder Woman’s mod makeover, where Wonder Woman gave up her superpowers for some trendy fashions and kung fu training as she travelled the world trying to avenge Steve’s death. Along the way, the now human Diana Prince met a lot of new guys. They took quite a shine to her, and she to them, though it never ended well.
In Wonder Woman #182 in May 1969, Diana was in London with her new friend, Reginald Hyde-White, who she’d just met the day before. Reggie bought Diana some new clothes, and afterward he declared his love for her and tried to kiss her. Even though her boyfriend, Steve, had only been dead for a couple of days, Diana kissed Reggie passionately. She later reflected on the kiss in this panel:
The implication was that if she still had her Amazon powers, she never would have kissed Reggie. But because she was just a normal human, she was unable to resist; her emotions got the better of her. This lack of emotional control was a hallmark of the mod era. Whether she was making out with a guy she just met or tearfully beating him half to death when he inevitably betrayed her (as Reggie did later in the issue), Diana was an emotional rollercoaster. Denny O’Neil and Mike Sekowsky were trying to portray a modern woman, but their idea of a modern woman seemed to involve hysterics, fickle behavior, violent mood swings, and a love of clothing. In short, Diana Prince was a variety of well-worn stereotypes masquerading as a character.
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 talk about Diana’s return to her Amazon roots, and also check out the eighth installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with Chris Sims!