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 last two weeks, we’ve looked at Wonder Woman’s bizarre mod era. These changes didn’t go over very well with many women involved in the burgeoning women’s liberation movement who grew up reading Wonder Woman, especially Gloria Steinem and her cohorts at Ms. magazine. When DC announced that Wonder Woman would return to her Amazon roots, Steinem and her friends were quite enthusiastic. They put Wonder Woman on the first cover of Ms., and released a book that collected several of Wonder Woman’s Golden Age stories. One of things they were most excited about was that Wonder Woman would be helmed by a female editor, Dorothy Woolfolk.
However, by the time Wonder Woman came back there was a change of plans. Robert Kanigher, chronicler of Wonder Woman’s Silver Age adventures, was back on the title, and Dorothy Woolfolk was gone. Here, in our penultimate preview panel, is how Kanigher addressed Woolfolk’s departure on the first page of Wonder Woman #204 in January 1973:
Kanigher managed to insult both Ms. and Woolfolk, murdering the editor of a woman’s magazine whose name was a thinly veiled analogue for Woolfolk. One would hope that this was a bad joke rather than a vindictive jab, but we don’t know Kanigher’s intentions. Regardless, it was surely a disappointed for the feminists who were excited about Wonder Woman’s return. She had her powers and costume back, but the book lacked any modern relevance; in fact, Kanigher rehashed several of his own Silver Age stories before he left the book. The next arc of the series involved Wonder Woman having to prove (to a majority male team) that she was worthy to rejoin the Justice League. It was hardly an auspicious return to the uniform.
To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out just over a week from now! Be sure to come back next Monday, when we’ll talk about Wonder Woman in the Modern Age, and also check out the final installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with Colleen Coover and Kate Leth!