If you’re not watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey every Sunday on Fox, you are seriously missing out. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is everybody’s favourite scientist, and the show is both gorgeously shot and does a fantastic job explaining big scientific concepts. It’s a lot of fun to watch.
Last weekend, Cosmos profiled Annie Jump Cannon, famous for counting and classifying thousands of stars. It was great to see Cosmos spotlight female scientists, and it reminded me that Annie Jump Cannon was profiled decades ago in Wonder Woman as part of the regular “Wonder Women of History” feature.
In the Golden Age, each issue of Wonder Woman profiled a notable historical woman in a 3-4 page strip. There were several astronomers spotlighted, including Cannon, Caroline Herschel, and Maria Mitchell; the latter two are famous for their work in comets. In Wonder Woman #33, dated January 1949, Annie Jump Cannon was the focus of “Wonder Women of History” in a strip written by Julius Schwartz, pencilled by Paul Reinman, and inked by Bernard Sachs. Let’s take a look:
Imagine how cool it must have been to get a comic with several Wonder Woman stories and a strip like this in each issue, and all for a dime. Imagine as well, with so many male superheroes dominating the newsstands and men dominating every level of society generally, how inspirational it must have been for young girls in the 1940s to not just have Wonder Woman as a hero, but also scores of real life women to look up to.
“Wonder Women of History” was a fantastic feature; it profiled a wide array of women, and was drawn by some of the Golden Age’s best artists. I’d love to see DC collect the strips in one volume. They’re a great piece of comic book history that’s gone forgotten for far too long, and I think that people would really enjoy them and learn a lot.