I LOVE Etta Candy. She is far and away my favourite supporting character in the Wonder Woman mythos, and no one else even comes close. In the Golden Age, Etta was a constant presence in all of the different series Wonder Woman appeared in, spending half of her time having fun hijinks with the Holliday Girls, i.e. the members of the sorority Betta Lambda at Holliday College, and the rest of her time leading the Holliday Girls on missions to help Wonder Woman save the world from a variety of menaces. Etta went into space, Etta went underground, Etta went deep into the ocean; anywhere her pal Wonder Woman went, Etta was there, kicking ass and taking names. She was there as comic relief to a certain extent, a rotund, candy loving gal who liked to toss out wisecracks and catchphrases, but when things started going down, Etta was always in the thick of it, battling fiercely alongside Wonder Woman.
William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman to espouse his beliefs about the power of women and she embodied an ideal of female strength, but Etta Candy showed that every woman could be a Wonder Woman. She wasn’t as lithe or tall or conventionally attractive as Wonder Woman, nor did she have a golden lasso or special abilities, but what Etta did have was confidence in herself and belief in the Amazon ideal that every woman could be powerful if she recognized the potential within herself. She was Wonder Woman’s first convert, basically, the first step in Marston’s matriarchal vision for the world.
Since the Golden Age, Etta hasn’t been around a lot. She had a few brief appearances in the Silver Age, and was revamped into a military secretary for the Wonder Woman television show. When George Perez relaunched the Wonder Woman comic in 1987, Etta’s military role continued and she married Steve Trevor, and she popped in occasionally over the next couple of decades. Thus far in the New 52 relaunch, Etta has appeared just a handful of times as Steve’s secretary.
Given this lengthy lack of Etta Candy fun, I’m delighted that Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon have brought back Etta in all of her original glory in The Legend of Wonder Woman. Here the Holliday Girls are a singing group, led by Etta, but the spirit of the character remains the same. She became Diana’s first friend in the world of men when she stepped in to cover for Diana after she showed up at a college soiree in her odd Amazon clothing, telling everyone that Diana was her foreign cousin and escorting her out of the party. We also see the confidence of Etta. The Holliday Girls’ song included lines like “I was weak but now I’m strong” and “It’s time for you to be as capable as me.” When Pamela Smuthers, a prissy gal who is just the worst, tried to pick a fight with her because she thought Etta stole her boyfriend, Etta’s responses were barbed but calm as she explained that the boy was a jerk and a “flat tire” both of them were better off without. She was looking out for Pamela, even though Pamela was awful. Pamela didn’t appreciate it, and rudely told Etta to go eat a candy, so Etta happily obliged because candies are delicious and Etta DGAF.
I love this self-assured, classic take on Etta Candy. She is yet another showcase of De Liz’s ability to tweak an iconic aspect of Wonder Woman’s past in ways that are fun and interesting yet true to the original at its core. The issue continues Diana’s slow introduction to the world of men, and I like that De Liz set aside a full digital issue to introduce Etta and establish the character. Now that she and Diana are pals, I can’t wait to see what they get up to next!