Posts Tagged ‘H.G. Peter’

The Comic Books To Read After You See Wonder Woman This Weekend

June 1, 2017

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Wonder Woman is hitting theaters tomorrow, with early showings tonight (I’M GOING TO SEE IT TONIGHT AND I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN DEAL WITH IT), and soon lots of new Wonder Woman fans are going to be wondering what to read next. While I definitely suggest my book Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine, I’ve also put together this list of comic collections that I think best capture the history and the spirit of the character. Start here, new Wonder Woman enthusiasts! You’ve got so many fun comic book adventures head of you.

Here is the list, in chronological order:

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The Wonder Woman Chronicles, Volume 1, written by William Moulton Marston, art by H.G. Peter

It’s always good to start at the very beginning. While Wonder Woman’s early outings are also collected in Archive and Omnibus formats, the Chronicles line is the cheapest option. Marston and Peter imbued Wonder Woman with a unique brand of feminism that was central to the character from day one, and a lot of the core cast and elements in these comics have remained key to Wonder Woman for more than 75 years. The stories are often wacky and fantastical, but that’s part of the charm.

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Wonder Woman by George Perez, Volume 1, written and drawn by George Perez with others

We’re jumping a few decades here, but while Wonder Woman comics were interesting at times in the Silver and Bronze Age, they’re more deeper cuts than Wonder Woman 101. Perez’s relaunch of the character, though, was hugely influential, and remains a touchstone today. Even though it was a total reboot, in many ways it was a modern update of the original Wonder Woman that stayed true to her feminist core. And with fantastic art by Perez, these stories still hold up thirty years later.

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Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost, written and drawn by Phil Jimenez with others

While there were lots of good arcs in Wonder Woman in the 1990s and 2000s, this collection is my personal favourite. The “Gods of Gotham” storyline is just good fun; Batman, the Joker, and Poison Ivy get taken over by gods and Wonder Woman has to sort things out. It’s great. “Paradise Lost” is strong as well, but “She’s a Wonder!” is the best of the bunch, teaming up Diana and Lois Lane in a story that highlights the strengths of each character and shows the respect DC’s two leading ladies have for each other.

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DC: The New Frontier, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke

This isn’t a Wonder Woman comic specifically; pretty near everyone in the DC universe stars in this story, which is set in the 1950s and explores the dawn of a new era of heroism. But Wonder Woman’s scenes in the book are ALL spectacular. She confronts both Superman and President Eisenhower, assembles a female army in Vietnam, and comes back from a major injury to lead the charge against a foe that threatens the entire Earth. Every single moment with Wonder Woman is fantastic and the rest of the book isn’t too bad either.

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Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, Volume 2, by too many folks to list but they’re all great

We’re getting into recent stuff now, because the past few years have been an embarrassment of riches in terms of great Wonder Woman stories. Any volume of Sensation Comics could be on this list, really. They’re all standalone stories by different creative teams, and the majority of them are great. But this volume is probably the best one. Standouts include James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson’s tale of a young Wonder Woman visiting the outside world for the first time, and Lauren Beukes and Mike Maihack’s adorable tale of make believe. They’re all pretty fun, though.

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DC Comics Bombshells, Volume 1: Enlisted, written by Marguerite Bennett, art by Marguerite Sauvage and more

This is another ensemble book, and it’s just so much fun. The series is a retelling of World War II with DC’s female superheroes fighting the evil magical forces of the Nazis. No male superheroes are involved at all, and heroines like Batwoman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman take center stage. It’s empowering and action packed and true to the characters, especially Wonder Woman, while being something totally unique and different. It’s also super queer, in all of the best ways. Few books capture the spirit of Wonder Woman as well as this.

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The Legend of Wonder Woman, Volume 1: Origins, written and drawn by Renae De Liz with Ray Dillon

I’m doubling up on recent World War II retellings here, but it can’t be helped. Both are just too good to pick only one. And this one is all about Wonder Woman, starting with young Diana growing up on Paradise Island and following her as she eventually leaves the island to save the world. It spends a lot of time with the Amazons, which is always fun, plus Etta Candy is a key player in the book, too. Also, it’s absolutely stunning. The art is lush and gorgeous and perfect for the era and the story. Do yourself a favour and check out this outstanding book.

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Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One, by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott

Greg Rucka has penned several excellent Wonder Woman stories, but this is far and away his best. It’s a modern retelling of Wonder Woman’s origins that draws from past incarnations of the character while simultaneously doing something fresh and exciting. And it’s straight up gorgeous, too. Nicola Scott was born to draw this book, and the heart and beauty she puts in every panel is an amazing thing to behold. This volume is the perfect gateway to the current Wonder Woman series, and is one of the best Wonder Woman stories ever told.

So definitely dig into all of these great collections! Most are still easy to find in print, and anything that’s not is available digitally (plus the bulk of them are on sale right now at Comixology!). And after you’ve checked out these books, keep digging! Wonder Woman’s got a fascinating history with more than 75 years of great comic books, and there are so many other fantastic volumes out there.

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Wonder Woman’s April 2017 Covers and Solicits

January 24, 2017

DC’s solicits were a little bit late this month, but when they finally arrived yesterday they brought a bevy of new Wonder Woman comic books for us to look forward to this April. So let’s take a look at what Wonder Woman will be up to in a few months’ time, starting with her own series:

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WONDER WOMAN #20
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by BILQUIS EVELY • Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“Godwatch” part three! Cale launches a desperate gambit to take control of Godwatch, but her plan hinges on two factors she cannot control: the witch Circe, and Wonder Woman!
On sale APRIL 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #21
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by LIAM SHARP • Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“The Truth” part four! As the reality of Themyscira is revealed, Wonder Woman is forced to make a decision: defy the will of the gods or betray her Amazon sisters to Godwatch!
On sale APRIL 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The dual narrative continues this April, with Wonder Woman facing off against Godwatch in the even numbered issues and learning the truth about Themyscira in the odd books. Circe’s going to be in Wonder Woman #20, which should be a lot of fun. After her poor portrayal in Superman/Wonder Woman a couple of years back, I’m looking forward to what can only be a better spin on her from Rucka and Evely.

Now onto Trinity:

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TRINITY #8
Written by CULLEN BUNN • Art by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO and RAY McCARTHY • Cover by CLAY MANN • Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
A “Superman: Reborn Aftermath” tie-in! In this essential chapter of the “Superman Reborn Aftermath” epic, Kal-El reveals to Batman and Wonder Woman what had happened to him—and how they all may be in danger!
On sale APRIL 19 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

I’ve been enjoying Trinity, but honestly I’m picking it up for the amazing Francis Manapul art and there just hasn’t been much of it. Now eight issues in, it looks like he’ll have drawn half of them at most, and we’re getting a tie-in issue with a Superman event? Not what I’m looking for. Hopefully Manapul is back in full force in May, because otherwise I might be ready to move on, especially with the $1 price hike.

Next up, some Amazon fun:

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THE ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #4
Written by KEVIN GREVIOUX
Art by RYAN BENJAMIN and RICHARD FRIEND
Cover by RYAN BENJAMIN
The Amazons are taken to Valhalla, heavenly home of warriors who have fallen in combat. Hessia learns where the Amazons originated and why their numbers have come to be spread throughout the world. But she’s also determined to find a way back to Earth, to rescue her comrades who have been taken by the Storm Giants. As for the Giants, they are getting ready to go to war.
On sale APRIL 19 • 32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T+

This series starts TOMORROW, so we’ll know pretty soon if this is going to be worth picking up in April. While the buzz for it seems to be minimal/non-existent, a lot of great titles fly under the radar so we’ll see what happens. It still just sounds like a Thor book to me, but I’m curious to see what Grievoux, Benjamin, and Friend do. I’ll be checking out the first issue tomorrow and will report back if I have anything interesting to say about it.

Now some classic TV fun:

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BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 #4
Written by MARC ANDREYKO and JEFF PARKER • Art by DAVID HAHN and KARL KESEL • Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
Ra’s al Ghul has discovered the Amazons’ Elysian Well…better known to Man’s World as a Lazarus Pit! Wonder Woman takes Batman and Robin (and Catwoman!) to confront him, but strange creatures live in the same maze, which the Amazons have used for centuries as a prison!
On sale APRIL 26 • 32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST

I’m so down for Catwoman on Paradise Island. You had me there, and you don’t have to sell me on anything else, DC. I’m super on board.

We’ve also got a few Wonder Woman collections announced. They include:

  • WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2: YEAR ONE TP: Collects WONDER WOMAN #2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14. On sale MAY 3 • 168 pg, FC, $16.99 US. If you didn’t read this in single issues, BUY THIS. It’s phenomenal. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott hit this one out of the park.
  • WONDER WOMAN BY JOHN BYRNE BOOK ONE HC: Collects WONDER WOMAN #101-114. On sale MAY 24 • 328 pg, FC, $39.99 US. A nice big collection of Byrne’s work on Wonder Woman, which I found moderately enjoyable when I read it. It’s Byrne before he went full on Internet wacko, which is usually worth checking out.
  • WONDER WOMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC: Collects COMIC CAVALCADE #6-13, SENSATION COMICS #25-48 and WONDER WOMAN #8-15. On sale JULY 5 • 768 pg, FC, $75.00 US. Early Marston/Peter Wonder Woman comics are always a good choice, and this HUGE new collection comes with a gorgeous Darwyn Cooke cover.

So we’ve got a nice selection of books to choose from this April, and some fine collections on the way as well. Should be fun!

Wonder Woman Co-Creator H.G. Peter To Be Inducted Into Eisner Hall of Fame

January 13, 2017

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The Eisner Awards are the comic book industry’s highest honours, and the judges for his year’s awards announced yesterday that H.G. Peter, the co-creator and original artist of Wonder Woman, will be inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. Peter is joined by cartoonist Milt Gross, creator of Spy vs. Spy Antontio Prohias, and underground cartoonist Dori Seda. All four will be automatically inducted, while four more will be chosen by voters based on a list compiled by this year’s judging panel.

William Moulton Marston typically gets most of the credit for the creation of Wonder Woman. Tellingly, he was inducted into the same Hall of Fame in 2006, well before Peter. Between his unique feminist theories, his fascinating personal life, and his boisterous personality, Marston left a lot for folks to talk about while Peter mostly stayed in the background. But while it’s true that Marston’s vision defined the character, Peter played a huge part in Wonder Woman’s creation.

Peter was Marston’s hand-picked artist for his new character, and a very unique choice. In the early 1940s, the new superhero genre was a young man’s game; most of the artists drawing superheroes were in their twenties, while Peter was 61 when Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8. Superheroes were a new game for Peter, who’d largely done political cartoons and editorial work throughout his career. Many of his political cartoons from the 1910s supported women’s rights and suffrage, and Peter’s feminist leanings may have been why Marston thought he would be a good fit for his new female superhero.

Once hired by Marston, Peter threw himself into his work wholeheartedly. After working with Marston to establish Wonder Woman’s iconic look, Peter was soon drawing stories for three different series: the monthly Sensation Comics, the bi-monthly Wonder Woman, and the quarterly Comic Cavalcade. He also drew a daily Wonder Woman newspaper comic strip from 1943-1944. Peter had an entire team around him at his New York studio to help with inking, lettering, and backgrounds, but the vast majority of the myriad stories featuring Wonder Woman in the 1940s were drawn by him.

Peter’s style was distinctive, and ensured that Wonder Woman’s outings stood out from all of the other superhero comic books on the newsstand. Many artists at the time brought a somewhat realistic approach to their work while often emphasizing the sexuality of their female characters. Peter was a cartoonist at heart, and he gave Wonder Woman and her world a cohesively stylized look. His Wonder Woman was strong and powerful, a solidly built heroine rather than a wasp-waisted waif. The sexuality of the stories was indirect; Wonder Woman’s own attributes were never emphasized, but Peter ended up drawing innumerable bondage scenarios owing to Marston’s fascination therein. Peter’s work was lush and creative, and a quick glance at any Golden Age issue of Wonder Woman clearly shows the enthusiasm and creativity he put into every page. Marston came up with some outlandish storylines over his years, and Peter hit them out of the park each time.

Marston died in 1947 and the tone of Wonder Woman began to change under new writer Robert Kanigher, but Peter stayed with the series for another decade until he passed away in 1958. His work helped establish the most famous female superhero of all time, and his design for the character has stood the test of time; Wonder Woman’s outfit is regularly tweaked, but each incarnation of the character is simply building on what Peter established. Moreover, the spirit that Peter imbued in Wonder Woman continues as well. He always captured the joy of the character, along with the fun she had on her adventures and the goodness at her core. At a time when other superheroes were grim and violent, Wonder Woman loved being a superhero and helping those who needed it, and Peter’s art communicated that feeling in spades.

Recently we’ve seen more appreciation for Golden Age Wonder Woman stories, with a variety of collections and several books addressing the era (including my own), and it’s lovely to see H.G. Peter finally getting his due. His induction into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame is well-deserved, and perfectly timed given that his heroine will soon be hitting the big screen in her first solo film. Peter is key to everything we love about Wonder Woman, and I’m very glad that his fantastic work is being recognized.

Read my Review of Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette at The Comics Journal

April 22, 2016

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Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette seems to be making a bit of a splash with readers, perhaps due to its well-timed released in the wake of Batman v Superman, and my full review of the book is now online at The Comics Journal. I talk about how the book is deeply rooted in the Golden Age Wonder Woman comics of William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, and how Morrison and Paquette’s deviation from Marston’s core message weakens the graphic novel. By copying all of the imagery and metaphors that came from Marston’s central premise (that being the superiority of women and the coming matriarchal age) while simultaneously undermining that central premise by making the Amazons unlikable, practically villainous characters, the whole book sort of falls apart. It makes little sense to tie it so closely to that era and then ignore why that era is the way that it is. Anyway, you can read my full review at The Comics Journal.

Apart from the historical, Marston/Peter pastiche things I discuss in the article, I’ve got a few other thoughts on the book. I was surprised that I didn’t hate it, actually. I rarely enjoy Morrison’s work, and all the interviews leading up to release of Wonder Woman: Earth One had me very concerned. But it’s not terrible. It’s just sort of weird, an odd mishmash of elements that don’t make a look of sense strung together like this.

There are some good bits in the book. Etta Candy (here called Beth Candy as an homage to Beth Ditto) is pretty fun, and steals the show; she’s also one of the few likable characters in the book. And Paquette’s take on the Amazon’s home is gorgeous and inventive, both futuristic in tech and classical in inspiration. The architecture of the place is really lovely. Plus it’s cool that the book is super gay and very up front about it, as well as not at all exploitative with it. Lesbian Amazons could go real unpleasant real fast in the wrong hands, but Morrison and Paquette handle it well.

The book’s story just didn’t work well for me. The Amazons are kind of terrible people, Wonder Woman is arrogant and sometimes cruel, and her whole escape and the subsequent trial just made everyone involved come off awful. Apart from Etta. Etta was cool. There were also a lot of bizarre decisions throughout the book, scenes that made me go “Really?” or “Is that necessary?” or “What is this even adding to the story?” It didn’t do much for me, but that’s just me. The book didn’t make me mad or anything; just confused and rather underwhelmed.

You can read my full review of Wonder Woman: Earth One at The Comics Journal, and the book is available everywhere now. Let me know if you liked the book or not; I’m curious to hear your thoughts. It’s certainly a graphic novel that should inspire a lot of discussion. There’s a lot to dig into and pull apart.

Review – IDW’s Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Strip, 1944-1945 by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter

December 16, 2014

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I recently read and absolutely loved IDW’s collection of the short running Wonder Woman comic strip from the 1940s, and I was fascinated with the way the strips compared to the regular Wonder Woman comic books. Both were done by Wonder Woman’s original creative team of William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, but the strip debuted more than two years after Wonder Woman first appeared. With a couple years under their belts, they duo got a second chance to introduce Wonder Woman’s feminist message to a new audience, and the differences in the strips are just as interesting as what stayed the same. I examined IDW’s collection as compared to the original comics in a review that’s up now at The Comics Journal.

Marston doubled down on his matriarchal message, making it explicitly clear that Wonder Woman was coming to America to conquer the patriarchy. Look at this comparison of Wonder Woman leaving Paradise Island for the first time, and see what Marston added to the strip:

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He also kept his bondage fetishism front and center as always. In fact, the Cheetah story in the strips is completely different from the Cheetah’s first appearance in Wonder Woman except for an elaborate bondage sequence that was redrawn by Peter almost exactly as it first appeared:

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Head on over to The Comics Journal for more pictures and my full review.

Wonder Woman’s 1943-1944 Newspaper Strips Collected By IDW

June 25, 2014

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IDW’s done a great job collecting DC Comics’ classic comic book strips, and now they’re collecting Wonder Woman’s strips from the early 1940s in a book due out in August in comic shops and September in bookstores. The strips were written and drawn by Wonder Woman’s original creative team, William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, and have been largely forgotten; while the Superman and Batman strips ran for several years, Wonder Woman’s strip only ran for a year and a half. This volume collects the entire run.

I think this book is going to be a treasure trove of Golden Age fun. The original Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman were absolutely bonkers books that combined World War II, Greek deities, space invaders, feminism, bondage, and so much more. I’m excited to see some new adventures from the original creative team, though I suspect that a lot of the book will be retellings of stories from the comic books, or vice versa. The Superman strips did that a lot, and this group of strips is very similar to the beginning of Wonder Woman #6:

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But that’s in no way a bad thing. It will be fascinating to see classic Wonder Woman tales reinterpreted in comic strip form.

This book is obviously right up my alley as a historian who wrote a book about Wonder Woman, but I think it will be a lot of fun for all Wonder Woman fans. It should be a good introduction to the original character, with the added benefit of having Marston and Peter at their peak and with a solid handle on the character after a couple of years of comics under their belt. The book will be a fascinating distillation of the Golden Age Wonder Woman, and I can’t wait to read it.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop. It’s $50, but this is such a cool piece of Wonder Woman history that I strongly urge everyone to check it out.

“America’s Silver Age,” My Piece On Gender And Race In Silver Age Wonder Woman Comics For The Los Angeles Review Of Books

April 14, 2014

This weekend, a piece I wrote about Wonder Woman’s Silver Age comics went up at the Los Angeles Review of Books. We really could have called it “Ugh, White Men, Am I Right?” but “America’s Silver Age” is a classier title choice. Ostensibly a review of Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess Archives, Volume 1, which came out a while ago, the piece looks at the depiction of women and people of colour (or rather, the lack thereof) in Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito’s revision of Wonder Woman that began in 1958.

In the Golden Age, William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter’s Wonder Woman was all about female strength and superiority. It was also a fairly racially diverse comic for the time, though these depictions of people of colour ran the gamut from moderately positive to offensive stereotypes. Marston himself wasn’t nearly as forward thinking about race as he was about gender; in his psychological writing he frowned on interracial relationships, and he had a number of connections with known eugenics supporters and sympathizers, including his de facto aunt, Margaret Sanger. Nonetheless, the early years of Wonder Woman actually portrayed people of colour at least, however problematically.

When Kanigher, Andru, and Esposito began their new take on Wonder Woman in 1958, Marston’s feminist messages went out the window, as did people of colour. In the thirteen issues collected in this first Silver Age Wonder Woman Archive volume, there are only three very brief instances that feature people of colour. This panel from Wonder Woman #103, featuring Inuits fleeing a glacier, was the most any non-white characters spoke in the book:

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It was a whitewashed book, removing race all together at a time when race was a daily issue in American society as the Civil Rights Movement continually gained momentum.

You can read the full piece over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, and of course learn more about Wonder Woman’s history generally in my book, Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine.


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