Wonder Woman #10 (August 2012).
What went wrong with American heroism? A picture is worth a thousand words. DC's core triumvirate of heroes represents 'truth, justice and the American Way.' Wonder Woman, an ambassador from a world of classical warrior women to the modern world of American men, embodies the truth that bridges those worlds. But what truth does she manifest here?
Wonder Woman's creator, William Marston, the American professor who helped to invent the lie detector, may have had his odd moments and his colourful brushes with the FBI (as discussed in this excellent post over at 20th Century Danny Boy); but it's hard to imagine him supporting this take of America's post-classical Amazon. In another post, I pointed out what went right in the DC comics reboot of its 75+ years of continuity. But DC lately shows its weak spots around its heroines, such as here, here, and in the image above. The argument from DC is that murderous, dark, gritty heroes sell their product. Yet the third issue of Wonder Woman sold 560,000 copies back in 1942. In January 2012, Wonder Woman #4 sold 57,626 (and that is with a much larger American population and an international readership). What, then, is the real reason for the deconstruction and degradation of American pulp heroes - and especially heroines - since the 1980s? Why are American pulps still displaying this morbid fascination with tortured and inverted heroism?
The start of the Wonder Woman series (1942). Image Source: 20th Century Danny Boy.
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