I have quibbles with some angles the author occasionally takes in order to make his points (such as defending Wertham's analysis of Batman and Superman to make his condemnation of Wonder Woman seem worse), but anyone who actually takes the trouble to chart the statistics on how much bondage there was in WW comics versus her contemporaries' deserves kudos.
|Spoiler: It's a lot.|
I've learned more than a few things from this book already, and it's made me reexamine some parts of comic history. For example, author Tim Hanley has made me realize that quite possibly we owe the continuing existence of super-heroes to Dr Wertham, since their resurgence in the Silver Age was prompted in part by his evisceration of the popular horror and crime comics they superseded.
Another thing I've learned is the brutality with which the mad man-babe Bob Kanigher devasted Wonder Woman's "Mod Era" cast in the process of returning her to her mythological roots.
|"Without my magic bracelets, |
what can I use to protect myself from sniper fire?
Oh! Hello, I Ching...!"
Steve Trevor, in fact, gets killed twice (don't ask). And the disturbingly gratuitous death of an expy of former Wonder Woman editor Dorothy Woolfolk is, at best, in bad taste:
|Ah, 1970s pop-culture New York City.|
Hanley rightly points out that war-hardened Kanigher was a prolific writer, not a careful or well organized one. He was repetitive, forgetful, and indelicate. But his writing was not without poetry...
One of its unsung,
unknown, faceless millions is
starting work early.
With this heartless haiku, Kanigher used an unnamed sniper, who dies immediately by falling off the building and whose motives are never examined let alone explained, to begin the destruction of the Mod Era. Note well, modern readers; the cruel killing off of supporting and near-main characters was not an invention of the post-Crisis world.
What haiku can you compose reflecting on this, the return of the new original Wonder Woman?