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Comic Book / Wonder Woman #1

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A complete 64 page issue containing all new never before published adventures of Wonder Woman!
- The cover
Wonder Woman #1 is the debut issue of Wonder Woman's first self-titled series published by DC Comics (then known as National Comics) in June of 1942. All Wonder Woman stories are written by William Moulton Marston (under the pen name "Charles Moulton") and drawn by Harry G. Peter, while the "Wonder Women of History" feature is written by Alice Marble with art by Sheldon Moldoff.

The issue contains the first appearance of Greek God of War, Ares (here called "Mars", his Roman name), who would go on to be Diana's longest lasting foe and introduces the concept of Diana being born from clay which had been sculpted into a baby girl by her mother.

For the chronological debut of Wonder Woman, see All-Star Comics #8 and it's continuation in Sensation Comics #1

The Origin of Wonder Woman
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Despite knowing Hercules wanted to enslave her people when he propositions Hippolyta for dinner and sex after she defeated him she takes him up on the offer.
  • Born of Magic: Issue one introduces Diana's famous "birth" from clay her mother had carefully sculpted into a baby.
  • Cool Plane: Diana's invisible plane, which is a brand new Amazonian stealth invention and which she flies to transport Steve Trevor back to America.
  • Domino Mask: Diana wears a domino mask to hide her entry into the contest and become the mysterious masked contestant number seven.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Mercury is meant to be "gay" in the happy sense, not the homosexual sense.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The Amazons ride kangas- giant kangaroos, which appear to have hooves.
  • Longevity Treatment: The Amazons drink from the Fountain of Youth in order to maintain their ageless immortality while on Paradise Island. Later stories will make it clear that drinking from the fountain without being an Amazon can be very dangerous for humans.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: This tale provides the page image for a reason, and Mars and Aphrodite's comments and arguments on the conflicts portrayed give a clear dialogue of the trope.
  • The Medic: The Royal Physician Althea helps Diana save Steve's life after Di and Mala pull him from the ocean. She and Di spend five days getting him stable enough to travel and rigging up healing purple ray tubes in a laboratory outside of the city as it is illegal for a non-Amazon to enter.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Played With. During her final kanga-"fencing" bout Diana faces off against a very muscled large Amazon, who tells Diana that "You need weight for this sport." seemingly confident about her ability to unseat the "Masked Maiden," our hero responds with "Backbone's better than beef." and manages to unseat her opponent instead but it is presented as more a challenge to her than any of her other feats in the tournament.
  • Perspective Flip: Of Hercules' Ninth Labor specifically and Classical Mythology in general. The Amazons were the good guys, it was Hercules who betrayed their trust, they worshiped female gods (and Hermes) rather than the generally disliked Mars/Ares, etc.
  • Pygmalion Plot: The original legend is referenced but not really followed by the origin of Wonder Woman, who was sculpted from clay and had life breathed into her by her mother. The love in this instance is familial (storge) rather than romantic/lust (eros) driven as in the original.
  • Retcon: Diana's origin had already been told in All-Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1 but "The Origin of Wonder Woman" is where her origin as a statue modeled out of clay by her mother first appears.
  • The Rival: Diana and Mala are friendly rivals, and become the two finalists in the contest.
  • Sword and Fist: Outside of the kanga-back fencing tournament the fighting in the tournament makes it clear that
  • The Theme Park Version: Of Classical Mythology. The gods and the tales are streamlined down into the bits that are useful with large portions of their mythological backgrounds and personalities tossed out, and it's a toss up weather they ended up with their Greek or Roman names. For example here is the introduction of four of them from page one, showing just how much less skeevy they are from the originals:
    -Most beautiful of all, Aphrodite was the Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty. Born of the sea foam near the Island of Cyprus, she inspired all mortal lovers and protected them, binding men in the chains of love and beauty, forged by her husband, Vulcan, the blacksmith god!
    -The God of Strength was half-mortal and half-god! When a mere child, he strangled two fierce serpents sent to slay him. He performed twelve labors requiring prodigious strength and upon his earthly death, was taken to Mount Olympus to dwell among the Gods ever after.
    -Known to the ancient Greeks as Hermes, God of Speed, this gay mischievous young blade who could make himself invisible with his winged cap and transport himself in a flash with his winged sandals, always carried with him his scepter of speed, two serpents entwined about a winged shaft.
  • The Thunderdome: Amazon Stadium is an arena for fighting and athletic competitions where the competition to determine the Amazon's champion is held.
  • Truly Single Parent: Hippolyta created Diana with her own artistry and love.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Hercules broke Hippolyta's sword with his club in their ancient battle. She won the fight anyway.
  • The X of Y: "The Origin of Wonder Woman"
  • You Fight Like a Cow: In her final match of the kanga-joust Diana and her opponent exchange some quips, with her opponent comparing her to a tulip since she's so much smaller.

Wonder Woman Goes to the Circus

  • Animal Disguise: Diana (along with a conscripted Etta Candy) disguises herself as a baby elephant to investigate a rash of elephant murders at a local circus. "Disguise" here meaning "took all the sawdust out of an actual taxidermied baby elephant and shoved herself inside".
  • Protection Racket: Mike Mulgoon of the Strongarm Protective Association is a racist bigot threatening the Circus for not paying him.
  • Yellow Peril: The Burmese elephant tamers are evil racist caricatures and are for some reason actually Imperial Japanese spies. The issue ends with the protection racket being the good guys.

Wonder Women of History: "Florence Nightingale"

The Master Plan of Paula Von Gunther

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: The warden's son Freddy is an absolute menace to his older sister Mabel, whom he calls names and keeps sneaking up and lassoing while she's trying to read and go about her day since he's in a cowboy phase.
  • Bad Boss: When Paula is done using Guard Swipe—the only of her minions to seem to have joined up willingly—she has him killed.
  • Bullet Dancing: Diana forces the Warden to dance to avoid bullets from his own gun in order to make him lock her up.
  • Cardboard Prison: Paula has had a trap door installed in her cell, and she has a whole bunch of minions in the basement room underneath.
  • Disney Villain Death: Paula gets shot off a wall and falls headfirst into a rocky bit of coastline. She of course appears again later.
  • Get into Jail Free: This tale provides the page image. When the warden refuses to put Diana into the cell next to Paula the Amazon tosses a trash can over the head of one of his men and forces him to dance to avoid his feet being shot with his own gun, so the put her in irons and toss her right where she wanted to be.
  • Hypno Pendulum: Paula tries using hypnosis to get the captured Captain Loyal to give her the intel the Axis wants, but it doesn't work on him.
  • Lie Detector: Steve tried to hook Paula von Gunther into a lie detector before questioning her in the first issue, but she managed to hit him with it so she was taken back to her cell instead. This story has the bonus of being written by one of the inventors of the lie detector, William Moulton Marston.
  • Meaningful Name: Guard Swipe steals Di's lasso from Freddy, who'd taken it from her bag. Captain Loyal is loyal, what a surprise.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Paula has a Supervillain Lair right underneath her cell, and has bribed the enough of the guards that she can leave anytime she pleases.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Paula is an evil Psychologist who is able to brainwash people into becoming her slaves and acting out her plans.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Swipe betrays the US to the Nazis for a bit of cash, but unfortunately for him his Nazi contact is Paula von Gunther, who while sadistic, fatalistic and nihilistic has not forgotten that she's only working for the Nazis because they're holding her daughter hostage and already murdered her husband for her attempts to avoid them. She murders Swipe as soon as she's gotten a bit of use out of him.
  • Secret Room: Following her initial arrest Paula von Gunther is able to construct a new Supervillain Lair in the hidden chamber beneath her cell.
  • Supervillain Lair: After Paula was arrested and handed over to the authorities she somehow managed to construct an entire elaborate lair complete with throne and all the torture devices a girl could want in the basement below her cell, which could be accessed through a hidden hatch in the cell itself.
  • The X of Y: "The Master Plan of Paula Von Gunther"
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Paula mixes in a bit of Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves when she murders "Swipe" after he steals Wonder Woman's lasso for her. She's working for the Nazis only because they have her daughter captive, though her experiences have made her so nihilistic and fatalistic that she's started enjoying torturing people, whereas he happily sold out his county to the Nazis for a bit of cash.

The Greatest Feat of Daring In Human History

  • Abandoned Mine: Diana Prince, Etta Candy and Mint Candy rescue a beautiful young Mexican woman named Pepita who'd been tossed down a mine shaft.
  • Bull Seeing Red: Mint Candy's love interest is a matador/matadora and when she turns her back on a bull that's still in its pen to answer a question the bull is enraged at her swinging red cape and manages to burst through the fence to try to attack her.
  • Country Cousin: Diana goes with Etta from Washington DC to visit the ranch in Texas Etta's family lives on and tries to play her secret identity Diana Prince as being very inexperienced with such experiences.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Siblings Etta and Mint Candy have first names that play on their surname.
  • Love at First Sight: Mint Candy falls in love with Pepita when rescuing her from the mine shaft she'd been tossed in before she even wakes up.
  • Thrill Seeker: Mint Candy's desire for excitement becomes a negative thing during his stint in the military during WWII when he chose to ride his motorcycle with his hands behind his head while delivering important messages because he was bored and wanted to make it more challenging. He ends up unable to react in time to avoid a crash and Axis spies try to steal the information from him.
  • Truth Serums: A truth serum hidden in a cigarette causes Pt. Mint Candy to give up classified information to a Mexican man collaborating with Imperial Japan.