I happened to stumble across Wonder Woman #216 yesterday, because that's the sort of thing you find lying around our house.(In case you didn't know, the famous Captain Comics is my husband and our house doubles as the Comics Cave. We have anywhere from 50,000-60,000 comics in our house--even the Captain isn't sure of the exact number.)
So Wonder Woman #216 from 1975 is lying out in the open as a consequence of the Captain's current re-boxing and re-boarding obsession. In case you're curious, it was written by Elliot S. Maggin with art by John Rosenberger and Vince Colletta. On the cover Black Canary, with very Farrah Fawcett-looking hair, is saying, "Why are men forbidden on Paradise Island? What would happen if one stepped on the soil of the Amazon Isle? Here, at last, is the ASTOUNDING ANSWER!" So, I thought, I'll bite, what is the astounding answer? I picked it up and took it downstairs to read.
In a kind of clever writer's ploy--supposedly Black Canary is recounting the story of an adventure she had with Wonder Woman on her home island to the rest of the Justice League. It seems a very wealthy and powerful Greek tycoon named Mr. Diamandopoulos (who looks a lot like Aristotle Onassis) has decided that he just has to know the secret of why no man can set foot on Paradise Island, the home of the Amazon women. So he sends his male minions to attempt to do just that. Somehow Black Canary finds out about this attempt (by reading it in the newspaper!) and decides to go to New York to see what Wonder Woman is going to do about it. So, she takes off for New York on her motorcycle, with her JLA gasoline credit card!
It's so funny that the writer saw the need to point that out! Perhaps gas credit cards--maybe credit cards in general--seemed like a new and nifty advancement in 1975! And, I guess they are nice, especially when someone else is paying the bill. Black Canary also has a funny interchange with a parking attendant, who asked her if she always drives her motorcycle like a maniac. She said, "Listen, to get into the Justice League, you have to make it across town in minutes--and most of my friends can fly!" But, back to our story--Black Canary observes Wonder Woman have an odd adventure in New York. She has to rescue a sculpture from being stolen by Diamandopoulos's minions with the use of what looks like a flying saucer with a tractor beam. (Apparently Diamandopoulos has access to some very advanced technology, like Lex Luthor.)
Anyway, after the rather dumb sculpture-rescuing adventure, Black Canary for some reason decides she needs to disguise herself as a newspaper reporter and interview Wonder Woman at her regular job, where she goes by the name of Diana Prince and holds some kind of security position with the United Nations. That interview didn't last long, because the strange Mr. Diamandopoulos appears in some sort of 3-D projection in Diana's office, and so Diana hustles Black Canary out as fast as possible. Diamandopoulos makes some super-villainous threats, and Wonder Woman swings into action! And at the same time, Batman fires up the--get this--JLA teleporter
--and sends Black Canary to Paradise Island so she can witness events there.
Diamandopoulis's army attempts to invade the island using giant robotic vehicles on two legs that look like they are from "The War of the Worlds"...there's some fighting...then it turns out the island they are invading is actually a decoy, and not the real Paradise Island! After the fighting, Black Canary is transported to the real Paradise Island where Queen Hyppolyte reveals to her (on what looks like a flat-screen television) what would really happen if a man sets foot on the island. After returning a magic girdle stolen by Hercules to Queen Hyppolyte, the goddess Aphrodite decreed that any Amazons seeing a man on their island will instantly fall in love with him and fight each other to the death over him. It's Aphrodite's idea of a great cosmic joke. In Queen Hyppolyte's words, "Until we, who base our society on love and respect, are reduced to barbarians over a man!" Indeed, jealousy has turned many perfectly nice girls into "barbarians."
Meanwhile, Diamandopoulos faces off with Wonder Woman on this decoy island where he confesses that the reason he is obsessed with the Amazons is because he is in love with her! (Didn't you see it coming?) Maybe he thought his profession of love would win over WW, but, no! Of course not! She is pissed! Because as she said, "You...threatened to destroy that civilization to impress one you claim to love...?" So she hustled him off the island in dejected defeat. That was the end of the adventure. Black Canary wraps up her story, making a point to leave out the explanation of what would happen if a man set foot on Paradise Island, thinking to herself, "There are some things that must be known to no man--not even the men of the Justice League of America!" So now you know the secret that even Batman doesn't know!
Here are some of my personal observations:
1.) Comic books used to be a lot more "wordy" than they are now. The pages are just filled with dialog and thought balloons and editor's notes. It seems like the writer didn't trust that the pictures would tell the story, and indeed, the art is rather pedestrian. Modern comics creators seem to think more visually. But as a consequence of all the words, the story is chock full of ideas. It was only 20 pages long, but seemed like a much longer and more complex story than that.
2.) The hairstyles on the women look incredibly like the wavy "piecey" long curls that are so in vogue in Hollywood right now, not at all like the elaborately layered hairstyles I actually remember from 1975. (Black Canary wears the Farrah Fawcett do only on the cover.) But remember, this comic book was written and drawn by middle-aged men, who obviously wouldn't be up on the latest styles of the '70's. But I don't know how they so presciently predicted the styles of the early 2000's. On the other hand, there are probably only so many ways to draw hair...
3.) The creators reveal their low opinion of 1970's fashions in one funny panel where Black Canary is walking though the streets of Manhattan in her costume and thinks, "considering the way people dress in New York, I don't look any more or less unusual than anyone else!"
4.) Aphrodite, who makes a cameo appearance, looks just like--who else--Marilyn Monroe.
There you have it. That's all I have to say about Wonder Woman #216.