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Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Vol. 1 (Sensation Comics

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The most famous of all the women who have ever been called a superhero, Wonder Woman exploded into the world of comic books amid the uncertainty and bleak determination of World War II. Fighting for justice and treating even her enemies with firm compassion, Wonder Woman brought not a cape nor a ring nor a personal fortune or hidden clubhouse, but a magical lariat that com The most famous of all the women who have ever been called a superhero, Wonder Woman exploded into the world of comic books amid the uncertainty and bleak determination of World War II. Fighting for justice and treating even her enemies with firm compassion, Wonder Woman brought not a cape nor a ring nor a personal fortune or hidden clubhouse, but a magical lariat that compelled anyone it bound to tell the truth, and bracelets that could not only deflect bullets but prevent Wonder Woman from ever using her superpowers for unchecked destruction.  The very first stories of the Amazon Warrior are collected here in WONDER WOMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE VOLUME 1, featuring the adventures of Wonder Woman as she tackles corruption, oppression and cruelty in ALL STAR COMICS #8, COMIC CAVALCADE #1, SENSATION COMICS #1-14 and WONDER WOMAN #1-3.


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The most famous of all the women who have ever been called a superhero, Wonder Woman exploded into the world of comic books amid the uncertainty and bleak determination of World War II. Fighting for justice and treating even her enemies with firm compassion, Wonder Woman brought not a cape nor a ring nor a personal fortune or hidden clubhouse, but a magical lariat that com The most famous of all the women who have ever been called a superhero, Wonder Woman exploded into the world of comic books amid the uncertainty and bleak determination of World War II. Fighting for justice and treating even her enemies with firm compassion, Wonder Woman brought not a cape nor a ring nor a personal fortune or hidden clubhouse, but a magical lariat that compelled anyone it bound to tell the truth, and bracelets that could not only deflect bullets but prevent Wonder Woman from ever using her superpowers for unchecked destruction.  The very first stories of the Amazon Warrior are collected here in WONDER WOMAN: THE GOLDEN AGE VOLUME 1, featuring the adventures of Wonder Woman as she tackles corruption, oppression and cruelty in ALL STAR COMICS #8, COMIC CAVALCADE #1, SENSATION COMICS #1-14 and WONDER WOMAN #1-3.

30 review for Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Vol. 1 (Sensation Comics

  1. 5 out of 5

    L. McCoy

    I tried reading this last month as a women’s history month thing and finally finished it this month (it’s a big book). I want to like this book for how this character changed the world of comics and is a bit of an American history icon... but her early stories were pretty awful. What’s it about? This is a collection of the first comics featuring Wonder Woman, the brave amazon who fights for good in a world being torn apart by war. Pros: This book has some really fun and exciting action scenes that I I tried reading this last month as a women’s history month thing and finally finished it this month (it’s a big book). I want to like this book for how this character changed the world of comics and is a bit of an American history icon... but her early stories were pretty awful. What’s it about? This is a collection of the first comics featuring Wonder Woman, the brave amazon who fights for good in a world being torn apart by war. Pros: This book has some really fun and exciting action scenes that I enjoyed. There’s some good comedy in here. I like how quippy Wonder Woman sometimes is and of course like many old comics there’s stuff that wasn’t meant to sound the way it does now (example: there’s a scene Wonder Woman fights a tiger and says “I hope I wasn’t too rough with pussy.” I know it may be a bit immature but I laughed so hard I cried!) As a fan of history and comics I loved the WW2 propaganda. It’s interesting to see how they did it and this was big time propaganda! Not to mention it often adds to the humor. Cons: The stories... they’re the kind of stories that seem entertaining for like a few minutes but after awhile I kinda just got tired of it. Maybe it’s more repetitive than bad. The art in this book is pretty bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen a lot of worse art in comics but the art style in this just doesn’t work IMO. The characters are annoying. Wonder Woman is usually interesting and bad-a** in other comics I’ve read where she shows up but in this she’s a bit annoying for several reasons. Steve Trevor is not interesting and is a bit of an idiot. Etta Candy annoyed the f*** out of me! Imagine if Pam from Archer wasn’t funny but had a weird drug-like addiction to candy and instead of saying something funny like “holy s***-snacks” she constantly screamed “woo-woo!” about pretty much everything. I slightly wanted Etta to be killed off. Like most of these kinds of stories it is predictable. The plot convenience is annoying and worse than it is in most superhero comics which is saying something. I was very surprised by how racist this book is. So, I won’t complain too much about the racism towards German and Japanese people in this book because it was wrong but we were at war with them at the time so I suppose it makes sense especially with this book being propaganda. What I am referring to is the racism towards black people. First of all, they’re drawn sorta chimp-like, at first I didn’t think much of it because like I said, the art in this book isn’t good but then I noticed how almost every black character in this book is in a job serving white people, they can’t speak properly (example: “This suitcase show am heaby!” or “Has you got yo’ resumvation, lady?”) and white characters (even Wonder Woman) will be mean to black characters with no consequences. The narrative is annoying. If I’m reading a comic I can see what’s happening in the picture, I don’t need it explained to me! This book includes many child characters in some of the stories. Those who follow my reviews know I don’t like kids in general but I can tolerate some kids for a little bit (even IRL if they’re well behaved and into cool stuff (example: toy cars. I’m 17 and still play with Hot Wheels cars)) but not for a long time. Well with this being a big book there’s a lot of stories involving little kids so they get very annoying after awhile, especially since they tend to cry, scream, provide horrible (though probably realistic) dialogue, etc. This book is full of gender stereotypes towards both men and women. Men are often portrayed as a**holes who disrespect women and women are often seen as mean and/or submissive, as well as there being stereotypes of them being super obsessed with men and absolutely loving kids. Of course with the Wonder Woman/Steve Trevor relationship this is pretty much a book about a woman who wouldn’t have discovered her meaning in life if she didn’t run away with a man so what should I expect? The dialogue is often very cheesy. Overall: This could have been a fun book but I had so many problems with it! It’s cheesy, predictable, racist and often sexist (though I suppose I should give DC credit for not censoring it, valuing historical accuracy over political correctness. Good job, DC. Bad job, creators of the book). I didn’t enjoy it and would only recommend it to the biggest fans of the character. 2/5

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Firstly, I really like these DC softcover collections of Golden and Silver Age comics. They're handsome and sturdy, and well-priced for nearly 400 pages of color comics. A decent number of them are available digitally on Hoopla as well, at least for the time being. As for these comics themselves...well...everything you've heard about them is true. They're energetic and freaky and frequently trippy, with a BDSM subtext so un-subtle it essentially becomes text. The stories are split between spy ca Firstly, I really like these DC softcover collections of Golden and Silver Age comics. They're handsome and sturdy, and well-priced for nearly 400 pages of color comics. A decent number of them are available digitally on Hoopla as well, at least for the time being. As for these comics themselves...well...everything you've heard about them is true. They're energetic and freaky and frequently trippy, with a BDSM subtext so un-subtle it essentially becomes text. The stories are split between spy capers (designed as propaganda during WWII, sadly featuring some ugly racist stereotypes) and more far-out adventures that take place on other planets or on the matriarchal Utopia of Paradise Island. One thing that unites the stories (other than Marston's fetishes) is the sense of kindness and compassion that make Wonder Woman one of the most appealing Golden Age heroes. The cartooning of Harry G. Peters is also underrated; he's a striking image-maker, particularly during the more surreal sequences set on other planets.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fred Klein

    I was interested in reading the original Wonder Woman comics after seeing the recent wonderful "Wonder Woman" film and learning the history of the writer, who had a kinky lifestyle with two women who inspired him to create the character. Even without knowing the history of William Moulton Marston, it would not have escaped my notice that Wonder Woman and other women in the comics are tied up an awful lot. Marston was apparently very kinky, and, supposedly, when the publisher threatened him and di I was interested in reading the original Wonder Woman comics after seeing the recent wonderful "Wonder Woman" film and learning the history of the writer, who had a kinky lifestyle with two women who inspired him to create the character. Even without knowing the history of William Moulton Marston, it would not have escaped my notice that Wonder Woman and other women in the comics are tied up an awful lot. Marston was apparently very kinky, and, supposedly, when the publisher threatened him and directed him to stop it with the bondage, he refused to submit. The publisher of this collection warns early that the stories are a reflection of a different time. The comics are like wartime propaganda, and the Germans and Japanese are portrayed as stereotypes that would not be accepted now. The stories are fun to read, but it's hard to deny how utterly ridiculous they are. This powerful supernatural being is constantly being rescued by a group of college girls led by the overweight Etta Candy, who says "Woo! Woo!" way too much and is obsessed with -- you guessed it! -- candy! Just like the recent film, one of Wonder Woman's arch-enemies is the war god, Ares, but he is called Mars in the comics. He has several henchmen: Greed, Deception, and Conquest. The plots featuring Mars are utterly ridiculous, but just laugh and enjoy them. I might give this book more stars just as a piece of comics history, but I can't give it too many because of how, well, stupid the comics are. If you are interested in the history, I recommend it. If you are truly interested in reading good stories in the form of comics, then maybe you are better off looking for a volume of Spider-Man comics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I didn't realize the original Wonder Woman comics were so darn trippy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sean Curley

    In April of 1938, the world changed forever with the arrival of Superman in Action Comics #1. It would take until October of 1941 for All-Star Comics #8 to bring the world Wonder Woman, the first and most iconic female superhero. Created by Dr. William Marston specifically to serve as a feminist exemplar -- and a vehicle for Marston's very particular female-supremacist variant of it -- Diana's Golden Age stories are probably the most interesting 1940s comics to read today, as they come with a sp In April of 1938, the world changed forever with the arrival of Superman in Action Comics #1. It would take until October of 1941 for All-Star Comics #8 to bring the world Wonder Woman, the first and most iconic female superhero. Created by Dr. William Marston specifically to serve as a feminist exemplar -- and a vehicle for Marston's very particular female-supremacist variant of it -- Diana's Golden Age stories are probably the most interesting 1940s comics to read today, as they come with a specific literary goal that most other comics creators didn't have. Older comics are always a bit of an acquired taste, so these won't be for everyone, but for those who enjoy a good stilted adventure yarn with some fascinating themes and undercurrents, Volume 1 of The Golden Age comes highly recommended. The comics included here span from October of 1941 through to February of 1943, and as you might expect from the timeframe (and a cursory knowledge of what most superheroes were up to in the period), she's entirely preoccupied with the threat of the Axis Powers (this treads into the realm of uncomfortable racist stereotyping whenever the Japanese are involved, it should be noted; similarly, the presentations of some other minority groups wouldn't win Marston any awards for progressivism, despite his liberal advocacy of racial equality; not usual for the period, of course). There are no costumed supervillains of the sort we'd now expect from the genre, though Diana has a couple of recurring nemeses, namely, Baroness Paula von Gunther and Mars, the God of War. The Baroness, who appears with by far the greatest frequency in the stories published here, ends up serving as a vehicle for one of Marston/Diana's major philosophical preoccupations: the possibility of redemption, which was rather unusual for villains of the period, and has, ideally, continued to distinguish the character's stories in the decades since. The art throughout is provided by H.G. Peter, the oft-overlooked co-creator of Wonder Woman. Peter, a longtime editorial cartoonist who, like Marston, had a history of involvement with the feminist movement, is a very underrated artist. His work is detailed, much moreso than many other comics artists from the period, and he perfectly suits Marston's occasional wild flights of fancy (as well as his barely-disguised bondage fetishism). Volume 1 in some ways only hints at how strange Marston's imagination would become in subsequent years, but the themes of female liberation are impossible to miss, particularly in one story involving Diana going on an adventure to another planet to help quell a rebellion against a benevolent matriarchy where prison is considered a delight because of how wonderful it is for the soul. Steve Trevor, Diana's putative love interest, is a brave, if not especially cunning, fellow, and he's never at all unhappy at playing second fiddle to a female hero. Then there's the buoyant comic relief of Diana's plus-sized friend Etta Candy, who proves consistently to be a great person to have in your corner in a fight.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lexi

    So much bondage. I was not disappointed. I do feel compelled to point out that, typical of many old comics written by white people, there are some racist depictions of POC hete. Diana herself isn't racist in attitude, but the stereotyped characterizations and appearances are of some villains are. Just an FYI. There is a disclaimer that these comics are unedited historical documents, which I appreciated because I haven't noticed notes like that in Marvel golden age reprints (at least not in older So much bondage. I was not disappointed. I do feel compelled to point out that, typical of many old comics written by white people, there are some racist depictions of POC hete. Diana herself isn't racist in attitude, but the stereotyped characterizations and appearances are of some villains are. Just an FYI. There is a disclaimer that these comics are unedited historical documents, which I appreciated because I haven't noticed notes like that in Marvel golden age reprints (at least not in older editions). Anyway, I skimmed some of the issues where the villain was a stereotyped person of color, but there's still some fun here outside of that. There's kangaroo rodeos and someone is tied up at least one panel a page.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Okay, so I was a big Wonder Woman fan when I was a kid in the 50's and 60's. But these comics are from the 40's (Wonder Woman spends a lot of time fighting Nazi's and the Japanese) are very different. Perhaps my view was tinted by having just read about the creator William Marston and his two wives. But I sure had fun reading them - maybe I'll read some more comics compilations.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MK

    Nice to see the origins. Marston was way too into BDSM and it shows in the stories. On the other hand, Etta Candy is awesome as well. Strong women all the way around in the stories with the overall message of love over hate - even if it's done in weird ways. Some attitudes are definitely of the era but on the whole an enjoyable read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    On some levels, arguably more progressive in its portrayal of gender than a lot of modern comics; strong female characters dealing with men being shitty, getting no credit because they live in a male focused world, and the male characters are often the ones in distress rather than the damsels. Yet, still clings to outdated notions of associating women with love and submission, and men with dominance and aggression. Also very very racist, even by ww2 era comic standards. Furthermore, Moulton is c On some levels, arguably more progressive in its portrayal of gender than a lot of modern comics; strong female characters dealing with men being shitty, getting no credit because they live in a male focused world, and the male characters are often the ones in distress rather than the damsels. Yet, still clings to outdated notions of associating women with love and submission, and men with dominance and aggression. Also very very racist, even by ww2 era comic standards. Furthermore, Moulton is clearly very into bondage and there's a lot of weird BDSM subtext in this that I don't know how to feel about. It's also just really poorly written, for the most part. It's clear that, while being a psychologist, Moulton's goals with this series were much more tailored to his polemic aims than actually applying believable behaviour to his characters. There's a lot of unintetionally farcical moments here, like when Diana yells "heil hitler" and does the Nazi salute to trick some German dudes into revealing their Nazi-ness, after which they fire off 2 "heil hitler"s as if by instinct, then loudly exclaim "ooops" (you know it's serious when there's a 3 o oops) and try to kill her. I know there wasn't much communication between writers and artists back in the day, which is what leads to the excessive captioning and such, but even by the standards of the time this is really choppy to read, and sometimes the captions straight up contradict the art. Speaking of, H.G. Peter's art is decent in the first few issues, but quickly loses any semblance of creativity as the series goes on, minimising itself to a monotonous 9-panel grid where every panel uses the same type of composition, often drawn so unclearly that the excessive captioning becomes a nessecity. It's not worth your time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    I really like Wonder Woman, though I’ve read few books with her name on the cover; my appreciation for the the character comes from animated shows and JLA comics. So, in an effort to read more solo WW - and owing to my completist tendencies - I figured I’d start at the very beginning. And what a trip these comics are. Cheesy as they are today, I kind of enjoy Golden Age comics. The pulpy sensibilities and unfiltered creativity give them a unique charm. Sure, I’m reading this book for historical p I really like Wonder Woman, though I’ve read few books with her name on the cover; my appreciation for the the character comes from animated shows and JLA comics. So, in an effort to read more solo WW - and owing to my completist tendencies - I figured I’d start at the very beginning. And what a trip these comics are. Cheesy as they are today, I kind of enjoy Golden Age comics. The pulpy sensibilities and unfiltered creativity give them a unique charm. Sure, I’m reading this book for historical purposes, but as with Golden Age Batman, I’m surprised at how fun these stories can be. The situations are often ridiculous, and there’s a sense of go-get-em adventure that I find endearing. All stories follow roughly the same formula: Diana, in her role as military intelligence secretary (and army nurse), hears of a plot involving Nazi or Japanese spies. She, Steve Trevor, and Etta Candy, with her sorority sisters in tow, work to stop the threat, as Diana ultimately saves the day. Some stories, like the ones with Ares, break the mold a bit. Across this volume, we see the Amazons’ origin, Diana’s going to America, her relationship with Steve Trevor, friendship with Etta Candy, the invisible plane, Ares, and the advent of her first recurring villain, Baroness Paula Von Gunther. Wonder Woman is painted as a champion of justice and compassion. In other words, all the seeds of her mythos and character are planted here. Theme there’s the bondage/submission/punishment aspect. It’s no secret that William Moulton Marston was a progressive guy for the time, what with his sexual proclivities and belief in female superiority. These comics are basically a platform for him to present his worldview. First off, Wonder Woman is far and away more powerful and heroic than the men around her. Then of course, she carries around a rope and wears tight bracelets. And every story here includes at least one instance of Diana (and usually other characters) getting chained or tied, and enjoying it. Like it or not, the bondage stuff gives these comics a distinct flavor, and, I would argue, charm. Some random bits I like: the Paradise Island tournament contests, featuring roping and riding kangaroos; the story narrated by a fur tree; Diana’s mental radio she uses to contact the Amazons and Etta; the issue where Diana confronts the National Milk Conpany; the Baronesses’ turn in the last two stories; this quote from Diana: “Abracadabra, hocuszay, dance on the air, my little fey! How do you like my magic?”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matt Eldridge

    This was good, but for the DC Trinity's Golden Age adventures, its probably the weakest. It might due to how more comedic the stories are compared to the previous two books and unfortunately, men abusing their wives is presented here as jokes when back in Superman's GA stories, abusing women was met by punishment by Superman. I loved the character of Etta Candy, so far she's my favourite Golden Age sidekick. She and her sorority beat the shit out of Nazis without a moment's hesitation and drive t This was good, but for the DC Trinity's Golden Age adventures, its probably the weakest. It might due to how more comedic the stories are compared to the previous two books and unfortunately, men abusing their wives is presented here as jokes when back in Superman's GA stories, abusing women was met by punishment by Superman. I loved the character of Etta Candy, so far she's my favourite Golden Age sidekick. She and her sorority beat the shit out of Nazis without a moment's hesitation and drive this big car with "Blondes prefer Gentlemen" painted on it, I love them so much.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Duncan

    A huge book of the EARLY Wonder Woman. WHO is she? What IS the magic lasso? WHY does she wear bracelets? Where did she get her girdle? WHEN did she start her crusade? All of these, and more, are answered, definitively for the reader. I just wish the current WRITERS (ahem) would pay a bit more attention...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wrbill Edwards

    Old Fashioned Fun See the original of the "feminist" classic. Very simple - minded, with WW II stereotypes of Germans and Japanese, and 1930s "girlies". But there are uncompromising strong women and the idea that women should rule. See bios of Marston and of course the film.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Doctor Alpha

    Read this if you want to know the real Wonder Woman, why she is so beloved and why Harry G. Peter is hands down the best Golden Age era artist period. For those who don't want to do it, you can always go for sucky Hikiteia instead. Too old my ass...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Haskell

    So. Much. Bondage. Sheesh, how did people not notice this back in the day? Enjoyable if a bit repetitive and dated.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Khaiwan Vu

    this book is decent but i do not recommend this book if you like comic books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Artie

    I was a bit surprised that extramarital sex was featured in some of these episodes, even though it was never depicted. As I said before, her best years were when she was fighting Nazis.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Monk

    One must always go into things like this with a bit of a historian's mind: remember that you're looking at something created in the past, and judge it by the values of that past. Okay, preliminaries out the way, how is this? Better than I expected! Wonder Woman herself is pretty badass, and the other female characters are more fully realized than I thought they'd be. That's particularly important here, since the hero is, well, Wonder *Woman*. The women in general are smart and capable. Even Etta One must always go into things like this with a bit of a historian's mind: remember that you're looking at something created in the past, and judge it by the values of that past. Okay, preliminaries out the way, how is this? Better than I expected! Wonder Woman herself is pretty badass, and the other female characters are more fully realized than I thought they'd be. That's particularly important here, since the hero is, well, Wonder *Woman*. The women in general are smart and capable. Even Etta, in many ways a problematic character for a modern reader, is smart and capable. Now, these are simple stories written for children, and charming for that, but they've resonated down to present time. (And the cover art reflects that, our Princess Diana looking a lot like Gal Gadot.) I like Golden Age comics, and these are among the best.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Erik

    Comics have come a long way since the "Golden Age", and it is kind of difficult to enjoy this collection without any kind of context or background knowledge - at least if you are above the age of ten years and aren't a camp affocionado. These were simpler times, with vastly different values and outlooks ("haha, the fat girl wants more candy!"). However, there is another, fascinating aspect to this. Wonder Woman was intended to be didactic, and her creator was a polyamorous BDSM practitioner who b Comics have come a long way since the "Golden Age", and it is kind of difficult to enjoy this collection without any kind of context or background knowledge - at least if you are above the age of ten years and aren't a camp affocionado. These were simpler times, with vastly different values and outlooks ("haha, the fat girl wants more candy!"). However, there is another, fascinating aspect to this. Wonder Woman was intended to be didactic, and her creator was a polyamorous BDSM practitioner who believed in women's rights and celebrated strong women. With this in mind, the silly 1940s strips reveal their true potential, their subversive quality.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana Cramer

    Ok, I am big fan of Wonder Woman, particularly the '70's incarnation by Lynda Carter. Those of you who remember the first season or so remember them reincarnating the WWII roots, and that's part of what I loved about this - going back to the source.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Carman Moore

    Review to follow on my website. This collection gets an extra star just for being the comic that began Wonder Woman's career.

  22. 4 out of 5

    A.Rae

    Yes, I'm still reading Wonder Woman things.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matt Smith

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Shelton

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul Corupe

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  27. 4 out of 5

    Byron

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ananya Ghosh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Dempsey

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