What Were They Thinking: “Slightly Above Average” Woman

As we all know, hindsight is a wonderful thing. And looking back through some questionable decisions made by the big two (I don't really know enough about Dark Horse or Image to comment on them), it seems that one of the biggest problems they have is chasing trends. So, for the next few WWTT's we'll be having a look at the most questionable of these trend chasers (be warned there will be '90's), starting today with the earliest.

In the mid to late '60's, DC comics began really pushing the mod culture and teenage revolution in its comics. This was great marketing strategy and gave us the original line-up of the Teen Titans, Barbra Gordon's Batgirl and Hawk and Dove, as well as some of the long forgotten titles such as Brother Power; The Geek (a sixties Frankenstien inspired philosophic hero title cancelled because it was felt it condoned the use of drugs), Teen Beat (a teen music magazine) and Swing With Scooter (a mod magazine about an English musician who moved to the states), amongst others. Even Lois Lane got in on the act, quitting her job and leaving Superman to become a strong, independent woman. Now, all of this is fine, BUT, what in the name of Athena were they doing dragging Wonder Woman into all of this?

Ok, DC's publisher at the time, Carmine Infantino (the man who rejuvinated DC and gave us Barry Allen amongst others), felt that Wonder Woman was a bit of a tired concept and needed a make over, that is something that happens all the time and usually it goes well, unless you make a mistake and monumentally screw it up (see The Superior Spider-Man), and boy did they do a whooper here. Basically what they did was de-power Wonder Woman, at the time the only main Super-heroine with her own title, and make her a fashion designing, martial arts expert. Yes, there are arguments that say, and I'm quoting directly from the DC Chronicle here, that a de-powered Wonder Woman 'lauded the versatile spirit and independent strength of the modern woman more than her physical wonders'. BUT (I seem to be saying that a lot today), surely Wonder Woman did all of that anyway, she's always been independent, of strong character and certainly no push-over, she's one of the DC's big 3 for gods sake. This managed to last for 5 years before she was re-powered, and surprisingly I can only find one story of note during those 5 years; the self proclaimed "Women's Lib issue" in which Diana shuts down a sweat shop on behest of a women's liberation group, leaving all of the women employed there out of work. Now, I can't make my mind up whether that's meant to reflect well or badly on the women's movement, but since the next issue Diana got her powers and costume back leaving the previous storyline unresolved, I guess we'll never know.

Anyway, next time I do WWTT we'll look at Marvel and their Image obsession during the '90's. But next week will be Screen Spotlight and we're going to (hopefully) be talking about The Big Bang Theory (alongside Einsteins theory of relativity and other important astrophysical proposals.)

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