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365 Reasons to Love Comics #24

Supporting Character Week (or so), Day Four: The Quest for Peace.

The star of today’s column is the hippest, raddest, craziest, baddest mofo ever to grace the pages of the comics medium. You may find it hard to believe when you find out who it is, but I will prove it to you. Trust me.

(Updated 1/25/07: Now with added butt-kicking.)

1/24/07

24. I-Ching

I-Ching puts the moves on Diana.gif

“It’s okay, baby. You don’t need him. I-Ching’s here for you. Aww, yeah.”

I-Ching (Or I Ching, but I’m going with the hyphenated version as it appears on the cover here) was once Wonder Woman’s mentor, and, if I’ve managed to decipher the clues correctly, her pimp. He was constantly putting himself in what seemed like danger just so he could get close to her. Why? Because I-Ching loves the ladies. Especially the Wonder Ladies.

Confused? Perhaps you are. Y’see, I-Ching appeared at the tail end of the Silver Age and stuck around until the Bronze Age had started. In fact, I-Ching could be completely responsible for the Bronze Age. This was the time when DC was revamping some of its line. Superman went to GBS, Batman became darker still, and Wonder Woman turned into Emma Peel. Or, more precisely, she went from this:

Wondy1.JPG

to this:

Wondy2.jpg

She lost her powers, relinquished her costume and heritage, and started to kick ass *and* wear pants, usually at the same time. It’s the most interesting period of Wonder Woman history, and one of the only times her book was worth reading, I’d bet. Feminists were torn– yeah, she seemed more “empowered,” but she lost her actual powers. So were men building her up or tearing her down? Whatever. We’re here to talk about I-Ching.

So Diana lost her powers, but still wanted to fight the good fight, or something. So she ended up being trained in martial arts by I-Ching, who is a sexy combination of equal parts Chuck Norris, Richard Dragon, and Bruce Lee, only twice as awesome:

I-Ching is like Chuck Norris plus Richard Dragon, only Asian.gif

Okay, so comics coloring wasn’t very good back then, hence the caucasian arm and luminescent orange skin. Just go with it.

You may also have noticed that I-Ching is blind. This never stopped him from fighting evil and rocking out, though.

Here’s a page from his first appearance. Denny O’Neil writes, Mike Sekowsky draws. Courtesy of Bob Hughes:

I-Ching kicks butt.JPG

Click it to make it bigger and readable.

See? The guy knows his way around a fight. And I guess this makes the “I” in “I-Ching” about the same as the “I” in “I, Vampire,” or “I, Spyder.” Kinda silly and naively racist to me, but there you have it.

Do you require more examples of Ching’s coolness? Look no further than this cover:

I-Ching likes Dianas chest.jpg

It may look like he’s been terribly injured and in mortal peril, but I’m betting he leaped in front of the bullet just so he would have a chance to go motorboating on Diana.

Then we’ve got this one:

I-Ching hears up Dianas pants.jpg

First off, note the fact that I-Ching is so cool he appears above Wonder Woman in the titles.

Second, yes, it looks like he’s been taken out again, due to being sprawled all over the place. It’s all part of the plan, though; he could easily jump up and kick all of those skiing jesters in the face. He just doesn’t want to, yet. Why? Well, a normal man in this scenario would probably look up Diana’s skirt. I-Ching is blind, you say! And Diana is wearing pants! Fear not. I-Ching is so amazing, he has no need to look up her skirt, because he can listen up her pants. Creepy, sure, but strong is the pimp hand of I-Ching.

Here’s another one:

I-Ching can see if he wants to.jpg

Yeah, it looks like I-Ching has overcome his blindness to see, um… biker she-pirates leaping out of the sky. Can he see when he wants to? Maybe. Maybe the blind thing is just a ruse, much like all the times he gets beaten up. He just wants Diana to fawn over him. She needs to think he needs her. I bet right after the pirates drop out of nowhere, he goes and gets himself run through just so he can get Diana alone to himself again.

Still don’t believe I-Ching is the coolest sex machine in comics? Then prepare for a brainsplosion, courtesy of The Absorbascon. Witness:

I-Ching drives a car.jpg

I-Ching. Driving a car. While frickin’ blind as a bat.

Badass, sir! I salute you. If that’s not cold hard evidence of why I-Ching rules, I don’t know what is.

This era of Wonder Woman didn’t last very long, though. It debuted in #178 and ended with #204, where Wonder Woman went back to the costume and I-Ching got killed by a sniper’s bullet. I’m sure it was all part of the plan, though. He never appeared again, but I bet he’s just biding his time until he can come back into Diana’s life and put the moves on her again.

In fact, I think he had a cameo or reference of some sort in Allan Heinberg’s current arc. So maybe we’ll all be getting some Post-Crisis I-Ching action in the future. Let’s hope so. If I wrote the title, I’d have I-Ching back in a flash, and he and Diana would be locked in combat with Egg Fu by the end of the first issue.

I hope I-Ching appears in the upcoming Whedonized Wonder Woman movie. I also hope he’s played by Al Pacino covered in glowing orange paint, and shouting “Hoo-ah!” all the time.

You know you want it, too.

Links:
I-Ching on Wikipedia
An overview of the New Wonder Woman era, from Fanzing

15 Comments

Simply awesome.

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Egg Fu/MODOK cross-over–

How much would you pay?

Good column.

I’m surprised a charater has been able to stay dead for so long.

Fantastic.

I love I-Ching, and I think he’s long overdue for a post-Crisis resurgence. I don’t know if he’s shown up yet in Allan Heinberg’s clearly-very-indebted-to-this-period run on Wonder Woman yet, but I’d think so…

Shit, if I’d had any idea Allan Heinberg was into this era in WW’s history, I might have actually tried the book out.

DC are IMBECILES for not Showcase-ing that run. Should have been one of their leadoff hitters, right up there with Jonah Hex and Witching Hour.

Oh yes…
yes…Yes…YES!!!

oh…wait…

Is it possible that I Ching has returned to us in another form? Could he be Dr. Wang from Minoriteam?

Consider it…

After using his power of getting beaten up all the time, it may very well have been a “calculated” ruse all the while to become disabled and lead a team of stereotyped minority figures.
I also will make note that Dr. Wang has expressed a very feverish love of women’s breasts. Draw your own conclusions as to how that fits with Wonder Woman.

I always wondered if his name was pronounced “Eye-Ching” or “Ee-Ching.” The latter is correct, but the folks at DC in 70s don’t strike me as hip enough to know that.

Showcase, nothing. I want those issues in all their racist full-color glory!

I’m glad I’m not the only person fascinated by this era of WW. The hardcover ‘Wonder Woman A Complete History’ book that came out a few years ago ran one of those issues along with several choice covers.
http://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Woman-Complete-History-Daniels/dp/0811842339/sr=1-16/qid=1169734092/ref=sr_1_16/104-9296359-8251913?ie=UTF8&s=books

That cover with the biker she-pirates is freaking me out. What is Diana doing? Is I-Ching pretending to be a cop and making her “assume the position” so he can frisk her? Weird. Plus, she seems to be wearing a belt made of fish skeletons.

And that panel of I-Ching driving a car is hurting my head. I can’t for the life of me figure out what is going on. Is he driving the car on two wheels? Are they going up an embankment? Are they skidding in reverse over somebody’s giant foot? (seriously, what is that thing in the bottom right corner?) Aaugh!

It doesn’t have I-Ching on it, but my favorite Wonder Woman issue of that era (well, judging by the cover; I haven’t read any of them) is the “women’s lib issue” that has the girl in bondage on the cover. (http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=25615&zoom=4) Irony!

Another excellent character choice, Mr. Reed! This is quite a series you’ve got going here.

Matt Brady said …
“That cover with the biker she-pirates is freaking me out. What is Diana doing? Is I-Ching pretending to be a cop and making her “assume the position” so he can frisk her?”

Gotta love the sixties! So innocent, yet so kinky at the same time. What gets me is that warning painted on the wall: “Look up–and die!” Did the biker she-pirates put it there before they hid on the roof? Maybe it’s a psychological warfare thing.

That I-Ching’s one bad mutha – I’ll shut my mouth. But he sure was all over Diana, wasn’t he? That line about “listening up her pants” was great.

“…ended with #204, where Wonder Woman went back to the costume and I-Ching got killed by a sniper’s bullet… He never appeared again…”

Heh, kind of sounds like how they got rid of Poochie.

“Egg Fu/MODOK cross-over–
How much would you pay?”

LOL. Seriously. I laughed out loud. I’d totally buy that. (Please, let Morrison write it.)

Funniest thing I’ve read since the recent MODOC issue of MA AVENGERS.

Listening up her pants indeed …

The Kirbydotter

March 10, 2007 at 10:18 am

“Egg Fu/MODOK cross-over–

How much would you pay?”

Oh yeah!
I’m in!

The I-Ching/Mod Wonder Woman was the best period in Wonder Woman’s long history.

And yes, it is sad that it hasn’t been reprinted yet.
And try finding nice copies at a decent price on Ebay.

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