web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #267

Welcome to the two-hundred and sixty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and sixty-six.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this installment of Baseball Legends Revealed to see what kind of odd (but sweet) tribute an All-Star catcher wears for his mother every game.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter. As I’ve promised, at 2,000 followers I’ll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week we hit 2,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again)! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

This week, in honor of Wonder Woman #600 and Diana’s new costume, this is a Wonder Woman theme week!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: DC changed the logo on Wonder Woman’s chest because they could not trademark the old logo of an eagle.

STATUS: False

I know a few readers have sent this one in over the years. I have only found one specific request by a reader, Neil, but I know others have sent it in, as well, so let me know if you’re one of them!

Anyhow, in 1982, here is what Wonder Woman looked like (as well as the logo for her title)…

but DC did a special story where Wonder Woman was given a new halter top with two W’s on it rather than a stylized eagle…

and eventually she agreed to wear it…

the new costume and title logo debuted in the next issue of Wonder Woman (and the debut of Roy Thomas and Gene Colan as the new creative team of the book)…

Okay, as the story goes, DC decided to make the change because they had problems trademarking a stylized eagle, so they wanted something that they could trademark.

First off, just like a Comic Book Legends Revealed from a couple of years ago about the word “USA” (and also, as I discuss in my book about Batman’s chest symbol), there is not some weird exception to trademark law where you cannot trademark stuff like “USA” or animals. So long as you have a distinctly stylized logo that is associated with your product, you can trademark it. Wonder Woman’s eagle is clearly distinctive enough to be able to be trademarked. So the notion that DC could not trademark it is just not true. If you ever have the inclination, just check out the United States Trademark Office if you want to see dozens and dozens of trademarks for drawings of stylized eagles.

Secondly, DC had recently debuted an ACTUAL Wonder Woman Foundation in 1981. So they were already in the market for a logo (if they had not already come up with the double W’s FOR the Wonder Woman Foundation – I honestly don’t know the timeline there, which one came first, the Foundation logo or the comic one).

Thirdly, the Wonder Woman Foundation logo, while not necessarily easier to trademark, it is certainly a lot BETTER of an image if you want to quickly get across the notion of “Wonder Woman,” similar to how the “S” gets you Superman and the bat logo gets you Batman. And DC President Jennette Kahn had just recently had a new DC logo designed, so she clearly understood the power of branding. The WW logo is a much better “brand” than the eagle.

So that’s why the change was made, not because DC could not trademark a stylized eagle

Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this one! Also, if you want to see Wonder Woman’s various costumes, I have a piece up at CBR about her various costumes here.

COMIC LEGEND: Wonder Girl came about due to a typo.

STATUS: Mostly False, but Perhaps a Bit of Truth to it

Reader Dan wrote in to ask:

With Wonder Woman in the news this week, I started thinking about this comics legend. The story goes that when Bob Haney was creating the Teen Titans, he saw an issue of Wonder Woman with a Wonder Girl story that contained a typo. In the story, “Diana” was rendered as “Donna”. Due to this, Haney thought the character was Wonder Woman’s kid sidekick, and didn’t realize that she was actually Wonder Woman as a teenager (like Superboy).

I’ve seen this story related in several places, but the issue of Wonder Woman in which the typo appears is never given, nor is there ever an image of the typo. Any idea whether or not this story is true?

I covered the basics of how Wonder Girl was added to the Teen Titans due to a misunderstanding by Bob Haney in one of the earliest Comic Book Legends Revealed ever. To quickly refresh, Wonder Woman writer/editor Robert Kanigher began writing stories about Wonder Woman as a teenager (also as a toddler). They were so popular that he began to frequently do stories where Wonder Woman would team-up with her younger selves (they were called “impossible stories”) and her mother, Hippolyta. It appeared as though Haney just saw one of these stories and presumed that Wonder Girl was a separate character (which is completely reasonable, seeing as how she was treated as though she was one). However, I have never addressed the name/typo thing. In fact, I had never heard of it before Dan wrote to me about it, but after some checking, Dan’s right, it HAS been said in a few places.

Okay, so was there an issue where Wonder Girl is accidentally written as “Donna” instead of “Diana”?

Nope (and I scoured through a ton of Wonder Womans reading for it).

She is always called Wonder Girl in the comics, perhaps so Kanigher would never have to WORRY about screwing up the names of the characters!

HOWEVER, in a Wonder Girl story dated February 1965, just on the outskirts of the possibility that Haney might not have written Brave and the Bold #60 (the first appearance of Wonder Girl as a separate character), which was dated July 1965, Wonder Girl meets a shipwrecked man suffering from amnesia who believes that she is his daughter.

So throughout the story, he calls her “Annie.”

Since this issue is reasonably close to when Haney began writing Brave and the Bold #60, it is POSSIBLE that he saw her called “Annie” and did not read any further.

But it’s much more likely that he just read the previous issues where Wonder Girl is just treated as one of the cast. By the #150s, Kanigher was not even doing a spiel about these being “impossible stories” anymore – it was just like Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were just supporting characters.

But still, I suppose it is a POSSIBILITY, so I won’t rule it out entirely – it just wasn’t a case of Diana/Donna. Heck, when Wonder Girl debuted as an independent character, she STILL did not have a name (outside of Wonder Girl, of course)!

Thanks to Dan for the question!

COMIC LEGEND: Wonder Woman is the mother of A-Ko from Project A-Ko.

STATUS: True Enough, Really

This is a weird one.

Reader Jerry wrote in to ask:

Is it true A-ko from “Project A-ko” is the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman?

You don’t get much more straightforward than that, question-wise.

The answer, though, is a tricky one.

Project A-Ko is a famous anime from the late 1980s that parodies other popular animes of the 1970s and 1980s.

The star of the story, Eiko (or A-Ko), is stronger and faster than everyone else.

Her father is pretty clearly Clark Kent…

He’s even shown reading the Daily Planet at one point in the film!

And at the end, when we meet her parents together…

Yeah, they’re pretty clearly intended to be Wonder Woman and Superman…

ako2

But then again, it’s a parody film, ya know? So it’s not REALLY Wonder Woman and Superman (hence the “tricky” part of it).

But there ya go, Jerry, hope that answers the question!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Comic Book Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

As you likely know by now, in April of last year my book came out!

Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

53 Comments

Pete Woodhouse

July 2, 2010 at 10:45 am

Wonder Woman #288 cover: “WW is bustin’ loose!” How did you get away with that pun, DC?

The splash page, by the way, is very reminiscent of Marvel (members of the public reacting astonished to hero-in-their-midst is very early Marvel). Considering most the personnel involved were ex-Marvel – Thomas, Colan (I nearly typed Conan – oh I just did!), Wein, Conway – is this coincidence; or a conscious effort by DC? Obviously a lot of Marvel guys were moving to DC by the early mid 80s, so it’s not surprising the 2 companies began to converge more?

P.

I would say it was definitely conscious.

Ah, yes, the great exodus of the Shooter refugees.

Project A-Ko is awesome and the soundtrack for the first film is classic.

Todd Klein when he talks about the development of the Wonder Woman logo reiterates the “you can’t trademark the eagle story” but also points out that the new logo was in fact designed by Milton Glaser, who designed the “I [heart] NY” logo and the beloved (and missed) DC Bullet. (http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=746):

I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the symbol was changed purely for licensing reasons, partially because so much of DC’s sales were in European markets and they wanted a more generic, less ‘American’ look to Wonder Woman. I can’t remember where I read that though.

Thanks for the Glaser info, Graeme!

Which one do you think Glaser designed first – the WW foundation or the WW logo?

Re: the Wonder Woman splash page: In the current issue of Back Issue magazine, there’s an interview with Roy Thomas and Gene Colan, and it points out that this page is a direct reference to the splash page of an Iron Man story drawn by Gene in Tales of Suspense, with Iron Man rushing through a hospital corridor. The magazine prints the WW splash next to the Iron Man splash, and the resemblance is striking.

Gene Colan drew Wonder Woman in a very R. Crumb type of big hipped woman manner.

Not that there is anything wrong with that…

DC’s campaign got me hyped for WW. I bought it back then. Looking at these scans, I’m going to have to dig these up and read them again !

Gene Colan is my favorite Wonder Woman artist, for one thing it was the only time the Magic Lasso ever looked, well, magical. In the pages above, the way she changes into her costume using the lasso, other artist had drawn that many times before or since but the way Colan drew it always stuck in my mind as the way it should look.

And Roy’s writing on that run was a lot of fun too.

I just love the gangster in the foreground of that WW cover who’s wayyy too happy that he’s about to get his ass kicked and can’t wait to tell us all about it. Kind of an updated version of the freaked-out guy on the first Action Comics cover.

Additionally, at one point I believe A-Ko’s mom is doing the laundry and tosses in a pseudo Superman suit and / or a pseudo Wonder Woman outfit into the wash. This might have been in the sequel.

That’s funny, I never realised that about Project A-Ko, one of my favorite Anime’s ever. Granted, I haven’t seen it in ten years and I’m pretty sure I was baked nearly every time I saw it, but still that’s still pretty obvious. Funny, funny movie!

Project A-Ko was probably the second anime I ever saw, after Akira.(Thanks Sci-Fi Channel!) I still have the videotape I bought a couple of years after that. I must have watched it a couple of dozen times and never noticed those references. Awesome! Thanks!

More on the Project A-Ko connection: as Squashua says, there is definitely a scene within the last few minutes of the first Project A-Ko film where A-Ko’s mom is putting laundry on a clothesline and you see her hang up a cape with an “S” on it, although it doesn’t look exactly like Superman’s cape. Also, probably the most obvious nod to Wonder Woman: A-Ko wears WW-like bracelets through the entire series!

But wow, I never noticed until I saw the screencap above, but A-Ko’s mom’s apron looks just like the WW uniform. Nice!

re:Jason Green. Even more esoteric is how, in the 3rd A-ko film (which has a terrific intro that lampoons “The Hustler” with A-ko as Fast Eddie), when A-ko is getting ready to fight B-ko, she takes off her bracelets and her power rises exponentially (reminded me of an old WW story where, when WW’s bracelets were removed, she goes berzerk) and, well, mass destruction and hilarity ensues…

The Separated Man is CREEPY! What’s his deal?

So,, when did Wonder Girl get the name Donna?

Not that I want to be “old fan guy”, but while attending the Chicago con of the “WW” year, DC representatives
(including Ms Kahn), formed a united front telling the fans that the only way they could copyright/trademark Wonder Woman was to redesign her chest emblem. And there were a lot of unhappy fans. I’m not sure that the issue was that they couldn’t work with the eagle, just that the eagle didn’t specifically say “Wonder Woman”. The eagle’s used for a lot of different things.

OK So now the question is what happened to the Wonder Woman Foundation. Is it still around?

(including Ms Kahn), formed a united front telling the fans that the only way they could copyright/trademark Wonder Woman was to redesign her chest emblem. And there were a lot of unhappy fans. I’m not sure that the issue was that they couldn’t work with the eagle, just that the eagle didn’t specifically say “Wonder Woman”. The eagle’s used for a lot of different things.

I have no doubt that fans were told this. Just noting that it is not true. It sounds a lot better to tell people that rather than, “We want a logo we can use a brand and an eagle really doesn’t work as well.”

I also would not be surprised if Kahn used words SIMILAR to “we could not trademark the old logo” but were really “we did not think we could use it,” etc., ya know what I mean?

Great to see Project Ako mentioned here! HA!!!!

Thanks for the answer, Brian!

Isn’t B-ko’s father pretty much modeled after Tony Stark in the film too? Mustached business man who builds mechs (or stealing designs from her daughter I suppose).

I had heard some years back that DC paid a rather substantial fee to a firm to develop the new Wonder Woman logo, and it was only after the chosen design was published that DC discovered they had basically just bought a rehashing of the existing West Virginia University logo.

Good timing on the “WW” logo story. I’ve been reading the Hembeck Omnibus and there’s a strip in it reprinted from Jimmy Olsen’s Pal, Fred Hembeck. In the strip Wonder Woman claims the change was made because you can’t copyright an eagle. This is followed by Batman with a “B” on his chest & the Flash with an “F” on his chest. Hilarity ensues. Anyway, it got me wondering.

In the first A-Ko, she goes to the closet to get a coat, or something, and you see Superman’s shirt in there.
Didn’t notice the Wonder Woman apron before.
There’s just something inherently funny about a school girl who can toss giant robots like tinker toys.

The Roy Thomas/Gene Colan run on Wonder Woman is one of the strongest in the history of the character. The all-Perez issues that rebooted the character are probably superior — but Roy and Gene basically took everything that already existed and made it work — whereas George started from scratch.

I’d love to see the Thomas/Colan issues collected in a color trade. If they could do the Mod Diana Prince tales (which are fun, but a bit out there in place), these issues should be a no-brainer.

No really, how and when did the character become known as Donna Troy?

Also, the flying mouth guy looks really weird, especially when exhaling from missing lungs, and reminds me of the old Hostess snacks ad where Captain Mar-vel, um, “defeats” a disembodied mouth that’s eating a carnival or something, by feeding it junk food. Who says all those ads used made-up villains to avoid paying royalties?
http://tinyurl.com/32yxbay

Regarding the WW chest emblem, what’s more amazing is that Pérez retained it when he and Len Wein developed the post-Crisis Wonder Woman. Of course, since Diana hadn’t left Themiscyra at the point she received the costume, a new reason had to be developed for the rather odd design*. The WW image was now based on the pilot wings worn by Diana Rockwell Trevor who’d landed on the island and helped the Amazons, becoming a Themiscyran hero (or heroine, if you prefer). (Of course, that Diana also provided a better reason for the Princess’s given name since “Diana” is not a Greek name; Diana was the Roman equivalent of Artemis.)

*Even though the ancient Greeks had a “w” sound (which, presumably, the Themiscyrans would’ve continued using in their writing), the letter resembled the English F in both its upper-case and lower-case forms with the lower-case form lowered a “half-space” (basically, it looked like the lower-case “p” if the letter were open on the right side) The closest shape in Greek to the English W/w is the lower-case form for omega (although the shape is usually rounded–?) or the letter psi without the little stand (??).

Sorry about the last post. Those question marks are *supposed* to be the Greek letters.

Oh, on a related note, does anyone know why the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman costume had the spread-out wings?

Regarding the WW chest emblem, what’s more amazing is that Pérez retained it when he and Len Wein developed the post-Crisis Wonder Woman.

I dunno – if DC effectively said “this is now Wonder Woman’s logo, deal with it,” I think it would be understood that it would have to be worked into whatever re-design you would come up with, ya know?

Dandy Forsdyke

July 3, 2010 at 2:14 am

In that tussle with Hercules the third panel looks positively pornographic!

Great stuff and Project A-ko was such great fun!!

Took the Japanese to do what DC too scared to do. Use two of the best known characters in the DCU and create progeny that kicks ass. Loved the bracelets homage. And red hair. Never quite got it. Supes momma Lara maybe?

Neil Robertson

July 3, 2010 at 8:06 am

Thanks for answering my question, Brian, or at least for giving me the credit for asking it. I always felt that the statement “you can’t copyright an eagle” rang false, but couldn’t conceive why it was even raised in the first place. As a form of ‘shared advertising’, I can see how it benefitted both the Wonder Woman Foundation and DC Comics as well. I don’t believe Jeanette felt that she was lying about the change so much as she truly believed the vast majority of people learning about the changeover would be uninterested or even just bored by the petty details of it all.

Oh man, The Relic, I haven’t seen the third one in ages…I forgot all about that! Time to dig out my old VHS, I guess. =^)

Brian, have you gotten into the whole “Wonder Woman needs to be the star, or she can’t be in a show” “legend” that pops up every time a movie or toon with her is mentioned?

Ganky,
She became Donna Troy in her first origin story, in Teen Titans 23 (September 1969) when she also got her first new costume.

Another twist of the A-Ko / Superman / Wonder Woman thing….

A friend of mine Rodford Smith, wrote the Champions RPG module called “Neutral Ground”. It was originally titled “Sanctuary”, but for some reason Hero Games changed the name. Later, the information was reprinted in “Classic Organizations”, and elsewhere, and they STILL kept screwing up one of the characters (an elderly black speedster kept getting turned into a young white guy).

“Sanctuary” was a place that was effectively neutral ground for heroes and villains to meet. IT was possible to come in, for example, and see long time foes playing a quiet game of chess (or more likely, making comments about how the other’s skills didn’t match their ability outside).

Sanctuary was ran by a retired superhero that was, for all intents and purposes, Superman (probably closer to the Golden Age Superman).

That hero had a daughter who was an active costumed hero, who went by the name “Charcoal” (because she was a “brick-ette”). Charcoal was a direct rip of A-Ko, as Rod was one of the early fans of anime, before it exploded in the 90s.

Brian, have you gotten into the whole “Wonder Woman needs to be the star, or she can’t be in a show” “legend” that pops up every time a movie or toon with her is mentioned?

No, not yet. There are a few legends out there that are pretty much only solvable if you access to contract details of the companies, ya know? And the companies tend not to speak freely about that kind of stuff (very understandably, of course).

I don’t believe Jeanette felt that she was lying about the change so much as she truly believed the vast majority of people learning about the changeover would be uninterested or even just bored by the petty details of it all.

Oh, I totally agree. I just think that if she DID say it (and it was not a situation where she just said something similar that people misinterpreted), she was most likely figuring it would just be easier to explain than “we think this new logo is much better for licensing/marketing/branding purposes.”

Another twist of the A-Ko / Superman / Wonder Woman thing….

A friend of mine Rodford Smith, wrote the Champions RPG module called “Neutral Ground”. It was originally titled “Sanctuary”, but for some reason Hero Games changed the name. Later, the information was reprinted in “Classic Organizations”, and elsewhere, and they STILL kept screwing up one of the characters (an elderly black speedster kept getting turned into a young white guy).

“Sanctuary” was a place that was effectively neutral ground for heroes and villains to meet. IT was possible to come in, for example, and see long time foes playing a quiet game of chess (or more likely, making comments about how the other’s skills didn’t match their ability outside).

Sanctuary was ran by a retired superhero that was, for all intents and purposes, Superman (probably closer to the Golden Age Superman).

That hero had a daughter who was an active costumed hero, who went by the name “Charcoal” (because she was a “brick-ette”). Charcoal was a direct rip of A-Ko, as Rod was one of the early fans of anime, before it exploded in the 90s.

Ha!

Good stuff! Thanks for sharing!

IIRC, Tick Creator Ben Edlund earned his chops drawing art for Champions RPG.

I still have Project A-Ko on ancient VHS tape and I’ve always heard that rumor about her parents. Nice to see you give a nod to it. ;)

‘Wonder Girl, track that ear…….’ Only in the Silver Age. Love it! :D

This week, the announcement of a Wonder Woman costume change has people online fiercely debating… and this timely edition of CBUL comes out. I’m not sure why there’s as much debate, as it seems like Diana gets new duds at least every 10 years or so, now. At least she has since the 70s.

It’s not like, say, as radical a shift in her persona as “Electric Blue Superman”, in comparison.

Anyway, a good three legends, as usual, Brian!

Just read a Newsarama article that was an interview with JMS; boy, does he seem like a guy just concerned with the bottom line over anything else (and he strikes me as an arrogant writer, but that’s his choice).

It also seems that people are focusing on the costume as the red herring over what appears to be gigantic flaws in the story itself (like writing Diana out of DC continuity for 20 years, which has so many horrible problems with it that I’m surprised that DC editorial…wait, no I’m not).

Hopefully DC kicks him to the curb soon…

I think I remember Perez saying that he would’ve liked to have changed the costume back to the eagle, but DC had spent so much time establishing the new logo it wasn’t gonna happen. I do remember him saying that the character that named Diana Wonder Woman in the series (a homage to the Daily Planet naming Superman) was based on Jeanette Kahn, because she’d really been the one behind the new logo. I believe the character’s name was “Janet Kane” or something like that. Take a look at the first half-dozen Perez Wonder Womans; she’s in there somewhere….

I think I remember Perez saying that he would’ve liked to have changed the costume back to the eagle, but DC had spent so much time establishing the new logo it wasn’t gonna happen. I do remember him saying that the character that named Diana Wonder Woman in the series (a homage to the Daily Planet naming Superman) was based on Jeanette Kahn, because she’d really been the one behind the new logo. I believe the character’s name was “Janet Kane” or something like that. Take a look at the first half-dozen Perez Wonder Womans; she’s in there somewhere….

You’re right about the character, Ken (at least I presume you are – a female editor does, in fact, name Wonder Woman), but the name is “Carol Bennett,” so he wasn’t as obvious with the homage as something like “Janet Kane” or something like that (there IS a Janet Kagl in the issue – a reporter).

In that tussle with Hercules the third panel looks positively pornographic!

Think clean thoughts, chum.

“The being known as Wonder Girl is speaking, I believe…” :)

I had no idea it was difficult to “trademark” anything – especially Wonder Woman’s Eagle Halter.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives