Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
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!
COMIC LEGEND: DC changed the logo on Wonder Woman’s chest because they could not trademark the old logo of an eagle.
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…
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!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. 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…
See you all next week!
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