web stats

CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Wonder Woman Worked at Taco Bell

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature.

Today we take a look at the time when Wonder Woman was forced to work at Taco Bell (well, technically Taco Whiz because they couldn’t actually call it Taco Bell in the comic, but come on, we all know it is Taco Bell).

It began with Wonder Woman #72, the beginning of Lee Moder and Ande Parks’ tenure as the art team on Wonder Woman with writer William Messner-Loebs, who had taken over from George Perez with issue #63. Loebs’ first story arc involved Wonder Woman being kidnapped to outer space, presumed dead. She has now returned to Earth and finds the Amazons gone and her without a room (as, again, she has been presumed to be dead).

So she goes looking for a job, but finds that “superhero” really doesn’t qualify you for a ton of corporate jobs, especially in the hard hit economy of the early 1990s…

She talks with Quinn, the woman who is renting what was once Diana’s room, who unintentionally gives Diana an idea for a job…

And thus begins Diana’s tenure as an employee at Taco Bell!

A couple of issues later, Diana embraces her new job…

And an issue or two later, she is even extolling the virtues of the establishment when she is interrupted by a friend…

Note how Loebs uses Dr. Fate to get across what must have been the number one complaint people had about Wonder Woman having to get a job. “Shouldn’t the Justice League pay her?”

A few issues later, it appears as though Diana’s Taco Whiz has become THE place to be among the superhero set…

Eventually, her salary situation is resolved and Diana never worked for the Taco joint again.

By the way, there were a bunch of really good issues in this run. Some touching stuff. Especially the hospital issue (which is alluded to above).

And, of course, the greatest part of this time in Wonder Woman’s career?

This Brian Bolland cover, of course….

Awesome.

55 Comments

further proof that bill lobes should still be writing superhero comics

Heck, this doesn’t seem that weird! I mean it’s QUIRKY, but it’s a far cry from all that Comet the Super-Horse stuff we’ve seen in the last month. :)

The writing is actually pretty good for being such an out there idea, but that art is very compelling. And those Bolland covers? I think I’m going to have to find these back issues!

Yeah, well worth looking for, Josh. Roughly issues #72-89. Really, Loebs’ whole run from #63 (it technically began in Wonder Woman Special #1) through #89. #90 starts a whole other thing that is not as good (and there are some stinkers in the #80s, including some awful fill-in artists, but some good ones like early Jeff Parker art).

Since when does the League pay its members? I think those were The Avengers (They have always been well financed -and administered- thanks to Tony Stark.) Oh well there was the Max Lord era, I guess. But in general, if The League needed something they would just go and get it or make it, with their awesome array of powers. Heck, Diana could just have stayed over at the satellite or whatever was their HQ at the time.

This article does bring one thing to mind, though: that Wonder Woman NEEDS a secret identity.

Look, I can understand why that was retconned away. It didn’t make much sense for her, given her status as a princess and her mission to Man’s World, to hide who she is- AT FIRST. But sooner or later, the realities of superhero life- from endangering those near her to just wanting to NOT have a public life 24/7- were going to hit her. And while yeah ‘Diana Prince’ was a rather dumb identity, that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have gotten a different one, heck using magic she could probably look like ANYONE and not just a brunette bodybuilder. That is in fact an angle a creative writer could explore- if Diana could be someone else, who would she choose, and what would it say bout her? More importantly, it would allow her to interact with the people of the World as more than the oh-so-perfect Super Princess.

Then again, that IS Wonder Woman’s real problem- over the years, she’s been deconstructed, but little if anything has been ADDED to her mythos, not anything that stuck for long anyway. No more Peaceful Mission, No Secret Identity, No Boyfriend, etc. And people wonder why writing her successfully is so hard.

Having been lucky enough to work at Taco Bell as my first ‘real’ job, I’d have to say someone did their research…or perhaps Loebs’ did some time as the “cheese block wire guy” too.

Good stuff, Brian!

nice even if its part of the love ya but your strange colum for a bit of mesners loebs wonder woman run to get talked about for always found it interesting that not only did wonder woman wind up getting a job at tacos john because she needed money with paradise island gone. but also finding out from that issue that the dc universe does make super heros a paying gig.

I LOVE the first 100 issues of Wonder Woman, even the utterly bizarre Deodato issues. These issues were a highlight, especially Moder’s artwork. I’m so glad recent events have brought Wonder Woman back to her horrific mythological roots, because we can’t have this kind of not-cynical writing about superheroes living in the real world in our comics, can we? That would be crazy!

Azzarello needs to establish taco bell in the new DCU and I think bringing this back would be the perfect opportunity…

Denim shorts over black leggings? Ew.

More super heroes need to work fast food jobs. Especially teenage superheroes.

Interestingly, Buffy the vampire slayer did a riff on this – she comes back from the dead, shes broke from her deceased Mom’s hospital bills, can find / keep a normal job and ends up flipping burgers at the ‘double meat palace’ burger chain. Given Joss Whedon is a wonder woman fan, I wonder if it was a homage to this run?

Of course, in buffy’s case it turned out that one of the customers (a little old lady) turned out to be a demon with a large phallic worm that came out from under her wig and ate people..

Scott

Who just stands there and eats their food at the counter? What a dick.

Pete Woodhouse

April 13, 2012 at 7:55 am

Not seen that Bolland cover before – awesome!

Marvel’s Nova (Richard Rider) and DC’s the Ray (Ray Terrill) both had fast-food jobs as well. With both of them, as with Buffy Summers, it was partly for the sake of comedy and partly a way of showing how much their civilian lives had been screwed up by their super-powered lives. Priest, who wrote The Ray ongoing, likes the gag; he also had a minor Black Panther villainess, unseen for decades, turn up working at a KFC drive-through window.

This is Wonder Woman getting a job AS Wonder Woman? Being unable to find a job except at Taco Whiz isn’t exactly plausible. Corporations would hire her as a spokeswoman or publicity stunt. Security firms would hire her for her warrior training. Construction firms would hire her for her raw strength. Etc.

sandwich eater

April 13, 2012 at 8:51 am

I don’t think the stuff that they serve at Taco Bell qualifies as food. (I remember hearing that the meat is less than 50% beef.) This storyline seems more like something that would happen to Spider-Man not Wonder Woman.

FuryOfFirestorm

April 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

This article failed to mention that Quinn later pulled a Chaz Bono, and now hosts The Price Is Right.

This at least was mildly funny as opposed to most of the dreck of this era,which is why people laugh at comics and not because of the humor.Who the heck was the target audience for this stuff?

Marvel’s Nova (Richard Rider) and DC’s the Ray (Ray Terrill) both had fast-food jobs as well.

So did Ultimate Peter Parker, at the appetizingly named Burger Frog.

She still did better than Buffy Summers, whose fast food career involved fighting demonic customers disguised as little old ladies, and taking breaks to have hate sex with Spike behind the dumpsters.

Michael M Jones

April 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

In his alter ego of Virgil Hawkins, Static had a job at a fast food joint, which happened to be managed by the mother of fellow superhero, Rocket. And in typical Static (Spider-Man) fashion, he was fired because he could never finish a shift before he had to go fight evil.

Retail or fast food industry or any job with real hours is not conducive to fighting crime. Either you work your vigilante antics around your lunch break, or you find a more flexible job. :)

Rob Schmidt: I get the feeling that she just filled out her applications as some chick named Diana, and then didn’t wear her costume. In the DCU, no one recognizes you out of costume, even if your face is fully visible. ::coughsupermancough:: Then, when she got the job, she just openly talked about being Wonder Woman because she didn’t think anything of it.

Michael M. Jones: Yeah, I think that’s why so many superheroes are college students. Not only are most supes in their early 20s, but you can schedule college classes around other stuff, and if you miss a bunch of class you just fail. As long as you pay your tuition and go to MOST of your classes, you’re not gonna get kicked out.

“she just filled out her applications as some chick named Diana, and then didn’t wear her costume”

But in the first page shown here, while she is wearing civilian clothes she’s also wearing her golden tiara on job interviews! That’s probably why they didn’t hire her, she looks like a weirdo like that!

Come back Bill Loebs!

The idea that Wonder Woman, aka Diana, Princess of Paradise Island, could not get a job does require a large suspension of belief but the idea of this Amazonian ideal of womanhood working in fast food and getting down to the ground level with regular people is just too good to pass up, WIlliam Moesner Loebs made it work.

A few things that got my attention:

Diana’s obsession to precisely identify the thing in her basement as a large mouse or a small rat. (“It was very important..”)

On that same page, Diana’s wearing hose? Who explained this concept to an Amazon warrior who wears a one piece into battle? (Maybe Black Canary?)

Diana embracing her fate and being the best Taco Whiz employee ever! (“I’ll be faster and more accurate during rush times!”)

Hoppy’s line: “That’s the problem wi’ my friends who are powerful mystics…they’re all off-Earth too!” Lines like that is why I loved Bill Loeb’s writing.

The Justice League just chillin’ at the Taco Whiz. Sweet!

Yep, I’m also thinking this one doesn’t belong in this series; Bill Loebs made Diana’s stint at Taco Whiz make sense. She got a wage, mixed with regular people and helped people recognise the dignity in everyday work. I just loved the Loebs run, and last year’s DC Retroactive revisit to that period was like Christmas come early.

And boy, did I adore the Loebs Dr Fate run – collect it, DC!

i have never liked books written by Bill Messner-Loebs. They all have some grounding in the real world where Loebs painfully takes a look at the real world through comparing & contrasting with the world of superheroes. Painfully ‘relevant’ and ‘thought provoking’.

Just worthless stuff really. i’ve dropped every book that he took over as it unbearable to be preached to in a way that takes the fantastical & makes it so dreary & ‘realistic’. Horrible stuff!

There was a follow-up to tht arc later on, in Wonder Woman + Starring Jessie Quick. WW and Jessie go to a restaurant from the same chain (or was it the same?), and Jessie sees on a wall an “Employee of the Month” picture featuring Diana. Her thought: “I’m not going to ask about that one”.

Bill Loebs + Lee Moder = one of my favorite WW runs ever. His Diana had so much heart & integrity, and Moder’s art was the perfect complement to his writing. And Loebs, by far, wrote the best “WW retroactive” issue.

I’ve been reading jokes about Wonder-Woman’s Taco Bell gig for a while now, this is the first I’ve actually seen the comics in question. Not really that bad. Appreciate the review, maybe I’ll check it out some day.

There was another funny Taco Whiz moment on the Wonder Woman Plus #1 (remember those one-time, one-shots about heroes teaming up with other folk?, hence the “Plus 1″). This was a Wonder Woman/Jesse Quick Team Up in which Jesse needed Diana’s help and they met up at Taco Whiz for lunch and Jesse was confounded by an “Employee of the Month” plaque featuring, of course, Diana. Really good story, it was my first introduction to Jesse Quick. It told me everything I needed to know about her, it really fleshed out the character and her dynamic with Diana was excellently written (by Tom Peyer, I think?)

One question: did she ever catch whatever was sharing the basement with her?

Ah yes… the 90’s.

One question: did she ever catch whatever was sharing the basement with her?

I don’t believe so, no.

So let me get this straight- the Justice League has access to all sorts of super-scientists but that can’t pay Diana a salary because nobody can fix the problem in their computer. Paychex could probably have gotten Diana’s salary problems straightened out faster. TV Tropes has a term for this kind of thing:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VoodooShark

That Bolland cover is dope.

it’s her tiara !!
who no earth is going to hire someone wearing a freaking tiara to a job interview?!!

(unless its a miss universe comp)

I like it. The notion of the wide-eyed innocent going in and finding delight in the things we find utterly mundane is a wonderful counterpoint to the notion that we tend to hear, that comics readers want escapism and such. People complaining about other ways she could make money and so forth are missing a bit of Loebs’s intention. Finding an appreciation for what the “little guy” has to go through and showing the dignity and worth of everyday living seems a better use of a superhero’s time and effort than merely stopping bank robberies and such. Not that every series needs to go that way, but it’s always cool to see someone try something different.

Wasn’t Hoppy the name of WW’s kanga on Paradise Island back in the day?

No, it was Kanga.

Does she hang out with Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle, then?

Looking it up, I’m either thinking of Hoppy the Marvel Rabbit (and there was a Hill Billy Marvel? Really?), or Barney Rubble’s pet (I guess), or I’m nuts. Although it appears that in an early WW story, there was a leprechaun she encountered named Hoppy.

@Brian, Kanga is the species, Diana’s favourite was named Jumpa.

I’m currently working on synopsizing this era on my website, and have gotten through all the TacoWhiz (one word) (usually) stuff. WML knew Wonder Woman’s true heart and displayed it as it has been far too little during her history. We got humor, interesting characters, sisterhood, brotherhood, sharp dialogue, marvelous villains, and absolutely zero shock violence for shock violence’s sake.

We saw the soft side as well as the warrior side of the Amazing Amazon. She was always working for a better world. She was always setting an inspirational example for others. And she was absolutely devoted to her spangles, which demonstrated a fair bit of egotism on her part, as well as pride in her accomplishments.

Sure, the era (at least the part I’ve examined so far) could have used a stronger hand at the editorial rein, and the art could have been better (great panels are next to awful ones), but on the whole this was a truly fun and thoughtful run. One of Wondie’s best!

This reminds me of the time I was at Taco Bell and there was this ‘big’ guy berating the person at the counter for getting his order wrong. I swear I saw the same guy at Arbys up the street, too. Doing the same thing. This is the problem with Super-powered vigilantes and their jobs. They have to be loose, because unless you are on a specific mission, you have to be on a schedule.

I also like it when they do fake names of products and businesses, but it’s obvious who they are parodying. It’s fun.

FuryOfFirestorm

April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I think Diana would have a better chance of getting hired if she did her interviews without the tiara and bracelets. Her interviewers are going to think:

1) “Why is this crazy chick dressed like Wonder Woman?”

2) “If we hire her, Circe might turn everyone here into pigs or Cheetah will start disemboweling the HR dept.”

3) “I’m not going to hire someone who is going to leave in the middle of a shift to go slap Silver Swan around”

Wondy could have made a fortune as a lie detector.

Judge: “We’re here to put OJ Simpson on trial for the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.”

Diana: “You can spend severals months and millions of dollars on this case, or you can pay me $50,000 and have this over in less than 5 minutes”.

Loebs should still be writing books. Loved his WW and his Flash.

i love that a taco bell ad came up on the page while reading this article :-)

That cover is all sorts of awesome!

Wow. Spaghetti tacos, way before iCarly.

That was a delightful run. WML’s Artemis was also fun (particularly the talk-show episode).

Wow, and I thought the Inza issues of Dr. Fate were the only place DC made a stab at being relevant again. Makes sense that they were both Loebs. I’ve never been a big fan of “heroes with ordinary problems” a la Peter Parker, but I am always interested in watching heroes confronted with ordinary problems and being forced to recognize that their ludicrous abilities do not always translate well into making a living. Diana does better here than I can ever imagine Bruce Wayne doing it…but to be fair, he’s mentally ill.

[…] years, with some odd and entertaining variations (Williams Messner-Loebs’ had her working at Taco Bell, and it was delightful). Then came a reworking-but-not-reboot of the DC Universe in Infinite […]

[…] UnemploymentYes, there was a brief period of time (1993′s Wonder Woman #73, to be specific) when Wonder Woman found herself both in dire financial straits and without her […]

[…] also worked at – wait for it – Taco Bell. Well, Taco Whiz, but you get my point. Yes, there was a story arc where Wondy worked in fast food. And she rather liked it, […]

[…] she’s also worked at – wait for it – Taco Bell. Well, Taco Whiz, but you get my point. Yes, there was a story arc where Wondy worked in fast food. And she rather liked it, […]

what issue does the Justice League show up and order tacos???? I bought issue 73 but that is where WW gets the job.

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