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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time a Bird Almost Exposed Wonder Woman’s Secret Identity

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. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today we look at the mid-1950s Wonder Woman story by Robert Kanigher and H.G. Peter that detailed, well, Wonder Woman’s secret identity nearly being exposed by a BIRD!

Here’s the intro page to the story (from Wonder Woman #76)…

A couple of things to keep in mind about this story from this scene…

1. This scene does not even come CLOSE to happening in the actual story and

2. If Wonder Woman is so serious about protecting her secret identity, she sure does a piss poor job of it in this story.

Our tale begins as most tales begin, with Wonder Woman just walking down the street of the city.

Okay, I already have to take a break…

A. What the heck is up with that lasso trick? So her lasso is metal now? That makes no sense. I mean, it is awesome. But it makes no sense. In addition…

B. So Wonder Woman guards her identity with her life, but her avenue of returning to her secret identity’s apartment is to just enter it dressed as Wonder Woman? For serious?

So here’s the kicker, Steve Trevor gets Diana Prince a mynah bird (which is a decent thing of him to do, since he wants to be with Wonder Woman not that ugly Diana Prince)…

Again, Wonder Woman, if you are so worried about your secret identity, once you saw the bird repeat what you said, don’t say even MORE incriminating information out loud!!!

So the rest of the issue is Wonder Woman trying to trick Steve Trevor into thinking Diana and Wonder WOman are in the same place at the same time, but wacky hijinx keep messing her plans up..

She finally succeeds in making him think Diana and Wonder Woman are in the same place at the same time, but he STILL doubts her and wants to hear more from the bird…

I love that the bird repeating what he has to say convinces him that the bird was just talking nonsense. “What? This isn’t a talking bird after all! It just mimics!” Gee, Steve, if it just repeated what you said, wouldn’t that suggest that it just mimiced what WONDER WOMAN said? Luckily, Steve got the looks from the good lord and not the brains, so he doesn’t figure it out and Wonder Woman’s “carefully” guarded secret is safe once more.

NOTE: If this happened to another superhero, I might feature it in a future installment! So if you’d like to e-mail me instances of this happening to other superheroes, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. So please hold off on discussing those other superheroes in the comments section until their installments in the future.

22 Comments

There was a Superman story kinda like this. Clark Kent is watching a mynah or a parrot for a friend, and he hears it say “Clark Kent is Superman!” He figures the bird heard him talking in his sleep, and spends the story trying desperately to teach it to say something else. At the end, it turns out the friend taught the bird to say that as a gag. I’m not the only one who remembers this, am I?

I remember the Superman story. Superman evens dresses up like a giant bird and tries to scare into forgetting the “Clark Kent is Superman” line.

Yes, yes it did, but I can’t figure out how to reach you to tell you the one I know to suggest it for that installment… :(

I added my e-mail to the piece, David.

“A ricocheting bullet knocked me out… it didn’t even scratch me just got a little bump” Really? Clearly the lord blessed him not only with looks, but incredible luck

Pete Woodhouse

June 15, 2012 at 6:29 am

I’m surprised H.G. Peter was still around. I don’t know much about early WW, but I thought he was the artist in the 40s, mainly. Andru was just around the corner, no?
And what’s with the EC-style (lithograph/stenograph? – the term escapes me) lettering? I’ve seen a fair few Golden Age reprints, admittedly mostly from DC’s 100-page Super Spectaculars and the like, and they’re more ‘personalised’, ie looks like an actual letterer did them.

Joe S. Walker

June 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

H.G. Peter didn’t stop drawing Wonder Woman until around 1958. I’ve seen his last story posted online somewhere (possibly at CBR?) It must have looked extremely old-fashioned even at the time, and his art skills were very plainly in decline.

I had this in a digest sized reprint from the 70′s. Even back then I thought it was an odd story.

I particularly like how the story relies on the old trope of superheroes inexplicably narrating things out loud.

sandwich eater

June 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

The thing that strikes me is that this entire plot arises from the comic book convention of characters speaking their thoughts aloud when no one is around. I always found that a little ridiculous and wondered why they didn’t use thought bubbles instead of speech bubbles for these moments.

Wise as Athena? Athena should sue.

@ Azarrising: I think the gods blessed him less with luck, and more with an incredibly thick skull. Which is something which would adequately explain the ending of that comic as well ;)

The Magic Lasso is indeed supposed to be metal…it’s actually a very thin chain, made from bits of metal taken from Hippolyta’s magic belt. That got forgotten over the years, though, and later creators (if they thought about it at all) tended to assume it was a rope.

Travis Pelkie

June 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Like Pete, one of the things that struck me was the mechanical EC type lettering. Perhaps Peter was doing that because he was older and couldn’t letter as well as prior?

I’ll have to go back and read this bit. When Brian is THAT incredulous throughout the piece, it’s got to be good.

Amazonium was the metal the Amazons used for their bracelets. Starting in 1954, several stories identified it as the metal of the lasso as well.

Incidentally, what city does this tale take place in? Washington, D.C.?

In Flash I#123, they said that WW worked in Washington, D.C. Unusual then for a protagonist to work out of an actual US city (Doctor Fate’s tower in Salem, MA as anohter counterexample).

Man, this is dumb/awesome.

But I like that the bird repeating exactly what Steve just said is thought to be just nonsense on Steve’s part. That’s a clever little thing. He’s so dumb, he doesn’t even realize what he’s saying.

Steve Trevor always was a little dumb, wasn’t he?

It is an excellent example of something Trina Robbins once said–Steve is the Lois Lane of the WW book.

I’ve started using “Sufferin’ Sappho!” in my e-mails and conversations. Reactions have been mixed.

Just out of curiosity, where does this story take place? I can’t seem to find any information online about where Wonder Woman’s original base of operations was. She worked in military intelligence Pre-Crisis, I think, so you’d think she was originally based near D.C., but I cannot for the life me find out where.

In Flash I#123, Barry Allen describes Wonder Woman as active in Washington, D.C.

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