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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time the Husband of Wonder Woman’s Exact Double Chained Her to a Table

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 a bizarre little tale from the Golden Age where Wonder Woman’s secret identity comes back to haunt her in a really, really odd fashion.

Okay, so as you would know if you read my When We First Met spotlight on Wonder Woman firsts, you would have seen the scene from Sensation Comics #1 when Wonder Woman happened to run into a nurse named Diana Prince who looked just like Wonder Woman who wanted to give up her job as a nurse to go to South America to be with her fiance. So that is how Wonder Woman became Diana Prince. Now, pretty much every other Golden Age comic at the time would have left it at that. However, in the case of William Marston, he actually decided to do a follow-up on the story just eight months later in Sensation Comics #9 (drawn by H.G. Peter).

In it, Wonder Woman is having lunch with her boss (and the man she’s totally in love with ) Steve Trevor while in her secret identity as Diana Prince. During their lunch, a man shows up and berates the couple, claiming that Diana is his wife. Steve Trevor settles the matter the only way Steve knows how (again, Steve Trevor was never the world’s greatest thinker)…

Steve, naturally, reacts to the situation by being a jerk to Diana…

This, of course, reminds Diana of the original Diana Prince. After a flashback, we see what is going on in the life of Diana, her jerk husband Dan and their baby…

Now do note that Diana is NO LONGER A NURSE AT THIS POINT. She has moved on to become Steve Trevor’s secretary. Again, SHE IS NO LONGER A NURSE. And yet, according to the logic of the original Diana Prince…

Wonder Woman tries to explain this, but to no avail…

So Wonder Woman goes to visit Diana Prince’s home. We get a fascinating look into Wonder Woman’s psyche when she approaches the home…

So honesty equals poverty in Wonder Woman’s brain? Fascinating.

Dan continues to be a jerk…

But then he takes it to a WHOLE other level of crazy…

I love that while Marston certainly does allow that this is unusual and not right of Dan to do, it is also not seen as COMPLETELY INSANE.

Dan can’t seem to sell his disintegration gas.

But, of course, the bad guys want it and they kidnapped Diana Prince #1 to get it!

Their representative is a Doctor named Dr. Cue. But a mysterious woman is the only person Wonder Woman gets to see in the doctor’s office before Wonder Woman is gassed by the bad guys (Wonder Woman pretends to be knocked out so that the henchmen will take her to Dr. Cue). Of course, if you’re going to fake being out cold, well, let’s just say that you shouldn’t talk…

The henchmen were planning on just killing her, so Wonder Woman knocks them out. She has to think of another way of getting to Dr. Cue. So she calls her pal, Etta Candy, who is in the midst of some bizarre-ass sorority stuff…

She agrees to help out, and she and her sorority pals head off, continuing in their theme of doing weird-ass sorority stuff…

Through Etta’s help, Wonder Woman finds out that Diana is being held by the mystery woman from before in a plane near where Dan’s disintegration gas is being tested. The villain has a particularly bad plan…

Yeah, let’s test it out by having our own plane be destroyed so we parachute down TO THE WAITING U.S. MILITARY below!

Anyhow, the bad guy is stopped by Wonder Woman (it turns out that the mysterious woman is actually Dr. Cue in disguise and Dr. Cue, in turn, is some Japanese bad guy in disguise. Yes, a disguise within a disguise) and Wonder Woman naturally thinks about how empty her life is without a husband and a baby…

Eff superheroing, being chained to a table raising babies with a psycho is where it is at!

Commander Benson, in the comments to the aforementioned When We First Met, discussed this story. I had this piece planned at the time, though, so I kept his comment invisible until now. Thanks for understanding, Commander Benson!

Remember, Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange!

43 Comments

Of course, any group claiming to work for world peace must obviously be a ring of Nazi spies.

To be fair, they DO threaten to kill the guy’s wife in their letter, so it is pretty clear they’re not actually for peace.

It probably doesn’t need to be pointed out that you could fill an entire year worth of I Love Ya But You’re Strange with Wonder Woman written by William Marston. “Bizarre” doesn’t begin to capture the full experience…

“Poor but honest” is an old cliche, a way of distinguishing between the “good” poor and the “bad” poor. Similarly today, people distinguish between the “working poor” and “welfare cases.”

Out of curiosity, how many pages long is this story?

Fourteen.

“Hey! Awk – off!” is a strange thing to say when someone hits you.

Well, let’s not blame Dan White for his actions. We’d later learn that it was junk food that made him so crazy in the infamous “Twinkie defense.” Just like Power Girl and diet soda, only, you know, more psychotic.

Arrow: It makes more sense when you put the “f” back in.

” and Wonder Woman naturally thinks about how empty her life is without a husband and a baby…” In fairness, that’s just Wonder Woman being typically modest and compassionate, assuring another woman that her life choices are equally valid. Inwardly she’s thinking “Sheesh, better you than me, sister!” but she’d never say that.

Technically Dan White was found guilty of lesser charges due to depression but he’s most famous for the Twinkie defense story.

Wow..that was pretty bizzare. Hey….did that whole “Great Ceasar’s Ghost” comment predate Perry White saying it in Superman?

Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure this predates Perry’s use of that phrase. If memory serves, Perry started saying that on the George Reeves TV show (which started in 1952), and this comic is from 1942. Sounds like good fodder for a When We First Met column!

Richard: It’s entirely possible you’re right, since WW is a obviously a very compassionate person. But Brian also has a good point, since there are a bunch of examples of Golden Age Wonder Woman saying or thinking things along the lines of “Boy, super-heroing is sure good fun… but sometimes I wish I had a man to take care of, like a good woman should!”

Also, we have examples of her early career-choices (the stereotypically feminine positions of nurse and secretary) and Marston’s creepy obsession with Wonder Woman being tied up by men. While I do think Marston’s heart was in the right place (he definitely did intend for WW to be a strong heroine), it’s kind of amazing that WW went on to become such a feminist icon when you read these old stories.

sandwich eater

July 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Man, there’s all kinds of weird stuff going on. I think WW’s reaction to being chained is pretty hilarious. She says, “how thrilling!” instead of “you monster” or something. Also strange is the Japanese spy disguising himself as a woman. His bright yellow coloring pushes him into racial stereotype territory. To be fair there probably weren’t many Asians in golden age comics who weren’t racial stereotypes.

“Great Soupspoon!” is a wonderful exclamantion! Try using it the next time you are surprised and enjoy the reactions you get from your friends!

So what does “Middie tite” in the Holiday Girls song mean? College slang or something? it’s not one I’ve heard before.
In the context of other WW stories, this is an odd one (in addition to the general oddness I mean). Dan’s “caveman” behavior is the kind of thing Wonder Woman trains guys out of, one way or another.

Can someone explain what ‘one of them was a middie, tight!’ means? I have my suspicions, yes.

Has there ever been an Etta Candy series? Does she even exist anymore? Yes, I can see a strong possibility of DC ****ing it up and making it horribly offensive, yes.

Etta Candy is in the new 52. She looks totally different.

I think a Middie is a Midshipman, but I’m not certain. I’m not sure what ‘tight’ means in this context, but there is a comma in there, so it’s clearly a separate term from ‘Middie’.

Commander Benson

July 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

We had a couple of men in sight
One of them was a middie, tight —

Miss Warner is on the right track. “Middie” was, as is now, a slang diminutive for the term “midshipman”. A midshipman is the term for a student training to be a Naval officer. It’s generally associated with the students at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, but the term is also applied to Naval-officers-in-training in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (R.O.T.C.).

Campus R.O.T.C. units thrived in the early to mid-part of the twentieth century, and of course, during wartime, nearly every college campus in America would be heavily populated with R.O.T.C. students in uniform.

That part of the Holliday Girls’ song no doubt refers to one of the two “men in sight” as being an R.O.T.C. midshipman.

As to the word “tight”, as its applied here, the comma after the word “middie” suggests (comic letterers’ punctuation has always been a little spotty) that tight is intended as one-word adjective/adjective phrase modifying “middie”—as opposed to an interjection.

I checked the various slang definitions of the word tight and their etymologies. From the slang definitions that were prevalent in 1940′s America, two definitions seem to be the most appropriate in this case.

One, tight means “to be drunk, intoxicated”.

Two, tight means well-managed, efficient, and sharp in appearance; squared away. Most commonly used in the expression “a tight ship”.

Ergo, most likely the song was either describing a midshipman who was drunk or one that was well-groomed, sharp-looking, and squared away.

Hope this helps.

Commander Benson

July 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

P.S.

“Ergo, most likely the song was either describing a midshipman who was drunk or one that was well-groomed, sharp-looking, and squared away.”

Perhaps needless to say, based on my familiarity with midshipmen, both descriptions are equally likely.

I need to read Marstons’ run. Maybe then I could finally understand Wonder Woman. I try to read the comic every now and then, because she’s such an icon, but all the reboots and strange history make it totally opaque.

I guess “nurses’ papers” refer to some sort of licence to be legally allowed to work as a nurse? Or is there no such thing?

Brian- let me guess… skinny lipstick lesbian? I would have put money on skinny lipstick lesbian.

Commander Benson- Thanks for the information, you do this blog credit. Ask a slightly bizarre question, get it answered seriously and authoritatively soon afterwards.

@phred: Etta Candy made a few appearances during the Silver Age run of “Wonder Woman” (during the very early 1960s) but she wasn’t a strong a personality as her Golden Age appearances. She didn’t last very long, though and fell into comic book limbo until 1980 when she was reintroduced (this showed she’d graduated from college and had joined the Air Force where she was a secretary).

In the post-Crisis revamp, Etta was a much slimmer, but still somewhat stout (and slightly older) woman who’d been a career Air Force officer. (She would eventually marry Steve Trevor in the series and the couple largely went into a sort of limbo.)

Currently, she hasn’t appeared in the new “Wonder Woman” series but has appeared in the new “Justice League” (and I seem to recall she was depicted as African-American).

Currently, she hasn’t appeared in the new “Wonder Woman” series but has appeared in the new “Justice League” (and I seem to recall she was depicted as African-American).

Yeah, I think that’s correct. I knew they changed her look but I couldn’t recall if she was black.

Wow, I’ve never seen this one before. Great soupspoon, it’s a DOOZY!

One of the best ever!

General Hard?

Out of interest doesn’t this era WW “lose her power” if chained by men?

Yeah, that struck me as odd, too. I think it might be she needs to be fully bound for her to lose her powers, not just one leg cuff.

I believe the rule used to be that if her wrists were bound together by a man, she lost her powers.

Eric’s right–it’s the chaining of her bracelets that takes away her power, not being chained per se.
Commander Benson, thank you, that was most informative.
The recurrent use of Etta Candy seems a textbook example of the impulse to use someone/something just because it dates back to the Golden Age.

Sufferin’ Sappho!! Sorority girls playing at some light B&D in the background while singing a song(Bubbles) from the “Mallrats” soundtrack!!

I miss the fatter Etta. Everyone in comics is so disgustingly attractive, and almost no one says “Woo! Woo!”

Also, the Japanese spy does not meet the standards for comic book Asians of the day, having neither fangs or buck teeth!

I have read a bunch of Wonder Woman comics from across the years, by several creators, and the ones I have liked the best are Marston ones. And generally I dislike Golden Age and most of Silver Age but WW of the time is better than contemporary Superman or Batman, and I haven’t seen any modern writer match this.
There is a similar appeal as Kenny dying in every South Park episode, wondering how WW will get into bondage this time.

You can read some of the William Moulton Marston stories in the hardcover Wonder Woman Archives volumes published by DC. There are six volumes so far, and most of them are available on Amazon for a low price. I have a couple of them, and I have to say that the majority of Marston’s stories are, indeed, very kinky & fetishistic. That said, the artwork by H.G. Peter on those early stories is simply beautiful.

interesting another crazy tale done by wonder womans creator mostly not only having the main bad guy be dressed as a woman but wonder woman being chained up by the husband of who she bought her diana prince i.d from. when after all it was said that if a man were to bind wonder woman she would lose her powers. plus that wonder woman seemed to be judgemental over the way the other Diana was living thinking oh run down and poor must be an honest guy. this just proves that Marteson really had a unique view of womans role

Matty Macomber

July 17, 2012 at 12:49 am

Love the weirdness of the original Wonder Woman best of all her incarnations. IIRC, Steve Trevor wasn’t technically Wonder Woman’s boss at the time… they both reported to General Phil Darnell. Steve’s secretary was Lila Brown until mid 1943 when she was murdered by Doctor Psycho

Dr Psycho. A character who’s insane misogyny made him much more interesting than the post-crisis version.

Matty Macomber

July 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

The insanity of many of 1940s Wonder Woman’s villains are more interesting than any versions that came after. For me, the members of Villany, Incorporated had much weirder origins and motivations than modern Batman’s famous rogues gallery.

…and in the Superfriends comic in the 1970′s they made Marvin the White’s Teen-Age Son!

@Ben Aren’t the Golden Age stories also available cheaper, in the WW Chronicles?

You can tell English wasn’t the first language of those spies. Our ‘resentative’ indeed!

“Look, young man, I don’t know how you even got past the front gate, much less into my office, but I understand you assaulted a colonel in a restaurant today, so even if you didn’t have a frigging Li’l Abner haircut I wouldn’t be likely to take seriously your claims of a gas that disintegrates wood and steel. If I suspected for a moment that you had actually discovered such a thing and hadn’t immediately turned it over to the Patent Office in the name of national security, I would pull out my sidearm and pistolwhip you within an inch of your life. As it stands, I’m simply going to escort you to the latrine and instruct the MPs to give you swirlies until you pass out.”

WILLIAM, THE LETTERER SAYS YOU’RE GETTING TOO WORDY AGAIN. JUST HAVE THE GENERAL SCOFF AND GET BACK TO THE “A” PLOT.

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