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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Wonder Woman’s Golden Age Rogues

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we look at Wonder Woman’s Golden Age Rogues!

Wonder Woman’s first major nemesis was the Baroness Paula Von Gunther in Sensation Comics #4…

Here we see her in action…

Yep, she kept women as slaves. William Marston later gave her a redemption path, but it is one of the most bizarre redemption paths in the history of comic books. I think I’ll feature it in this week’s I Love Ya But You’re Strange. It’s really batshit insane (here’s a quick hint – she NEVER GIVES UP HAVING SLAVES!!!)

Mars was an early foe of Wonder Woman, but I’m skipping him because he is kind of boring. He’s Mars. We get it.

However, in Wonder Woman #2, we meet his servants. Two of them did not become important, but the third became one of the biggest recurring villains of the Golden and Silver Age for Wonder Woman – the Duke of Deception!

Here’s how important the DUke is, he even created ANOTHER notable Wonder Woman villain, Doctor Psycho! Check out how effed up Doctor Psycho’s origin is from Wonder Woman #5…

The next issue of Wonder Woman had an actress get so pissed off at Wonder Woman stealing the spotlight that she developed a split personality that wanted to do evil…the Cheetah!!!

The Angle Man first showed up in prototype form in 1953’s Wonder Woman #62…

It was not until Wonder Woman #70 that he got the name Angle Man…

His hair went back to being dark in future appearances during the late Golden Age.

When Ross Andru and Mike Esposito took over art duties on Wonder Woman, they redesigned a lot of stuff, including Angle Man…

They dropped the cape in future appearances, but that was his basic look until an ill-fated turn into a costumed supervillain during the 1970s.


Say! This installment is dear to my heart, because I’ve been revisiting these early Wonder Woman comics on my own blog lately (http://theidiolect.com/category/comics/). In fact, I was just getting to the bizarre redemption of Paula von Gunther, but because it’s a holiday story I think I’ll save it for a month or two.

While not as major as von Gunther, recurring villain Doctor Poison debuted even earlier, in Sensation #2.

I can always depend on golden age Wonder Woman for the ridiculous and insane.

here’s a quick hint – she NEVER GIVES UP HAVING SLAVES

Why would you be surprised? This is Marston we’re talking about, after all.

Wow. I only read through Dr Psycho, but day-um!

Was that his actual last name? He’s destined for evil!

Steve Bissette suggested in his review of the movie the Master that that movie’s director should do a film based on Marston next. That’d be way interesting.


Was the first Dr. Poison a woman or a man?

I’d like to see a Top 25 list of all the various WW villains from DC history, based on contemporary popularity, not current popularity.

When Roy Thomas gave us an Earth-One Dr. Psycho in the eighties, he explained it as Ellis Island changing his Greek grandpa’s name from Psychogenos.
I much prefer the Golden-Age version to the Post-Crisis One, who seemed just generically evil–the GA version had a motive, and was very topical for the time, discrediting women working in the war effort as Step One of forcing them back to the home. Which would, God help us, be just as topical if they used it today.
I enjoyed Angle Man too, just as a slick schemer. The costumed version was a mess (though I rather liked the younger Angle Man Phil Jimenez–IIRC–sent against Donna Troy once).
The first Dr. Poison was a woman. One of several who dressed up as a guy starting out (Hypnota being another).

Wow, the original Dr. Psycho got a pretty raw deal in life. You can see how the guy could snap with all that piling on. Maybe not become as creepy as his more recent versions, but hate begets hate.

Dr. Psycho wasn’t evil in the Golden Age, actually he was victim from a double crossing by her evil bridge. In fact i feel sorry for the original Dr. Psycho. The actual Dr. Psycho (New Earth) is a complete monster.

And he’s also less interesting than the original.

I loved costumed Angle Man! He was Delbo’s best drawn villain…

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