Issuu on Google+

0 66 s tt 2200 0 AAuugguu s

HBA LAS CK

P SU

LO !

F

N$$o66...199755

O

ER S GIR LFLIES

Y TOR

ROINE HIS E H

PI A DE R-WOM

N!

S

A FL

A R T GAL R LO

E

TI MM !

82658 27762

8

08

P SU

1

TU RN

Y LE R

CO

R E

R

E C U GI RLS BY BR

TIGRA, SCARLET WITCH, AND SPIDER-WOMAN TM & © MARVEL CHARACTERS, INC. SUPERGIRL TM & © DC COMICS. FLARE TM & © HEROIC PUBLISHING, INC.

! S 20

SUPER GIRLS ISSUE!

AY HD

PPY BIRT A H

♥ FEMALE CARTOONIST ROUNDTABLE ♥ WOLFMAN & JIMENEZ TALK DONNA TROY, DIANA PRINCE, WONDER WOMAN ♥ WHY BATTER BATWOMAN?? ♥ TV SUPER CHICKS

T H E U LT I M AT E C O M I C S E X P E R I E N C E !


The Ultimate Comics Experience!

Volume 1, Number 17 August 2006 Celebrating the Best Comics of the '70s, '80s, and Today!

FLASHBACK: Supergirl: From Argo City to Legend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 The Maid of Might in her own series, with art from and/or commentary by Buzz, Giordano, Harris, Kupperberg, Oksner, Saaf, Sekowsky, Skeates, and Wolfman

EDITOR Michael Eury

ART GALLERY: Supergirl: Super-Fashion Plate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 The heroine in hot pants, by Hamner, Kirk, Moy, Parent, Rosema, Saviuk, and Stelfreeze

PUBLISHER John Morrow

PRO2PRO ROUNDTABLE: Super Women on Super Girls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Jennifer Contino asks 11 female comics pros about their favorite super-heroines

DESIGNERS Rich J. Fowlks Robert Clark PROOFREADERS John Morrow and Eric Nolen-Weathington COVER ARTIST Bruce Timm

INTERVIEWS: Talking About Tigra: From Cat to Were-Woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Linda Fite, Ramona Fradon, Tony Isabella, and Marie Severin chat about the Cat BEYOND CAPES: Diana Prince, Wonder Woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 When the powerless Amazon went mod, with Samuel Delany, Dick Giordano, and Denny O’Neil

Paul Kupperberg Daryl Kuxhouse Bruce MacIntosh Dennis Mallonee Andy Mangels Lee Marrs Darrell McNeil Sheldon Moldoff Brian K. Morris Al Nickerson Ann Nocenti Bob Oksner Dennis O’Neil Kristen Palmer George Pérez John Petty Robert Plunkett Dennis Pu Trina Robbins John Romita, Sr. Scott Rosema Bob Rozakis Steve Rude Rose Rummel-Eury Paul Sager Diana Schutz Marie Severin Scott Shaw! Steve Skeates Roger Stern Aaron Sultan Roy Thomas Jill Thompson Bruce Timm Anne Timmons Jim Warden Michelle Warden John Wells Marv Wolfman Spiros Xenos James Zanotto

BACKSTAGE PASS: Attack of the ’70s Super Toon Chicks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Darrell McNeil tracks Saturday morning’s favorite females—with little-known facts and art by Steve Rude and the late, great Alex Toth COLOR GALLERY: Bruce Timm’s Super Girls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 A bevy of Bruce Timm-drawn beauties, in glorious color FLASHBACK: Marvel’s Dark Angel: Spider-Woman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Frank Cho, Carmine Infantino, Ann Nocenti, Roger Stern, and others weigh in on Marvel’s web woman INTERVIEW: Marv Wolfman on Donna Troy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 The superstar writer discusses his landmark Titans tale “Who Is Donna Troy?” INTERVIEW: Phil Jimenez on Donna Troy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 One of comics’ most popular writer/artists reveals his love for the one-time Wonder Girl FLASHBACK: Twenty Years of Flare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 A revealing retrospective by the heroine’s publisher, Dennis Mallonee OFF MY CHEST: The Revival, Death, and… Return of Batwoman . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 A hard-hitting look at the tumultuous career of DC’s original Dominoed Daredoll GREATEST STORIES NEVER TOLD: DC Double Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82 Go behind the scenes of the Supergirl/Superboy title you never saw, with previously unpublished art by Infantino and Eduardo Barreto BACK IN PRINT: Non-Comic Books for the Comic Art Collector . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Collectors Press’ new releases examine pin-up and pulp art BACK TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 Reader feedback on issue #16

Art © 2006 Adam Hughes. Power Girl © 2006 DC Comics. Courtesy of Jerry Boyd.

COVER DESIGNER Robert Clark SPECIAL THANKS Arthur Adams Marcia Allass Darryl Banks Eduardo Barreto Laura Bartroff Jon Bogdanove Judy Bogdanove Jerry Boyd June Brigman Mike Burkey Sal Buscema Buzz John Byrne Mark Cannon James Carroll Dewey Cassell Frank Cho Ali Cloos Chynna ClugstonMajor John Cogan Jennifer M. Contino Colleen Coover Josh Davidson Fred L. deBoom Samuel Delany Jan Duursema Linda Fite Ramona Fradon Dick Giordano Grand Comic-Book Database Fred Grandinetti Jack C. Harris Heritage Comics Adam Hughes Carmine Infantino Tony Isabella Guenter Jandrasits Phil Jimenez Dan Johnson Barbara Kesel

ROUGH STUFF: Pretty in Pencil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Banks, Bogdanove, Byrne, Hughes, Leonardi, and Pollard sketch the fightin’, fairer sex

BACK ISSUE™ is published bimonthly by TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614. Michael Eury, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Editorial Office: BACK ISSUE, c/o Michael Eury, Editor, 5060A Foothills Dr., Lake Oswego, OR 97034. Email: euryman@msn.com. Six-issue subscriptions: $36 Standard US, $54 First Class US, $66 Canada, $72 Surface International, $96 Airmail International. Please send subscription orders and funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial office. Cover art by Bruce Timm. Tigra the Were-Woman, Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Woman TM & © Marvel Characters, Inc. Supergirl TM & © DC Comics. Flare TM & © Heroic Publishing. All Rights Reserved. All characters are © their respective companies. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter © 2006 Michael Eury and TwoMorrows Publishing. BACK ISSUE is a TM of TwoMorrows Publishing. Printed in Canada. FIRST PRINTING.

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

1


by

Brian K. Morris

Super-Heroine in Hot Pants Supergirl of the 1970s in a commissioned illustration by Buzz (www.justbuzz.com). Courtesy of Bruce MacIntosh. Supergirl TM & © DC Comics. Art © 2006 Buzz.

TM & © DC Comics.

TM & © DC Comics.

From Argo City to Legend Her ultimate fate to the contrary, Kara Zor-El was the luckiest girl alive. Her home, Argo City, survived the destruction of the planet Krypton. But when the Argonians could stall death no longer, teenaged Kara escaped to Earth where her cousin, Superman, found her. Hiding “Linda Lee” in an orphanage beneath a wig of auburn hair, Supergirl practiced the use of her powers, operating as Superman’s “secret weapon” until she was revealed to the world. Eventually, she was adopted by the Danvers and discovered that her true parents survived the destruction of Argo City. She ran through a series of boyfriends—human and otherwise—and tackled menaces that were less cosmic in scope than Superman’s, relying more on her intelligence and so-called “feminine intuition” than muscling her way towards a solution. Starting as a backup feature in Action Comics #252 (May 1959) through 377 (May 1969), she pushed her Legion of Super-Heroes teammates out of Adventure Comics with issue #381 (June 1969). Except for the problems from which comic adventures were made, life was good for Kara Zor-El. And then her editor retired. 2

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e


All-New, All-Different! In 1970, Mort Weisinger surrendered the long-held editorial reins to the Superman family of comic magazines [Editor’s note: See BACK ISSUE #12 for a fuller look at this period.], leaving his empire to be divvied up amongst the DC staff including neo-editor Mike Sekowsky. Long acknowledged as one of the industry’s fastest and most versatile pencilers, Sekowsky came off an eight-year run as Justice League of America’s penciler to take over Metal Men and Wonder Woman, where the characters all took on more human identities. Sekowsky showed a talent for writing believable characters and setting them in fastpaced adventures, easily moving from genre to genre. Since Sekowsky was so good at “humanizing” his characters, perhaps the same creative magic would work again on Supergirl.

drug temporarily cancels her superabilities without warning. While she might only be a “parttime Supergirl” now, the scientists ensure Kara can remain a fulltime super-heroine. Fitted with an “exoskeleta cyborg,” a series of miniaturized motors to emulate her natural super-strength, a pair of jet boots for flight, and later with a pair of nose plugs that would allow her to

Clap On! Clap Off!

breathe underwater or

In Adventure Comics #397 (Sept. 1970), the first issue of

in space, Supergirl

the Sekowsky era and guest-starring Diana Prince, Supergirl’s

eventually brings the

initial battle with the wizard Zond leaves Supergirl’s uniform

Professor to justice in

trashed. This gives the Maid of Might an excuse to adopt

Adventure #405 (Apr.

a new set of threads taken from designs by readers

1971) before he can

Louise Ann Kelley (address unknown) and Jean Bray of

whip up a triple dose

Springlake, Michigan.

of his vile formula. As

In the backup story, the reader meets Nastalthia, no last

punishment, he cheerfully seeks a cure for his power-

name ever given, who would be Supergirl’s chief nemesis

be-gone pill in Kandor, surrounded by cutting edge

for the next couple of years. The young brunette, nicknamed

Kryptonian technology, not unlike imprisoning a mouse

“Nasty,” is a previously unseen niece of arch-villain Lex Luthor

inside a cheese factory.

Original art to page 16 of Adventure Comics #401 (Jan. 1971). Art by

In #406 (May 1971), Linda Danvers finally graduates

Mike Sekowsky and

for those other super-freaks! Then—the world is mine!”

from Stanhope College. Via her contact at Galaxy

Jack Abel. Courtesy

“Ours, Uncle,” Nasty reminds her mentor, “ours!”

Broadcasting, a newly installed TV reporter named Clark

of Heritage Comics.

Of course, Lex lands in prison—again!—and a decided-

Kent, a cameraperson/reporting job awaits her at K-SFTV

ly unbalanced battle with Nasty’s gang of cycle-thugs

in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Nasty is there already,

whose goal is to defeat Supergirl in the first step of his “plans

does nothing to quench the villainess’ desire to make their

having used her infamous uncle’s unrevealed influence. By

first encounter the last.

now, Nasty believes that Linda and the Girl of Steel could

The international jet-setting thief/con-artist Starfire (no relation to the sword-and-sorcery heroine of the 1970s or

TM & © DC Comics.

be one and the same, combining the villainous aspects of her uncle with the insatiable curiosity of Lois Lane.

the New Teen Titan) shares Luthor’s theory about Supergirl.

Aside from old villainess Black Flame in #400 (Dec. 1970),

Her right-hand man, Dr. Kangle, reveals the result of years of

the Sekowsky era was costumed-villain-free, relying on more

research, a pill able to remove super-powers. Staff gigolo

personal challenges for his heroine, just like in Sekowsky’s

Derek meets Supergirl, seduces her, then administers the

Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, a new editor waited in the

drug during a romantic picnic as Supergirl laments, “I have

sidelines to guide the Girl of Steel through a fresh set

these powers—and while sometimes I wish I didn’t—and

of adventures.

humanity as long as it needs me!” A few minutes later,

From the House of Mystery to San Francisco

Supergirl’s super-abilities vanish and she is left for dead

Without fanfare or the intense scrutiny of today’s Internet-

from a hail of machine gun bullets from Starfire’s thugs.

TM & © DC Comics.

could live a normal life—I have to use them to help

driven fandom, Joe Orlando began his editorial reign over

Bleeding and barely able to stand, Supergirl makes her

the Maid of Might with the second story of Adventure

way to Kandor, where she’s examined by the shrunken

#409 (Apr. 1971), the first half containing Sekowsky’s last

city’s scientists who declare that an unknown substance in the

as editor/writer/penciler. In the tale written by E. Nelson S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

3


Art G Gallery allery Art Supergirl:

Super-Fashion Plate

TM & © DC Comics.

After dropping off her blue skirt at the thrift store in 1970, the Girl of Steel became DC’s most fashionable femme. In this gallery, seven all-star artists go ga-ga over the ’70s and ’80s Supergirl in a collection of commissioned illustrations shared with BACK ISSUE by their owner, Bruce MacIntosh. All artwork © 2006 the respective artists. Supergirl TM & © DC Comics. Betty © 2006 Archie Comics Publications.

Supergirl by Alex Saviuk (Superman, Amazing Spider-Man).

Supergirl by Brian Stelfreeze (Matador, Domino, Batman covers).

1 2

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

Supergirl by Cully Hamner (Blue Beetle, Batman: Tenses).


n e n e m o m o W W r e r SSuuppe Color Me Diana

rite First Favo o y M “ r e if by Jenn ” Contin r Woman e d n o W was

Dick Giordano’s cover art to 1975’s Wonder Woman Giant Comics to Color (Whitman). Courtesy of Heritage Comics. TM & © DC Comics.

e, ls issu r i G r r Supe eal some r For ou comic o ask s on ided t ought h we dec t r i the oines. girls st her e low: t a super e ies be s’ gr he lad

t d ch of you fin ked ea s) did ( e in We as ook o -her omic-b super as a c l a n Which ted piratio collec st ins ? and y h the mo w inment r, and terta n e r u reade for yo swers nt. the an joyme and en tino er Con —Jennif

di ana schutz Senior Editor, dark horse comics Supergirl! Hands-down, no doubt about it ... Supergirl! I was a Mort Weisinger baby of the early to middle ’60s when I first began reading comics, and the gentle Otto Binder-scripted adventures of Superman’s cousin were what floated my little-girl boat. Artist Jim Mooney drew every single Supergirl story, save for her introduction in Action #252, and Jim became the first artist whose work I was able to recognize even as a child. (Don’t forget: no credits back in those days.) Supergirl was blonde (just like ... me), and she was often lonely TM & © DC Co mics.

(just like ... me), and she could do her homework or clean her room—or save the world—in a mere three seconds. Unlike me!

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

1 5


own adventures, and really cemented the idea that being female didn’t have to be a sorry-ass loser like the ’60s-era Supergirl. But then, my movie faves were Rosalind Russell and Katherine Hepburn: that great combination of sass and class. I have no respect for women who let somebody else carry their brains.

MARCIA ALLASS Editor-in-Chief, www.sequentialtart.com As a kid I was very keen on Wonder Woman. I only owned one issue of the comic that I was bought when in hospital for an eye operation, but I kept that comic

Marvel-ous!

barbarA kesel Hawk & Dove, Savant Garde, Ultra Girl, Batgirl, The Dark Crystal

Detail of Mark Swayze’s Mary Marvel painting titled “Isn’t It Your Bedtime?” Circa 1996–1997. Courtesy of Heritage Comics.

details of it now, but I definitely remember being wowed by this woman who could become a butt-kicking heroine

Well, first off, I’ve always hated the word “heroine”

at any time, and I especially remember liking her lasso

because of the “whine” in it, which was often what

and her invisible plane! To a nine-year-old, these were

passed for character development in female characters

just too cool!

from Way Back When. “Hero” is a job; “heroine” is an

Art © 2006 Mark Swayze. Mary Marvel TM & © DC Comics.

for ages and reread it many times. I don’t remember the

I kind of moved away from super-hero comics as an

estrogen-based drug that weakens the brain, causing

adult, so I couldn’t point specifically to anyone that has

frantic stupidity and the inability to reason when not

inspired me as such—although from my skimming of

in the presence of a Similarly Named Male Character.

the genre I’d have to pick Oracle, simply because of

My favorites? Phantom Girl (of the Legion of Super-Heroes), for one. She had the coolest

how she overcame adversity and the fact that she uses her wits not her body to win the day.

power ever and kicked major ass. (The fact that she got a cool boyfriend didn’t hurt.) I wasn’t a Marvel reader in my younger days, or I’m sure Marvel Girl would have made the cut. Wonder Woman and Supergirl were, unfortunately, Major Stupid when I first read them, which kept leading me back to the Shooter-era Legion where women were as plentiful as men and brunettes were part of the mix. I liked the idea of a world where female didn’t mean secondplace or second fiddle (okay, so there’s certain stories where I hang my head and sigh, but!). That series of stories gave me a great new-but-familiar world where I could set my

1 6

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

trina robbins gogirl!, wild irish rose

Well, duh, obviously Wonder Woman comes first! She was an Amazon and a princess and she spoke to goddesses (and they spoke back to her). How cool was that? Plus she lived on a magic island populated only by women. For little girls in a scary, male-dominated world, that’s a safe place. Next would be Mary Marvel, because she had all the same powers as Superman (except for the X-ray vision) but she was just a girl, like I was just a girl. And all she had to do was to say her magic word, Shazam. So maybe I could find my magic word and say it, and I too would have super-powers and be able to fly!


A Gallery of Graphite and Sketch Art

TM & © 2006 Adam Hughes.

ichael Eury Captions by M

Adam Hughes’ underdrawing for the final painting of All-American Girl, produced for the 1993 Creators Universe set of collectors cards of creator-owned properties. “I never did anything with her other than the card,” Adam says, “but she was a pastiche of WWII comic characters.” Courtesy of the artist. 2 0

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

ALL-AMERICAN GIRL – ADAM HUGHES

Pretty in Pencil:


© 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

BLACK CAT – KEITH POLLARD

Can you believe that this fabulous Keith Pollard-penciled cover to Amazing Spider-Man #194 (July 1979) was rejected? Since this was the issue that introduced Spidey’s friend/foe Black Cat, it was decided that a front view of the character (seen in the inset, drawn by Al Milgrom) would better reveal the Cat to readers. Courtesy of Bob McLeod. S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

2 1


DONNA TROY – DARRYL BANKS

© 2006 DC Comics.

Wonder Girl, all grown up! Boy, is she ever! This stunning 2001 Donna Troy commissioned illustration by Darryl Banks was contributed to BACK ISSUE by Robert Plunkett—and to learn about Donna’s turbulent past, turn to page 64. 2 2

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e


by Dewey Cassell

interview Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat… …bad sales did, depriving readers of the publication of The Cat #5. Here’s the splash page to that unpublished issue starring the pre-Tigra Marvel heroine. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

2 6

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

Nothing gets male hormones raging faster than a curvaceous female feline in a bikini, as attested to by the enduring popularity of Marvel Comics’ Tigra the Were-Woman. So, who would imagine that the origins of Tigra lie with another hirsute heroine whose tales were woven for girls? Comic books have often attempted to reflect the changes occurring in society. In the late 1960s, the dialogue, characters, and storyline of DC Comics’ Teen Titans reflected the hip culture prevalent at the time. By the early ’70s, the feminist movement was in full swing. In 1972, Gloria Steinem founded Ms. magazine. That same year, Marvel Comics launched several new comic books aimed at a female audience, including Night Nurse, Shanna the She-Devil, and The Cat [a.k.a. Claws of the Cat]. Targeting female readership was not new to the comics industry, but by late 1972, the romance titles that had long been a mainstay had largely lost their appeal. [Editor’s note: See BACK ISSUE #13’s “The Death of Romance (Comics)” for more on this subject.] What were lacking were relevant stories featuring a character with which girls could identify and admire. For all of the monumental growth in the super-hero genre, there remained a dearth of female heroes. Enter Greer Grant Nelson. Greer was an attractive, intelligent, but insecure young woman who married an overbearing policeman who was later killed by a gunman. Left on her own, Greer volunteered for a university study with Dr. Joanne Tumolo. The study involved a series of treatments designed to heighten the innate capabilities of women, including a sixth sense of “women’s intuition.” Ironically, the study was being funded by a dominating male villain named Mal Donalbain, who had also created a cat suit as part of a secret plan to build a private “army of amazons.” Dr. Tumolo discovered the scheme and Greer donned the costume, confronting Donalbain, whose morbid fear of being touched proved his undoing.


Cover Girl x 2: Original art to the covers of The Cat #3 (Apr. 1973), penciled by Rich Buckler and inked (and signed) by John Romita, Sr., and Marvel Chillers #6 (Aug. 1976), by Buckler and inker Mike Esposito. Art scans courtesy of Mike Burkey (www.romitaman.com) and Heritage Comics (www.heritagecomics .com), respectively.

According to former Marvel editor Roy Thomas, “The basic concept for the character, and the name (including Claws of the Cat) was Stan’s.” Marvel stalwart Marie Severin was tapped to pencil the book, and she talks about the genesis of the character:

Marie Severin at the 2001 San Diego Comic-Con. Photo courtesy of Dewey Cassell.

DEWEY CASSELL: I understand they deliberately put a team of women creators on The Cat. MARIE SEVERIN: Absolutely. They were hoping to capture female readers. After all, fifty percent of the population is female. CASSELL: I guess female inkers were hard to come by, though, because Wally Wood inked the origin story. SEVERIN: Yes, I remember saying, “My God, I drew this woman and Wally inked her like she’s wrapped in Saran Wrap.” His storytelling always had lovely inking, nice blacks and everything, but I didn’t have her that revealing. The boys loved his work, though. She was hot stuff. CASSELL: Did you have some influence over the design of the character? SEVERIN: At that time, Stan had the time that when you worked on something, you always checked it out with him. You had time to go in and have a little talk and get his opinion. They wanted her to look like a cat. The sash was my idea, I’m pretty sure. The sash was just for an element of flair, not having a tail. She had something on her feet so she could climb up buildings. That all made sense in the

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

© 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

B A C K

I S S U E

2 7


Catsuits and Karate: Diana Prince Leaves Wonder Woman Behind!

by

Andy Mangels

Gone were the satin tights and invisible airplane; in 1968, Wonder Woman renounced her powers and learned to kick butt as mortal woman Diana Prince. It was a time of change in the country, as social consciousness was being raised, and equal rights for women were being battled for in the streets, the courtrooms, and the news media. It was also a time of change at DC Comics, wherein “relevant” stories about racism, war, and drug abuse were peppered among the storylines of super-villains and aliens. Wonder Woman had gone through numerous permutations since her debut in 1941. She had battled Nazis and costumed villains, espousing ideals ranging from love and sisterhood to the joys of bondage and “loving submission.” But since the death of creator, William Moulton Marston, in 1947, the Wonder Woman comic had been a schizophrenic affair, showcasing the character as a Wonder Girl and a Wonder Tot, endlessly revising her origin, pitting her against giant communist eggs, sentient protoplasm, genies, dinosaurs, and romantic entanglements with mermen, birdmen, monsters, and the ever-present Steve Trevor. Writer/editor Robert Kanigher seemed to care little for continuity, and the title languished in sales. DC publisher Carmine Infantino handed the Wonder Woman editing reins over to romance comic editor Jack Miller in 1968, and Miller assigned a new team to the title: writer Denny O’Neil, and artists Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano. Wonder Woman

The Prince Formerly Known as Wonder Woman Sekowsky and Giordano’s cover to Wonder Woman #178 (Sept.–Oct. 1968). Unless otherwise noted, all art in this article is courtesy of Andy Mangels. Wonder Woman TM & © 2006 DC Comics.

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

3 5


#178–180 (Sept.–Oct. 1968 to Jan.–Feb. 1969) revealed that the Amazons had depleted the magic of Paradise Island and needed to retreat to another dimension. Wonder Woman gave up her star-spangled costume and super-powers and stayed on Earth, buying a clothing boutique in New York’s Greenwich Village. As part of an undercover mission, she also embarked on a makeover to infiltrate a “hippie club,” styling her hair, adding makeup, and donning hip, new fashions. The “mod” look would stay for four years. Denny O’Neil says that he got the job because “I was the flavor of the week. I was the new kid on the block and being asked to take it in a new direction. Why I picked the new direction I did, I no longer know, and I certainly would do it differently if I had to do it again.”

Sayonara, Tiara Diana Prince’s ch-ch-changes, from Wonder Woman #178. Art by Sekowsky and Giordano. © 2006 DC Comics.

3 6

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

Elaborating, O’Neil says that “the thing was controversial because the feminists criticized us for de-powering her, and I thought at the time I was serving a feminist agenda by making her self-reliant. I now see their point. She was the only superpowered female in publication at the time and one of the very few that existed, and here I came along and made her un-super. I absolutely didn’t see that at the time. I certainly thought of myself as a liberal and probably pro-feminist. I didn’t understand their attacks at the time, but I now do and certainly see their point of view.” Artist Dick Giordano remembers that the depowering of Wonder Woman was actually a bit of a trend at DC. “The ‘de-powered era’ was called ‘the relevancy period’ by those of us then in the trenches,” he says. “Carmine was intrigued with the possibilities of having our characters be more in touch with what was happening on the street. Our romance books of the time moved away from the traditional storybook fables and had more real romance story lines with characters having more of the same problems that real people had. The Teen Titans were de-powered as well, and we had plotlines in most of our titles fit the mode. Carmine was the driving force in relevancy, and as such was behind the ‘no costumes/no powers’ formats of the day.” Without her costume, Diana’s new “mod” outfits came straight out of the pages of fashion magazines of the day, and a later white catsuit design seemed to be modeled after Diana Rigg’s skintight apparel on British TV import The Avengers. “Mike Sekowsky did all the design work,” Dick Giordano remembers. “I was only the inker. The entire project—including fashions—was patterned after The Avengers. I-Ching was Steed.” For the storylines, O’Neil didn’t pattern anything after the TV series, though. “I was not a television watcher at all,” he says. “It seemed to be something in the air. Certainly the martial-arts stuff was beginning to be a part of our collective consciousness.” So who was I-Ching? In issue #180, Steve Trevor was killed (in a later letters column, Sekowsky called him “just too dumb and boring”), and Diana was given a new friend: aged Asian martial arts instructor I-Ching, a blind man with mystical powers who would tutor Diana in karate, jiu-jitsu, and other forms of self-defense. O’Neil is a bit embarrassed today about naming the character as he did. “I certainly meant no disrespect to 50,000 years of Chinese culture, but I can understand why people saw it like that. I had, and have, a virtual lifelong interest in Asian philosophy. If I had to do it again, I would at least have made the Asian character a woman and I would not have named her after the great Chinese classics.”


Diana Prince … Guest-Star In the four years that the powerless Diana Prince roamed the DC Universe, she still managed some pretty surprising team-ups. Other places she popped up included: Justice League of America #69 (Feb. 1969) A powerless Diana Prince resigns from the JLA, and they wonder who she is in the first place, having never known her secret identity! Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #93 (July 1969) Lois battles Diana for Superman’s affection, but have Diana’s powers returned? The Brave and the Bold #87 (Dec. 1969–Jan. 1970) Mike Sekowsky delivers a tale of fashion and sports cars, as Diana helps Batman at a foreign racing event.

Our Other Princess Diana… …the enchanting Diana Rigg, as Emma Peel. Anyone who needs to ask why this 1968 Gold Key one-shot was titled John Steed and Emma Peel instead of The Avengers, the title of the characters’ British TV series, is hereby required to take a crash course in Comics 101. © 1968 ABC Television Limited, London.

O’Neil jokingly notes that he recalls little of the nearly 40-year-old stories. “It was a job. We weren’t taking notes,” he says, laughing. “We certainly didn’t think that 30–40 years later anyone would be interested. One of my strengths—and weaknesses—in doing this is, I did and do respect comics, but I guess I didn’t take my involvement in them seriously [at the time].” In addition to his penciling duties, Sekowsky became editor with Wonder Woman #182 (May–June 1969), and took over writing the series with the following issue. Under his pen, Diana revisited the Amazons, fought a recurring female villainess named Dr. Cyber, and even invaded “Red China” with a machine gun blazing! In the book’s letters pages, Sekowsky alternated letters between those who hated the new direction and those who loved it. In one issue, he did crow that, “The old Wonder Woman was dropped because the sales on

The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #117 (Mar.–April 1970) Seeking Diana’s autograph, Jerry Lewis is transported with her to Paradise Island. It’s far worse than you imagine. Adventure Comics #397 (Sept. 1970) Diana helps Supergirl on a mission with witchy Morgana (returning from Wonder Woman #186), and gives the Maid of Steel a ginchy new costume! World’s Finest #204 (Aug. 1971) In a story by Denny O’Neil, Superman and Diana seek to change a doomed future by stopping violence at a college riot. Superman #241–242 (Aug.–Sept. 1971) Diana and I-Ching aid a brain-damaged Superman in another story by O’Neil. Justice League of America #100–102 (Aug.–Oct. 1972) In a three-part story, Diana is drafted to help the JLA, JSA, and Seven Soldiers of Victory. The Brave and the Bold #105 (Jan.–Feb. 1973) Diana goes undercover in the Latino underworld to aid “Bat Hombre” in this tale by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. All comics © 2006 DC Comics.

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

3 7


by

Neil l Mc l e r r Da

If animator Darrell McNeil had his way, Black Canary, seen here in a 2004 sketch by Steve “the Dude” Rude, would have appeared on Super Friends. Black Canary TM & © DC Comics. Art © 2006 Steve Rude.

, AAttack ttack ooff the the 70s 70s TToon oon SSuper uper Chicks, C hic ks , or…I was a Teenage Inbetweener (Which I WAS!) 4 4

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e


Welcome once more, dear friends, to Big D’s latest yearly installment of “I was reading a plugfest and suddenly an article broke out.” Yes, once again your friendly neighborhood Euryman has defied all common sense by axing your not-so-humble one to take another hike down memory lane (as opposed to just taking a hike) and peel back the onion skin to observe a time in our toon past … when the super-heroine joined the super-hero in changing our cartoon landscape. (And yes, friends, this year’s plugs are coming. You’re just gonna have to sit through the rest of this essay first. Don’t beg … it looks unseemly.) This time ’round, I’m going to do this totally by studio as well as character and year (and yep, I worked on most of these shows, too; y’think the only studio super-heroine I did was Striperella?), beginning our tally with the king of the mount back in the toon-producin’ day: Hanna-Barbera, which intro’ed the Saturday-morning superbabe back in the ’60s with Jan (Space Ghost), Gravity Girl (Galaxy Trio), Invisible Girl (Fantastic Four), Tara (Herculoids), and Princess Nida (Arabian Knights). Since the ’70s and ’80s are this mag’s purview (and the preceding quintet may be revisited in one’a my “pluggies” later on), we’ll start with the ’70s’ first toon super-heroine, who is, of course… …Wonder Woman, who made her first animated appearance under H-B studio rival Filmation’s auspices when ABC slotted a guest appearance for her and her future fellow Super Friend Superman in that network’s Brady Kids animated series in 1972. The following year, ABC teamed its two super-guest-stars with CBS guest-stars Batman and Robin (The New Scooby-Doo Movies) and Aquaman (of the ’60s series bearing his moniker) to form TV’s longestrunning continuous super-toon, the 13-season Super Friends (SF), about which has often been writ, so I’ll not re-writ it here. After her SF run, Wonder Woman made an appearance on the ’80s Superman show. It was doubly ironic in a number of ways that I, the “teenage inbetweener” cited in this article’s title [Editor’s note: In animation, an “inbetweener” is an artist who provides transitional drawings in between two principal or “key” drawings.], was given WW as the first character I was paid to inbetween, as even Bill Hanna noted that I was the first “comic-book geek” he had ever hired at the studio. (This “note” came from my continuing practice of correcting him whenever he referred to Wonder Woman as Wonder Girl. Oh, well … as many characters as he and Joe Barbera created, he can be forgiven for forgettin’ a few names!) Fact is, I almost did more’n just draw the old gal—durn near got to scribble ’er, too, as All-New Super Friends’ story editor Norman Maurer (father of future Challenge of the Super Friends story editor Jeffrey Scott Maurer) let me pitch various story ideas to him. One he was this close to approving (by one day!) was a story for the seven-minute “guest-star” segment featuring a lead Super Friend with another DC hero (or heroine, as the

next two characters will demonstrate). The one I wrote would’ve been a “missing ship mystery” teaming WW with Lois Lane and, in her first animated outing, Black Canary (who, with her fishnets, would’ve definitely driven the animators nuts … but with us at that time, it wouldn’t’ve been much of a drive!). The reason why you didn’t see this “mini-classic” was that the day Norm would’ve greenlighted my tale, an edict had come down from ABC stating that, from that point on that season, all story premises for the network’s animated shows were to be generated by their in-house writing team (of former H-B head writers/future studio heads) Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. That’s what a diff of 24 hours makes. (And if this doesn’t make me and Jack Bauer soulmates, I don’t know what does!) Two other DC heroines that I did draw, however, were … Hawkgirl and Rima, the Jungle Girl, both of whom guested in separate guest segs with hubbins (in the former’s case) Hawkman. My mentor and fellow HannaBarberian Alex Toth designed way cool model sheets for all the previously named SF characters. Whilst he needed little help on the drawing/designing part, when it came to a character like Rima, that neither he nor most of the studio had even heard of—that’s where I came in. Being the DC freak I was then (and am now), working with that trio was a particular joy for moi, to the point that I penciled a pinup of the gals for a “super-heroines-oriented” fanzine that was published at the time. (It was inked by some aspiring

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

Alex Toth’s original Wonder Woman design for Super Friends depicted the Amazon Princess with her Golden Age hairdo. © 2006 Hanna-Barbera. Wonder Woman TM & © DC Comics.

Sixties TV Super Chick Tara, from The Herculoids. © 2006 Hanna-Barbera.

B A C K

I S S U E

4 5


artist named Brent Anderson who, soon afterward, vanished into obscurity and was never heard from again … just kidding, Brent!) Speaking of SF heroines, I can’t let this piece go by without mentioning SF’s secondlongest-running super-heroine… …Jayna, super-shapeshifting sister of fellow Wonder Twin Zan (try saying that three times fast), who put in a sevenseason run on the series from ’77 to ’84. (Though the Twins were largely ignored during ’85’s Super Powers Team season, hardly anybody noticed. Come t’think of it, that was true of Aquaman, too, though he may have his own series by the time you read this … guess that’ll teach us!) Anyways, here are a couple of little “betcha didn’t know” fun factoids: If you look closely at the All-New Super Friends’ opening title and the earliest half-hour episodes, you’ll see that originally whenever the Wonder Twins activated their powers by touching fists, they took off their gloves first. Eventually it was decided that it would’ve taken too much screen time to constantly show ’em taking their gloves on and off, so in this case, the kids’ gloves stayed on. Also, note Jayna’s “whipped cream”-style hairdo: It was modeled after a real hairdo worn by an H-B checker named My Bushman, related to both animator Bruce Bushman

Separated at birth? DC’s Rima the Jungle Girl, as a Super Friends guest star, and Hanna-Barbera’s Jana of the Jungle. Rima TM & © DC Comics. Jana © 2006 Hanna-Barbera.

4 6

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

and then-H-B senior director Charles “Nick” Nichols. Jayna designer Ivao Takamoto was looking for a way to differentiate her from previous teen sidekick Wendy and visually, the hair helped (that, and her pointed ears). Our next H-B super chick is one I cited in a previous piece as ABC’s answer to CBS’ popular Tarzan animated series … Jana of the Jungle. I’m not going to go back over the heroine evolution of Jana to this present concept; suffice it to say that, despite producer Doug (Jonny Quest, Godzilla) Wildey’s efforts, Jana’s quest to find her father, lost in the jungle she inhabited, never caught on and, 13 episodes later, Jana had indeed given up the “ghost” (and I don’t mean her white panther, who did have that name). The H-B heroines trail lightsped into the ’80s in the produced-in-’80/didn’t-air-until-’81 (due to actors’/ musicians’ strikes) Space Stars (SS) series for NBC, which brought back old friends Jan (Space Ghost) and Tara (Herculoids, who was, as in the ’60s version, vocalized by then-70-something actress Virginia Gregg, who matched the SS’ Tara’s stronger character with a harder-driving vocal). Joining the SS’ new episodes of Space Ghost, Herculoids, and Astro and the Space Mutts was H-B’s sole original contribution to the teen super-team toon genre, Teen Force. Its members were Kid Comet, Moleculad, the Astro-Mites Plutem and Glax, and our raison d’être for the purposes of this article, the heroine originally named “Nova.” I said “originally,” ’cuz once H-B learned that Marvel Comics already had a super-hero named “Nova,” they sought and later gave her a name that wouldn’t duplicate another Marvel hero’s. That name, by which she’s known to this day? Elektra. Oops! Or maybe not so. Y’see, the way TV toons were conceived back in the pre-cable era (or roughly 300 networks ago!), we were all a li’l bit looser in terms of the immediacy of pop-culture influences in our toonmaking (or, “When in doubt, ‘rip’ it off … they’ll never notice. We hope…”). Sometimes it worked, in Nova/Elektra’s case, other times it didn’t. We’ll get to a big one of those in a min, but first, let’s meet the last of H-B’s ’70s/’80s toon princesses… …Goleeta, a warrior princess some ten years before the “lawless” one, who used her magic shield and fiery temper to aid the title star of Galtar and the Golden Lance in his quest to regain his throne in his ’80s syndie series’ two-season run. (Thundarr… Blackstar… Galtar… anyone sense a trend there? Now, if only they were pirates… arrrrr!!!) Now we gonna boogie on over (this is the ’70s, remember?) to cross-toon rival Filmation Associates, which, to give them their props, was always in the forefront when it came to casting women and minorities as lead characters in their series… starting with Saturday morning’s only black, female super-team leader: Astraea, the animalshapeshifting member of Space Sentinels who, with fellow Sentinels Hercules and Mercury, fought evil in … well, space (duh!). I was then at H-B working on their dark-skinned


If somehow, someway, you’re not a fan of the art of Bruce Timm—animation producer/director/designer (of the Emmy-winning Batman: The Animated Series plus Superman and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited) and mega-popular comic-book artist (of the Eisner Award-winning Batman: Mad Love, among other projects)—you will be after feasting your eyes upon this astounding collection of commissioned paintings…

Sorry, Famke Janssen, Timm’s Jean Grey is the hottest Phoenix around! © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

4 9


Two of Kirby’s cutest and one magical maiden: the Invisible Girl/Woman, Big (wow, is she!) Barda, and Zatanna. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

5 0

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

© 2006 DC Comics.


Gen13’s Fairchild gets the Timm treatment. © 2006 WildStorm.

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

5 1


Our cover star Tigra in a movie poster-esque montage. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

5 2

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e


by

Frank Cho’s mesmerizing cover art to New Avengers #14 (Feb. 2006). Courtesy of the artist. © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

Dan Johnson

Dark Angel: Marvel’s

BACK ISSUE Gets Caught in Spider-Woman’s

Marvel Comics is known for creating super-heroes that are hard-luck cases in spandex. Of all the females in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Woman was always the gal most in need of a break. On the comics page, Jessica Drew’s alter ego has been unlucky in love, misunderstood by the

Web

public at large, and has gotten tangled up with a wide variety of freaks and weirdos (both as a super-heroine and in her civilian life). But what Spider-Woman’s fans saw on the printed page was only half the story for Marvel’s Dark Angel.

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

5 7


© 2006 Marvel Characte rs, Inc.

. l Characters, Inc © 2006 Marve

© 2006 Marvel Characte rs, Inc.

Initially, Spider-Woman wasn’t intended to be anything more than insurance. “The only reason that Spider-Woman was created in the first place was to prevent another company from ripping off Spider-Man with a female version for a Saturday-morning cartoon series,” explains Roger Stern, who served as the character’s editor for a brief time. “The other character eventually turned up as Web Woman. [Editor’s note: See this issue’s “Backstage Pass” for Web Woman info.] Someone—it might have been Stan Lee— found out that a rival Spider-Woman cartoon series was in the works, and to protect the name for Marvel, Archie Goodwin quickly came up with our own Spider-Woman character for Marvel Spotlight #32 (Feb. 1977). It was basically a case of Marvel ripping itself off to prevent someone else from doing so.” While Goodwin took charge of developing Spider-Woman’s origin, it fell to a member of the Marvel Bullpen to create the look of the Arachnid Adventuress. One of the tasks that went into researching this article was putting on my detective cap to uncover the identity of the artist responsible for Spider-Woman’s look. BACK ISSUE is delighted to give credit where credit is due—finally—to Marvel’s reallife superwoman, Marie Severin, for designing Spider-Woman. “So many people were freelance then,” explains Severin about her role in the character’s creation. “Johnny [Romita] and I would be in on the innovative things, to start off [new characters], and then they would be assigned to an artist for a story. [That story artist] might embellish something else in [the costume] and if it was approved, that was it. Very often, if something was innovative, Marvel might put it on a cover, you know, ‘So and so new character,’ and the artist who was doing the story would follow the costume [from the cover]. [The costume designs] weren’t written into stone. The artists could change anything they wanted as long as they discussed it with Stan. When I was on staff, and before he

A comic-book house ad for ABC’s Spider-Woman cartoon. Spider-Woman © 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc. Scooby-Doo © 2006 Hanna-Barbera.

5 8

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

went out to California, it all flowed through Stan.” Severin’s role in Spider-Woman’s genesis was brief, but important. It speaks volumes about Severin that she is very modest about her contribution. “When it was that long ago, you don’t think you’re making history when you’re doing these things,” reveals Severin. After Severin designed Spider-Woman, the art chores for Spider-Woman’s first comic-book adventure fell to Sal Buscema on pencils and Jim Mooney on inks. If the first Spider-Woman story was nothing more than an effort to protect a copyright, you couldn’t tell it from the work of the men involved. Her origin story was jammed packed with action and mystery. It recounts how Spider-Woman, referred to here only by that moniker and the name Arachne, has no memory of her life before being recruited by Hydra and tricked into trying to kill Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. By the end of the story, Spider-Woman learns that she has been manipulated by the criminal organization. She discovers that Hydra has hidden her connection to the New Men, the evolved animal beings created by the High Evolutionary. The end of the story sees SpiderWoman believing that she is nothing more than a spider that has been evolved into a woman. “Archie was a terrific guy,” says Buscema. “I always thought he was one of the best writers in the business. He was very, very intelligent, and I thought that intelligence was reflected in his stories. This was one of the few projects that we did together, but it was a pleasure working with him.” Buscema also believes that this origin story went above and beyond being just a matter of establishing copyright. “[All the details in that story] were probably done deliberately. Maybe Marvel had thoughts of making this a permanent book.” Whether or not Marvel had plans for Spider-Woman beyond this one appearance is debatable, but there was


no denying that they were on to something after Marvel Spotlight #32 hit the newsstands. “The comic Archie Goodwin wrote sold better than anyone expected,” says Marv Wolfman, who would become the character’s second writer. “I was asked to take this character who was created to be a one-shot and turn her into as regular book. I realized that what Archie did couldn’t continue. Since I was not privy to the creation, I have no idea how much of Spider-Woman’s background (aside from her name) was given to Archie or if he developed the idea fully on his own. Spider-Woman was an evolved spider, and back in the mid-’70s that would not have flown. I had to take what Archie did and spin a new story around it so she could be human.” Wolfman began by making Jessica Drew the daughter of Dr. Jonathan and Meriem Drew. Dr. Drew was a friend and colleague of Dr. Herbert Edgar Wyndham, the scientist destined to became the High Evolutionary. Drew even helped Wyndham create his stronghold, Wundagore. But the uranium that funded the experiments of the two scientists caused young Jessica to become ill. In the end, the only thing that could save the girl was a spider extract that her father had been working on, combined with Wyndham’s genetic accelerator. Together, the two not only saved Jessica’s life, but also gave her the powers that would one day make her Spider-Woman. Wolfman made another decision that helped to make Jessica her own woman. “I decided on my own to keep her as far away from Spider-Man as I could,” says Wolfman. “I wanted her to have her own reason for being and not cheapen SpiderMan by replicating his origin or his purpose and character. I began to develop the Jessica Drew character, named ultimately after my daughter Jessica and Nancy Drew.” After a four-issue story arc in the pages of Marvel Two-in-One (#29–33, July–Nov. 1977), Spider-Woman was launched in her own title. The legendary Carmine Infantino was tapped to illustrate this series. “I was working on Star Wars at the time and Marvel called me and asked me if I would like to do SpiderWoman,” recalls Infantino. “I said I’d give it a shot. At first I really wasn’t sure [about the book], but slowly, but surely, I got into it and began to enjoy Spider-Woman. I ended up doing issues #1 (Apr. 1978) through 19 (Oct. 1979). After issue #19, I left Marvel and went back to

Original art to an unused version of Spider-Woman #1’s cover, by Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek (courtesy of Fred deBoom), and the published cover.

DC to do The Flash.” At Wolfman’s suggestion, Infantino added a few modifications to Marie Severin’s original costume design. “The costume was created before I was connected with the book,” says Wolfman. “I remember asking [Infantino] to open up the top of the mask so her hair would flow free, which I thought made her look better.” Besides the costume changes, Infantino also brought sex appeal to the character of Jessica Drew and her alter ego. “You

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

© 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.

B A C K

I S S U E

5 9


Marv Wolfman Recalls

conducted on November 10, 2005

interview

by Al Nickerson

“WHO IS DONNATROY?” “Who is Donna Troy?” is my second favorite comic-book story. Produced by the legendary talents of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez for The New Teen Titans #38 (Jan. 1984), this story finally pieced together, for a little while anyway, Wonder Girl’s origin. As a wedding present to Donna (Wonder Girl) Troy and her fiancé Terry Long, Dick Grayson investigates the mystery of Donna’s past. Through Grayson’s detective work, it is revealed that Wonder Girl’s young and single mother gave up the infant Donna Troy to an orphanage. A married couple quickly adopted Donna. Unfortunately, Donna later ended up being part of an illegal child-selling scam. Recaps of Donna’s origin also included Wonder Woman rescuing an infant Donna Troy from a burning building and Donna being raised by the Amazons on Paradise Island. —Al Nickerson

Wonder Girl and Starfire in a George Pérez sketch from the collection of Paul Sager, via Jerry Boyd. Characters © 2006 DC Comics. Art © 2006 George Pérez.

6 4

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

AL NICKERSON: First off, I want to say that I have always enjoyed “Who is Donna Troy?” It is probably the most “human” super-hero story that I have ever read. It’s certainly the most touching. How did “Who is Donna Troy?” come about? Was this an idea that you and George Pérez came up with, or was the telling of Donna Troy’s full origin a request from DC Comics? MARV WOLFMAN: I don’t remember in specific if it was George’s idea or mine—we were working so handin-hand by then, but once George moved to the same town I lived in, only five blocks or so away, we usually got together for lunch and would work out a story over the next few hours. In many cases I would then go home and write up a plot based on it, or sometimes George would take the verbal plotting we did and take it from there. I can’t recall how we did this story specifically, or who generated the initial concept— it could very well have been George—but like many others we knew it was going to be a strong one from the moment we started working on it. DC didn’t generate ideas at the time; that was left to us. George and I had a really strong give and take. By the time of “Who is Donna Troy?” we weren’t writer and artist but co-plotters, and the book benefited from both our similarities and differences. I know George was more involved with this one than in most of them but, as I say, I can’t recall where the initial idea came from. But no matter who generated the original idea, we certainly talked over almost all, if not all the specifics in detail, coming up with ideas, tossing others out, etc. NICKERSON: Why was it so important for Donna Troy, and for us, too, to know where Donna came from? WOLFMAN: I wrote the original Donna Troy origin story back in the first Titans run. She had never had one and was, in fact, not a “real” character (if you can call any of them real). She was a computer simulation of Wonder Woman as a girl. That story also named her Donna Troy and set up everything that followed. Unfortunately, after Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Wonder Woman revamp, we had to go back and redo it again as a brand new Wonder Woman being born on Earth could not have rescued the girl from the burning building. I wish we had been able to keep it as I think it’s gone insane now. I just wanted a simple origin story. I came up with the original, and then George and I simply elaborated on what had been done, giving her real knowledge of who she was. I would love to say that everything after “Who is Donna Troy?” should be forgotten, but that’s not the way continuity works, sadly.


Phil Jimenez Chats About the Many Lives of

S u p e r

G i r l s

by Andy Mangels

ANDY MANGELS: With Infinite Crisis now over, what is the role of Donna Troy in the DC Universe? PHIL JIMENEZ: She’s become a cosmic historian. In 52, she’s trying to solve a mystery, and in doing so, reveals to readers the DC Universe again redefined. The first Harbinger was killed off, but the information she held in the orb that was introduced in History of the DC Universe became Donna’s. With

conducted on May 5, 2006

Donna Troy has had more histories than any one character should. The Wonder Girl character first appeared in the April 1959 issue of Wonder Woman #105, where she was Wonder Woman as a teen. With the launch of the Teen Titans in The Brave and the Bold #60 (July 1965), it appeared that Wonder Girl was another character entirely, and in Teen Titans #38 (August 1969), readers finally learned the answer to the cover question “Who is Wonder Girl?” with the origin story of orphaned Donna Troy. That issue’s writer, Marv Wolfman, revisited history again 15 years later with “Who Is Donna Troy?” in New Teen Titans #38 (Jan. 1984); changes from the Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity reboot required a new “Who is Wonder Girl?” in New Titans #50–55 (1989). Since then, Donna Troy’s history has been vamped and revamped as she became Troia, a Darkstar, then Troia again, was married, divorced, learned she had lived hundreds of alternate lifetimes, and died at the hands of a rogue Superman robot. In The Return of Donna Troy miniseries of 2005, by Phil Jimenez, José Luis-García López, and George Pérez, the origin was smooshed together and cleaned up, leaving Donna in a new post just as the Infinite Crisis began: keeper of the history of the DC Universe. Phil Jimenez has only had one history. Raised in California, he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. He began working for DC at the age of 21, penciling four pages for the War of the Gods miniseries (1991). In the 15 years since, Jimenez has been known for his meticulously detailed artwork (admittedly inspired by George Pérez) and his intricately scripted scripts, often dealing with Titans-related characters (with a sideline for his self-created 2005 Vertigo series Otherworld). But whether on Titans, his run on Wonder Woman, or The Return of Donna Troy, Jimenez has kept his passion for Donna Troy in the forefront. Now, Jimenez shares his thoughts on the past and future of his favorite character. —Andy Mangels

interview

D onna Troy

Phil Jimenez’s “turnaround” model for a DC Direct Donna Troy action figure currently in production. According to Phil, the figure is “based on my initial design for this version of the costume (which, believe it or not, was not my original costume idea for her—this is the one three editors could all agree on). It’s based on her original red jumpsuit look, from the Pérez New Teen Titans era— but keeps the Troia aspects (slung belt, New Chronus symbol, black starfield).” © 2006 DC Comics.

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

6 7


Twenty Years of

A retrospective by her publisher, Dennis Mallonee

© 2006 Heroic Publishing.

Wow. Twenty years. Hard as it is to believe, it really has been 20 years since Heroic Publishing’s glittering goddess of the light made her comic-book debut. It really has been two decades since Eclipse Comics published the first of six issues of the original Champions miniseries that introduced Flare and the League of Champions. Back in the spring of 1986, we honestly had no idea that Flare, above any other Champion, would have such extraordinary appeal. So far as we knew, Terri Feran was just one of half a dozen characters chosen for use in the comic book from a roster of heroes originally created for the Champions role-playing game. Indeed, as I look at the cover of Champions #1 (Sept. 1987), I see nothing about Flare that does stand out. All I see is a bosomy young blonde with a bouffant hairdo wearing a tacky orange jumpsuit and doing some kind of energy thing with her left index finger. At first glance, whoever that girl is, she’s nothing special at all. There are scores of bosomy young blondes in the comics. Most of them are better dressed than this one is. And as far as powers go, there’s an endless supply of comic-book characters that have energy powers, light-based or otherwise. So the question can be fairly asked: What was it about Flare that struck a chord with readers, that a year later led to her being voted the most popular Champion of them all, that led ultimately to a groundbreaking first issue that in one particular way served to change the shape of the comic-book industry? Because make no mistake about it: Up until that first issue of Flare obliterated the conventional wisdom of the day, it was widely believed (Wonder Woman not to the contrary) that a comic book featuring a costumed female lead had zero chance of appealing to a broad base of mostly young male comic-book readers. Lightning-quick sales of Flare #1 (Nov. 1988) proved otherwise. And though it’s entirely possible that from the 1940s through the early 1980s the conventional wisdom had been true, by the late 1980s the nature of comic-book distribution was drastically

7 0

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

changing. Flare helped demonstrate that old rules might no longer apply. And what followed was an explosion of comic books featuring costumed women as their title characters. Which brings us right back to the question of what, exactly, was—and remains—so special about Teresa Katrina Feran, a.k.a. Flare. In order to find an answer to that question, we need to go to the beginning.

In the Beginning Although it’s been 20 years since Flare made her comicbook debut, she’s actually a bit older than that. It was five, maybe six years earlier that a lovely young woman named Stacy Laurence began participating in a series of super-hero role-playing adventures run by Steve Peterson and George MacDonald using a system of combat rules that quickly evolved into something recognizable as the basis of the “Hero System” used to this day by Hero Games for its line of role-playing games. In order to play in those adventures, Stacy needed a character. After getting some input from other participants, among whom was her future husband, Glenn Thain, Stacy decided that her character would be a preternaturally strong young flying heroine with the powers of light, and named her Flare. As the role-playing adventures continued and became a full-fledged campaign, Flare’s background and personal history were developed. It was soon learned that Terri had a mysterious mother, possibly a mythological goddess of some kind, who would show up from time to time and give her special gifts. Despite Flare’s continuing insistence that the reason she had super-powers in the first place was because her mysterious mother had fed her “super-cereal” when she was a child, there were hints of a connection with a secret genetics experiment conducted in South America by expatriate ex-Nazi scientists. It was even discovered during the course of one game that Flare had an electrically powered little sister. When it came time, in mid-1985, to decide which six characters from Steve and George’s original Champions campaign would appear in the forthcoming Champions comic book, it was that hint of evil in Flare’s background that to my mind made her a compelling choice. If the Nazi story were true, the fact of it transformed the silly “super-cereal” fable into a bald-faced lie. And this raised the question of why Flare thought it necessary to conceal


the truth, even from her supposed friends and allies. In light of this, her motivation for being a hero became suspect. And though I didn’t fully realize it at the time, it was this interpretation of Flare’s background, history, and motives that would make all the difference in the world.

Let There Be Light The process of bringing Flare and the rest of the League of Champions to comics required several months of effort. It was an effort that began at the 1985 Comic-Con in San Diego. At that time, Steve and George’s Champions role-playing game had achieved its first crest of popularity. They and their partner Ray Greer were in San Diego that year, and had been invited to do a panel on the mechanics of translating a comic book into a game. Toward the end of that panel, during question-and-answer, the topic was reversed and someone asked, “When are you guys going to do a comic book about the game?” I was sitting in the back of the audience. While Steve and George were hemming and hawing over the question, a series of thoughts raced through my mind. I had a small publishing company. Since late 1981, I’d been publishing the illustrated SF/fantasy magazine Fantasy Book. I had contacts in the comicbook industry. I’d always loved the comic-book medium. I knew Steve and George. We already had some Champions-related projects pending; I was working on a few game supplements for them, both as writer and editor. So, on impulse, I piped up, “I could do it.” Talk about putting your foot in your mouth… After the panel, we retired to the Hero Games table in the dealers’ room and had a serious discussion of what it would take to produce a Champions comic book. On cold reflection, I’d already concluded that even though I’d been publishing a fiction magazine, I didn’t yet know enough about the mechanics of publishing and distributing into the comic-book market to be able to do this entirely on my own. My best bet would be to find an existing comic-book publisher to handle that end of it. And that, it seemed to me, given the strength of the Champions brand name, wouldn’t be much of a problem. I’d already learned from Mark Evanier that Eclipse Comics was looking for a few good super-hero titles to supplement Mark’s DNAgents. So I decided to pitch it to Dean Mullaney and Cat Yronwode. But before I did that there were concerns to be addressed. George and Steve and I agreed that we didn’t want this proposed Champions comic book to be perceived as a one-shot or a limited series. We were looking for an ongoing marketing tie-in with the Champions roleplaying game. Obviously, if for some reason the comic book were to bomb, that wouldn’t happen, but we felt we needed to go into it on the assumption that the series would be open-ended. I wanted to be certain that we got cross-promotion. If I did the comic book with an eye toward promoting the game, I expected Hero Games to promote the comic book in return.

I also wanted to be certain that creators’ rights were protected. Yes, it made sense to feature characters from Steve and George’s original Champions campaign in the Champions comic book. But if we were going to do that, I wanted written agreements with those characters’ creators, agreements that specified who owned those characters, agreements that made clear that all my company was being given was license to make use of them. Above all else, if I did this it would be mine to do. This would not be a Hero Games project. In addition to licensing specific characters from their creators, I would be licensing the existing Champions trademark from Hero Games. All this was agreed to by Steve and George. I then tracked down Dean and Cat, and gave them a rough outline of what I had in mind. They were interested. Now it was up to me to work out the specifics of what the proposed Champions Comics would be, and send them a detailed proposal.

Flare and Friends I already had a rough idea for an initial story arc. My friend One of the earliest drawings of Flare, Andrew M. Robinson had some months earlier written an elaborate by Mark Williams, 1982. All art in this Champions game supplement feature is courtesy of Dennis Mallonee. featuring an occult criminal © 2006 Heroic Publishing. organization called DEMON. An overarching threat posed by the forces of DEMON would provide an excellent reason for a league of Champions to gather. But what Champions would they be? More to the point, given that these characters had never before been seen in a comic book, why should I expect anyone to care that they were getting together in the first place? The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that regardless of which Champions I might decide to use, I’d need to find a way to introduce them first as individuals before bringing them together as a team. By this time, George had sent me character backgrounds and information for about a dozen potential choices. Because Mark Williams’ Gargoyle and Bruce Harlick’s Marksman and villainous Foxbat had already been featured prominently in Champions © 2006 Heroic Publishing. S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

B A C K

I S S U E

7 1


by Fred Grandinetti

The Revival, Death, and . . . Return of

guest editorial

Editor’s note: The author of the books Popeye, the Collectible (Krause, 1990) and Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History (McFarland, 2004), Fred Grandinetti roots for the unlikely hero—including a certain Silver Age sidekick about whom he’d like to get something off his chest…

How Could You Not Love the Batman Family? Batwoman, Bat-Girl, and Bat-Mite by Arthur Adams, from the collection of John Cogan. On the opposite page is another Adams Batwoman illo, courtesy of Guenter Jandrasits. © 2006 DC Comics.

7 8

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

I have friends who poke fun at me because I choose to write about characters in popular culture that, without close examination, have taken a negative thrashing in the annals of history. My favorite Three Stooges shorts feature Joe Besser. I prefer to watch The Avengers with Tara King and find the Popeye theatrical cartoons produced in color by Famous Studios enjoyable. This may help to explain my attraction to a female crimefighter who often elicits groans when her name is mentioned: the Batwoman. Batwoman started a trend in DC’s storytelling which continues today with alarming frequency—the murders of established female comic-book characters. Psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham, in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, attacked the relationship between Batman and Robin. Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff, who designed Batwoman and drew many of Batman’s stories during this period, states, “Wertham had suggested Batman and Robin was or could be mistaken for a gay relationship.” DC Comics tried to rectify this situation with writer Edmond Hamilton’s lead story in Detective Comics #233 (July 1956), “The Batwoman.” Clad in a black-and-yellow bodysuit, red (later yellow) mask, and a red cape with a weapon’s bag strung over shoulder, Kathy Kane, a wealthy heiress and one-time circus daredevil, used her skills to battle criminals as Batwoman. She had her own Batcave and rode around Gotham City on a red motorcycle. Batwoman’s weapons were all very feminine and included a lipstick case filled with tear gas, a compact filled with sneezing powder, charm bracelets which were actually handcuffs, and an oversized hairnet used to snare criminals. Her heyday was long before it was acceptable for women to be seen using judo and karate. Batman and Robin didn’t readily accept her aid. Batman discovered her secret identity at the conclusion of her first adventure and convinced Kathy that crooks could do the same. Kathy gave in and retired.


by

John Wells

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted, with stylistic edits, from the fanzine Destination Cool! #26 (Jan. 2006), from CAPA-Alpha #495. Reprinted by permission. © 2005 John Wells.

Part One: Boy Interrupted Sinister business dealings and attempted murder. Clark Kent caught in a romantic triangle with Lana Lang and a blonde classmate. An episode of Smallville? Could be … but it was also the state of affairs in the DC Universe’s own version of Smallville when, 20 years ago, the curtain came down on the adventures of Superman as a boy. The Superboy solo strip had ceased before, of course, having been virtually consumed by the Legion of SuperHeroes in 1973 when they took over his own comic book. But the Boy of Steel struggled back: sales on a 1976 solo tryout in DC Super-Stars #12 led to an ongoing 1977 solo strip in Adventure Comics that moved to Superman Family in 1978 and culminating with the launch of The New Adventures of Superboy (NAOS) comic book in 1979. By late 1982, Paul Kupperberg had assumed the scripting duties on the series (joining veteran penciller Kurt Schaffenberger) and introduced the first major supporting characters to the series since Clark’s bullying nemesis Bash Bashford (who debuted in 1969’s Superboy #157). These were Johnny Webber, a troubled crony of Bash who struggled to redeem himself, and Lisa Davis, a blonde teenager who was (no kidding) Clark Kent’s girlfriend. Echoing his relationship with Chloe Sullivan in Smallville, Clark didn’t immediately notice that the quiet Lisa was interested in him (NAOS #40, Apr. 1983) It took Lana Lang to point him in the right direction. There were rocky moments in the beginning, as Lisa misinterpreted Clark’s mysterious, abrupt exits as a sign he didn’t care. But apologies were made and the couple settled into a comfortable routine, Clark’s self-esteem rising as Lisa prodded him to stop making self-deprecating comments about himself. “In general, it was more fun writing Clark Kent than Superboy,” Kupperberg says, “which is why I introduced a new girlfriend—it gave me an excuse to write more Clark/less Superboy. Anyway, I was trying to get away from that Clark-as-wiener thing. I remember having him get into a touch football game and, without using his powers, do okay and start

© 2006 DC Comics.

8 2

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

thinking maybe he doesn’t have to always play the schmuck everybody thinks he is.” And a funny thing happened ’round about New Adventures #50 (Feb. 1984). Lana Lang, who’d matched up Clark with Lisa in the first place, started to have regrets that the Boy Next Door was now taken. “Not that we were officially dating,” she told herself in #52 (Apr. 1984), “but I thought we had an understanding.” So Lana started making a play for Clark, who was so busy worrying that she might be trying to ferret out his secret identity that he never figured out what was really happening. The dawn broke soon enough, though, when Lana tried to ask Superboy out on a date and he realized she was trying to make Clark jealous. Meanwhile, Clark’s dad was having problems of his own, ones that held considerably more peril than a teen love quadrangle. Lisa Davis’ father Malcolm, a real estate agent, had learned that a shopping mall was in the works for Smallville, a situation that threatened the financial well-being of the community’s local businesses but would represent a $20,000,000 windfall for City Council president Gary Simmons, who owned the land where the mall would be built. Malcolm and the city’s other merchants believed that Jonathan Kent had the integrity and popular support that would enable him to win a seat on the Council and oppose Simmons (NAOS #44–45, Aug.–Sept. 1983). Jonathan said no—but changed his mind after a pair of strangers threatened him if he did run for office (#46). Jonathan tried his best to shrug off the danger, including an explosion at his storefront (NAOS #48–49, Dec. 1983–Jan. 1984). But he was genuinely shaken when Police Chief Parker called him in the middle of the night to report that prowlers had been arrested in his store— professional hitmen armed with untraceable weapons (#53). Incredibly, Gary Simmons even confronted Jonathan directly, offering “a piece of the action” that Kent naturally rejected. Though more determined that ever to win the Council seat, Jonathan was certain that there was more going on than a land deal. Indeed, Malcolm Davis, who’d been evasive at times in trying to persuade Jon to run in the first place, had made a nervous retreat from his home at the same time that Simmons was confronting Kent (#54). That’s where things stood in Smallville when the plug was pulled on the book in 1984. Despite soft sales, DC


by

Non-Comic Books for the Comic Art Collector

Michael Eury

Jeepers Peepers!: A Gallery of American Pin-up Art Introduction by Louis K. Meisel Collectors Press, 2006 • softcover • 176 full-color pages • $14.95 U.S.

I embrace new technology, wear contemporary fashions, and keep abreast of current events. But when it comes to popular culture, I am blissfully stuck in the past. In addition to editing this magazine, I write and co-write books examining popculture history, I prefer music from my youth (I’m listening to Time-Life’s 70s Music Explosion right now—next up: Olivia Newton-John), and my office is decorated with vintage toys and comic-book art. The past not only provides womblike solace, but it also teaches lessons (for those who choose to accept them) on avoiding mistakes that recur as frequently as … well, relaunches of Wonder Woman.

The Incredible Pulps: A Gallery of Fiction Magazine Art Introduction by Frank M. Robinson Collectors Press, 2006 • softcover • 176 full-color pages • $14.95 U.S.

Worlds of Tomorrow: The Amazing Universe of Science Fiction Art by Forrest J. Ackerman with Brad Linaweaver Collectors Press, 2004 • hardcover with dust jacket • 176 full-color pages • $39.95 U.S. All books © 2006 Collectors Press, Inc.

8 8

B A C K

I S S U E

S u p e r

G i r l s

I s s u e

Since Aquaman’s wife Mera didn’t make the cut for our “Super Girls” issue, we present this delightfully glistening glimpse of Bill Medcalf’s 1948 painting Surf’s Up, from Jeepers Peepers! © 2006 Collectors Press, Inc.


Back Issue #17