Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Groove's Faves: "The Man Who Mastered Women!" by Wein, Swan, and Blaisdell

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! Ya know, after Wonder Woman's "powerless" phase, fans were confounded by the Bob Kanigher era that followed. The stories were looked at as old fashioned and too Golden Age style. DC was trying hard to get WW on the boob-tube (first unsuccessfully played by Kathy Lee Crosby, then, successfully--to put it mildly--by Lynda Carter), so it was kind of important that Wonder Woman's mag be a good one. Editor Julie Schwartz took over with ish #212 (March 1974) with the goal of making WW cooler and more accessible to fans. Both the Diana Prince and the Kanigher WW eras became questionable, allowing Schwartz and his creators to pick and choose what was "real" and what wasn't as they forged ahead with the newly re-powered Amazon Princess. To give the series a direction, Schwartz and company decided to have Diana prove herself worthy of the WW mantle to both herself and the JLA as she set out to accomplish a series of  twelve "trials" (inspired by Hercules, natch). This not only gave the series a clear direction, but it allowed to a different JLA member to guest-star for the next dozen or so issues.  Ish 212's "The Man Who Mastered Women!" by Len Wein, Curt Swan, and Tex Blaisdell, guest-starring Superman (who else?) kicked things off in the right direction. Check it out!
Cover art by Bob Oksner

A variety of writers and artists would chronicle WW's 12 trials, making for a fun variety of styles and guest-stars, but with a cohesiveness (thanks to Schwartz's master plan) that often left mags in similar situations sinking in a mire of confusion. Wanna see more of WW's 12 trials? Let Ol' Groove know!


  1. Hey, Groove, great choice! I've been trying to get a hold of some of the 1970s Wonder Woman, so this is a very timely post. I'd love to see more WW on your blog, and if you want to start off with the 12 Trials, so much the better!

  2. Yes, I'd like to see more of WW's 12 trials! Interesting stuff, especially if it's a mixture of writers and artists.

    I know it's really odd of me, but I am intrigued by WW's powerless phase, and would like to check out those issues. Hey, at least Denny O'Neil wasn't afraid to shake things up.

  3. Posts both here and on the Facebook page are unanimously in favor of more of WW's 12 trials. So be it! More to come, Groove-ophiles!

  4. Happily bought the trade collection of this from a year or so ago.
    What does it say that this is the best remembered story arc of Wonder Woman stories for 40 years? Does the 'powerless' phase fit in the groovy age or not? I'd like to see some of those.

  5. Didn't realize these had been collected recently. Maybe I should wait a while for the rest. I really don't like posting (too much) stuff that's in print...Thanks for the head's up, Gary!

  6. The run by Martin Pasko that overlapped with the end of the 12 Trials (#s 218 trough 233 minus 225) is one of my favorite WW runs of all. In fact, Marty's run on Superman from #s 310 through 333 are some of the best Bronze-Age Superman stories I have ever read. They may not have resulted in big sales, but I feel they are very good and way overlooked. And no, I am not Marty's agent ;-) - Jeff Clem

  7. More of these, please. I even have a scan of WW 222 I'll send you.



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