You’re a wonder, Lynda Carter: Wonder Woman ’77 in Comics

When I visited Fort Walton Beach last year, I picked up two volumes of WONDER WOMAN ’77 on sale. I’m not the biggest fan of the Lynda Carter TV series, but I really enjoyed reading them.

The first volume, written by Marc Andreyko with various artists, tackles one of the TV show’s weaknesses, the lack of villains, by importing some from the comics. We have disco singer Silver Swan, Solomon Grundy, the Cheetah (mixing Barbara Minerva’s werecat form with the obsessive jealousy of the Golden Age version), new villain Celsia and Dr. Psycho. The latter is a particularly fun story as the doctor traps Diana in a hallucination where Wonder Woman is Cathy Lee Crosby from the 1974 Wonder Woman TV movie (if you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know Lynda Carter’s version was a vast improvement). V2 has multiple writers but Andreyko outshines them, particularly a story bringing back the TV show’s Galt, easily the best of her adversaries there.  The tone of the books is appropriately light and fun, though it’s at a disadvantage compared to Batman ’66 which had a much more distinctive and idiosyncratic style.

Speaking of which, I subsequently ordered BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 by Marc Andreyko and ’66 comics writer Jeff Parker (David Hahn provides the pencils) and don’t regret paying full price for it. This has the Amazing Amazon meet young Bruce Wayne during WW II when Nazis seeking a mystic mcguffin show up at the Wayne house along with R’as al Ghul and young Talia. They team up again during the era of the Batman TV show, with Bruce convincing Diana to return from Paradise Island to take up the fight again; part III takes place in the Wonder Woman ’77 era with Diana now convincing Bruce to come back into action (this updates us on what’s happened to Gotham and its heroes in the intervening decade). A running gag is that rather than pick one version of Catwoman, the artists use all three — Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt appear in different chapters. This one was a lot of fun.

WONDER WOMAN/CONAN by Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti is completely unrelated, crossing over the comics’ Amazing Amazon with Robert E. Howard’s snarling Cimmerian. Conan encounters an amnesiac female gladiator of unbelievable strength and skill — could it be a young girl he loved and lost years ago? The woman says no, but nevertheless they find themselves working together against sinister crow-spirits and a ruthless slaver. This was good, but it’s annoying that even in an out-of-continuity series, even with Conan, they never wind up in bed (see this related post). I had hopes for Diana putting the movies, a startled Conan succumbing … instead we end with that hoary time-travel trope of Diana meeting someone who looks just like Conan — she hasn’t lost him after all! (see Forbidden Kingdom, The Love Letter and the Bing Crosby Connecticut Yankee among others).

#SFWApro. Covers by Nicola Scott (top), Michael and Laura Allred; all rights remain with current holder.

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