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Jody Arlington

Blockbuster First Issue!

Wonder Woman

I grew up in a family that enjoyed a good yarn told in words and pictures. I remember most vividly stacks of Harvey Comics like Hot Stuff the Little Devil, Richie Rich, Little Audrey, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and Baby Huey, but also Disney fare from the Gold Key Comics era (Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck). There were lots of Archie comics, thrown in, too, and the terrifying House of Mystery and House of Secrets. But all these zines were paltry compared to what became my prized possession, dogeared with chocolate smears. I don’t recall any details about how I acquired it, but I remember being alone in my room, my grubby hands flipping through its pages and feeling like it was bigger, better, more powerful than anything else in the house. My own personal pop culture bible was in fact, the oversized 1975 Famous First Edition series’ Wonder Woman #1.

Famous 1st Edition #F-6 featuring Wonder Woman on a horse attacking enemy soldiers.

I loved everything about Wonder Woman’s origin story centered in Greek mythology, sculpted from clay and surrounded by mighty Amazonian women with names like Queen Hippolyta, and aunts Antiope and Menalippe, from a magical place called Themyscira. Not only was she strapping and beautiful, she wielded awesome tools like the Lasso of Truth, indestructible bracelets and an uncanny ability to get out of any situation, and restore order to the universe, which seemed like a very useful talent. I also loved that she wasn’t afraid to disobey her mother, secretly entering a contest to win the opportunity to take Steve Trevor home. Growing up in a rather unhappy family in a small town, her incredible adventures, fierce independence, and skills vanquishing evil, made her my bad-ass inspiration.

It would be decades before I learned about her soft-porn, polyamorous, bondage and feminist-loving creator Dr. William Moulton Marston, and all the Easter eggs about his own life sprinkled into the stories. Too, about how controversial the character was in the early years. Jill Lepore’s Secret History of Wonder Woman and Noah Berlatsky’s Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 are good source material, as is Angela Robinson’s 2017 film Professor Marston & The Wonder Women.

I lost that comic in a fire along with everything else I owned except a few charred paperbacks in the 8th grade. Fortunately, you can still find those Famous First Editions on eBay and in used comics bins. I donated a copy to Georgetown University’s Special Collections at Lauinger Library along with the rest of my collection many years ago, but I quickly replaced it. Sure it’s not THE first edition, but man, it will always be my first edition.


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