Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why Steve Trevor Had to Die...

Harken back with me once more to the steamy summer days of the Bicentennial and this comic, Four Star Spectacular #3, dated August 1976. FSS was another publication of the time, like DC Special and Showcase, which was retreading stories from the recent past (at least these days they make an attempt at re-writing, eh?). Included here are stories of Superboy and Green Lantern, but for our purposes this evening, we'll discuss only the Wonder Woman story.

This is another of those Robert Kanigher stories, from somewhere in 1958 or '59, with art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Although the stories of the time are often a bit wonky one way or another, but I do enjoy the art. Diana--tho the styles of the years have changed--has always been a beautiful woman.

Too often, though, she seems to have forsaken the wisdom of Athena, as is the case here, when she foolishly accepts a wager with Steve. He proposes that, if Wonder Woman has to save him three times during the course of one day, then she has to marry him. (What the?! The "I'm such a doufus you have to marry me" thing never works...)

So, anyway, she accepts this dumb bet, and *big surprise*, she has to start rescuing Trevor, and each time he's gloating about their impending matrimony, and you know, you can really see Diana considering braining this mouthy bastard.

It doesn't take long as a reader to get tired of him, either. Really, why was she hanging around this self-important rube? I guess because he was the first Man she'd ever seen...and she imprinted on him like a duckling.

Although more likely she just realized from their first meeting in his crashing plane that here was a creature who was absolutely incapable of taking care of himself and so she'd better hang around and try to make sure that he didn't die.

Of course she saves him three times, but whew, they discover that it's actually been slightly more than the 24 hours designated in the terms of the bet, and so Diana remains a free...er, single...woman.

In re-reading this story, I began to think this matrimony business had been a real obsession with Steve Trevor, and looking back through a few other stories from that era, I quickly found two more examples to share.

Here, Wonder Woman's been defeated by a robotic version of herself, and so the world no longer needs her...and Steve wastes no time hearing wedding bells.

Or here, where poor Diana's had her secret identity exposed to all the world, including Trevor, and is he sympathetic? Of course not. His mind spins at the possibility, now that she's no longer effective as Wonder Woman, she's free to settle down with him. AGH!

It really becomes clear why it was such a good idea for them to finally kill off the obnoxious pretty boy.

Of course, they couldn't even do that right, bringing him back TWICE to mess with Diana's head before the Crisis rebooted her and Perez recast Steve Trevor as an older man, who actually had a little self-respect and heroism about him.

But these old stories? They're crazy-making, and if you read them long enough, then all of a sudden you're doing THIS sort of thing in response.

If anyone else would like to have a go, I've included a blank version here (click to enlarge and save, then paste your own dialogue atop the file and send it back to me!); what have YOU always wanted to hear Diana say to Steve Trevor?

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