Friday, February 24, 2006

Wonder Woman!

I've gotten on a comic kick lately, but I seem to be buying a lot of comics and not actually reading them. My slightly obsessive personality is to blame; I want the whole story, the whole history of the character, and I want to read it all in order. And with some comics, where do you start? Take Wonder Woman, for example. As a kid, I wore my Wonder Woman Under-Roos proudly, watched the Lynda Carter TV show and the Saturday morning Superfriends. But I'm a child of the 70s, I guess - I didn't read the comics. So, with a new found interest in comics, thanks to buying for the library, Wonder Woman seemed like a good place to start my personal collection.
So, enter that obsessive thing. Wonder Woman was created in 1941. She's one of DC's longest-lasting super heros, right up there with Superman and Batman. So where do I, who likes to start at the beginning, actually begin?
I began with buying Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Princess by Scott Beatty, thinking I'd get some history & background before delving into the actual comics. I started reading it, and found myself very confused. I've looked at books from this Ultimate Guide series before and been impressed, but the books aren't necessarily chronological, and I found my mind desperately trying to organize information that I did not have the knowledge to organize (it's the librarian in me). I realized I started with the wrong book.
Enter Wonder Woman: The Complete History by Les Daniels. Definitely the right book, for me, at least. This is not in comic format; it's actually a history of the creation and evolution of Wonder Woman: who created her and why (which is incredibly intersting), her early popularity, how the story evolved, the whole Crisis on Infinite Earths thing (which, I discovered is what was making the Ultimate Guide so confusing - it was all post-Crisis, and everything I knew about Wonder Woman was pre-Crisis). The Complete History also contains excerpts from comics and tons of photos and illustrations.
So, for an obsessive fan like me, or a new fan with an interest in comic history, The Complete History series is the way to go. Superman and Batman also have their own volumes, so you can become an expert on three of the biggest super heroes ever. Then go to the Ultimate Guides for more info.
As for the comics themselves? I bought the GN Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost on the recommendation of the owner of the local comic book store. After all, I figured he should know, right? He says the Greg Rucka stuff is the best, and, although Rucka doesn't do this one, it's apparently the start of his run.
And left to my own devices, I'd feel forced to start at the beginning and make my way through 60+ years of the Amazon princess...

Beatty, Scott. Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Princess. New York: DK Publishing, 2003. ISBN 078949616X. $24.99.
Daniels, Les. Wonder Woman: The Complete History. New York: Chronicle Books, 2000. ISBN 0811842339. $18.95.
DeMatteis, J. M. Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost. New York: DC Universe, 2002. ISBN 156389792X. $14.95.

What I'm Reading: Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass
On My Bookshelf: The Earth, My Carolyn Mackler; comics, of course.


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