« Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back. » — Marcus Aurelius
The other day, I chanced upon a Rick Geary piece about tangos with the Angel of death, which returned my mind to a time, when I was but six years of age, and that my parents had gone holidaying, leaving me in the care of some old friends. At their home, I recall perusing some back issues of that evergreen Reader’s Digest (the French-Canadian edition, called Sélection du Reader’s Digest), wherein I encountered some memorable articles, including one about the miraculous survival of people who tumbled from great heights*, unencumbered with parachutes, and another that grimly recounted the calamitous landslide that one night engulfed a village, Saint-Jean-Vianney, just a few kilometres from my hometown.
Ah, but human memory is notoriously fallible and self-deceiving. So I deemed it prudent to inquire whether the events were truly as recollected. A quick call to my folks confirmed that yes, they did toddle off to Europe for three weeks in November of that year (I think my parents are delighted when I quiz them about such matters). The landslide took place in May, so that fits too.
As the close shave lends itself well to comics, I’ve gathered a potpourri of short pieces on the topic. Tighten your seatbelts, we’re in for a rough ride!
Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle, don’t tease the wild animals, wear your life jacket, look to both sides before crossing the road, and don’t forget to floss. Oh, and call your mother more often; she misses you.
*the fellow whose tale stayed with me was most likely Lt. I.M. Chisov, « … a Russian airman whose Ilyushin IL-4 bomber was attacked by German fighters in January of 1942. Falling nearly 22,000 feet, he hit the edge of a snow-covered ravine and rolled to the bottom. He was badly hurt but survived. »
I’m always happy to revisit Wonder Woman in her glorious young days of being depicted by H. G. Peter, whose expressive, dynamic art I just can’t get enough of. The stories are none too shabby, either! In my earlier post, Tentacle Tuesday: H.G. Peter and Wonder Woman lend a hand, I overlooked a few choice cuts. Well, having spent a few delightful hours going through WW stories originally published in Wonder Woman, Sensation Comics or Comic Cavalcade, it is my pleasure to remedy my previous oversight, and I can possibly even claim that these two posts are a pretty definitive list of Wonder Woman’s tentacular entanglements.
Do you have a few hours to waste – pardon – dedicate to research, too? Here you can read the entirety of DC’s Wonder Woman: Golden Age multiple-volume omnibus. Personally I think the graphic designers responsible overamped the contrast when they cleaned up the images, and much prefer reading these stories in their original colour… but nothing beats having all of this stuff on one website for convenience.
All stories are written by William Moulton Marston with art by Harry G. Peter.
Demon of the Depths, printed in Wonder Woman no. 7 (winter 1943):
The Adventure of the Octopus Plant!, printed in Sensation Comics no. 41 (May 1945):
This is not strictly tentacle-related, but I would also like to share a few choice panels that I’ve stumbled upon while looking for tentacles. Gorgeously weird, they remind us just how strange, inventive and subversive Wonder Woman was in her glory days of yore!
And voilà! But don’t fret, we will see Wonder Woman in the tender embrace of an octopus again… this time in the 60s, Robert Kanigher and all.
« Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas makes me happy I love Christmas cold and grey, I love it sweet and sappy Says crazy kissin’ Cousin Flo: ‘Let’s break out the mistletoe’ »
« Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas out the waz Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas up the schnozz Come all ye faithful, don’t be slow It’s Christmas time, you can’t say no»
« Momma wants a kitchen sink And daddy wants a stiffer drink Grandma wants us to cut the crap Grandpa wants a nice long nap »
« Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas everywhere Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas pullin’ out my hair Shoppers lined up out the door Traffic backed up miles and more It’s Christmas time, so what the heck Let’s go spend the whole paycheck »
« Deck the halls, it is the season We don’t need no rhyme or reason It’s Christmas time, go spread the cheer Pretty soon gonna be next year»
« Give men an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to and they’ll be proud to become her willing slaves. » (William Moulton Marston, co-creator of Wonder Woman)
We might all happily to submit to Princess Diana of Themyscira, but *she* occasionally has to submit to tentacles, although of course she always manages to fend them off. Might this be a metaphor for unnecessarily grabby male hands? I’m not here to psychoanalyze (that was Marston’s job!), just to celebrate Tentacle Tuesday. Lots of versions of Wonder Woman have grappled with tentacles… but no adventures are more entertaining than the ones depicted by the formidable Harry Peter!
Without further ado, today’s roster of tentacles – whether they’re attached to a Neptunian fish or sprout out of a mad doctor’s ectoplasm.
The following panels are from from “Three Secret Wishes!“, written by Robert Kanigher and drawn by Harry Peter. The story was published in Wonder Woman #81 (April 1956). The whole issue is fun, actually, largely thanks to the gorgeous art – read it here.
« Ever been to a maniac party held in a haunted house? Well, if you don’t frighten easily, you’re welcome to attend Etta Candy’s — but be careful or you’ll lose your scalp! »
Here’s a real hallowe’en corker from the Golden Age of comics, featuring the ageless Wonder Woman, presented here by her original creative team… with a twist. While the story is credited to Charles Moulton (the nom de plume of William Moulton Marston), it was ghost-written by his former student and collaborator Joye Hummel (1924-), the first woman to write Wonder Woman’s adventures. She is frequently credited for being the first woman to script superhero comics, but nope, that’s at least three years after Tarpe Mills gave the world her Miss Fury.
Unfortunately, Joye appears to have been left out of the recently-released biopic Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Too complicated? I guess a ménage à trois is plenty to handle already.
Check out the film’s trailer (well, one of them, at any rate.)