A Tribute to the of

Before I get started on the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage, it bears mentioning that Marty Greim left us on April 15, just a handful of days before his 75th birthday. Marty was someone I was barely acquainted with, having offered me a few nuggets of remembrance from his work on the Mighty Crusaders title for my recent article in BACK ISSUE and talking a little about his Thunder Bunny character. Since the one restriction the webmaster has put on me is reviewing funny animal stories, I won’t go into that, but Marty apparently spent a great deal of time in the fanzine business back in the day, publishing Comic Crusader, and when I learned that he was friendly with Steve Ditko, I couldn’t resist and sent Steve a note letting him know. Steve replied that Marty and his friends, who then lived in the Boston area, used to come to New York for conventions and then visit Steve’s studio to talk about them. He said it was a lot of fun.

For this edition of the Sage, while I might be jumping the gun slightly, I wanted to help spotlight the upcoming Wonder Woman film, hitting theaters June 2nd and since my Wonder Woman collection is a bit skimpy, I’m going to delve back into my slip-cased beauty to look over one of the finest depictions of the Amazing Amazon ever, with Alex Ross painting Princess Diana in Spirit of Truth from he and Paul Dini’s “The World’s Greatest Superheroes.”

The prologue is told from the point of view of Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta, briefly recounting (in sepia tones) the journey of the Amazons to Paradise Island, where they were free to reach new pinnacles of physical and mental prowess outside the warring factions of man. She created her daughter, Diana, from the earth itself and when they decided as a race to share their knowledge with the rest of the world through an ambassador, Diana prevailed in the competition, though she was disguised, leaving Paradise Island and entering man’s world as Wonder Woman.

Things begin in dramatic fashion with our star-spangled heroine bursting into a building being held by a terrorist junta and quickly taking them out with her strength, wits and fighting acumen aided by her magic lasso and indestructible bracelets. This group didn’t have a chance. It must have really been quite the psychological victory as well, being taken down by a woman in what amounts to a swimsuit.

That is only her first stop as Princess Diana is truly a global force, thwarting street criminals, rescuing victims of natural disasters and even taking down those sponsoring unlawful jungle hunts of endangered species. Costumed super-villains are no match for Wonder Woman, either and while she is more than capable of meting out justice, she is still a woman and can show the compassion that is a specialty of the fairer sex.

Pausing for a break, she returns to Themyscira to regroup a bit among familiar faces and places on her home island. “On our island we have achieved a harmonious balance between nature and technology, as well as between our souls and our bodies. That same potential exists within every soul in the mortal world, but few have been able to find that balance. I hope that my presence among mortals will help them realize that potential. That is, if they will listen to me.

Her respite is over all too soon and she is attempting to use her ambassador position to petition a country about the civil unrest going on, but she is labeled as interfering. It begins to look much like Tiananmen Square and Diana is rescuing a young protester right in the pathway of a battle tank, lifting and hurling it away after allowing the crew to exit. However, when she turns to the young woman, who asks what she is, Wonder Woman replies she is a woman, just like her and the frightened protester states that she is nothing like her and runs away, leaving a mystified Amazon in her wake.

Undaunted, she continues her mission, again attempting to use diplomatic channels in the unrest in another nation, but when those efforts fail to bear fruit, it’s back to the invisible plane and taking a more direct approach, trying to gain information about missing villagers, but her appearance, despite her mastery of the local language and dialect, aroused only suspicion and our heroine is forced to leave as they grew restless and even hostile through their mistrust.

Feeling in need of a sounding board, she visits Clark Kent and he offers some direct and sage advice: “You and I both know, Diana, that the view can be beautiful from the sky. But most people live with their feet on the ground and their eyes on their day-to-day existence. That’s not to say they lack vision or the desire to excel—rather, their priorities are different. Men and women want to be in control of their own destinies, and they should. You wouldn’t want to be led, prodded, or forced to change. And neither would anyone else. I think the best way to effect meaningful change is to work alongside people, rather than above them. At least, it’s always worked for me.

Taking her friend’s advice to heart, Diana begins a more subdued campaign, visiting hot spots and other areas around the world in plain clothes, averting calamities where she can and dealing with things like destruction of the rainforests and the hazard of land mines and even going undercover as an intelligence soldier to try to locate and free the oppressed people where she previously failed.

She soon successfully infiltrates the place where the human shields are being held and when the guards are preparing to move them, she discards the hijab and cloak and goes to work. The instigators are brought to justice and the victims are freed and Diana feels she is making the difference she has sought so vehemently. “My real victory is in the lives that have been spared. For where there is life, there is the chance for new ideas, tolerance, and understanding. That’s triumph enough for any warrior.

After a quick phone call of acknowledgment to Clark Kent, the story winds up with a little more insight from our favorite Amazon warrior: “I will always be Wonder Woman when the need arises. And I’m sure that before long, the fates will conspire to create another dire situation that only the Princess of the Amazons can handle. Until then, a new role awaits me. That of an ordinary woman without title or trappings, who strives to do her best, armed with only a loving heart and d deep belief in the sometimes hidden, but always inherent, goodness of the people around her. The better to earn a place for myself in man’s…in the human world.

I love this story for the spectacular appeal of Alex Rossartwork first and foremost. The man could make Mr. Mind look like something special and his gifts are not to be missed, but Paul Dini’s writing is a perfect complement and he really cuts to the essence of these characters. Wonder Woman is a warrior and a peace maker. She walks that fine line and loves peace as only a warrior can, but is prepared and able to use every tool at her disposal to help facilitate that precious peace. That makes her a special member of the DC Universe.

I have my fingers crossed and truly hope the film will do this character justice. She deserves no less. I was impressed with her appearance in Batman vs. Superman and the trailers look promising, but as some have observed, this movie doesn’t seem to be getting the promotion it should and of course one idiot even misidentified this character that has been around since almost the very beginning of the genre, December of 1941, to be precise, as the latest effort from the Marvel studios.


Oy, oy and oy again. Talk about your lazy journalism.

Again, if you’ve not had the privilege, check this book out. Mere words cannot describe its greatness and of course the oversized pages only add to the joy of it all. It isn’t Silver Age, but it has all the feel and greatness of our favorite period and did I mention the fabulous art?

That’s it for this time, faithful readers, but remember that we like to try and generate a dialogue rather than a monologue here at the Silver Lantern and that’s where you come in. If you have something to say, just fire off an e-mail to: professor_the@hotmail.com. You might just get a mention in a future edition. C’mon back the first of June for the latest and as always…

Long live the Silver Age!

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