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Lessons comics taught me:

Someone is making money teaching this technique on the Internet
Wonder Woman #178 (1968)

How *not* to pick up women.

Hashtag Woke

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Chapter seven of child psychologist Fredric Wertham's infamous 1953 book Seduction of the Innocent is titled "I Want To Be a Sex Maniac: Comic Books and the Psycho Sexual Development of Children." Can you guess what it's about?

At the close of that chapter, after explaining how Batman and Robin "help fixate homoerotic tendencies" in young boys, he warns that young girls have similar examples.

The Lesbian counterpart of Batman may be found in the stories of Wonder Woman and Black Cat. The homosexual connotation of the Wonder Woman type of story is psychologically unmistakable. (pg 192)

To drive home his point, Wertham specifically calls out this panel from "Mr. Zero and the Juvenile Delinquent" in Black Cat #27, 1951:

What boy would want a girl in lingerie in his bedroom?

If I squint hard enough, I guess I can see where he was coming from. What girl would ever choose to sleep with child-abusing premature-ejaculators named "Crowface"?

Wertham goes on to complain about another page in the same issue headlined "Black Cat Shows You How To Do Judo Tricks," a step-by-step guide to self-defense tips in the unusually specific case when "a gunman should surprise you from the rear and you don't feel the gun muzzle against you." Look out, girls! If you act in self-defense against gunmen, you might be a lesbian!

Even if I was inclined to believe that reading stories about Batman hanging out in a cave with his young ward encouraged little boys to love Dick — that's a Robin joke! — I remain unconvinced that empowering young girls to fight back against gangsters is the first step on the slippery slope towards tribadism.

I'm not going to say that Wertham was wrong about everything. He makes a good case that American superhero comics books were (and still are) incredibly, perhaps irredeemably, violent. However, in hindsight, it's hard to take anyone's word that comics are destroying society when he's overlooking panels like this, also from "Mr. Zero and the Juvenile Delinquent":

Me cringee!

Clearly, in Wertham's 1953 America, homosexuality was an abomination but racism was just fine. The more things change....

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Who needs medical school when they have comic books?

First of all, Editor — if that is your real name — inherited color blindness is sex-linked, and although more common in men (who have only one X chromosome), it can and does affect women. It's not like, say, prostate cancer, which only affects men because women don't have prostates.

Secondly, wouldn't it be far easier for the "Japs" to create a disease that only affected men, since only men have a Y-chromosome? And why would anyone need to create a disease that drove women crazy, anyway? Every woman I know is already crazy! (Am I right, guys, or am I right?)

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Wonder Woman knows how to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Next panel: The only way to get any attention from Wonder Woman is to let her knock you down!

Remember, kids, it's not domestic violence if she's not from this country!

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It has been extensively reported that tomorrow DC Comics is publishing the comic in which Superman and Wonder Woman finally get it on. This isn't exactly the first time this has happened. What makes this time different is that DC says this time they really, really, really mean it.

Comic book relationships are like comic book deaths: both are very temporary situations. Dating in superhero comics amounts to little more than a brief series of one-night stands. Eventually the romantic-interest character is killed off-panel, becomes the hero's arch-nemesis, or disappears abruptly when the book changes writers. If your hero doesn't have a love interest in his origin story, don't bother learning the names of the girls he goes out with between adventures.

However, if you do know the names of those supporting characters, isn't removing the hero from the romance akin to stealing what defines that hero? The love interests of Superman and Wonder Woman, Lois Lane and Steve Trevor respectively, both shared time in their partner's first comic book appearance. They are as much a part of Superman and Wonder Woman as heat vision and golden lassos. Is it the aspect of infidelity to their partners that makes this story so enticing to the non-comic book reader?

If there's a moral here, it's that sex sells. It even sells funny books.

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Stick a bunch of women on a secluded island, and there's no telling what awesome stuff they will come up with. My bet would have been on shoes, not inorganic and non-metallic transparent flying machines, but what would I know about women?

It's a chick! It's a plane! It's Wonder Woman seated as though she were in a plane.

The speed of sound at sea level is 343 meters per second, or 768 miles per hour. Traveling above the ocean's waves in 1942 in her "silent, invisible plane," Wonder Woman is traveling at speeds approaching Mach 3! The technology of Man wasn't able to reach those speeds until the mid 1950s. In fact, the first pilot to pass Mach 3 was killed in the attempt when he turned too fast and horizontally inverted his plane. That plane, the Bell X-2, had a liquid-fueled rocket engine, not a seemingly simple propeller! What a pilot that wonder woman is!

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She's my kind of hero.

From Seduction of the Innocent, 1954, by Dr. Fredric Wertham:

"Superwoman (Wonder Woman) is always a horror type. She is physically very powerful, tortures men, has her own female following, is the cruel, 'phallic' woman. While she is a frightening figure for boys, she is an undesirable ideal for girls, being the exact opposite of what girls are supposed to want to be."
"The Lesbian counterpart of Batman may be found in the stories of Wonder Woman and Black Cat. The homosexual notation of the Wonder Woman type of story is psychologically unmistakable.... Wonder Woman has her own female following. They are all continuously being threatened, captured, almost put to death. there is a great deal of mutual rescuing, the same type of rescue fantasies as in Batman. Her followers are the 'Holliday girls,' i.e., the holiday girls, the gay party girls, the gay girls. Wonder Woman refers to them as 'my girls.'"

Fuck the internet. From now on, I'm only reading old Wonder Woman comics!

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I was discussing Wonder Woman with my companions over dinner last night (I was promoting Wonder Woman as a movie franchise possibility), and none of us could figure out why she had an invisible plane. So I looked into it. The answer: She needed to fly a wounded Steve Trevor back to Washington D.C. from Paradise Island in Sensation Comics #1, so she took a propeller-driven plane. It just so happend to be invisible.

Why was the plane invisible? Probably so that it couldn't be seen. After all, it was 1942 and there was a war on. Internationally, soldiers and civilians alike were armed with silhouette cards and told to stare skyward to identify incoming enemy fighters. A plane flying over America's capital would no doubt cause an alarm, yet perhaps a flying woman and her comatose patient would be harder to spot. (But would no doubt also raise quite an alarm if spotted.) When she stayed in America (presumably suffering from the hideous Nightingale Effect), Wonder Woman simply kept the plane. And the rest is pop culture history.

Now, why, you ask, would the immortal Amazons of Grecian myth inhabiting Paradise Island have an invisible plane handy? Well, loyal reader, that's exactly the sort of question that you aren't supposed to ask about the "physics-optional" environment of super hero comic books (where men can vibrate their molecules to penetrate the fabric of space-time, shrink themselves with material found in white dwarf stars, and drink cola that gives them the ability to deform their body like Silly-Putty). If the "why"s are the sort of questions that keeps your mind occupied while reading these stories, may I recommend romance comics? They tend to be much more straightforward.

Invisible plane or falling in love with a mermaid. Which is more improbable?

See? Nothing inexplicable there. (For the whole story, rush to your local newsstand in 1952 and pick up a copy of Glamorous Romances for one shiny dime. No time machine? Already spent your dime on .025 gallons of gas or .0000025 grams of Plutonium?Then visit here. Your mileage per gigawatt may vary.)

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To be continued...


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