ISSUE #74: Sensational Wonder

 

Welcome back to another glorious week, dear readers. It’s so good to have you back. TIP OF THE WEEK: Go to toy conventions and grab up comic deals, there. There won’t be many books in the room, but you’ll be one of the only people searching since others aren’t there for comics. Deals can be amazing on the few good books in the room. I had a feast this past week at my local toy show! Woot!

Anyhow, in past issues, I have featured many Wonder Woman covers. Many of my favorite artists have worked on her at some point during their career. However, I haven’t ever done an issue just on WW. With the new movie looming (“Wonder Woman ‘84”), there is some focus on the Cheetah keys and definitely some more on the classic covers and early Golden Age issues. Since Gal Gadot took over the character, Wonder Woman has been propelled well into the spotlight, again (and for good reason).  

In an article that is categorically devoted to affordable issues and non-keys, Golden Age Wonder Woman is simply out of the question for almost all issues (however, I will highlight one, today in what I think is “affordable” for Golden Age). Inasmuch, we must turn toward the Silver Age and later where there are a surprisingly large number of cool and affordable issues. Wonder Woman just simply does not command the types of prices that Batman and Superman do and there aren’t nearly as many keys or classic covers. That’s good news for those of us who prefer this third pillar of the DC universe (And NO, Harley Quinn is not one of them… not even close. Please, don’t insult the legacy of Bats, Supes and WW with that drivel… if there IS a fourth pillar of DC, it’s Flash, but I digress).

Thus, I give a cool and inexpensive cover from every age (and from most of the key Wonder Woman illustrators in her illustrious history). Let’s dive in, shall we…

 

*****

GOLDEN AGE

*****

 

Wonder Woman #69 (1942 1st Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – October, 1954

ARTIST: Irv Novick

As stated above, early Wonder Woman is going to cost you in virtually every grade except coverless 0.5’s. However, I feel that any GA Wonder Woman one can “achieve” for less than $100 is cheap and there are few that fit the bill that are great and underappreciated. This is my favorite of those as it still has the early feel of Wonder Woman. It is albeit not an H.G. Peter cover (otherwise it would cost considerably more), but it does still have that Deco appeal along with a very simple, figure-centric cover. It is striking and bright. My only wish would have been that it had the original script logo. Oh well… one can’t have everything. Anyhow, mid-grade copies of this sell pretty regularly for between $50-$100.

 

*****

SILVER AGE

*****

 

Wonder Woman #171 (1942 1st Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – July/August, 1967

ARTIST: Ross Andru

The Silver Age was a dark time for Wonder Woman. Not only was there an onslaught of poor covers on the main title issues, but to make matters worse from October, 1968 until February, 1973, poor Diana also went through a tragic costume change (issues 178-203). It wouldn’t be until issue 204 that she would come back in her signature gear. Luckily, there are a few great covers in this era and the one above is perhaps the most dynamic and striking. It is very much a unique angle and a really excellent perspective shot. It is, to me, the stand-out cover of this timeframe.  Mid-grades should be easily obtainable for $10.

 

*****

BRONZE AGE

*****

 

Wonder Woman #253 (1942 1st Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – March, 1979

ARTIST: Jose Delbo

Not gonna lie, the Bronze Age started off almost as shaky as the Silver Age for WW until Jose Delbo stepped in to do art (both cover and interior). There are a bunch of cool choices from this era, but the above cover is probably my favorite and the one that feels the most iconic. I love the idea of a monochromatic backdrop and a fully colored figural piece over the top of it. This was a motif that was used on close to a dozen covers of the time and it really works nicely. Don’t sleep on all the linework and fantastic images of Wonder Woman within that background that not only provide story, but also the framing for the cover. Brilliant in my opinion. This should only set you back a few dollars, if that.

 

*****

COPPER AGE

*****

 

Wonder Woman #329 (1942 1st Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – February, 1986

ARTIST: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

As the last issue in the main title original run, I’ve always thought this cover should get more attention. It pops, it has striking color and is a timeless pose and strength. If Delbo was “The Man” for WW in the Bronze Age, then Garcia-Lopez was that same man for the Copper Age. This is quite simply an iconic, classic cover that any Wonder Woman collector should have. Not only is it the end of an era, it is also one of the best covers in the entire 329-issue run. All of the character’s strength and grace are displayed, here, with striking color and layout. $5 or less for this one (which makes no sense to me).

 

*****

MODERN AGE

*****

 

Wonder Woman #118 (1987 2nd Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – February, 1997

ARTIST: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

I have featured Adam Hughes’ cover work for Wonder Woman many times in past Cover Tunes issues. As such, he doesn’t get the Modern Age feature, this week. He does, however, get a quick hit, below because I just couldn’t in good conscience leave him out completely. That said, the cover I’ve chosen instead definitely deserves attention as it is another from Garcia-Lopez that is among the best Wonder Woman covers of all time. I actually very rarely come across this one in bins which means collectors must like it, too. The line work is astounding and the figural pose equally as masterful. Just the attention to the water, alone, is worth a second glance. Interiors by John Byrne certainly don’t hurt, either. When you do find it, it is only a couple of bucks and well worth it.

 

*****

HYPER-MODERN AGE

*****

 

Sensation Comics [Featuring Wonder Woman] #15 (2014 2nd Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – December, 2015

ARTIST: Jenny Frison

The hyper-modern age (which I pretty much just made up the name for) is chock-full-o artists drawing WW that are amongst the superstars of cover art, these days. It is very difficult to choose just one. Jones, Hughes, Lee, Turner and many others are the frontrunners for many. Having already chosen Hughes’ Wonder Woman in many other Cover Tunes issues (again, see today’s “Quick Hits” section), I won’t choose him again. The artist that has clearly risen to the top of the modern Wonder Woman game and for some (like me) largely the undisputed champion is Jenny Frison.

Having done 66 covers (including a few that haven’t yet released), she has had an epic run with no end in sight. Some have said that her covers have begun to feel “samey,” but it is difficult to deny that her style is perfect for the character as it is strong, graceful and sensual. Furthermore, it is equally difficult to deny that some of the best covers for the character of all time are Jenny’s.

However, before she began her epic run on the main title in 2016, she did do an earlier WW cover and it is this Sensation cover. It was clearly the shape of things to come and exhibits all of Frison’s artistic prowess and mastery. Her portrayal of Wonder Woman, here, shows Jenny’s clear love for and understanding of the character.  

 

*****

QUICK HITS

*****

 

Wonder Woman #66 (1987 2nd Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – September, 1992

ARTIST: Brian Bolland

I would have featured this one above in the modern section, but I loved that Garcia-Lopez too much. Bolland is the “other” man during this era and this is a super-sexy entry; one that is too often overshadowed by his 2 or 3 other sought after classics like #63 and #72 from this same series.

 

Wonder Woman #106 (1987 2nd Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – February, 1996

ARTIST: John Byrne

Speaking of John Byrne… here is his best WW cover. A classic cover from a classic artist that gets nearly zero love.

 

Wonder Woman #157 (1987 2nd Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – June, 2000

ARTIST: Adam Hughes

One cannot go wrong with any of the covers from the Hughes Wonder Woman run, but here is a beauty that rarely gets mentioned as it overshadowed by a 3 or 4 others, every time.

 

Wonder Woman #51 (2011 4th “New 52” Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – June, 2016

ARTIST: David Finch

This entire run is crazy-good. For those who are fixated on the 1:100 variant for #38 but can’t afford it, here’s an awesome one. I mean, c’mon… Wonder Woman AND a dragon?! What?!

 

*****

 

For other outstanding Wonder Woman covers not featured here, be sure to check out the original Golden Age H.G. Peter covers which are too expensive to feature in a Cover Tunes article and Frank Cho’s short run on the Rebirth relaunch where he was kicked off for being too suggestively sexy.

With that said, here’s your resident “guy-who-does-nothing-important-for-comics” signing off for yet another week. I hope you enjoyed my picks. Please, drop a comment as I’d love to hear your thoughts. Until next time, be well, thanks for reading and happy hunting.

 

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