Undervalued Spotlight #412

Wonder Woman #24, DC Comics, July/August 1947.

I think I did a half decent job with my Undervalued Spotlight #134. I think my argument on Wonder Woman #179’s significance still holds water almost 300 Spotlights later. Also, I don’t think the failure of Wonder Woman’s new direction surprised anybody. At the end of the day I think it came down to economics, boys preferred buying a Wonder Woman comic where she was helpless and tied up over a Wonder Woman cover where she’s toting a huge machine gun and taking charge of the situation.

Social change used to be so slow! The farther back in time you go the slower societies changed. What used to take centuries a millennia ago might have only taken two generations in 20th century and might only take a several years in today’s modern fast changing society. Just ask the older people that are ruing the days they lived practicing what they thought were social norms (at worst somewhat tolerated social norms) when they were young. Back when social change moved a bit slower historically judged transgressors were safely in their graves before they had to face the music.

I’m not sure where I wanted to go with that last paragraph. I think it was to point out that we needed a societal change in order for that new direction Wonder Woman if issue #179 to work and back then society was unable to change quickly enough thus we got all those Wonder Woman bondage/tied up/helpless covers between issues #200 and #221.

By the way some of the most collected and sought after Wonder Woman covers are those very bondage covers I mentioned above. It’s tough to sell a Wonder Woman #208, but I can sell Wonder Woman #205s and 207s all day long.

Someone could write a thesis what I covered above and I’m sure someone has.

Wow that was quite the drawn out segue into announcing this week’s Undervalued Spotlight as Wonder Woman #24.

Wonder Woman #24 is one of the big keys of the whole Wonder Woman canon.

I’ve performed a totally unscientific study of all the Wonder Woman covers in All Star Comics, Sensation Comics, Comics Cavalcade and Wonder Woman and I do believe I want to present Wonder Woman #24 as the very 1st Wonder Woman bondage cover. My exhaustive spiel above is supposed to help convince you that this is an important event.

We collectors love firsts in comics and if someone can verify it then I believe Wonder Woman #24 containing Wonder Woman’s 1st “bondage cover” is a very desirable and collectible comic.

But wait, there’s more! Wonder Woman #24 has another 1st, the 1st appearance of the female villain called the Mask. A few of the CGC labels I’ve seen for this book just state “Mask appearance” and the Overstreet Guide bunches the Wonder Woman issues #21-30 as a cluster with no mention of the Mask but comics.org, wikipedia and the DC fanbase site all list Wonder Woman #24 as the Mask’s 1st appearance. Looks like I have two letters to write.

Talk about thesis worthy material, the Mask is a tormented woman with a split personality who traps people in S&M themed masks that are rigged to dispense fatal gas. The Mask is one of the last characters developed by Wonder Woman creator Charles Moulton (whole universities could sprout up to study this guy!). Wonder Woman #24 was the last Moulton written issue published and thus the last pushing that oh so provocative Moulton agenda.

I’m writing this Spotlight within a finite time and am frustrated that my standard format may not capture the the historic complexity I wish to convey. In other words I could write a lot more on this if I had the time but I don’t so I’ll leave the further research to you the capable reader.

The market is respectful to Wonder Woman #24 but the book’s demand should be exponentially higher. Some recent sales have the book trading at about 1.5 x Guide.

The cover itself is a gem, easily the best Wonder Woman cover within ten issues on each side of it.

The 48th Overstreet price break for this book is $339/$718/$1234/$1750 in the 6.0/8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • 1st Wonder Woman bondage cover
  • 1st appearance the Mask

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1589

11 Comments

  1. Sorry to steal a bit of your thunder Walt (this is a great choice!) but I can’t help correcting you since the gentleman’s name was actually
    William Moulton Marston. You may be interested in a very fine film that came out about a year or so ago called Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, a great look at, not only the creation of Wonder Woman, but also Marston’s unorthodox relationship sharing his life with two women…at the same time, no less. He was quite a controversial figure at the time, as you might well imagine. A fine piece of biographical drama.

    cheers, mel

  2. Marston’s closest confidants in Delta Kappa Epsilon called Marston “Charles Moulton”, hence Walt’s brilliant revival of the the little-know appellation. They would joke, “Pardon me, Charles Moulton, would you have any Grey Poupon?” Marston would retaliate by wiring them to his magic lasso and asking them difficult questions about the popular frat brothers Brad and Chad. As times change so quickly these days it’s hard to believe that “Grey Poupon shaming” was once a social norm (at worst a somewhat tolerated social norm – and to keep the thread going, I believe that Norm Macdonald’s withdrawal from the limelight in the past decade was because the entertainment community had started referring to him as “a somewhat tolerated social Norm”). In my household, mustard’s pronoun is “them” and we will defend to the death them’s right to identify as a tomato-based tangy condiment.

    But I digress. I believe the subject is bondage. This is obviously a thing for comic book people, because CGC doesn’t miss a chance to comment “bondage cover”. If only I could get a direct link into CGC’s database to run my own queries – none of this “I looked at the covers” stuff – instead I could just sort the list of noted “bondage covers” and come up with the very first bondage cover of all time! That’s a trivia question for Comic Culture – who was the first recognized bondage victim on any comic cover? The letdown is of course that it will probably be one of the Reg’lar Fellers on an old cover of The Funnies, but we can always imagine that it was really Blondie…

    (time passes)

    Okay, now I remember, the subject wasn’t just bondage, but Wonder Woman in bondage. How about Wonder Woman and Blondie in bondage having a cat fight with their feet. Wow….

    (more time passes)

    Okay, hang on, I have the feeling that I’m going to be judged a transgressor and I don’t even have a grave site lined up. I have to move onto some other subject. How about a woman who traps people in S&M themed masks that dispense fatal gas? Holy crow, I have to sit down…

    (still more time etc.)

    Look, Walt, you know well that the collecting community is filled with not-so-young guys whose constitutions might not be able to handle this subject matter without causing dizziness. Next time let’s go back to the demonic motorcyclists or toad-like aliens, okay?

    Is Wonder Woman #24 undervalued? Is that a question? All of DC from this period that doesn’t have the Joker or Catwoman on the cover is undervalued, so we already have our answer. Scarce? First Mask? Agreed great cover? Wonder Woman tidal wave continuing to build? Any other questions?

    I can have a TOP TEN copy of this book (7.5) or a top SEVEN HUNDRED copy of Marvel Spotlight #5 (8.5)???? Talk about a problem with social norms. In this case I am putting my money where my mouth is, and I am set up to do some serious Wonder Woman shaming of the market when it realizes just how weird this is.

    One additional plus to this book – it appears that the last story in the issue (the FINAL Charles Moulton story???) features a really wild first page bondage splash panel (a two girl/lady/woman/person/being/uncategorized version of #205’s cover), and is entitled “Montezuma’s Revenge”. Maybe in those days that referred to being bound up, but social norms have changed.

  3. Hey Chris
    It just so happens that my favourite source for such information is Maurice Horn’s The World Encyclopedia of Comics. I guess I would just prefer actual names instead of obscure nicknames as historical references, and I’m afraid the gentleman’s actual name was as I have indicated. I’ll be sure never again to transgress in this manner.

    With apologies for my insistence on accuracy,
    mel

  4. Mike, I am all about accuracy. But we need to be careful about the use of true names, as John Doe (not his true name) finds out to his detriment in Homer’s (not his true name) Odyssey. Nevertheless, as far as I am aware, Norm Macdonald is in fact his true name.

  5. I’m printing off and framing Chris’ response!!

    I’ve suspected you as a possible transgressor for a while now Chris! I can almost see the transgressions oozing out between your lines of prose. Take heart though, the thought police wear thick glasses, for now at least they can only spot the obvious.

    Apologies to Mel, I of course do know that William Moulton Marston is his full name and am well aware of his history – I’ve read up on him in the past. I was rushing to get some sleep and rushed the piece a bit, apologies again.

  6. Thanks for that Walt. I do try, when I add my two cent’s worth (what’s a cent?,) to at least make them worthwhile. Sincerest apologies for unsettling Chris. I think, however, if Mr. Melli has so much to say, it might behoove him to start a weekly column, and I’ll be sure to tell my friend Mike that he’s a stickler for accuracy. ; )

    cheers, mel

  7. The movie Professor Marston and the Wonder Women raises awareness of what a watershed Wonder Woman was – first female superhero and the birth of a major female icon. It’s also a moment when people first realized a degree in psychology could help you come up with products that sold millions, and Marston, just like Bernays with cigarettes or Freud with Psychoanalysis, tapped into something deep and hit a goldmine. So I think the whole early WW run is MASSIVELY undervalued! These should be in national museums, and deserve museum prices!

  8. Hey Simon
    I’m glad someone at least noticed that reference to the film. It really is a remarkable look at a remarkable man, and one of the best docudramas I have seen since Good Night and Good Luck The sad thing is that a degree in psychology could also produce a Frederic Wertham. We could likely blame him for the scarcity of some early issues of Wonder Woman. Thankfully we have come a long way from public book burning. Fingers crossed! And, yes, these books deserve preserving as a piece of cultural history.

    cheers, mel

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