The Lofty Influence of Wonder Woman #98

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Superhero origins are not born. They evolve into what they are over years and sometimes decades.  For example, Batman's Joe Chill, and Superman's coming of age with the death of Pa Kent were both added and/or elaborated upon a decade or more after the first-told origins of those characters.  There are many other examples of this phenomenon of comic book character origin stories slowly evolving their way into the tales we consider important today.  Wonder Woman #98, cover-dated May 1958, is a fascinating example of this concept.  There's a Wonder Woman #98 CGC 3.5 up for auction in today's session of the 2021 February 14-15 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation, Video Games & Art Weekly Online Auction from Heritage Auctions.

Wonder Woman #98 spinning lasso scene vs Wonder Woman 1984.
Wonder Woman #98 spinning lasso scene vs Wonder Woman 1984.

Until a few years ago, Wonder Woman #98 (and #99, which continues the character's Silver Age origin reboot) had been overshadowed in the minds of comic book fans by a later "origin retold" moment in Wonder Woman #105.  But Wonder Woman #98 is indisputably the break point between the Earth-2 and Earth-1 versions of the character. Writer/editor Robert Kanniger and artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito (the art team which debuted in this issue and would go onto have a formative run on the character) were revising the character for what we now think of as Silver Age continuity.

Removing World War II-specific elements from the origin and tweaks to the Steve Trevor and Hippolyta aspects of Wonder Woman's backstory are among the revisions often cited in regards to the changes evident inWonder Woman #98, but the impact of issue can also be seen reflected in some noteworthy moments in the film Wonder Woman 1984 (2020).

There are a few scenes from this issue that feel influential on Wonder Woman 1984, but one important aspect of the storyline's influence on the film is in the way that Wonder Woman finally achieves the power of flight. In order to save Steve Trevor as he crashes near Paradise Island, Wonder Woman is vaulted into the air, and eventually manages to ride the wind in seeming flight to save him.  As the captions note, "Like a graceful winged being, Wonder Woman rides the ascending current of air with astonishing balance…  With dazzling agility, Wonder Woman updrafts… and downdrafts… in a desperate attempt to avoid landing on Paradise Island…"

Likewise similar to some scenes in WW84, Wonder Woman lassos a flying object in order to be pulled through the air in one scene (in the case of Wonder Woman #98, she lassos a giant hawk).  But the perhaps the most obvious visual similarity between the film and this issue is the Wonder Woman #98 scene where she spins her lasso in the air as a means of achieving momentum and guidance through the air.

This May 1958 cover-dated issue is an important DC Comics key of the Silver Age.  There's a Wonder Woman #98 CGC 3.5 up for auction in today's session of the 2021 February 14-15 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation, Video Games & Art Weekly Online Auction from Heritage Auctions.

Wonder Woman #98, 1958 DC Comics.
Wonder Woman #98, 1958 DC Comics.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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