Showing posts with label Wonder Woman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wonder Woman. Show all posts

Friday, November 23, 2018

Exhibit review: Superheroes at the National Museum of American History

by Mike Rhode


Superheroes. Washington, DC: National Museum of American History. November 20, 2018 to September 2, 2019. http://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/super-heroes
The Smithsonian museum has mounted a small, but choice, exhibit made up of some extremely surprising pieces. The terse description on their website only hints at it:
This showcase presents artifacts from the museum's collections that relate to Superheroes, including comic books, original comic art, movie and television costumes and props, and memorabilia. The display includes George Reeves's Superman costume from the Adventures of Superman TV program, which ran from 1951-1958, as well as Halle Berry's Storm costume from the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Of the five exhibit cases, two concentrate on comic books and original art, while the other three contain props from movies and pop culture ephemera. Surprisingly, the Black Panther costume from the Marvel movies which the African-American History museum collected this summer is not included, but as noted above they have displayed George Reeve's Superman costume (since it is in color rather than grey shades, it came from the later seasons of the television show), Halle Berry's Storm uniform, along with Captain America's shield, Wolverine's claws and Batman's cowl and a batarang. Those three cases are rounded out with the first issue of Ms. Magazine which had a Wonder Woman cover, two lunchboxes (Wonder Woman and Marvel heroes), and a Superman telephone.













courtesy of Grand Comics Database
 Surprisingly, the two cases of comic books and original art include a very wide variety of comic books including some that just recently came out such as America (Marvel) along with older issues such as Leading Comics from 1943 which featured Green Arrow among other heroes such as the Crimson Avenger and the Star-Spangled Kid. The existence of an apparently extensive comic book collection in the Smithsonian comes as a surprise to this reviewer and will need to be researched more in depth. Even more of a surprise were the four pieces of original art on display – the cover of Sensation Comics 18 (1943) with Wonder Woman drawn by H.G. Peter, a Superman comic strip (1943) signed by Siegel and Shuster, a Captain Midnight cover that the curators did not bother to track the source of (it appears to be an unused version of #7 from April 1943), and a April 27, 1945 Batman comic strip. Actually, none of the creators of any of the works are credited, although the donors are.
The small exhibit lines two sides of a hallway off the busy Constitution Avenue entrance of the Museum, but the location has the advantage of being around the corner from a Batmobile from the 1989 Batman movie that was installed earlier this year. The car may be tied into the nearby installation and branding of a Warner Bros. theater showing the latest Harry Potter spin-off movie which seems like a true waste of space in the perennially over-crowded and under –exhibited (i.e. they have literally hundreds of thousands of items worthy of display in storage), but one assumes that besides the Batmobile, the theater came with a cash donation or promise of shared revenues.

Notwithstanding that cynicism, the Batmobile and the superheroes exhibit are fun to see, although most people quickly passed them by during this reviewer's visit. Also of interest may be a bound volume of Wonder Woman comics and a reproduction of an unused idea for her original costume, around the other corner from the Batmobile in the Smithsonian Libraries exhibit gallery. The museum has recently acquired some Marston family papers.

Bruce Guthrie has an extensive series of photographs including the individual comic books at http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.nsf/keys/2018_11_22D2_SIAH_Superheroes


 












(This review was written for the International Journal of Comic Art 20:2, but this version appears on both the IJOCA and ComicsDC websites on November 23, 2018, while the exhibit is still open for viewing.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

By Claire Rhode
reprinted with permission from Her Campus at Chatham

Like a lot of Bardugo’s work, Wonder Woman: Warbringer was set in a rich fantasy world with incredibly strong female characters—both physically and emotionally. The story begins on Themyscira with Diana trying to prove herself to her fellow Amazons. The plot begins right in the first chapter when Diana rescues Alia Keralis, the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Despite the action at the beginning, the book has a slow start.

I’ve always found Bardugo’s work heavy and hard to get into, and the same was true of this book. Despite the non-stop action, great characters, and witty banter, the entire book felt like I was slogging through just to know how the plot was resolved.

Diana and Alia were what really redeemed the plot for me. Diana is wide-eyed and curious as she is in the movie, but she’s also hesitant to really trust this new world. She has her mission and she plans to achieve it, then spends her time trying to get back to Alia.

Alia, on the other hand, is the daughter of two scientists who died in a car crash. Now her overprotective older brother is her guardian, and she’s constantly trying to get away from his control over her. She’s also dealing with racial tensions throughout the novel and tries to explain the history of racism and systemic disenfranchisement to Diana while they’re fighting for their lives.

There are also a lot of great supporting characters who end up on their journey with them. There’s Nim, Alia’s best friend, and a fashion icon. Theo, who is a washed up maybe-genius and harboring a bit of a crush on Alia, and Jason, Alia’s older brother, tag along for the ride as well.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a good book and would be great for fans of the movie or of Bardugo’s other works. It’s an excellent addition to the Wonder Woman canon in its own right and perfect to pair with the movie.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The real history behind the look of "Wonder Woman"s Dr. Poison

by Mike Rhode

The new Wonder Woman movie has a long-standing villain named Dr. Poison who is developing a super poison gas to reverse Germany's imminent loss of the Great War. Elena Anaya's character is shown with a porcelain mask over the lower quadrant of the left side of her face.


This mask actually has a background in the medical history of World War I. Plastic surgery was still in developmental stages, and for some soldiers who were too badly injured, Anna Coleman Ladd of the American Red Cross in Paris, as did sculptor Derwent Wood in a London hospital, made masks of enameled-metal. The masks were painted to match skin color.

Very few of these masks were made. The soldiers receiving them had horrific wounds from shells or shrapnel (as seen in the pictures that follow), and were often lacking bone or soft tissue to be reconstructed, often including their noses or eyes. Dr. Poison's mask drops off late in the film, and she's revealed to have a gaping wound in her cheek, which in real life, probably would have been leaking saliva and making it difficult for her to eat or enunciate clearly. I have no idea how she received the initial wound since she should have been a research scientist far from the front, but the movie shows her enjoying her work too much, so perhaps she went in person to see the use of mustard gas at the front.

Online for the first time is the 1919 report "United States Naval Medical Bulletin Special Number:Report On The Medical And Surgical Developments Of The War" by William Seaman Bainridge, Lieutenant Commander, Medical Corps, United States Naval Reserve Force courtesy of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's Historian's Office. The following pages are from the report and give some idea of the process:









Driver F

Trooper E



"Red Cross Work on Mutil├ęs at Paris, 1918" a short film from the National Museum of Health and Medicine can be seen via the Medical Heritage Library and shows Ladd and her Parisian studio. The National Library of Medicine has written about the film here and here.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Battle of the Network Shows focuses on Wonder Woman tv show this week

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Comics writer Mike Cowgill (left) sends us a note about his podcast:

Battle of the Network Shows explores the TV of the '70s and '80s. Each Thursday, hosts Rick Brooks and Mike Cowgill cover a different episode of a different show in a free-flowing discussion. Season one topics have included The Incredible Hulk, The Six Million Dollar Man, a musical episode of Happy Days, a Lowenbrau commercial, and even a Family Circus Christmas special. So far, season two has covered well-known shows like Diff'rent Strokes, Magnum P.I., and The Golden Girls, as well as rarities like Run, Joe, Run and Search.

On Thursday June 1, the latest episode focuses on--what else--Wonder Woman, starring Lynda Carter.

Rick writes the blog Cultureshark http://cultureshark.blogspot.com/ and a TV column reviews for ClassicFlix.

(Unfortunately, his ClassicFlix articles are behind a subscription wall, or I'd give you a link to that).

Mike writes fiction and writes and draws comics and is a member of the DC Conspiracy. His work appears in Magic Bullet, and you can see more at michaelcowgill.com and local comics shows such as SPX and Bmore Into Comics.

(Fair warning I've been having some issues with my site, but hopefully they'll be resolved soon).

Some other links.


(Everything below is or will be linked there)




Twitter: @battnetshows

Instagram: @battleofthenetworkshows

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

NPR: The man behind Wonder Woman

Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviews Harvard professor and New Yorker contributor Jill Lepore about her new book The Secret History of Wonder Woman and how it related to suffragists and centerfolds.

"I got fascinated by this story because I'm a political historian and it seemed to me there was a really important political story that had been missed that's basically as invisible as Wonder Woman's jet," Lepore says.