"If you believed all of social media, you'd think the country was run by a secret king or something."
Thursday, September 21, 2023
"Wonder Woman: Outlaw Part 1" promises a crafty political thriller with some savory ingredients: a secret society, manipulated chess pieces, sympathetic victims, a shadowy new villain, and our unswerving heroine. The fact that it draws plot points from far less crafty lore — 2007's Amazons Attack! — is unfortunate at best (a blemish surpassed only by the 2005 editorial betrayal in which Diana was turned into a murderer in the death of Maxwell Lord).
And while Lord's murder isn't referenced in this new Dawn of DC canon (yet?), the Amazon attack is ripe in the memory of one Sarge Steel, a resident DC Comics military operative, who was humiliated during those events, and that burn continues to fuel his distrust of all Amazons — and Wonder Woman, in particular.
Steel is the perfect antagonist in Tom King's inaugural Wonder issue. His personal distrust and, indeed, hate toward the Amazons is weaponized to great effect by an unseen narrator who meticulously presents the unfolding story as a flashback. In fact, in the very first panel the narrator reveals that they have already been defeated, presumably at the hands of Diana ("She was but a princess").
But this revelation quickly becomes a footnote against the shocking story setup: Emelie, an Amazon living in the United States on a work visa, gets into an argument one night at a pool hall. She accuses a man of touching her inappropriately. He denies it. The argument escalates into a fight and Emelie loses control. She murders all 19 men in the hall. The women are unharmed. Emelie disappears.
The massacre triggers fear, outrage, and panic. On the news a senator refers to it as a terrorist attack and calls into question Amazon values as "not our values." Rumors of "a secret war on men" abound. Diplomats are recalled from the Amazon Embassy. Soon all Amazons are targeted when a national ban, "The Amazon Safety Act," goes into effect requiring them to leave the country.
Those who do not leave peacefully are rounded up and removed by force via "AXE," the "Amazon Extradition Entity." Some are killed in the process. The narrator tells us that Diana fights against this tide with words. She recruits her super friends to help. But to no avail. Emelie remains missing. Diana tries to find her. But trying to find her means staying in the country, which breaks the law.
Yes, even Wonder Woman, the Superhero, is required to vacate the premises. But she defies. America is her home, too. And apparently she's the only one really looking for Emelie, anyway. So she's not going anywhere. Steel finds her in a cemetery where the pool hall dead are buried. She prays over them. Steel finds this amusing. He confronts her with two dozen soldiers.
This ineptitude betrays his reputation (or perhaps I just haven't read enough of his exploits). At any rate, it doesn't go well for him. This woman who has battled gods wipes the snow with them. But alive. And while predictable, the action is no less exhilarating to see, no less satisfying to read. And she puts Steel in his place. It's perfect. Too perfect. But that's the point. That's the plan. She is an Outlaw.
Our unseen narrator ties the bow on the plan: "America versus Wonder Woman." And on the last page he is revealed. The architect of this travesty is the leader of a cabal known as The Sovereign and they've been brewing under the skin of America long before it was America. Early on he is described as "...the High Emperor of Columbia."
(I immediately thought of the decorative similarities between Wonder Woman and Columbia, the female personification of America before she was supplanted by Lady Liberty)
Another dropped hint at power is the allusion to their puppeteering of former President Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal. These little tidbits I found alluring. But I admit that I was surprised at the narrator's appearance. To say nothing of the super weapon in his grip: The Lasso of Lies!
Dressed in a royal mantle and wearing a jeweled crown, a "king," if you will. Only, we've seen this guy before, haven't we? And we've seen this lasso before, too! It hung at the hip of Trinity, Wonder Woman's daughter from the future (as told in the last entry of Wonder Woman #800). And this king was the guy in silhouette whom she confronted in that Themyscrian cave prison.
"Sovereign" she called him. Great Hera! This whole narration, this flashback, this is the story he's sharing with Trinity. "This is the story of how she defeated me." Indeed. I'm a sucker for a plot twist. That "aha!" moment. Smarter fans than I surely knew all along. Still, it's a testament to King for weaving an absorbing narrative; if I were bored I might have drifted off and started considering the peripherals.
But I was on the hook! And I enjoyed this issue despite myself. I was initially put off by the whole "outlaw" thing. And the aforementioned connection to Amazons Attack! I was not expecting a conspiracy thriller intersecting a centuries-old puppet master with Wonder Woman's progeny. It's a strange but effective crossroads against which King unabashedly draws allegories to dark and shameful chapters from our own social and political history.
The only real problem with this is the conceit that Wonder Woman and the rest of Earth's mightiest superheroes would have no influence on public or political discourse. It's hard to imagine people turning their nose up at Wonder Woman, Superman, or the Justice League even during an emotional crisis such as this.
But these events, superheroes campaigning for tolerance, are told through narration rather than illustration. They're said to be noble but futile efforts. This is smart on King's part. He's a good writer and if he were to actually show scenes of the JLA advocating for reason and patience, or Wonder Woman pleading for love instead of hate, his whole story would be undone.
Besides, the narration allows for the villain to mock her efforts which makes him all the more despicable in our minds. Moreover, we are told that the Amazon ban was a bipartisan decision. This was a particular stretch for me. As was the AXE of violence with nary a hint of superhero intervention. The Amazons are more of the super world and one would think they would draw more assistance.
The sad truth is that we know all too well stuff like this happens all the time in real life. But in the world of superheroes and aliens and multiverses...? To his credit, King is a compelling storyteller, and this is one in which we can easily suspend our disbelief.
It's a story that is spectacularly brought to life by Daniel Sampere's pencils. Every page you just want to take in slowly. Tomeu Morey's colors and Clayton Cowles' letters complete the incredible visuals. I'm always leery of "Bold New Eras" and Wonder Woman has had a ton. Conceits and suspensions of disbelief notwithstanding, I'm excited to see where King takes this. HOLA! — Paul K. Bisson
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Our review of The New, Original Wonder Woman — the 1975 pilot movie that started it all — comes to an end in this fourth and final segment before we dive into the series proper! Hosts Ray Caspio and Paul K. Bisson are joined once again by Wonder Woman authority, Andy Mangles ("Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman") as they break down the scenes and dig into the various versions of the script. It's a fun and informative rollercoaster with three lifelong Wonder Woman fans!
Episode timestamps forthcoming.
Our guest bumper for this episode is Susannah Mars, an artist, actor, singer, and voice actress — she's also the daughter of veteran actor Kenneth Mars — who played Von Blasko in the pilot!
Susannah is working on a short animated documentary called "Mourning Has Broken," about four artists grieving the loss of loved ones who collaborate to create a work of art together. Susannah's special relationship with her dad is documented in the work.
"We're living through unprecedented times of uncertainty and loss right now. Some of us are seeking ways to process our grief through art."
Visit the film's GO FUND ME page.
Visit Susannah's website: SusannahMars.com
Sign up for Susannah's monthly newsletter.
Sunday, May 8, 2022
PART THREE of our review of The New, Original Wonder Woman is here! Hosts Ray Caspio and Paul K. Bisson lasso USA Today best-selling author, Andy Mangles for round three of a deep-dive into the pilot movie that gifted Lynda Carter to a generation as Wonder Woman!
00:00:00 — Last time on Satin Tights: A Wonder Woman Podcast
00:00:57 — Satin Tights theme
00:01:30 — The Tournament / No Gods, No Clay / Masked Competitive Strumpets
00:11:03 — Bullets and Bracelets #1: Slow Motion
00:13:11 — Golden Belt / Golden Lasso / Unmasked
00:18:25 — BREAK / PROMO: Wonder Woman: Warrior for Peace Podcast
00:19:00 — Wonder Woman / Cumbersome Skirt / Cloris, Carol, Beatrice
00:29:42 — The Invisible Plane / Stupidest Music / Mood Chair
00:33:28 — Returning Steve Trevor / Carrying Lyle Waggoner: How'd They Do That?
00:39:22 — Marcia is a Nazi / "She must be found and stopped!"
00:41:56 — Tarzan Scene; Wonder Woman in Washington / Marie's Women's Wear
00:46:00 — False Innocence / Real Stinkers / Interfering Directors
00:49:00 — Wonder Bra? / Background Players
00:50:15 — Andy's Wonder Run
00:54:15 — Bank Robbery / Bullets and Bracelets #2: Blink / Superman #261 (1972)
00:58:08 — Longer Scripted Fight / Deleted Jump Over Car / Lynda on Tonight Show
01:03:48 — Wonderful Woman in the Bathing Suit / Ashley Norman's Proposition
01:05:25 — Wet Backlot / Andy's Wet Tardis / Sal and Nunzio
01:08:45 — BREAK / PROMO: Diana Prince Wonder Woman Podcast
01:10:24 — Nurse Diana Prince / Bullets and Bracelets #3: Machine Gun
01:20:45 — Feminum Intuition / Stink Eye
01:23:00 — Von Blasko and Nicholas Farewell / Nicholas is Mariposa?
01:26:32 — Ashley vs. Wonder Woman / "Too Many Donuts"
01:29:05 — Unsolved Mystery: Wonder Woman Meets Diana Prince?
01:34:16 — Wrap-up / Sign-off / Contact Us
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Hey, we're back! PART TWO of our deep dive into the Lynda Carter 1975 TV movie, "The New, Original Wonder Woman." Hosts Ray Caspio and Paul K. Bisson welcome back "Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman" writer, Andy Mangels to finally get into the narrative! Also, Happy 80th Birthday, Wonder Woman! Happy Wonder Woman Day!
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Finally! Our review of The New, Original Wonder Woman is here!--sort of. Actually, PART ONE of our review is here. Also, there's no review. Hey, where are you going?
The truth is our recording was over four hours long! NO, we didn't plan it that way. Usually we block out two hours for recording. But when you have three die-hard Wonder Woman fans - Ray Caspio, Paul K. Bisson, and Special Guest Andy Mangels - discussing a 75 minute movie that holds such an important place in our hearts - and yours - well, we just had to talk about more than just the movie.
And we did. A lot more. But instead of cutting a lot of that discussion out, we decided to keep most of it in and break the podcast into two parts. But don’t let that discourage you from listening… Part One is fun! There's lots of origin and backstory, and we’ve even got a few surprises along the way. So, sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy the podcast while following along with our show notes:
0:00:00 - INTRODUCTION FROM PAUL K. BISSON
Paul opens the show with a special introduction detailing why he split the podcast into two parts.
0:01:10 - NEWSREEL 2017 / SATIN TIGHTS THEME
A special Satin Tights version of the "Newsreel" that precedes The New, Original Wonder Woman main titles.
In this dark winter of 2017 the onslaught of superhero podcasts continues with little focus on the Wonder Woman television series.
Their overblown cache of dark crusaders overshadow this colorful program.
Ray Caspio and Paul K. Bisson gather the allies in defense as these other hosts plunder across the Internet.
Fan-kind is being threatened by these monotonous villains…
"The only hope for a brighter podcast is..."
0:02:33 - DISCUSSING PAST DOWNLOAD NUMBERS
Thank you for listening! We're very happy that our "Who's Afraid of Diana Prince / Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman" podcast has been downloaded over 1000 times (and climbing!). Want to know more about Ray and Paul, check out our first podcast, "Getting To Know You." Our second podcast is a bonus "IRAC FILES" podcast, Part 2 of a crossover with the hosts of other Wonder Woman podcasts (Warrior for Peace, Radio-Free Themyscira, and Diana Prince Wonder Woman) discussing the first Gal Gadot movie!
|Analytics graph of Satin Tights podcast downloads through December 2017|
0:03:25 - SOME GUY NAMED ANDY MANGELS
Paul recalls his introduction to Andy Mangels when he discovered Amazing Heroes #106 (November 1986) - a comic book hobbyist magazine published by Fantagraphics Books from 1981 to 1992. This issue featured several comprehensive articles on Wonder Woman including "The Noblest Amazon," a preview of George Perez' Wonder Woman by Heidi McDonald; "The Wonder Years," a retrospective of Wonder Woman's first 45 years in comics by Carol A. Strickland; and three articles by Andy Mangels focusing on the Lynda Carter TV series: a TV series retrospective titled, "You're A Wonder, Wonder Woman," and interviews with "Steve Trevor" actor Lyle Waggoner and the man who wrote "The New, Original Wonder Woman," Stanley Ralph Ross.
|Cover page and table of contents of Amazing Heroes #106 (1986)|
|Heidi MacDonald's extensive Amazing Heroes preview of George Perez's new Wonder Woman (1986)|
|Carol A. Strickland's Amazing Heroes retrospective on the first 45 years of Wonder Woman in comics (1986)|
|Excerpt #1 of Andy's Amazing Heroes Wonder Woman TV series retrospective (1986)|
|Excerpt #2 of Andy's Amazing Heroes Wonder Woman TV series retrospective (1986)|
|Excerpt #1 of Andy's Amazing Heroes interview with Lyle Waggoner (1986)|
|Excerpt #2 of Andy's Amazing Heroes interview with Lyle Waggoner (1986)|
|Excerpt #1 of Andy's Amazing Heroes interview with Stanley Ralph Ross (1986)|
|Excerpt #2 of Andy's Amazing Heroes interview with Stanley Ralph Ross (1986)|
0:07:30 - WONDER WOMAN '77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN
Before Andy Mangels joins the podcast, Paul talks about his most recent project for Dynamite and DC Comics; the six-issue mini-series bringing two 1970s' icons together for the very first time: Princess Diana and Jaime Sommers in Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman, illustrated by Judit Tondora, colors by Roland Pilcz, letters by Tom Orzechowski, Lois Athena Buhalis, and Kathryn S. Renta. And it's now collected in Trade Paperback! Here's a collage featuring all the prime and variant covers by the medium's top talents, including Cat Staggs, Alex Ross, Aaron Lopresti, Glen Hanson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Phil Jimenez, Nicola Scott, Michael Adams, Mike McKone, Ben Caldwell, Jim Balent, Andrew Pepoy, J.Bone, and Dan Parent:
|Collage of all the Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman covers|
|Paul as an IADC agent in Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman|
0:08:00 - ANDY MANGELS JOINS THE PODCAST!
From Andy's website...
Andy Mangels is the USA Today best-selling author and co-author of over twenty fiction and nonfiction books — including Star Trek, Roswell, Iron Man and Star Wars tomes — and is an award-winning comic book anthology editor. As a pop culture historian, he has also contributed to international magazines and newspapers, and has scripted, directed, and produced over forty DVD documentaries and Special Features projects. In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Inkpot Award for Achievement in the Comic Arts at Comic-Con International. Read more at his website!
|Andy Mangels (2017)|
0:08:20 - ANDY TALKS ABOUT RAY'S ART SUBMISSION FOR "WOMEN OF WONDER DAY" (formerly "WONDER WOMAN DAY")
|Wonder Woman from the episode, "Skateboard Wiz" by Ray Caspio and Kevenn T. Smith (2007)|
0:10:00 - WONDER WOMAN #212
Andy recalls his first Wonder Woman sighting in promotional ads Palisades Amusement Parks. He also talks about watching the Superfriends on Saturday morning TV, and the first time he saw Lynda Carter as the character. His very first Wonder Woman comic was Wonder Woman #212 - a story that kicked off the Amazing Amazon's 12 trials miniseries.
|Promotional ad for Palisades Amusement Parks featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (circa 1960s)|
|Saturday morning SuperFriends title card (1970s)|
|Lynda Carter title card from the Wonder Woman TV movie (1975)|
|Cover to Wonder Woman #212 (March 7, 1974)|
|Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors Trade Paperback (2012)|
0:16:25 - MARCIA'S RETURN?
Paul shares how Andy will be a regular contributor to Satin Tights. through his treasure trove of behind-the-scenes materials, including some producer notes on what would have been Marcia's return!
|Would Marcia aka Agent M have returned to plague Wonder Woman again?|
0:17:30 - PROMO BREAK: Chris Cooling and Forgotten TV
|Forgotten TV Podcast hosted by Chris Cooling|
0:18:10 - THE ORIGIN OF THE NEW, ORIGINAL WONDER WOMAN AND THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM FOR STANLEY RALPH ROSS
Paul concludes his story about Stanley Ralph Ross' involvement with 1967's Who's Afraid of Diana Prince and his brush with the 1974 Cathy Lee Crosby movie, which ultimately led him to write The New, Original Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter.
JUMP TO 25:50
For even more, check out Amazing Heroes #106
0:20:00 BETTER YET, GET LYLE WAGGONER!
0:21:05 JOANNA CASSIDY AS WONDER WOMAN?
0:21:35 - PAUL'S FAVORITE WONDER WOMAN PHOTO SHOOT
0:22:50 - LYNDA CARTER
0:24:45 - CHARLES FOX AND THE MUSIC OF WONDER WOMAN
0:27:22 - ANDY COMPARES THE WONDER WOMAN THEME TO JOHN WILLIAMS' "SUPERMAN" AND NEAL HEFTI'S "BATMAN"
0:29:40 - PHILL NORMAN AND CHARLES McKIMSON
0:36:10 PROMO BREAK: JOHN S. DREW AND THE BATCAVE PODCAST
0:37:15 - THE LOST WONDER WOMAN ANIMATION
0:48:25 - WONDER WOMAN WIDESCREEN HD VS. FULL FRAME SD
0:49:50 - IN YOUR SATIN TIGHTS!
|Donfeld sketch of the season one costume. Note the 'Queen's Quarters' designation.|
Image from The Beat's Comic Con 2016 review. See more here.