Monday, November 5, 2007

Wonder Woman #25 (Story One, Part 1): SIEGE OF THE RYKORNIANS

Woo Woo! I smell the distinctive aroma of a very old comic book. Just a sniff, and I'm fastening my seatbelt, putting my tray table in an upright position and readying myself for a superspeed journey into the 1940s. And, if you join me, we can travel together into the pages of WONDER WOMAN #25. C'mon! It'll be fun -- I promise!

The cover is quite intriguing. Wonder Woman is sitting at a desk looking at three wanted posters. She appears pensive; worried. These are obviously very dangerous criminals. What she doesn't see, is that behind her, peeking out from a doorway, are the three felons, all armed and ready to strike. I have an overwhelming urge to shout "look out!!!" But I won't. My prime directive says that I must not interfere in the stories of comic books. So though painful, I remain silent.

::insert silence here::

"Look out!!!" (phew! I feel much better, despite the impending court martial I'll no doubt receive).

I have to say right off, that our buddy H. G. Peters was the artist, I am not 100% certain about who wrote the three stories in this comic. Marston passed away in May of '47 and this has a cover date of Sept.-Oct. of 1947.

I do know that Marston had a backlog of stories, and that his family actually wrote several stories after his death. I think these were probably some of Marston's originals, though, as the backlog would've easily covered a book with a Sept. publishing date. They also have quite a bit of bondage (the third story is so full of bondage there are only a handful of panels free of it). That screams Marston to me.

If it isn't him, and it isn't Kanigher (it could be a mixture, i.e. Kanigher wrote one, Marston another, etc.) then it could be members of his family. When I spoke to Marston's son, he told me that the family members wrote several stories after Bill's death. I don't know if the family members kept to all of his idiosyncrasies (i.e. chock full 'o' bondage) but I do know that according to the eldest son, they did try to emulate his dad's work as closely as possible.

That said, I have reached no conclusion about the first story, the one this post is about. If anyone has any information, let me know.

The first story (and this issue has three independent tales, not a "book-length adventure") is what we'll be reading in this revisit. I'll do the other stories in subsequent revisits.

"Have you ever considered the fact that perhaps on another planet in our solar system there might be an entirely new form of life completely unlike ours? Science hasn't discovered it yet, but there is such a planet! Rykornia is an unexplored planetoid, hidden in Earth's atmosphere by a shroud of clouds, and inhabited by fiendish creatures just waiting their opportunity to invade our world."

(Uh-oh. Fiendish corn-people! Quick! Somebody melt some butter!)

"Follow the stirring adventures of the alluring Amazon Princess... as she fights the most terrible menace ever to invade the Earth and matches her Amazon strength against the 'SIEGE OF THE RYKORNIANS."

The splash shows Wonder Woman pushing some sort of harvesting machine through a giant cornfield. It's cutting off the stalks and sweeping in giant ears of corn with little geometrical corn people in them. Looks pretty fiendish to me.

(note: I am going to try to avoid making all the obvious corn puns. This is a challenge, but I've abstained from puns for several days in preparation and feel I can prevail.)

Page two shows us Rykornia. (Not that I feel this is reaching on the part of the author or anything, but Rykornia is a planet that exists in our own atmosphere. It is "concealed by clouds too thick for earth telescopes to penetrate". Uh-huh. A planet. Just hanging up there in our atmosphere. Okay, got it.)

The Rykornians are described as "weird plant people." They seem to like hanging around in cornfields, looking through telescopes made of corn. They watch the earth. And they're ruled by King Tassel and his right-eared man, Lord Cob. (Darn it. Made a corn joke. ::slap:: sorry, folks. Man, this is difficult.) The entire planet of Rykornia is covered by giant corn stalks. And it appears everything they own is made from corn, as well. (This strikes me as particularly fiendish. After all, we don't make everything out of humans. But these corn people make more than just the occasional soylent green out of themselves. Ewww!) However, there is no more room on Rykornia for any more people. So, naturally, they'd like to conquer the Earth. Fertile soil, y'see. (I'm guessing their telescopes aren't trained on Death Valley. Just a hunch.)

Meanwhile, the Amazons are having a Kanga Carnival!!! Woo Woo! Wonder Woman arrives in her invisible plane with a bunch of Holliday Girls. Hippolyte greets them saying, "Welcome to Paradise Island, Man's World Girls!" Hee hee. (But here comes my first clue that this may not be Marston after all. Etta Candy says, "Wahoo" instead of "Woo Woo". I've never seen her say "Wahoo" before).

The girls and the Amazons all mount sky Kangas (for the uninitiated, the Kanga is the favorite riding animal of the Amazons. They look like Kangaroos, but are quite large, and the Amazons ride them like horses. Sometimes, as here, they can fly. The Kangas were a gift from some aliens in an earlier adventure). Hippolyte uses a giant "balloon gun" to shoot multi-colored balloons miles high into the air. The contestants are to catch the balloons in their hands but may not break them. Sounds pretty straight-forward until Etta makes a grab, but the balloon is traveling too fast for her to catch. "Ha!" cries Wonder Woman. "That's why it's sport! These balloons are filled with Amazon Speed-Gas which makes them fly at a tremendous speed and change course at the slightest breeze." (Amazon Speed-Gas, huh? Nah-ah. Too easy.)

Everyone gets a workout trying to capture the balloons, including the indefatigable Amazon Princess. (Dang, but that lil missy can ride a kanga!!! Yeeha!)

Etta and the Holliday Girls are having a very tough time of it, but their leader urges them on. "After them, gals!" cajoles Etta. "Woo! Woo!" (there went that theory, huh?) "We gotta show the Amazons that man's world girls are skillful athletes too!" Trying to lead by example, Etta chases a runaway blue balloon but over-reaches. She falls off her kanga with nothing beneath her but 5 miles of space! Is this the end of our intrepid Holliday fave, Etta Candy? Come back tomorrow for more Golden Age excitement with SIEGE OF THE RYKORNIANS!!

1 comment:

plaidearthworm said...

I love it! Those old comics are fascinating, and I could just study the art for hours. I'm a DC girl, too, although I do admit to an Archie side occasionally.