Tuesday, January 27, 2015


"Most sensational" is pretty big talk, partner.
By 1955, William Moulton Marston – a.k.a. Charles Moulton, co-creator of Wonder Woman – had long since passed away and the series’ vertiginous parade of bondage fantasies and paeans to inherent feminine superiority vanished with him. That’s why, by November 1955 (Wonder Woman vol.1 No7) we’re left with Wonder Woman teaching a gorilla how to play baseball. From Myra Breckenridge to Mighty Joe Young, just like that.

Written by Robert Kanigher – the man solely responsible for Wonder Woman’s weirdest adventures, and that’s taking into account everything from the book’s earliest Amazon spanking parties to its bell-bottoms and lazy Eastern mysticism years – the story starts off at the trustees’ meeting of Miss Gates’ beleaguered private school.

I feel like "teaching a gorilla about Julius Caesar"
must be a metaphor for something.
With the school shuttered because of a surprise measles outbreak, Miss Gates cannot meet the challenge offered by the leering, wicked, rival schoolmaster Mr.Scragg, whose father stipulated in his will that the two schools must meet in a winner-take-all baseball game wherein the loser must close their doors forever. Hm. Sounds legit, it’s a little-known fact that whatever somebody writes in their will becomes law, no matter if it’s completely insane or they have any legal right to shut down someone else’s property or whatever. Besides, it hinges on a baseball game, and what could be more American? That’s why the Supreme Court has nine players, after all!

Miss Gates proposes that her bosom buddy Wonder Woman – they’re in the same WalkFit class, I believe – aid her in keeping the school open and competing in the baseball game. To keep things … uh, “fair” … Mr.Scraggs is allowed to set all other terms, and that’s why Wonder Woman ends up trying to educate a legit gorilla.

To be fair, Andy seems to have a jump on things – he already answers to his own name and wears shoes, which is a real head-start on me when I was in college. In a series of panels which must have insulted the intelligence of even the youngest reader of this story, Wonder Woman successfully teaches Andy about the life of Julius Caesar (Don’t give the ape any ideas, Princess, ain’t you ever seen them movies?), successfully engages him as a crossing guard (I didn’t know you needed to go to college for that, but then again I was in the Humanities, and surely “Crossing Guard” is a hard science), and ultimately teaches him to play baseball.

Well I'll be damned, there's nothing in the rulebook that says a gorilla can't play baseball! 
Andy turns out to be a natural, which is why Scragg starts heaping additional conditions on the game; Wonder Woman and Andy have to play against a full nine-man team, Wonder Woman must hold the bat in her teeth, must pitch against all nine batters at once. Still, even with all of those handicaps, Wonder Woman and Andy manage to pull ahead by miles, so I assume they were hitting against Detroit.

In the end, Wonder Woman and Andy manage to save Miss Gates’ school from the rapacious Mr.Scragg (whose own school must now close, owing to the terms of the all-powerful will). Still, if Scragg was allowed to call all the conditions of the game, surely he could’ve just declared it Reverse Day and whoever got the most points loses, right? Maybe Andy killed him off panel, is what I’m choosing to believe. Good game, Andy, good game!

1 comment:

cup king said...

I can see the film of this already:

"A League of Their Own Bananas"

That's your idea for £500,000

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