The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #117, April 1970

I finally found a copy of this, so I now have every appearance of the Mike Sekowsksy re-imagined, Avengers-influenced, white suited Wonder Woman. I’ve gotta say that this is a seriously peculiar comic — worth tracking down for all the wrong reasons!

Jerry Lewis and his annoying nephew, Renfrew (he appears in these comics as the comedy relief — so you know what level this stuff aims for), are waiting outside a picture house that is soon to hold a personal appearance by Wonder Woman. Lewis’s heart beats in lustful anticipation (little hearts whirl around him), but Renfrew, ever pragmatic, reminds him that he doesn’t have tickets. Around at the stage door the pair just happen to bump into Wonder Woman, who agrees to sign Jerry’s autograph book.

There’s a big puddle on the floor, so Jerry throws himself into it so that Diana won’t get her feet wet (oh, please stop — my sides are aching). However, she slips and hurts her knee. In pain, she decides that she must get treatment from Dr Bratwurst on Paradise Island — so, next moment, she, Jerry and Renfrew are plummeting through an other-dimensional plane.

They arrive at Paradise Island where Jerry is mightily air sick. The trio track down Dr Bratwurst who is exiled to Paradise Island where he earns his keep as a surgeon, psychiatrist, and cobbler(!). He bandages Diana’s knee. Then Brawnhilde, the most, er, homely Amazon you’ve ever seen, arrives with news that Diana’s mom, Queen Hippolyta has been kidnapped by the evil Zodor. Jerry is still feeling sick, and so gulps down a potion indicated by Bratwurst — but it’s the wrong one, and Jerry finds himself impervious to pain!

Diana reliases that with her mother gone, Paradise Island needs a new leader: Jerry!!

Seriously.

“My hero!” cries Brawnhilde, her head awhirl with little hearts.

Jerry goes up against Zodor’s champion, Bulque, but has to flee when he begins to feel pain again. Diana orders Bratwurst to mix up another batch of potion, but he’s forgotten the recipe. Jerry is cornered by Bulque, but gets rescued by the lovestruck Brawnhilde.

Diana persuades Jerry to don her armour — basically a steel bustier (yep, Jerry’s in drag!). Not content with just that, he also puts on a wig and makeup to fool the Amazons into thinking he is Diana. However, the other Amazons refuse to volunteer for a daring raid on Zodor, as they’re either washing their hair, doing the ironing, or seeking appointments at the beauty parlour. So, finally, the rescue force consists of just Jerry, Brawnhilde, Wonder Woman, Renfrew, and one or two others.

Dr Bratwurst’s new potion gives Jerry the power to set fire to things with his breath. Unfortunately, this means that every time he burps, something goes up in flames! “I’ve heard of bad breath,” quips Refrew as his uncle burns down a tree, “but this is ridiculous!”

Zodor faces Jerry in battle, but the comedian burps and incinerates Zodor’s shield. This distraction allows Renfrew to get close, and he lets Zodor have it full in the face with his catapult. Zodor’s teeth are knocked in all directions, and he falls to the floor in dead faint.

With Hippolyta rescued, Bratwurst cures Jerry of his affliction, and Jerry, Diana and Renfrew travel dimensions back to Earth — where Diana kisses Jerry to thank him for his help.

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As I say, completely mad. I know UK and US humour is different, but really, this is not even remotely amusing — which, for a ‘funny’ comic, has got to be a liability.

While the story attempts a degree of continuity with Wonder Woman (at the time Paradise Island and the Amazons were indeed in another dimension), much of it is at odds with what we know. How is there suddenly a male doctor on Paradise Island?? Where’s Paula and he purple ray of healing? Brawhilde, the distinctly portly Amazon… where did she come from? Bonkers.

I shan’t comment on the rampant sexism shown towards the Amazons (“Doing the ironing…” indeed!!)

As was fairly standard practice in DC comics of the time, there are no credits so it’s difficult to be sure who did what here. Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner were doing a lot of work on the Jerry Lewis series, so it may well be them. The cover is definitely Oksner.

Probably one for Wonder Woman completeists only — or lovers of oddball comics!

©2009 DC Comics