Wonder Woman and Romance
If one thing is obvious from looking at the house ads in DC’s romance line of the late 1960s and early 1970s it’s that the publisher was desperately trying to get female readers to switch their allegiance to mainstream super-hero comics. Witness this ad from Girls’ Love Stories #145 (August 1969):
“Girls! If you dig romance…” screams the strapline. The ad then goes on the extol the virtues of Wonder Woman, which, apparently, strongly involve “romance”, “intrigue” and “high adventure”. Now, the last two are fair enough, but romance? I don’t recall a lot of that going on in the Amazon’s title at that time. In fact, with Mike Sekowsky running the show, and a strong influence from tv’s The Avengers, the book had just seen the death of Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman was now de-powered, performing karate kicks, and running around in a white cat suit alongside a wizened Oriental-type called I-Ching.
Clearly DC thought they had something going with this Wonder Woman and romance idea though, cos they tried more than once:
I can’t imagine that these as would have had a lot of impact on the sales of Wonder Woman. But, with the book in trouble, I guess they had to try something. The romance titles themselves were were living on borrowed time, and within five years they were all but gone from the shelves. Happily Wonder Woman carried on, though it saw frequent changes of direction in a desperate attempt to find something that stuck. The debut of the Wonder Woman tv show even saw the comic reflecting its war time setting—seemingly to little avail.
So, the notion of Wonder Woman and romance would seem not to have had legs long term. But perhaps as a short term sales boost it was worth a shot. Had it worked, perhaps a bit of cross-pollination would have seen the romance books last a bit longer than they did.
For more on all things romance comics, check out Jacque Nodell’s excellent Sequential Crush.
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