Wonder Woman w/o Powers Pt. 32: Wonder Woman #203
Diana Prince has a problem this night! And how many women get by without having to deal with this dilemma? What would you do? Diana Prince has other things on her mind this evening… but when a problem presents itself as often as this… what can you do?
When she’s harassed on the street, Diana gives the men a piece of her mind…
Then, a young woman bursts out of the shadows to assist. It’s Diana’s friend, Cathy Perkins. Cathy finds a note that fell out of one of the man’s pockets. Written on a piece of paper from Grandee’s Department Store, and signed by Philip Grandee, it reads, “Mike - your first job. Get W.W. for me!”
The next morning, the man surprises Diana by appearing at her front door. He tells her that Mr. Grandee asked him to bring her to see him about a job. He wants her to endorse his store, where the “modern woman” comes to buy…
You’ll wear our clothes, go to the best places, appear on Johnny Carson! And when they ask how you became the fabulous girl we all know you are, you’ll casually mention Grandee.
He then offers her a luxury penthouse apartment and a salary of one thousand dollars a week.
Suddenly, a pack of dogs Grandee rented to guard his merchandise comes bursting through the door. After Diana wrangles them…
At home, Diana argues with Cathy when presented with information that Grandee’s “whole operation is a shuck!” She claims he’s selling cheap clothing from sweatshops and plastic junk while paying his female help a quarter an hour below the legal minimum wage.
Cathy, fresh from a women’s lib meeting gets wound up…
I never asked to be denied what’s denied me because I’m a woman! I’m told to be a whole person, but never fight, build, or envision -- only to respond! Perhaps I’m incompetent and unsure, but I’m conscious of it and enraged at anyone who says I must stay that way!
Ultimately, Diana can’t walk away from her and realizes that Grandee doesn’t help women, he preys on them. Cathy takes her to a meeting, but it’s invaded by Grandee’s ruffians…
The other women chip in to help, and the men are forced to retreat; however, they take Cathy with them. Diana and some of the other women locate her and take action that results in Grandee’s being closed by the city.
All is not well, though. At the next meeting, someone from the back row accuses the group of putting 250 women out of work. Diana breaks the fourth wall and asks us…
What do you say to them now? And will we have time. They look like mean business!
At the bottom of the last panel, writer Samuel R. Delany asks…
What will Diana do now? Don’t miss the next issue…
I don’t think we’ll ever know. In the letters column, renamed Princessions, editor Denny O’Neil announces that it’s his last issue. As of #204, Bob Kanigher, who, according to O’Neil is one of the most respected and prolific pros in the business, will be taking the reigns of Wonder Woman. O’Neil says, “Bob will be doing a whole other thing, so it would be pointless to print your pans and praises of our efforts.”
Is this it, then… the end of Wonder Woman without powers? One look at the cover of #204 might indicate just that. Nevertheless, there’s at least one more story in The Brave & the Bold #105, so I’ll be back next week to see where Diana goes from there. Either way, I’ll also write about Wonder Woman #204.
It's odd timing to switch gears, not only in the middle of a story, but following O'Neil's praise for Delany...
I think Chip's tale is a small but nonetheless polished milestone; it sets Diana solidly into women's liberation. In the story, Di and her friends echo the sentiments of millions of women throughout the world who are... well, sick of being second-class citizens.
"Special Women's Lib Issue?" Milestone? Planting Diana somewhere new? Great; let's uproot her next issue and backtrack from what Delany accomplished.
Oh, well... for now, I want to point out a great panel on page 14. The perspective is a little unusual with the angle of the room and the direction from which the women are drawn. It may be subtle, but it stuck out for me as one of the most unique panels in Dick Giordano’s run on this version of Wonder Woman. He’s credited for the “Art” of the issue, but with #204, he returns to inking someone else’s pencils.
Title: Wonder Woman
Issue #: 203
Cover Date: Nov/Dec 1972
On Sale Date: Sept. 7, 1972
Writer: Samuel L. Delaney
Artist: Dick Giordano
Editor: Denny O'Neil