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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: Re: Dr. Domino Appreciation Thread
Posted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 at 01:58:00 pm EDT (Viewed 121 times)
Reply Subj: Dr. Domino Appreciation Thread
Posted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 at 07:48:03 am EDT (Viewed 123 times)

    Does he deserve one?

    (BTW, who the heck is he?)

Ahhh, The Mysterious Doctor Domino... is he man? Is he Machine? Is he the international terrorist the script hints to, or something else altogether? Did he really die in that explosion, or is there a story left untold...?
I will step forth from the wilderness and admit to being a longstanding great admirer of this bizarre and memorable utter obscurity, Dr Domino is a fairly typical bit of Robert Kanigher oddness but I've always loved the story and have a great fondness for it despite its dated context and elements within.

The first time I read this story was in a black & white reprint magazine and alongside the well picked likes of O'Neill/Adams Batman and Bates/Swanderson Superman material, so being at near the dawn of my comicbook reading and well reread thereafter I can all but recite the dialogue on each panel of 'Target:Wonder Woman', and even the sound effects still have resonance these decades on.
Granted to anyone coming across it fresh today the weight of its incongruity when contrasted to the characterisation and storytelling we are accustomed to nowadays would probobly render it a distant and bemusing historical curiosity at best, many might not appreciate the true elegance of the scratchy Don Heck/Bob Oskner artwork, neither would the remarkably crude gender politics on the first four pages and the last win it any further admirers, and understandably so, but if one is willing to read this done-in-one tale and enjoy it on its own terms and accept its historical context then the simple but efficient plot might well gel with the emotional vulnerability on display from Diana Prince to offer something that can at least work on a basic emotional level. For the span of a few issues Diana Prince is recast as the powerless face of everyday frustrated womanhood, emotionally vulnerable and yearning to be taken on her true merits rather than the self-centered assumptions of world around her. More than that though the true cleverness of Kanigher's scripting (whether it be intentional or otherwise) is that she functions not just as some lazy crude example of the daily struggles of early 1970s feminism, but as a more direct and emotionally resonant figure whose obvious insecurities can be instantly related to be virtually every youngster who read these issues. In much the same way that Peter Parker made such a potent impression a decade earlier and since so too does Kanigher's Diana Prince offer much the same scale of emotional honesty and source of immediate empathy for her audience. Wonder Woman is her escape to be sure, but if only the powers-that-be had been more committed and able to recognise the obvious potential on offer here then the future success and broad appeal of Wonder Woman as a title might just have been very different indeed. The recalibration of the Wonder Woman format to be the story of the everyman, the downtrodden but stoic Diana prince, and her ability to transform into her stronger other-self of Wonder Woman, the real potential to develop the characters appeal for a new audience and a new era.

Perhaps the unusual vulnerability of Diana Prince would be more better accepted by the reader if one was aware of where she had been over the last year, coming after the many trauma's she had experienced in past months the sense of someone who is so obviously setting about recovering both her emotional strength while re-establishing a stable life of her own would be more understandable when going into the story on offer here, but then this is a book that was entirely of a different era (1972/3 in fact) and as such was produced with a matching set of very different audience requirements to go with the social context as seen within. For as out of character as Diana Prince's lack of self-confidence might be when faced with a new position and the challenge of making her way in an institution still dominated by men being in charge the obvious liberation and strength that switching to the heroic Wonder Woman gives her suggests a potential for a subtly different format for the series, one that might have been entirely sustainable for the longterm if only further behind the scenes chaos hadn't left the series briefly caught in a period of aimless wandering away from the UN backdrop and reprinting of (even then) woefully dated Silver-age misadventures. But for the brief moments it existed that several issue gap between the era of the powerless Diana of the Denny O'Neill era and the coming switch to reprints is one I am fond of.... No one else cares a whit of course. But that's all part of the appeal for me. \(yes\)

Thanks for the post Emrickman, great nostalgia!


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