ost in a sea of other comicbooks vieing for attention the existence of Wonder Woman '77
initially passed me by, the fact that this is digital certainly didn't help that matter but given the book has received a good deal of (largely favorable) attention elsewhere I am grateful for it coming to my attention.
A nostalgia based TV-tie in Wonder Woman '77
sits among an ever growing stable of such vintage television revivals adapted for the print medium, that there is apparently a strong enough market to support such dated and long surpassed productions is remarkable in itself, arguably more remarkable is that on occasion these projects can actually be rather successful!
Wonder Woman '77
is a digital release, meaning its potential reach is far greater than that of printed comicbooks, but also the style of its page layout differs quite dramatically from what on might expect of a nostalgia piece. Based on the late 70s series starring Lynda Carter this package confounds as despite the source material and the era it is set in the actual choice of tonal presentation follows the same pattern as James Kuhoric's deliberately ageless The Six Million Dollar Man
- While neither book is denying its nineteen-seventies setting neither does the art or visual tone play on it overmuch. And in Wonder Woman's case artist Drew Johnston is using such a modern and detailed style that the visual element of the story pages sometimes feels at odds with the actual scripted social fads and politics of of the era which Mark Andreyenko makes great play of.
It's the 1970s, featuring a Wonder Woman
patterned on the comicbooks of the 1970s, but in a calculated move the creative team have avoided any sense of this being taken as some lazy send-up of an era gone by, and... it works!
Being digital download the presentation and layouts avoid the multi-grid panel approach of conventional and traditional comicbooks, in the case of Wonder Woman '77
this modernism is a shame, as unlike the Six-Million Dollar man or even The Incredible Hulk series of the same era the television version of Wonder Woman was a very faithful adaptation of the comics version and all off the whimsy therein. That Mark Andreyenko and Drew Johnson's Wonder Woman is based on that series then should not maake the curious reader assume that this then will be a series update of Wonder Woman comics in the 70s. No, this is more a release that takes the world of the television series and uses it as the starting point to explore it using a more modern means and with attention made to more modern reader expectations. The world of quaint 70s television espionage meets post-modernism, and nowhere more apparent, and paradoxical, than Wonder Woman's declaration that Wonder Woman belongs to the world, not just America.
As the simple plot of a russian specialist groups incursion into America sees Diana Prince and Steve Trevor enter the world of Disco clubbing the surprise last page appearance of a familiar comicbook foe places her in a very effective setting, as headline act of the Studio 52 club one can see in hindsight how the producrs of the television series would have used her in just the same fashion, she fits in perfectly with the era and the flamboyance of the Disco stars of the era...
The story is brief. The page layouts perhaps too large. But if you don't demand complexity from your reads then Wonder Woman '77
is a very good example of instant nostalgia being serviced. Anyone with a fondness for the old television series and the more innocent times of DC comics of the 70's will embrace the approach taken with this book. Part fond tribute and part welcome continuation of that long ago series.
Opening with a genre specific version of Wonder Woman facing a typically archaic all-girl Russian hit squad Wonder Woman '77s true appeal comes, surprisingly, in the approach taken to realising Diana Prince for the printed page. Freed of the practical restraints and limitations that came with the low budget television source Mark Andreyenko and Drew Johnson can utilise the freedom of the illustrated medium to deliver a version of the character more comfortable in herself and able and willing to be more proactive in her approach to her work. Seen within is a Diana Prince who is seemingly much less concerned in maintaining a clear division between her two identities.
Here, investigating the Studio 52 club, Diana Prince breaks with the strict rules set in the television show by using her Amazon strength to alight a balcony in order to gain a clear view of the floor below. As illustrated by Drew Johnston's Diana's reinterpretation for this book is nowhere better seen than in the page above. Here is seen a noteworthy departure from the clear division between the Wonder Woman/Prince identities the show established, but indicative of the more modern spin of which writer Andreyenko brings to this updating and tribute of that series...