I already posted this picture once before:

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But I thought I’d talk about it a little more. As I said, it’s Mark Waid and Ty Templeton, and it’s part of a seriesof crazed Silver Age Tribute Elseworlds covers they did. You should look at them all if you haven’t already; the one with Gorilla Grodd as Christopher Columbus is amazing, as is the one with Batman as the Biblical Adam worried that Eve will discover his double identity.

This cover is great too though. I’ve spent a fair bit of time here talking about the ways in which Wonder Woman is an impossible character to get right. Even doing Wonder Woman satire often falls flat…and when it works, as in Darwyn Cooke’s WW meets Playboy goof, it’s rarely anywhere near as funny as the Marston/Peter original series.

This is an exception though; that image is truly cracked. Part of its success, I think, is that it plugs into, and scrambles, some of the weird gender dynamics that inspired Marston in the first place. Basically, that cover is extremely, bizarrely Freudian. Luthor goes into the past to despoil the matriarchal paradise, “romancing” not only Hippolyta, but WW as well, who remakes herself in his image. Having her shave herself bald is just an awesomely ridiculous thing to do; on the one hand, it’s the ultimate negation of the character (who is more or less defined by her connection to the beauty of Aphrodite;) on the other hand, though, it makes her really butch, which is something that was definitely implicit (and often explicit) in the early WW stories. There’s also more than a tinge of Marston’s control fetish here: Big Daddy Luthor can make Wonder Woman do “whatever her father commands!” And the text up top is funnier if you know Steve Trevor at all…that incompetent is supposed to replace the uber-patriarch? Yeah, I can picture that scene.

It’s true that Ty Templeton is no Harry Peter…but the art is serviceable, and its stiffness (reminiscent of Ross Andru?) is charming in context. And what a completely insane idea. I’ve called Mark Waid a hack in the past, but this cover and the others in this series, are really brilliant. I almost wish he’d write one of these stories out…or do some other humor tale. Has he ever written an entire book that looks anything like this? Because I would buy it in a second.

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