It all began in 1940 in All-Star Comics #3, when All-Star Publishing joined their most popular superheroes together as The Justice Society of America. The logic was that kids would be more likely to spend their shiny dimes on a story featuring all their favorite characters working together than a book focused on a single hero or an anthology with multiple, unrelated stories. Logic won out in this case and thus was born both the first superhero team and a long tradition of comic book team-ups.
Hither now comes Wonder Woman/Conan #1, which on the surface might seem the most unlikely pairing in comics’ long history. The popular wisdom is that these two characters could not be more different. Most imagine Conan as an illiterate berserker – a man of few words and swift action. Wonder Woman, comics’ most famous feminist icon, is seen as a calmer presence, given to long thoughts and preaching peace. The truth is quite different in the case of both characters.
While frequently portrayed as dumb muscle in the wake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan movies, the original character was quite different. Described as “strong and supple” in the original pulp fictions by Robert E. Howard, Conan was frequent compared to a panther or a wolf in battle. While he found little use in “the arguments of theologians and scholars”, Conan did understand them, having “squatted for hours in the courtyards of the philosophers.” Conan was also a surprisingly egalitarian character, respecting any who could prove their worth in war, man or woman. And everyone who has seen this summer’s Wonder Woman movie can vouch that The Amazing Amazon is hardly some hippie harridan who shies away from a fight!
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Gail Simone proves the perfect writer to pen this tale. Simone has extensive experience crafting sword-and-sorcery tales, having written a 12-issue arc on Red Sonja that fan-demand expanded to 18 issues. Her Conan/Red Sonja mini-series with Jim Zub – the first team-up between the characters since Marvel Comics held the license for both – was loved by Conan purists as well as fans of The She-Devil With A Sword. Simone is also one of the most respected Wonder Woman writers in the business, having co-written the 2009 animated Wonder Woman movie and a beloved run on the monthly Wonder Woman comic.
Simone’s former partner on the comic, Aaron Lopresti, provides the pencils for this issue. The entirety of this book showcases why Simone and Lopresti’s partnership drew frequent comparison to that of Marv Wolfman and George Perez in terms of the writing and the artwork being of equal eloquence.
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.