Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More What The ...?

Unlike the various Conan comics about which I've posted recently, I know nothing about this October 1972 issue of Wonder Woman (issue 202), having only recently learned of its existence. It takes place during the era in which Wonder Woman no longer has any super-powers and apparently fights alongside Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Sure, that makes sense. (Actually, it does: DC published a swords-and-sorcery comic line called Sword of Sorcery, featuring Leiber's duo, the first issue of which was in early 1973. The two-part Wonder Woman storyline featuring them was intended as their introduction to DC readers)

Has anyone out there read these issues and can fill me in on the details? They can't possibly be worse than Conan dressing like a pimp, can they?

22 comments:

  1. Samuel Delany wrote it. It was well-regarded at the time.

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  2. Wonder Woman being turned from a greek myth figure into an Emma Peel type character was one of the biggest mort's in comics history. Throwing F & GM into the mix is just another layer of lame.

    DC only topped this "What tha f*ck" when they put one of my favorite characters, Johan Hex, into a futuristic Mad Max setting.

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  3. Why is it always a Land "Beyond Time" or "That Time Forgot"? Why can't it ever be a "Land Somewhere in Time's General Vicinity That Time Doesn't Think About Very Often Except Maybe on its Birthday"?

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  4. According to the page here, DC reprinted this in volume 4 of the "Diana Prince: Wonder Woman" trade collections.

    My local library actually has that volume. I think I'll put it on reserve and see how the story is.

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  5. Since Leiber made it plain that Fafhrd and the Mouser went on several interdimensional journeys, I'm mostly nonplussed about this issue. Visiting the DC Universe is basically part of their day job as heroes.

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  6. "October 1972 issue of Woman Woman" should probably read Wonder Woman instead of Woman Woman, though I think that would be an awesome name for a comic.

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  7. Visiting the DC Universe is basically part of their day job as heroes.

    That's a fair point. It's frankly no more bizarre than visiting our universe, which they've done on a few occasions (as has Elric, come to think of it), but, for reasons I can't quite explain, I always find superhero cross-overs somehow more unbelievable than other kinds. I can't explain why but there it is.

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  8. Brandon,

    Thanks for catching that. The text is now fixed.

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  9. I found a typo in your post, it says "can't be worse than conan dressing as a pimp" when it should be "must be worse than conan dressing as a pimp", because everything is worse than the BEST THING EVER!

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. I've noticed recently there's been big surge in "what if " type storylines in both the literary and entertainment world. One of the best has been over at suvudu.com were the famous "who's who" of fantasy have been duking it out by fan votes. Many people( including a few famous writers) have even written blow by blow account stories on who would win at a given match. some of the stories have been really good if not truly excellent.

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  12. Sure, James. I blogged about it back in January: http://sorcerersskull.blogspot.com/2010/01/sword-sorcery-heroes-in-bronze-age-part_21.html

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  13. @Zzarchov,

    James M. probably meant to say "they can't possibly be badder than Conan dressing like a pimp".

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  14. Samuel Delany wrote it??

    My brain asplode.

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  15. I own a copy. It's one of my favorites from that era.

    Diana Prince and Catwoman are thrown into Newhon by the "Fist of Flame", a magical gem, along with an elderly Chinese gentleman by the name of "I-Ching". Immediately, they find themselves set upon by Fafhrd and the Mouser. After a fight in which Diana gets Fafhrd in an armlock and the Mouser gets the drop on Catwoman, they all discover that they are looking for the same thing, a twin gem to the Fist of Flame called the "Eye of the Ocean". I-Ching informs the group that one may look into one gem to see what is around the other (Diana does so and sees Jonny Double, her current squeeze, tied up, while I-Ching notes that another person in the vision is his daughter, Lu Shan, who had betrayed everyone in the last issue). We learn from a Lu Shan monologue that both gems are needed to power a "Dimensional Energy Transfer Matrix Machine", which will open a gate between Newhon and Earth, which Lu Shan intends to use to loot Newhon. Diana, Catwoman, and I-Ching decide to team up with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, to defeat a sorcerer named Gawron, who seems to also have a Dimension Energy Transfer Matrix Machine (yes, they write the whole thing out every time).

    Catwoman and the Mouser steal into Gawron's fortress by a hidden back way, only to be stopped by the sorcerer himself, with the most excellent, overblown dialogue: "I -- Sorcerer Gawron -- have forbidden that anyone come into the presence of my Dimensional Energy Transfer Matrix Machine. From this transgression… you will die!"

    Meanwhile, the rest of our heroes fight through the guards at the front door and also find themselves in the presence of the Dimensional Energy Transfer Matrix Machine. A random jump of the Eye of the Ocean (the gems jump to and away from each other randomly, something which can be controlled by the Dimensional Energy Transfer Matrix Machine), bringing Lu Shan, Jonny, and a few of Lu Shan's guards. There is a big fight, during which I-Ching gets both gems and sacrifices his life to get them into the Dimensional Energy Transfer Matrix Machine. Our heroes, including the Newhonians, escape through the gate that is created. As he passes through last, the Mouser grabs the Eye of the Ocean.

    Now in our world, Fafhrd and the Mouser head outside for adventure in a new world, but are baffled by cars, pollution, and construction noise. The construction workers remark, "Is that what hippies are wearing now, Frank? Before it was flag shirts and military jackets."

    Fafhrd and the Mouser run back inside, and another random jump of the gem takes them back to Newhon. There's a note that a Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series will be starting up soon, to be titled "Swords Against Sorcery". The End.

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  16. Whoops, my mistake. I-Ching does not sacrifice his life, as he is around at the end.

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  17. Hey, gang, to read the Wonder Woman comic online you might want to go to:
    http://www.htmlcomics.com/Book/html.asp?Series_Name=Wonder%20Woman%20(V1)&Book_No=202&Page_Number=7&Alpha=W&Lookup=

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  18. "Swiftly Fafhrd - slay the wench!"

    "I cannot Mouser. I...I don't want them to stop wrestling."

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  19. I wonder if James knows about Bill Willingham's "almost but not quite" appearance of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser in Fables, where two guys similar in appearance (one is called mouse) end up being killed and re-animated by a major villain.

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  20. Geez, I knew Fafhrd was bigger than the Mouser, but this is ridiculous! :)

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  21. I wonder if James knows about Bill Willingham's "almost but not quite" appearance of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser in Fables, where two guys similar in appearance (one is called mouse) end up being killed and re-animated by a major villain.

    This is news to me!

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  22. They also show up in a very early Conan the Barbarian comics tale, by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. They are called Blackrat and Fafnir, there, a pair of thieves that Conan stumbles upon and quickly slays. A definite tip of the hat to Leiber.

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