From ‘Selenia’ by Sergio Macedo in Heavy Metal magazine no 1 April 1977
I am not a person who enjoys being edgy or contrarian at all, but my most controversial pop culture opinion is that Wonder Woman’s coolest period was the two years of the “New Wonder Woman” by Sekowsky and Giordano, where Diana lost her superstrength, started dressing in a hip 1970s mod fashion, started learning Kung Fu from a little old Chinese man who was her buddy, and became a secret agent, using Asian martial arts weapons like katanas and nunchaku, as well as James Bond esque spy gadgets and supercars. Wonder Woman actually started to have cool 70s girl pals in the big city she could gab with after leaving the dojo, and actually dated guys (gasp!). Wonder Woman’s best archfoe, Dr. Cyber, a mix between Blofeld and a lady Doctor Doom, was also introduced here. Also, the art by Sekowsky and Giordano was top notch.
Everyone brings this era up as a “man, what were they thinking” and it really bugs me this period is remembered that way, because it looked great and was really dynamic. I think they created something that could have lasted the test of time, and I am sorry they felt the need to be conservative and rebound to her 50s Kanigher era status quo. Also, I think history is being rewritten. Everyone thought this was very cool at the time (and I have the fanzine articles to prove it) but who will admit that today?
Photos of 1980s record stores (HMV mostly).
I don’t want to sound like an old-timer, or maybe I do, but there was something special about walking into a record store and buying an album. You were basically buying a memory: the trip to the store, maybe you ran into a friend that day, the sights, the smells, the weather, the pretty girl behind the counter that made you feel overly aware of yourself, the serious, funky-looking guy hunched over the racks with obscure 45s, the trip home with your prey in a bag that carried the record store logo, that little magical moment when you heard the intro to the first track and studied the album cover: the art, the font, the photos, lyrics, the credits even. “Oh, so that’s who’s playing the fiddle…”
I don’t have many memories of buying digital music. “Oh man, that time I pressed ‘Purchase’ on my computer, what a day.” But that’s how it goes. And I’m not complaining. Because…
Crap. It’s raining. You arrive at the store, all wet and feeling weird. With soaking steps, like an alien that just landed, you walk to the right section and flip through the records. It isn’t there—that record you want, it isn’t there. You check again, and again more frantically, but no, it didn’t magically appear out of the blue in the meantime, they really don’t have it. Unbelievable. You ask the girl behind the counter. The moment she says she’ll check on her computer, you want to turn around and walk. But that would be rude, so you nod and stand there waiting like a wet stray dog. The girl says there should be one copy left, so together you walk back to the scene of your disappointment and browse those same racks again. Still the record hasn’t magically appeared. The girl suggests that someone might have misplaced it and quickly checks here and there. You stand there, undergoing this. Then she says that awful thing. You’ve been expecting it, dreading it. And now here it comes. You prepare yourself.
Her lips part, they are starting to form a shape, you know what’s coming, you hate it, you sweat, you twitch, you want to scream and run, but it’s too late: “I could order a copy for you.” Now the path has been split in two. If you say “No”, it’ll be like saying, “Fuck you and your store.” But if you say “Yes”, you’re stuck—you could end up having to wait an agonizing 3 weeks; you’ll be 3 weeks older, sadder, you might not even be around anymore, it’s like the distant future.
You used to just say “Yes” and simply never return, avoiding the store forever afterwards. Until your mother, who always had to sort out the mess, intervened: “Look,” she said one day, “just tell them you’ll look around a bit more. Then leave and look elsewhere. You can always return to order a copy if nobody else has the record you want.”
Looking at the floor, not at the girl, like someone on trial, you say the words. They come out of your mouth like you don’t know what’s happening to you, but she accepts them and leaves you alone. You’re free again. You don’t leave the store right away however. A kind of weird, misplaced politeness, passed down from your ancestors, forces you to hang around the store for a few minutes more, pretending to browse records. Then finally enough time has passed, and you disappear.
To your joy, you do find a copy at a different store, one that you always avoid because you once placed an order there and never showed up; but to your dismay, it’s crazy expensive. What is it made of, pure gold? You can’t really be happy with it now. The new price has been plastered over the old one; peeling it away a bit, you see the record used to be significantly cheaper. You wonder if the price went up because word got out someone has been looking for it.
But you don’t have much of a choice, so you buy the record, avoiding eye contact with the clerk who examines you suspiciously.
It’s still raining. You run into Billy Bouma. Billy is the scourge of the area, a big-boned kid who looks like a 45-year-old construction worker. He attempts to come after you but he’s unsuccessful, something he can’t get used to early enough. You wonder if these guys ever have places to go to or things to do, or if they have just been inserted at various sites along the road to make life harder for you.
When you arrive home, your dad’s there. “Found a record I wanted,” you say, holding it up. He immediately checks the price and lets out a sound. “What is made of, pure gold?” You walk up the creaky stairs to your room, change clothes, then put on the record.
After listening to the album a few times, you realize there’s not one song on it that you truly like.
One of these actresses as characters I fell in love with when I was 6, one of them I fell in love with when I was 14, one of the actresses I know very vaguely, and one I’ve been friends with for 22 years.