The voyage of the Abraham Lincoln was for a long time marked by no special incident. But one circumstance happened which showed the wonderful dexterity of Ned Land, and proved what confidence we might place in him. The 30th of June, the frigate spoke some American whalers, from whom we learned that they knew nothing about the narwhal. But one of them, the captain of the Monroe, knowing that Ned Land had shipped on board the Abraham Lincoln, begged for his help in chasing a whale they had in sight. Commander Farragut, desirous of seeing Ned Land at work, gave him permission to go on board the Monroe, and fate served our Canadian so well that, instead of one whale, he harpooned two with a double blow, striking one straight to the heart, and catching the other after some minutes’ pursuit.
The ABCs of Women in Comics: W is for Wonder Girl.
Donna Troy, the original Wonder Girl, was an ordinary young child, who adopted by the Amazons of Paradise Island and raised as one of their own. Donna would leave Paradise Island and join Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash and other young superheroes to form the Teen Titans. No wait, that’s not right.
Donna Troy was a magical construct, created by Queen Hippolyta using a magic mirror that brought the Queen’s daughter’s reflection to life. Princess Diana, who would one day grow up to be Wonder Woman, was the only child on Paradise Island. The magical reflection soon gained a life of her own, and was given the name Donna Troy….Come to think of it, that’s not right either.
Donna Troy is an angry duplicate being created from clay and sent on a mission to destroy Wonder Woman…?! Wait, seriously, that’s what we’re going with this time, DC?
Who Is Donna Troy? To learn the answer to that, you have to look behind the scenes.
Donna Troy was created by accident. Wonder Girl was originally just a teenaged version of Wonder Woman, just like the silver age Superboy was a younger version of Superman. Wonder Girl gave writers a chance to go back and tell stories about Diana as a younger, less experienced character. Later, through magic and a bit of time travel, Adult Diana and Teen Diana would team up together, sometimes with Wonder Tot, Diana as a baby. The three Dianas would be featured on covers together. When putting together a group of young heroes and sidekicks to form the Teen Titans, legendary writer Bob Haney would see Wonder Girl and add her to the team. So, young Diana would be seen hanging out with the sidekicks of her contemporaries in the Justice League, because research was for lesser men in the eyes of Mr Haney (and everyone else involved in the comic too, I presume.)
Later creators, like Marv Wolfman and George Perez, would go back and make Wonder Girl a character of her own, giving her the name Donna Troy and making her Wonder Woman’s sister. When DC Comics had their continuity altering story “Crisis On Infinite Earths" Donna’s origin had to be changed to reflect a new connection to a new, younger Wonder Woman, and produced New Teen Titans #38. That origin stood until the next earth shattering story “Zero Hour" and Donna’s life would be retconned again. In fact, her story would become so convoluted that every time a new writer would take over the character, they would try to”fix" their predecessors’ take on Donna, resulting in a Gordian Knot like series of intertwining yet conflicting stories. Despite all of this, Donna Troy was always an extremely popular part of the DC Universe, having been a key part of the Teen Titans history, joining the galactic peace keeping force known as the Darkstars for a time, substituting for Diana and claiming the mantle of Wonder Woman on occasion, and being a member of the Justice League as well. In the current, post New 52 era of DC Comics, Donna has been remade once again, having recently being shown as an enemy of Wonder Woman. I haven’t read that story yet, but I can only assume it’s just a matter of time until she’s back on the side of the heroes and standing beside her on again/off again sister once again.
Zatanna Zatara first appeared in Hawkman #4, way back in 1964. She encountered Hawkman while looking for her missing father, stage magician and actual magician turned mystery man, Giovanni Zatara. From there, she would go through books starring the Atom, Batman, and Green Lantern, before finally capping off her story in the pages of the Justice League of America, making her story one of the earliest crossovers in DC history. Like her father, Zatanna uses her day job as an illusionist to cover up her actual magical abilities, and travels from town to town, investigating supernatural phenomenon. She also casts her spells by speaking backwards, just like dear old dad. To save herself from being shot, she could say “stelluB otni srewolf!” and change the deadly lead into harmless daffodils.
Zatanna would eventually join the Justice League, and serve the team off and on throughout the years. Zatanna was a huge part of the team for most of the 1970s, being an integral part of their “Satellite years.” Aside from the Justice League, Zatanna is often associated with Batman, having met a young Bruce Wayne when he was learning sleight of hand and escape artistry from her father Zatara. When both of them became part of the costumed crime fighter scene, their friendship would be tested on more than one occasion, but eventually everything would work out in the end. She was a part of Batman: The Animated Series as well, guest starring in an episode dedicated to Bruce’s time training with her family. Zatanna was also a part of Smallville, meeting young Clark Kent during his journey to becoming Superman.
Zatanna is one of DC’s most popular characters, having headlined her own title, mini series, and one shots in the past. Even though she’s often featured in their tv shows and cartoons, and she’ll probably make her way to the big screen someday too, Zatanna and her backwards spell casting always works best in the comics. The visual gag of her backwards speech works better when the reader can see it, instead of hearing it on screen, where it just sounds like gibberish. Personally, I’m a big fan of Zatanna. The idea of an actual magician posing as a stage magician, hiding in plain sight as the case may be, is a lot of fun, and Zatanna takes full advantage of it. Zatanna was a book I really missed when DC pulled the plug on the old universe and gave us the New 52. Since then, she’s been a part of the Justice League Dark title, a group of heroes dedicated to fighting supernatural menaces. While it’s always good to see Z in a starring role, I enjoyed the more light hearted and fun approach of her solo title.