So this election has me thinking, and that’s an understatement. I’m the grateful recipient of the thick and heavy Wonder Woman Golden Age Omnibus #1, which reprints the first few years of William Moulton Marston’s Amazon princess’ adventures. Inside is a story I’ve always wanted to read.
I’d seen the cover before; it’s Wonder Woman running for president in the year 3,000. Even strongly feminist Marston believed that it would take 1,000 years before a woman could be president (and in view of this year’s election, he may have been right!). The first impression I got was that I had seen that picture, that pose, before. And here it is, drawn by Nell Brinkley in 1928, for a series called “Dimples Daydreams,” in which our flapper heroine imagines running for president only 8 years after women got the vote.
The story inside the Wonder Woman comic is strangely prescient. In the year 3,000, America finally has a woman president, Arda Moore, who wears a slinky evening gown and, like then real life president FDR, smokes cigarettes in a long holder. Senator Heeman, leader of the Man’s World party, forces his way into the president’s office and confronts her. He demands the release from Federal prison of former political leader Grafton Patronage. President Moore responds, “Grafton Patronage! Why that crook represents all that was bad and corrupt in the political rule of men and which was ended by my election!”
Heeman raves, “You women are feather brained idealists! You’ve stopped us men from making money out of public office! You’ve taught people to elect officials who serve the public and expect nothing for themselves!” to which President Moore comments, “Quite so!”
When President Moore refuses the pardon, Grafton attempts a prison break, which of course Wonder Woman foils. But it’s not over! Steve Trevor is duped into running for president on the Man’s Party, led by one professor Manly and his “purple shirts.” For some reason, President Moore refuses to run against Steve, so Diana Price runs for president, with Etta Candy at her side as vice president. On election night the Woman’s Party is winning when Manly’s purple shirts invade the “vote counting rooms”, steal the ballots, and substitute fake ballots which show Steve Trevor winning. Steve finally realizes he’s been duped and demands a recount, whereupon Manly attempts to destroy the real ballots. Of course Wonder Woman wins in the end, but does this situation sound vaguely familiar?
Back to Dimples and her grand imagination. She is elected president! And look at her, a mere 8 years after women got the vote: she’s wearing a pantsuit!