Monday, May 09, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 9, 1909: Happy birthday, Steve Trevor, happy birth...oh. Never mind.

This is an expanded and updated version of a post originally published May 9, 2017.

Hey, happy birthday, Steve Trevor, always played by Lyle Waggoner in my head!

from DC Comics: Bombshells #1 (DC, October 2015); script, pencils, inks, and colors by Marguerite Bennett; letters by Wes Abbott, for more than one reason. First: this is neither the pre-Crisis or post-Crisis DC Universe. This is Bombshell-Earth, where are the heroes are glamourous women filling the roles of supers generally presented as men, with more than a hint of sapphic themes. (I don't know what that means and I'm just guessing it has to do with maple syrup.) So, happy birthday, Steve Trevor on an Earth where your existence doesn't really matter!

So what is the "real" Steve Trevor's birthday, either pre-Crisis or post-Crisis? Well, that's just it: we don't know. At least as far as my research takes me, Steve Trevor's birthday has never been identified in any comic book old and expense or new and 52. (If you know of some such reference, even if it doesn't have a date, please let me know in the comments!)

Well, you say (and it's a very good question you're about to get to), isn't Steve Trevor's birthday noted in the Super DC Calendar '76, the usual definite source for DCU characters' birthdays on Earth-1 and Earth-2 (at least in the pre-crisis years?) Funnily enough, no. I flipped through every page of my 1976 calendar and was beweildered to find it didn't list Steve's birthday. Seeing as virtually every other supporting character at DC was listed then (oddly enough, all having different and distinct birthdays from everyone else), that'sweird. Until I remembered:

As of the printing of the '76 calendar, Steve Trevor is dead, so he iisn't included among the calendar's birthday buddies. He's not only comics dead, he's also ergonomics dead! Witness WW #180, towards the beginning of the five-year storyline of no-powers and an Asian sidekick Emma Peel-style Diana Prince:

cover of Wonder Woman (1942 series) #180 (DC, January 1969), pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Dick Giordano, letters by Gaspar Saladino

What she did to him? Ehhh, more like what Dr. Cyber did to him, altho' Diana's pretty chock-full o' angst about it. In the previous issue Steve landed in the hospital after an attack by the forces of Cyber...say, would that make them CyberForce?

from Wonder Woman #180; plot and dialogue by Denny O'Neil, pencils and continuity by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Dick Giordano, letters by Ray Holloway

Well, at least Steve seems to be recovering while he's in the hospital, and OH FOR PETE'S SAKE STORY

Say, Mike Sekowsky, just why did Steve Trevor have to die? Letters, we get letters!

from the letter column in Wonder Woman #195 (DC, July 1971)

Yes, Mike Sekowsky killed off "dull and boring" Steve Trevor in the exact same issue he introduced a blander version of Steve Trevor, private eye Tim Trench.

from Wonder Woman #180

Six years and forty-three issues later (real-world publishing time) WW's status quo returns when she regains her powers and regular costume, courtesy of a different creative team. The return to traditional values satin tights is just in time for the bicentennial — and more important, pretty simultaneous with her originally-garbed character being played on ABC-TV by the effervescent Lynda Carter:

cover of Wonder Woman (1942 series) #223 (April 1976), pencils and inks by Ernie Chan, letters by Gaspar Saladino

It's a tale as old as time, song as old a rhyme, telling you the title would be a crime:

from Wonder Woman #223; script by Martin Pasko, pencils by José Delbo, inks by Tex Blaisdell, letters by Milt Snapinn (?)

Another massive retcon! Turns out that when Diana regained her powers, she lost her memory of I-Ching and her own Action Amazon days! (Apparently also forgetting Steve was dead.)

Then, she has to deal with animated clay figures on Paradise Island! (Um, you're an animated clay figure on Paradise Island, Di.)

What could be the second part of the title, and who could the mysterious clay figure be? I bet it's Gumby.

Aphrodite, who's responible for all this fol-de-rol, prepares to squish Clay Trevor back up into a ball and push him back into the Play-Doh can. Don't mix up all the colors, Aphro! I hate when somebody does that.

Di convinces her to restore the life of Steve Trevor (and I guess, his non-clay nature), and we're back from retconning the series to be the way it was pre-1969. Comics: the illusion of change, never the reality.

So now that you've come zestfully back to life, Steve, can I wish ya a happy birthday? Even though it's not your birthday in this universe, and you know, we may never find out when it is.

1 comment:

Dean said...

Was General Hospital Colonel Trevor's commanding officer?