Cover of Wonder Comics #1: The only appearance of Wonder Man.
|First appearance||Wonder Comics #1 (May 1939)|
|Created by||Will Eisner|
|Alter ego||Fred Carson|
|Abilities||Vast super strength, speed & stamina, multiple extra sensory and vision powers, invulnerability, longevity, flight.|
Fictional character history
Wonder Man's secret identity is Fred Carson. During an excursion to Tibet, an old monk bestows Carson with a ring that gave him the power to fight evil when the need arose. His powers are almost exactly like those of Superman, the character he's based on.
Wonder Man was created by Will Eisner in the Eisner-Iger Shop for Victor Fox, who was publishing astrology magazines when he ran across his distributor's reports on the incredible sales for National Periodicals' Action Comics in February 1939. He immediately decided to get into the comic book business, setting up offices in the same building DC had theirs, then contacted Eisner. Using the pen name Willis, Eisner wrote and drew the first issue of Wonder Comics which appeared on the news stands less than six weeks later.
On March 15, 1939 DC Comics brought a Copyright infringement lawsuit against Fox, due to the character's similarities to Superman, as well as story and illustration elements that were similar to previous Superman adventures. The case was brought to court in Detective Comics, 111 F.2d 432 (2d Cir. 1940), in which Eisner defended the originality of his creation. Despite this testimony, the subsequent decision forced Fox to drop the character after just one issue.
This was the first Copyright lawsuit in comic book history and set a precedent for DC Comics' vigorous protection of its characters (see also National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications).
The dispute is depicted in disguised fashion in Eisner's semi-autobiographical graphic novel, The Dreamer. However, this depiction is at odds with Eisner's own testimony at the trial, transcripts of which were unearthed in 2010.
See Master Man for a similar character.
- Wonder Man at Toonopedia
- Wonder Comics #1 - A Wonderful Prize? Article on Wonder Man ring prize from Wonder Comics #1.
- Article by Mikel Midnight, from material by Ron Goulart
- Court transcripts and analysis of testimony in the case of Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc. from The Comics Detective.
- Transcript of Eisner's testimony at trial