Tuesday, November 19, 2013
YEAR 1944: GIGANTA
In the original Marston-Peter WONDER WOMAN series, Giganta was something of a penny-ante player. She begins life in WONDER WOMAN #9 as a female gorilla, whom wacky inventor Professor Zool transforms into a muscular red-headed human being, automatically gifted with human speech though tending to talk in a rough patois suggesting her animal nature. Zool accomplishes this miracle in a far more merciful manner than his symbolic ancestor Doctor Moreau: using an energy-radiating "evolution machine." However, the machine gets out of control and reverts the rest of the world to caveman days. Wonder Woman's endeavors to set things right are complicated by the "gorilla girl" and her attempt to create a new regime governed by pure force. Giganta's only other Golden Age appearance was her alliance with the criminal group "Villainy Inc," for which a separate essay is necessary.
Within the corpus of the Marston mythology, Giganta's main significance was as another example of Marston playing with expectations about body-form, since Giganta's drawn to be far taller and more muscular than the average woman. This was not one of Marston's more pronounced tropes, though he did also execute a couple of stories about super-tall Amazons.
Giganta might have been largely forgotten had she not been selected to be a charter member of the "Legion of Doom" in the 1970s SUPER FRIENDS cartoon. This brought about a change in her powers and status that DC Comics has continued to exploit in current comics, and will receive separate treatment later as well.