Posts Tagged ‘bondage’

Comic Archetypes: The Golden Age Hypnotic Heroine

History: Looking over the diverse cast of hypnotic characters in the Golden Age of Comics (which is the period from the start of comics publication through the end of WW II) one is eventually struck by the rampant sexism and male domination involved. There were a number of villains whose primary motif was some form of hypnosis in the Golden Age, but almost every one was male, from the shady sideshow hypnotists and crafty con artists to the mysterious mystics and malevolent magicians to the sinister scientists and demented doctors. Which should be no surprise, as there were very few female villains at all during that time. Also, the great majority of these characters were “one-shot” characters who only appeared in a single issue: for re-occurring characters like Lex Luthor, hypnotic control of the hero was a ploy they might use on rare occasions but never specialized in. Strangely enough, or, rather, more likely another sign of the times, is that such hypnotic control was rarely used against or by women. 

There were a few exceptions, of course, such as the reoccurring Justice Society villainess Harlequin, who used a pair of hypnotic glasses as part of her circus clown motif, but she was a much more sympathetic character and eventually reformed, and the one-shot villainess Lady Serpent, who used her hypnotic gaze to mesmerize a female jail guard into letting her escape, yet her foe, the Black Terror, forewarned about her powers, was able to resist her. (Curiously, Catwoman would use use the same trick to escape prison in a much later comic, hypnotizing a female guard with a cat’s‑eye-jeweled locket.) It almost seems as though the comics writers just didn’t want to or weren’t allowed to have a female character, hero or villain, who could control the male characters: it was acceptable for Luthor to put Superman under his hypnotic control, but no woman could. Given the sexism of the culture at the time, that seems a likely explanation. 

But there was one exception to all of this sexism, the most famous heroine of this era and possibly any era. And that was Wonder Woman. 

⇒ Continue reading “Comic Archetypes: The Golden Age Hypnotic Heroine”

Copyright © 2010-2021 Terry O'Brien / Arisian Enterprises All Rights Reserved

Skip to toolbar