Why, This House Is No Fun At All!

When flipping through DC’s recent Showcase Presents Wonder Woman trade, the reader is often confronted with far, far more questions than they get answers to. Questions like…


Why did the US Government build a hundred foot-tall stick of dynamite?


Why is Wonder Woman’s marriage to Steve Trevor entirely contingent upon her wrestling a shark?



And perhaps most importantly…

Why are all of these stories about Wonder Woman shrinking?


If you think about it though, the answer should be pretty obvious: Because Bob Kanigher. That’s why.

Once that little bit of logic is applied, everything else makes a lot more sense–relatively speaking–but there are still stories in there that stick out even when you consider that they were written by the guy who brought us the Metal Men and managed to out-crazy even Bob Haney with stories like The Gunner is a Gorilla. Take, for instance, 1958’s “The Fun House of Time” from Wonder Woman #101.

Whenever a Fun House shows up in a super-hero title, it’s not going to be any fun whatsoever. It’s one of the last unbroken rules of comics, and as someone who grew up in South Carolina and attended the County Fair on a number of occasions, I’ve never once gone into one of those things and ended up fighting for my life against a series of deathtraps, each more diabolical than the last.

Clearly, I’ve been missing out.

Wonder Woman, however, suffers from no such problem:



The whole shindig gets kicked off when Wonder Woman and her reasonably useless and vaguely militaristic sidekick Steve Trevor head out to one of the charity carnivals that one can assume were held weekly back in the late ’50s. See, they’ve been invited out to be the first couple to test out the ride by the friendly (yet Cryptkeeperesque) proprietor of the Fun House, Ty M. Master. And yes, they have to say his full name–including the completely unnecessary middle initial–like five times and still have to be told that he’s actually the villainous Time Master.

Anyway, once entering, they find themselves confronted with a room full of doors and, after picking one out and going through it, end up in the time of dinosaurs fighting a giant pterodactyl.

Now, one would assume that this would be the point where all traditional logic would go rocketing out the window, but beleive it or not, Kanigher managest to actually top his own crazy within three panels:



His pistol doesn’t work… because it hasn’t been invented yet. “But Chris!” you may well be saying to yourself at this point, “Clothes hadn’t been invented either, and they’re not walking around naked! Why doesn’t–”

Because Bob Kanigher. That’s why.

Wonder Woman’s able to save them by lassoing a convenient meteor and using it to create a smoke screen, and once they’re teleported back into the room with all the doors, they start to suspect that something fishy’s going on. Time Master pops in to tell them that he plans to destroy them, blah blah blah, and their only chance is to find him hiding behind one of the doors. So they pick one, and end up in the middle of the ocean circa 1492, being sucked into a whirlpool along with Christopher Columbus’s flagship.



The Pinto, hm? Looks like that whole Wisdom of Athena thing’s working out pretty well for you.

Anyway, Wonder Woman sets things right with Columbus & Co., and once she heads up to the future to harness the power of 1.21 gigawatts of electricity…



…she figures out that she can easily defeat the Time Master by vibrating her molecules so that she can go through the doors without actually opening them. This was, for the record, the method by which every single DC comics super-villain was defeated in the ’50s. “Vibrating your molecules” was the “sentient nanotechnology” of its day.

Thus, evil is defeated once again, we’re left with a pretty incomprehensible moral to send us on our way:



Yes, children of the ’50s, evil will always be defeated, because the world is like an eternal amusement park. Strong words, Mr. Kanigher. Strong words.

47 thoughts on “Why, This House Is No Fun At All!

  1. It’s good to see that comics Steve Trevor is as lame as TV Steve Trevor.

    But that’s three non-ROM entries in a row. Does that mean that ROM week only actually went for a week?

    for shame, chris.

  2. I’ve read about 100 or so pages of this book so far, and besides the story you highlighted here, pretty much every story seems to be based around one of two plots:

    a) Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor make a wager where she has to marry him if ________ happens three times in 24 hours


    b) There are multiple Wonder Women and they compete against each other in feats of strength for some reason.

  3. I have to wonder- was Kanigher ever diagnosed with a mental disorder? Cause if so, it’d make a lot of his comics make sense. Whatever the case, dude made some crazy/awesome comics, and that’s really all anyone can ask for.

  4. Kanigher didn’t have any mental illnesses, he was just the Grant Morrison of his day.

  5. The hundred-foot tall stick of dynamite was for “Experimental Purposes”?

    Just what the hell was the nature of this experiment?

  6. “Just what the hell was the nature of this experiment?”

    Answer? Let’s see how much sh*t we can blow up!

    Next question?

    Sorry for the double post. I needed to correct that second question mark in previous post.

  7. Hypothesis: A one-hundred-foot tall firecracker would be AWESOME.

    In order to test this hypothesis, we must devise an experiment of some sort…

    I know, let’s spend the taxpayer’s money on a giant cherry bomb and blow that mother up!

  8. When the 1000-foot high cosmic cartoon cat attacks the Earth, we’ll need SOMETHING to stick down its cartoon pants, won’t we?

  9. In that last panel, Wonder Woman looks huge! (Makes a change from shrinking her, I guess)

    Watch out! WW’s gonna eat those people!

    Also: “And the world – just like this park – will go on!”. But the whole thing with carnivals is that they’re there one week and gone the next. Not a very apt simile, BK.

  10. You know, I think Wonder Woman wrestling a shark for the hand of Steve Trevor is sort of a metaphor for the obstacles we have to wrestle with to gain true love.

    This coincides with the life principle to “Live every week, like it’s Shark Week.”

  11. 1950’s Wonder Woman, meet 1970’s Morgan Freeman and his waist-deep honey pool.

    What? Oh, you were all thinking it too and you know it.

  12. Wonder Woman had a hand in getting Marty back to 1985? I did not know that.

    your posts already made me buy The Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen. keep it up and I’ll end up getting Showcase LoSH, Showcase Wonder Woman and Essential Luke Cage.

  13. Chris, I love reading this stuff and I laugh aloud every single time I read your blog, but these stories cross the line from “so crazy they’re awesome” to ‘so crazy they’re stupid” for me. Pistol hasn’t been invented yet. Cripes.

  14. I thought that your first question was answered by the panel in question:

    Why did the US Government build a hundred-foot tall stick of dynamite?

    For experimental purposes, of course.


  15. At the end of this post, I was longing for the calm, reasoned work of Stardust the Wonder-Wizard.

    On the bright side, I bet Ty M. Master hangs out with Mr. P. N. Gwynn. Wonder what they talk about.

  16. “Wow, this is just… wow. Somehow I am glad I didn’t buy this for my fiancee now.”

    Why? Does your fiancee not like awesomeness?

  17. No, Joel. She just has a serious problem with things not making any sense at all, no matter how awesome. I had to explain to her more than once why I had purchased Showcase Presents: The War That Time Forgot.

  18. Edward, thanks for the Evanier link — that was a great read (as M.E.’s blog entries usually are.)

    The letter from Kanigher explains a lot; you began to understand what mental bouillabaisse he pulled out things like a gorilla fighting Nazis.

    (The DC Bullpen in the 60s doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, either, though you have to adjust for the source.)

  19. There’s that word again, “heavy”. Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?

  20. “I know, let’s spend the taxpayer’s money on a giant cherry bomb and blow that mother up!”

    Where was the giant mailbox, then?

  21. I wonder who did the art for those stories. Shrinking or no, that’s one of the best Wonder Womans I’ve ever seen.

    …Wonder Womans.

    Let me show you them.

  22. Verbatim, are you kidding? It was the fifties! They were always being attacked by giant frogs and such. I know frogs and firecrackers always went together in my neck of the woods.

    Hey, I live in a rural area. DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!

  23. *And now, for a Channel 3 new break.*

    Crowds of people have gathered today to witness the government sponsored testing of its latest weapon, the hundred foot tall stick of dynamite. Secretary of Defense Wile E. Coyote assured onlookers that this newest addition to the U.S. army’s arsenal would break new ground in the fight against legendary outlaw the Roadrunner, whose escapes from the authorities have become infamous in our time, both for their implausibility and for the record 13.7 trillion dollars in weapons spending done by the American government in their attempts to apprehend this criminal. The Secretary assured his audience that this latest weapon would prove far more effective than the seemingly countless catapults, rocket skates, giant magnets, missiles and anvils that have already been used in this costly hunt.

    If it does indeed work, President Elmer Fudd has already made plans to see if it could work in capturing ducks and wabbits. This is Crowded House, reporting for Channel 3 news.

  24. I had to explain to her more than once why I had purchased Showcase Presents: The War That Time Forgot.

    I hate to be the one to break this to you, but I don’t think your relationship’s going to work out.

  25. That’s it. We need T-shirts in the Che style with Bob Kanigher’s Face, and the caption reads “Because Bob Kanigher, that’s why!” The image on the back should be either the metal men getting blown up or a gorilla with a gun.

  26. Mace Morrison Says:

    I wonder who did the art for those stories.

    The distinctive style of: Ross Andru.

    All those 1970’s Spider-Man issues…. (And, on the flip side, Marvel Hostess Ads.)

  27. She just has a serious problem with things not making any sense at all, no matter how awesome.

    being awesome makes the purest kind of sense. I think Plato said that.

  28. I worry that our modern science has resulted in the creation of a 100-foot tall stick of dynamite.

    What was wrong with a giant anvil, dropped from a zeppelin?

  29. I start teaching high school English in a couple of days, and I’m always looking for a snappy comeback to the time-honored question, “Why do we have to do this?”

    One that’s now definitely added to the list is, “Because Bob Kanigher, that’s why.”

    I mean, Jeez, kid, what more do you need to know? Monkeys. Dynamite. The Metal Men. Shrinking Wonder Woman. Because Bob Kanigher, that’s why. Dammit! Now write that friggin’ essay!

    Thanks, Chris.

  30. I know this is not on topic, but there are certain things I read and think “Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog”…on page 94 of “Bernie Krigstein Comics” there’s the beginning of a story called “Monster of The Seas”. I have only read the first panel so far, it features a speech balloon, “It’s that cutthroat Captain Splint and his pet gorilla!” I am held back by the fear that the rest of the story could not possibly live up to this…

  31. ah wonder woman. so ridiculous. with this comic the unbelievable bullshit is really the point. I mean this is a story that began with wonder woman being presented with the MAGIC GIRDLE and yes the letters were capitalized in the comic just in case we missed any refrences to the MAGIC GIRDLE. now that is liberation with a MAGIC GIRDLE you never have to suck in your gut

  32. Cripes, I hate to come in a year later and comment on a very, very dead thread, but – 43 comments and nothing about the “Pinto” not getting rear-ended, lest it explode?

    For shame!

  33. Спасибо наконец то нашла то что хотела прочитать тут. Кстати у меня есть рисунки на эту тему. Куда можно скинуть? Ещё раз спасибо ! :)

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