Which hero did their iconic greeting first?

Today we look at who came up with the iconic cross-armed salute first, Wonder Woman or Black Panther?

In Comic Book Questions Answered, I answer any questions you may have about comics (feel free to email me questions at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Will S. wrote in to ask, “I was thinking about it on this sad anniversary, but both Black Panther and Wonder Woman are known to cross their arms in front of themselves in the same way. Which of them started doing it first?”

I think the greeting with crossed arms is certainly big enough for both heroes to use it, but Wonder Woman had been using it for a much longer time than the Black Panther.


BALLS AND BRACELETS

Wonder Woman’s crossed arms salute owes its origins to a key part of Wonder Woman’s iconography, which was introduced early in her comic book career. All the way back in her first appearance in All Star Comics # 8 (by William Moulton Marston and HG Peter), the Amazons had something called “Bullets and bracelets” where the Amazons would shoot at each other and try to divert the bullets with their special bracelets. Note, however, that the position of the block early did not involve crossing the arms …

That was the case for most depictions of Wonder Woman blocking bullets with her bracelets. For some reason, Peter tended to draw them both stretched out on the side (quite frankly, he drew them a little strangely slack). However, it was not universal. He occasionally drew Wonder Woman with her arms crossed while blocking bullets. It was just rare.

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THE WONDER WOMAN TV SHOW HAD ITS OWN SPIN ON BALLS AND BRACELETS

That changed wonder Woman TV series in the 1970s. Lynda Carter is shown using the classic pose with crossed arms in her ball and bracelet scene in the rather astonishingly faithful adaptation of Wonder Woman’s original origins from the comics …

It slowly became a recurring position for Carter in the series, even when she was not blocking bullets …

It quickly got to the point that Wonder Woman, putting her arms in a crossed shape, was just a fixed part of Wonder Woman’s “brand,” as it were. Even her Super Powers toy involved her character crossing her arms while blocking imaginary bullets (what a cop that Kenner did not include bullets in the toy that children could shoot at their Wonder Woman figure to see if she could divert).

PEREZ THEN MAKES THE POSITION OF A REGULAR WONDER WOMAN POSITION

After Crisis on infinite lands, George Perez restarted Wonder Woman with a brand new # 1 cartoon (along with Greg Potter, Len Wein and Bruce Patterson), and Perez smartly decided not to just work on the original myths (with a twist that I discussed in a couple of recent columns, as the series was now no longer linked to World War II, so Perez had to think of a way to connect the character with the American flag motif that is evident in her costume), but also work with things from Wonder Woman TV series that had become such a big part of people’s understanding of the character.

So George Perez then worked with that pose in the comics as a big deal …

This time it was not just a pose, but a specific greeting referring to the story of the Amazons who had been bound in the past and then broken out of their chains (but kept the bracelets to remind them of their past) …

IN wonder Woman # 8 (by Perez, Wein and Patterson), Vanessa Kapatelis (the daughter of the professor who first taught Wonder Woman English when she arrived at Man’s World) writes in her diary about the Amazon salute and describes it as an X with your arms and she notices that other children quickly began to imitate it …

It was adapted in 2017 wonder Woman film, and it seemed like they were thinking back on the idea that the position was a fighting position …

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BLACK PANTHER’S SALUTE HAS DIFFERENT ORIGINS

The iconic “Wakanda Forever” pose in the 2018s Black Panther (and his other MCU appearances after that film, e.g. Avengers: Infinity War) …

came from the filmmakers who were to have a greeting to Dora Milaje for giving Black Panther in the film. Chadwick Boseman explained it to Stephen Colbert: “We made the stage in the throne room and Ryan [Coogler] come to me. and was basically like, ‘We need a way for Dora Milaje, his guard, to somehow greet you,’ and so we had talked about the kind of poses that have ancient meanings. So it was like an Egyptian pharaoh. “

Ryan Coogler recalled the commentary on the film during the scene, where T’Challa communicates with the spirits of the past: “We bury him, we wanted him to experience death, and you can see that he is buried in a way that is similar to many positions you will see from statues from the continent.We got it a bit from the pharaohs and the West African sculptures that you will see, with arms folded that way.It also means a ‘hug’ or ‘love’ in ASL, American sign language. That’s where we got the ‘Wakanda Forever’ salute from. “

It does not have a comic book counterpart, however, in 2016’s Black Panther # 171 (by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk and Laura Martin), the salute was finally officially incorporated into the comics’ continuity in a fantastic sequence …

So yes, Wonder Woman’s pose came first, but again, there’s clearly more than enough room for both, so it’s not like there’s anything wrong with them both doing it. As Coogler notes, positions with crossed arms have been around for many centuries, so that’s all well and good.

Thanks for the question, Will! If anyone else has a comic book question, please send me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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