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CARD TRICK
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Wonder Woman (Vol. II) #55
Writer: George Perez
Penciller: Jill Thompson
Inker: Romeo Tanghal
Letter: John Costanza
Colorist: Tom Ziuko
Associate Editor: Tom Peyer
Editor: Karen Berger

DC Comics, 1991


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"Psycho Path"
by Rich Thigpen
[Print-ready Version]

I recently went to a Comedy Central show in Hollywood to see Omega Men writer Andersen Gabrych perform. Named the “Hottest Gay Comic Book Writer” by OUT Magazine in its June issue (it’s true—check out his profile!), the talented and witty Gabrych poked fun at the title and segued into some stories about his dating experiences. Turns out he was overweight as a kid and had a psycho girlfriend—hey, me too!

Like Gabrych, I switched to men after that “youthful straight phase,” but I somehow kept the “psycho” part when finding significant others. From the young college freshman who used me for political gain (and then gloated about it) to the older neurosurgeon who was only looking for a trophy boyfriend, all of my dating relationships have ended badly. Time and again, the message from on high was clear: trust no one.

The neurosurgeon was the one who finally made me accept this maxim. Known as “Dr. Psycho” to all my friends, we met through a video dating service—I had won my membership at a charity event and he had paid $2500 for his (he said it was much less than what he had spent on phone sex and escorts the previous year—red flag #1). I broke it off with Dr. P after four months, but we continued to see each other (and have sex) sporadically for the next few months.

The whole thing came to a head (ahem) when my mom and a friend of hers were visiting from Alabama. Dr. P made a big deal out of wanting to meet my mom, which was kind of unsettling—he had told me that he loved me a couple of weeks before, so I knew he was taking our relationship a lot more seriously than the “friends with benefits” thing I thought we had going. With some hesitation, I made arrangements for him to meet the three of us plus another mutual friend for dinner.

The day of the dinner, Dr. P called and asked if he could bring a friend of his—let’s call him “Junior.” “Sure, the more the merrier,” I said. I then called the other friend joining us to remind her of the time and place and mentioned that Dr. P’s friend would be joining us. She thought it strange that Dr. P would make such a last-minute request and wondered if he was trying to set me up with Junior. I told her that didn’t seem likely, given his recent profession of love for me, but that we’d probably find out once we met him.

We were on a strict schedule for dinner—everyone was supposed to meet us there at 6 pm, as Mom, her friend, and I had to be at a nearby charity event at 7:30. So of course, no one else was on time. Dr. P showed up (alone) at 6:30, and it was nearly 7 before Junior arrived. Junior was in his early 20s, tall, well-built, and good-looking. He apparently hadn’t been briefed on whom he was having dinner with, so I introduced all of us and how we knew Dr. P (saying only that I was “his friend”). Then my friend asked Junior what his relationship with Dr. P was.

“This may shock you,” he said, “but we’re lovers.”

“That doesn’t shock me,” she replied (although we were all a little surprised). “How long have you been lovers?”

“Three years,” Junior said.

With this, everyone but Junior and Dr. P dropped their jaws and looked to me for a clue as to how to respond. Dr. P had his head down and seemed to be giggling. A few scenarios ran through my mind: Had Junior been secretly dating Dr. P the entire time I had? Had they really just started dating and he was lying about the three years part? Was this guy just an actor that Dr. P hired to embarrass my mom and me? Regardless, I only had half an hour to get through dinner and over to another event, so I didn’t have time for a major confrontation.

“Wow,” I responded after a couple of seconds that seemed much longer, “that’s a long time. That’s great.”

We listened to a lot of impressive stories from Junior during the remainder of the dinner, and since many of them contradicted each other, we realized he was making a lot of his background up as he went (most likely including the three-year relationship). The damage was done though—despite the red flags I had noted when I was dating Dr. P, it took Junior and this dinner to make me realize this was one neurosurgeon in serious need of a psychiatrist. I e-mailed Dr. Psycho the next day and told him he needed professional help and not to contact me again until he was well.

Too bad Wonder Woman can’t get rid of her Dr. Psycho as easily as I did mine. (See? I finally brought this review back to comics!) Her Dr. Pyscho is a misogynistic dwarf with wild hair, bulging eyes, and a sadistic streak that my Dr. Psycho just can’t compete with. In Wonder Woman #55 we’re finally introduced to this mind-controlling villain, who has been secretly manipulating the amazon princess’ friends over the past several issues, turning them all against her.

Diana gets a brief respite from his tormenting as the little man finds someone else to amuse his sick mind—a pregnant woman and her unborn baby! Gross! Filling the fetus with fear makes Dr. Psycho so ecstatic he starts jumping up and down on the furniture like Tom Cruise on Oprah!

Luckily, once Wonder Woman locates him, she takes the guy out with a single backhanded bitch-slap. There’s no celebrating though, as the pregnant woman goes into premature labor and we get a full page of angsty narrative philosophizing about the victims of Dr. Psycho’s mind games.

And that’s where the issue ends (next issue: Wonder Midwife!). Dr. Psycho, of course, returned to plague the amazing amazon pretty often, and is currently doing so in Allan Heinberg’s new Wonder Woman series. (Allan, BTW, is campaigning to be named “Hottest Gay Comic Book Writer” next year.) Maybe Wonder Woman should have just sent him to a neurosurgeon? Our two Dr. Psychos could cure each other!


Los Angeles computer geek Rich Thigpen is now much more picky about who gets to dine with him and his mom on her visits. He can also now refer people to the above review when they ask him why he’s not interested in dating.

All images and characters © 1991 DC Comics Inc. Review © 2006 Rich Thigpen.

Prism Comics promotes the works of the LGBT community in comics. It does not implicitly endorse any other material or products associated with those works. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s).


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