Wonder Woman is a fictional superheroine
appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The
character is a founding member of the Justice League, goddess, and
Ambassador-at-Large of the Amazonian people. In her homeland, her
official title is Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of
Hippolyta. When blending into the society of "Man's World",
she adopts her civilian identity Diana Prince. The character is also
referred to by such epithets as the "Amazing Amazon", the
"Spirit of Truth", "Themyscira's Champion", and
the "Goddess of Love and War".
Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William
Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton), and artist Harry G.
Peter. Olive Byrne, Marston's lover, and his wife, Elizabeth, are
credited as being his inspiration for the character's appearance.
Marston drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and
especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger. The character
first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 and first
cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman
title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for
a brief hiatus in 1986.
Marston was born in the Cliftondale
section of Saugus, Massachusetts, the son of Annie Dalton and
Frederick William Marston. Marston was educated at Harvard
University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and receiving his B.A. in 1915,
an LL.B. in 1918, and a PhD in Psychology in 1921. After teaching at
American University in Washington, D.C., and Tufts University in
Medford, Massachusetts, Marston traveled to Universal Studios in
California in 1929, where he spent a year as Director of Public Services.
Marston lived in a polyamorous
relationship relationship with his
wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston and a former student Olive Byrne,
both of whom "embodied the feminism of the day." Marston
combined his, Elizabeth's and Olive's feminist ideals to create a
superhero character that young girls and boys could look up to.
(left) was the developer of the systolic blood pressure test, which
became one component of the modern polygraph invented by John
Augustus Larson in Berkeley, California. Marston's wife Elizabeth
Holloway Marston suggested a connection between emotion and blood
pressure to William, observing that, "when she got mad or
excited, her blood pressure seemed to climb". The test would
later inspired Wonder Womans truth-telling lasso. Although
Elizabeth is not listed as Marston's collaborator in his early work,
Lamb, Matte (1996), and others refer directly and indirectly to
Elizabeth's own work on her husband's research.
Elizabeth Holloway Marston was born in
1893, on the Isle of Man and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She
obtained three degrees, which she paid for herself when her father
refused to give her tuition. As noted by Boston University, "In
an era when few women earned higher degrees, Elizabeth received
three." She received her B.A. in psychology from Mount Holyoke
College in 1915 and would have liked to go on to join her then-fiance,
(whom she had met in the eighth grade) William Marston, at Harvard
Law School. But Harvard, did not admit women at the time so she ended
up going to Boston University. Marston received her LL.B from the
Boston University School of Law in 1918, (before women even had the
right to vote) and was "one of three women to graduate from the
School of Law that year. She later stated, "I finished the
[Massachusetts Bar] exam in nothing flat and had to go out and sit on
the stairs waiting for Bill Marston and another Harvard man... to finish."
(right) was a career woman, a position that was controversial for
the time in which she lived. She indexed the documents of the first
fourteen Congresses, lectured on law, ethics, and psychology at
American and New York Universities, and served as an editor for
Encyclopaedia Britannica and McCall's magazine. In 1933, Holloway
became the assistant to the chief executive at Metropolitan Life
Insurance, a position she held until she was 65 years old.
In an October 25th,
1940, interview with the Family Circle magazine (conducted
by Olive Byrne under the pseudonym "Olive Richard"),
Marston discussed the unfulfilled educational
potential of the comic book medium. This article caught the attention
of comics publisher Max Gaines, who hired Marston as an educational
consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications,
two of the companies that would merge to form DC Comics.
In the early 1940s, the DC Comics line was
dominated by superpower-endowed male characters such as the Green
Lantern and Superman (its flagship character), as well as Batman,
with his high-tech gadgets. Marston
wanted to create his own new superhero; a new kind of superhero, one
who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love.
"Fine," said his wife Elizabeth. "But make her a woman."
William Moulton Marston,
Harry G. Peter, Sheldon Mayer and DC Publisher Max Gaines discussing
a Wonder Woman cover design.
the idea to Gaines. Given the
go-ahead, Marston developed Wonder Woman, basing her character on the
unconventional, liberated, powerful modern women of his day.
Marston's character was a native of an all-female utopia of Amazons
who became a crime-fighting U.S. government agent, using her
superhuman strength and agility, and her ability to force villains to
submit and tell the truth by binding them with her magic lasso. Her
appearance was believed by some to be based somewhat on Olive Byrne,
but Marston himself only remarked only remarked that only Wonder
Womans' heavy bronze bracelets (which she used to deflect bullets)
were inspired by the jewelry bracelets worn by Byrne.
Marston drew inspiration for his
superheroine on early 20th century feminists, including Margaret
Sanger, birth control advocate and founder of Planned Parenthood.
(Sanger was also the aunt of his mistress Olive Byrne).
Pictured on the far left
Olive Byrne (notice the bracelets), Elizabeth Holloway Marston (test
the lie detector) and William Moulton Marston far right (circa 1940)
After her name "Suprema" was
replaced with "Wonder Woman", which was a popular term at
the time that described women who were exceptionally gifted, the
character made her debut in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941.
Wonder Woman next appeared in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942), and
six months later, Wonder Woman #1 debuted. Except for four months in
1986, the series has been in print ever since. The stories were
initially written by Marston and illustrated by newspaper artist
Harry Peter. During his life, Marston had written many articles and
books on various psychological topics, but his last six years of
writing were devoted to his comics creation.
G. Peter drew Wonder Woman since her very beginnings but rarely gets
credit for his crucial contributions to the character. Peter
illustrated the very first appearance of Wonder Woman (All-Star
Comics No. 8 in 1941) and defined her look for years. Peter (AKA H.G.
Peter) didnt have the same exciting biography as Marston, but
he did have some feminist credentials as a contributor to "The
Modern Woman," a section of Judge magazine dedicated to
pro-suffrage editorials. Peter, a veteran illustrator who was 61 when
he co-created Wonder Woman, also drew the Wonder Woman newspaper
strip that began in 1944, and he drew every single Wonder Woman cover
from 1941 to 1949. Given directions to draw a woman whos as
powerful as Superman, scantily clad as Sheena the jungle queen, and
as patriotic as Captain America, Peter tackled this difficult
assignment, making some sketches and sending them to Marston. Marston
liked everything but the shoes, so Wonder Womans iconic look
was almost entirely the creation of Peter.
Another little-known contributor to the
creation and development of Wonder Woman was Joye Kelly, whom Marston
hired as his assistant in 1945. Miss Kelly had been a student of
Marston's, and he was so impressed with her writing skills, he
invited her to work with him. Kelly ended up writing many Wonder
Woman stories under an assumed (male) name, and when Marston died,
continued to work on the comic but received little recognition for
with polygraphs convinced him that women were more honest in
situations different than men and could work more efficiently. He
designed Wonder Woman to be an allegory for the ideal love leader;
the kind of women who (he believed) should run society.
In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar,
Marston wrote: "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our
feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to
be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as
good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because
of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine
character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a
good and beautiful woman." Yet,
Marston wrote in a weakness for Wonder Woman, which was attached to
a fictional stipulation that he dubbed "Aphrodite's Law",
that made the chaining of her "Bracelets of Submission"
together by a man take away her Amazonian super strength.
Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who
should, I believe, rule the world."
The creators of Wonder Woman were inspired
by the suffragettes and the womens health movement of the early
1920s. In 1911, when Marston was a Harvard freshman, he saw the
British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst address a crowd in Harvard
Square, after she was banned from speaking in Harvard Yard, where
women were not allowed to speak. In 1912, Elizabeth Holloway was a
sophomore at Mount Holyoke when students paraded for suffrage,
wearing buttons that read "Votes for Women!" H. G. Peter,
the artist Marston hired to draw Wonder Woman, drew pro-suffrage
cartoons for magazines. Marston took Wonder Womans origin story
straight out of Charlotte Perkins Gilmans 1915 feminist utopia,
"Herland." In 1916, Olive Byrnes mother, Ethel Byrne,
and her aunt, Margaret Sanger, opened the first birth-control clinic
in the United States; they are the founders of Planned Parenthood. In
1917, Marston was in Washington, D.C., when suffragists held a vigil
outside the White House, carrying signs that read, Mr. President, How
Long Must We Wait for Liberty?"
went on record by describing bondage and submission as a
"respectable and noble practice". Marston's
"Wonder Woman" is an early example of bondage themes that
were entering popular culture in the 1930s. Physical and mental
submission appears again and again throughout Marston's comics work,
with Wonder Woman and her criminal opponents frequently being tied up
or otherwise restrained, and her Amazonian sisters engaging in
frequent wrestling and bondage play. These elements were softened by
later writers of the series, who dropped such characters as the
Nazi-like blond female slaver Eviless completely, despite her having
formed the original Villainy Inc. of Wonder Woman's enemies (in
Wonder Woman #28, the last by Marston).
One of the purposes of these bondage
depictions was to induce eroticism in readers as a part of what he
called "sex love training". Through his Wonder Woman
comics, he aimed to condition readers to becoming more readily
accepting of loving submission to loving authorities rather than
being so assertive with their own destructive egos. About male
readers, he wrote: "Give them an alluring woman stronger than
themselves to submit to, and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves!"
Marston and Olive Byrnes son, Byrne
Marston, (then an 83-year-old retired obstetrician), thinks that when
Marston talked about the importance of submission, he meant it only
metaphorically. "I never saw anything like that in our
house," he told writer Jill Lepore in 2014. "He didnt
tie the ladies up to the bedpost. Hed never have gotten away
philosophy of diametric opposites has bled into his design of his
Wonder Woman mythology. This theme of diametrics took the form of his
emphasis on certain masculine and feminine configurations, as well as
dominance and submission. He combined these themes with others,
including restorative and transformative justice, rehabilitation,
regret and its role in civilization. These appeared often in his
depiction of the near-ideal Amazon civilization of Paradise Island,
and especially its Reform Island penal colony, which played a central
role in many stories, and was the "loving" alternative to
retributive justice of the world run by men. These themes are
particularly evident in his last story, in which prisoners freed by
Eviless, who have responded to Amazon rehabilitation and now have
good dominance/submission, stop her and restore the Amazons to power.
Some of these themes continued on in
Silver Age characters who may have been influenced by Marston,
notably Saturn Girl and Saturn Queen, who (like Eviless and her
female army) are also from Saturn, also clad in tight, dark red
bodysuits, also blond or red-haired, and also have telepathic powers.
Stories involving the latter have been especially focused on the
emotions involved in changing sides from evil to good, as were
stories from Green Lantern's "Blackest Night" with its
Emotional Spectrum which was likely influenced by Marston's research
into emotions. Wonder Woman's golden lasso and Venus Girdle in
particular were the focus of many of the early stories, and have the
same capability to reform people for good in the short term that
Transformation Island and prolonged wearing of Venus Girdles offered
in the longer term. The Venus Girdle was an allegory for Marston's
theory of "sex love" training, where people can be
"trained" to embrace submission through eroticism. However,
not everything about his creation was explicitly explained in any
one source, which caused confusion among writers and fans for many years.
Wonder Woman plots were full of chains and
bondage, imagery that suffragists and feminists such as Margaret
Sanger relied on to represent their overcoming of societys many
restrictions on women. She also encouraged young women readers to
work and develop their independence.
Marston family portrait
1947. Standing left to right: Byrne Marston, Moulton (Pete) Marston,
Olive Byrne. Seated left to right: Marjorie Wilkes [Huntley], Olive
Ann Marston. William Moulton Marston, Donn Marston, Elizabeth
According to Jill Lepores Secret
History of Wonder Woman, the Marstons practiced free love and
advocated the superiority of women. Lepore also writes that a third
woman, Marjorie Huntley, was an occasional member of their household
and helped out with the inking and lettering of Wonder Woman comics.
had two children apiece with Holloway and with Byrne. Byrne told
everyone a fabrication that the father of her two sons was her late
husband, William Richard. The month that Byrne said shed
married him, she started wearing a pair of wide-banded bracelets that
she never took off. Marston and Holloway legally adopted Byrnes
children and the public story was that Byrne was a servant, the
familys widowed housekeeper or Elizabeths widowed sister.
The unorthodox living arrangement was kept
a secret, people at the time wouldn't accept it (some today might
not). Reports have Holloway not enthusiastic about the idea of
another woman joining her marriage to Marston (Marjorie Huntley had
been the first), but Lepore writes that Holloway thought it
"might offer a solution to the bind she was in as a woman who
wanted to have both a career and children".
Before Wonder Woman, Marston taught,
practiced law, published a novel, and was a sreenwriter but found
himself unemployied from time to time as well. it was Holloway and
Byrne who had to keep him afloat. Bryne raised the children while
Holloways lucrative job at Metropolitan Life Insurance
supported the entire household. In 1935, the family moved to a big
house in Rye, New York, purchased with the support of Holloways
parents. Holloway had one bedroom, Byrne another, and Marston slept
in both. Huntley had a room in the attic for when she paid occasional visits.
Woman was introduced in DC Comics All Star Comics #8, December
1941January 1942, right as the country was entering World War
II. The credit went to one "Charles Moulton" though Byrne
herself wrote the early scripts.
By 1944, Marston was riding high: Wonder
Woman had 10 million readers; he was writing a daily newspaper strip;
and he was "flush with cash." In August, he, Holloway, and
Byrne went on a date in Manhattan, to the Royale Theatre. It would be
their last: Marston contracted polio, then cancer (though his family
never told him about the latter, for fear of his violent temper,
Marston drank heavily and was known for flying into rages). During
this time he passed the comic-writing duties to his very young
assistant, Joye Kelly.
Marston died on May 2nd, 1947, seven days
shy of his 54th birthday. His obituary mentioned Holloway and the
four children, but not Olive Byrne. After Marston died DC comics did
not allow Holloway to take over Wonder Woman. A new writer took the
character in a decidedly un-feminist direction, often to
Holloways private disapproval, but she nonetheless appreciated
the rare times when Wonder Woman returned to topics of cultural salience.
Elizabeth and Olive continued to live
together. Elizabeth continued to work until 1958, supporting herself,
Olive, and their children, and putting all of their children through
college. Olive passed away in the late '90s, and Elizabeth herself
lived to be a 100, passing away in 1993.
In 1985, Marston was posthumously named as
one of the honorees by DC Comics in the company's 50th anniversary
publication Fifty Who Made DC Great. He was inducted into the Comic
Book Hall of Fame in 2006. Concidering the contribution Elizabeth
Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne made to the creation of Wonder Woman
they deserve to be included in the "created by" credit.
The 2017 biographical film directed and
written by Angela Robinson, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women
(below), is based on the relationship of Marston, Elizabeth and
Olive. The film stars Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote.
In her debut in All Star Comics #8, Diana
was a member of a tribe of women called the Amazons, native to
Paradise Island a secluded island set in the middle of a vast
ocean. Wonder Woman's origin story relates that she was sculpted from
clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and given life by Aphrodite, along
with superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods. However, in recent
years artists updated her profile: she has been depicted as the
daughter of Zeus, and jointly raised by her mother Hippolyta and her
aunts Antiope and Menalippe; artist George Perez gave her a muscular
look and emphasized her Amazonian heritage; artist Jim Lee redesigned
Diana's costume to include pants (although now Wonder Woman uses a
skirt and the New 52 pants design was never used officially); she
inherits Ares's divine abilities, becoming the personified "God
Woman's Amazonian training helped to develop a wide range of
extraordinary skills in tactics, hunting, and combat. She possesses
an arsenal of advanced technology, including the Lasso of Truth, a
pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a
projectile, and, in older stories, a range of devices based on Amazon technology.
Wonder Woman was created during World War
II; the character was initially depicted fighting Axis military
forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains, although
over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters,
deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted
Wonder Woman rescuing herself from bondage, which defeated the
"damsels in distress" trope that was common in comics
during the 1940s. In the decades since her debut, Wonder Woman has
gained a cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including
classic villains such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor
Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as
Veronica Cale and the First Born. Wonder Woman has also regularly
appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society
(from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).
Steve Trevor's plane crashes on the island and he is found alive but
unconscious by Diana and fellow Amazon, and friend, Mala. Diana has
him nursed back to health and falls in love with him.
A competition is held amongst all the
Amazons by Diana's mother, the Queen of the Amazons Hippolyta, in
order to determine who is the most worthy of all the women; Hippolyta
charges the winner with the responsibility of delivering Captain
Steve Trevor back to Man's World and to fight for justice. Hippolyta
forbids Diana from entering the competition, but she takes part
nonetheless, wearing a mask to conceal her identity. She wins the
competition and reveals herself, surprising Hippolyta, who ultimately
accepts, and must give in to, Diana's wish to go to Man's World. She
then is awarded a special uniform made by her mother for her new role
as Wonder Woman and safely returns Steve Trevor back to his home country,
to a "Man's World" where she fights crime and the evil of
Coming to America for the first time,
Wonder Woman comes upon a wailing army nurse. Inquiring about her
state, she finds that the nurse wanted to leave for South America
with her fiancé but was unable due to shortage of money. As
both of them looked identical and Wonder Woman needed a job and a
valid identity to look after Steve (who was admitted in the same army
hospital), she gives her the money she had earned earlier to help her
go to her fiancé in exchange for her credentials. The nurse
reveals her name as Diana Prince, and thus, Wonder Woman's secret
identity was created, and she began working as a nurse in the army.
Woman would take part in a variety of adventures, mostly side by
side with Trevor. Her most common foes during this period would be
Nazi forces led by a German baroness named Paula von Gunther,
occasionally evil deities/demigods such as Mars and the Duke of
Deception, and then colorful villains like Hypnota, Doctor Psycho,
and the Cheetah.
In 1942 a reader reader poll was conducted
by DC asking if Wonder Woman should join the Justice Society withe
Superman and Batman. The poll asked: "Should Wonder Woman be
allowed, even though a woman, to join the Justice Society?" The
results were decisive, with 1,597 kids answering yes and 203
answering no (197 of the "no" vote were boys). So Wonder
Woman joined the Justice Society, as a secretary.
In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman adhered to
an Amazon code of helping any in need, even misogynistic people, and
never accepting a reward for saving someone; while conversely, the
modern version of the character has been shown to perform lethal and
fatal actions when left with no other alternative, exemplified in the
killing of Maxwell Lord in order to save Superman's life.
The Golden Age Wonder Woman had strength
that was comparable to the Golden Age Superman. She was capable of
bench pressing 15,000 pounds even before receiving her bracelets, and
later hoisted a 50,000 pound boulder above her head to inspire fellow Amazons.
Her strength would be removed in
accordance with "Aphrodite's Law" if she allowed her
bracelets to be bound or chained by a male. But, even when her super
strength was temporarily nullified, she still had enough mortal
strength of an Amazon to break down a prison door to save Steve
Trevor. In one of her earliest appearances, she is shown running
easily at 60 mph (97 km/h), and later jumps from a building and lands
on the balls of her feet.
She was able to heal faster than a normal
human being due to her birthright consumption of water from Paradise
Island's Fountain of Eternal Youth and also had an array of mental
and psychic abilities, as corresponding to Marston's interest in
parapsychology and metaphysics. Such an array included ESP, astral
projection, telepathy (with or without the Mental Radio), mental
control over the electricity in her body, the Amazonian ability to
turn brain energy into muscle power, etc. Wonder Woman first became
immune to electric shocks after having her spirit stripped from her
atoms by Dr. Psycho's Electro Atomizer; it was also discovered that
she was unable to send a mental radio message without her body.
In the Silver and Bronze ages of comics,
Wonder Woman would be able to further increase her strength. In times
of great need, removing her bracelets would temporarily augment her
power tenfold, but cause her to go berserk in the process. Between
1966 and 1967, new powers were added, such as super breath. Many of
these powers received changes after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
the Silver Age, under writer Robert Kanigher, Wonder Woman's origin
was revamped, along with other characters'. The new origin story
increased the character's Hellenic and mythological roots
and her powers were shown to be the product of the gods' blessings,
corresponding to her epithet, "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as
Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Hermes". The
concepts of Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were introduced.
At the end of the
1960s, under the guidance of Mike Sekowsky, Wonder Woman surrendered
her powers in order to remain in Man's World rather than accompany
her fellow Amazons to another dimension. Wonder Woman begins using
the alias Diana Prince and opens a mod boutique.
She acquires a
Chinese mentor named I Ching, who teaches Diana martial arts and
weapons skills. Using her fighting skill instead of her powers, Diana
engaged in adventures that encompassed a variety of genres, from
espionage to mythology.
This phase of her
story was directly influenced by the British spy thriller The
Avengers and Diana Rigg's portrayal of Emma Peel
and Wonder Woman dressed in a series of jumpsuits while fighting crime.
During this period, Samuel R. Delany took
over scripting duties with issue #202. Delany was initially supposed
to write a six-issue story arc, which would culminate in a battle
over an abortion clinic, but Delany was removed reportedly due to
criticism from Gloria Steinem, who, not knowing the content of the
issues Delany was writing, was upset that Wonder Woman had lost her
powers and was no longer wearing her traditional costume.
the early 1970s the character returned to her superhero roots in the
Justice League of America and to the World War II era in her own
title. This however, was ultimately due to the popularity of the TV
series at the time also having Wonder Woman set in WW2 era, and was
shifted back to the 1970s era once the TV show did the same.
With a new decade
arriving, DC president Jenette Kahn ordered a revamp in Wonder
Woman's appearance. Artist Milton Glaser, who also designed the
"bullet" logo adopted by DC in 1977, created a stylized
"WW" emblem that evoked and replaced the eagle in her
bodice, and debuted in 1982. The emblem in turn was incorporated by
studio letterer Todd Klein onto the monthly title's logo, which
lasted for a year and a half before being replaced by a version from
Glaser's studio. With sales of the title continuing to decline in
1985 (despite an unpublished revamp that was solicited), the series
was canceled and ended in issue #329 (February 1986) written by Gerry
Conway, depicting Steve Trevor's marriage to Wonder Woman.
The Crisis on
Infinite Earths cross-over of 1986 was designed and written with the
purpose of streamlining most of DC's characters into one more-focused
continuity and reinventing them for a new era, thus Wonder Woman and
Steve Trevor were declared to come from the Earth-Two dimension, and
along with all of their exploits, were erased from history, so that a
new Wonder Woman character, story and timeline could take priority.
the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths series, George Pérez, Len
Wein, and Greg Potter rewrote the character's origin story. Wonder
Woman was now an emissary and ambassador from Themyscira (the new
name for Paradise Island) to Patriarch's World, charged with the
mission of bringing peace to the outside world. Various deities and
concepts from Greek mythology were blended and incorporated into
Wonder Woman's stories and origin. Diana was formed out of clay of
the shores of Themyscira by Hippolyta, who wished for a child; the
clay figure was then brought to life by the Greek deities. The Gods
then blessed and granted her unique powers and abilities
beauty from Aphrodite, strength from Demeter, wisdom from Athena,
speed and flight from Hermes, Eyes of the Hunter and unity with
beasts from Artemis and sisterhood with fire and the ability to
discern the truth from Hestia. This rendition of the character acted
as the foundation for the modern Wonder Woman stories. The relaunch
was a critical and commercial success.
Due to the reboot, Diana's operating
methods were made distinctive from Superman and Batman's with her
willingness to use deadly force when she judges it necessary, such as
killing a villain named Maxwell Lord who was mind controlling
Superman into killing Batman. When Wonder Woman caught him in her
lasso, demanding to know how to stop Superman, Maxwell revealed that
the only way to stop him was to kill Lord, so as a last resort Diana
snapped his neck. To recover from the trauma of killing another
person, the Amazon went into a self-imposed exile for one year. On
her return to public life, Diana realized that her life as a
full-time celebrity superhero and ambassador had kept her removed
from humanity. Because of this she assumed the persona of Diana
Prince and became an agent at the Department of Metahuman Affairs.
During a later battle with the witch Circe, a spell was placed on
Diana leaving her powerless when not in the guise of Wonder Woman.
In addition, her previous history and her
marriage to Steve Trevor were erased. Trevor was introduced as a man
much older than Diana who would later on marry Etta Candy.
War of the Gods
Starting in Wonder Woman Vol 2 #51, The
Amazons, who had revealed their presence to the world in Wonder Woman
Vol 2 #50, are blamed for a series of murders and for the theft of
various artifacts. The Amazons are then taken into custody, Queen
Hippolyta is nowhere to be found and Steve Trevor is forced by
General Yedziniak to attack Themyscira. These events lead to the
"War of the Gods" story line.
Hippolyta and the other Amazons were trapped in a demonic dimension,
she started receiving visions about the death of Wonder Woman.
Fearing her daughter's death, Hippolyta created a false claim that
Diana was not worthy of continuing her role as Wonder Woman, and
arranged for a contest to determine who would be the new Wonder
Woman. The participants of the final round were Diana and Artemis,
and with the help of some mystic manipulation by Hippolyta, Artemis
won the contest. Diana was forced to hand over her title and costume
to Artemis, who became the new Wonder Woman and later died in battle
against the White Magician thus, Hippolyta's vision of a dying
Wonder Woman did come true. Diana then once again became Wonder
Woman, a request made by Artemis in her last words.
Diana is Wonder Woman again, but not for
long, as the demon Neron engages her in battle and kills her. After
her death, Diana was granted divinity as the Goddess of Truth by her
gods for such faithful devotion. During her brief time as a god of
Olympus, Diana was replaced in the role of Wonder Woman by her
mother, Queen Hippolyta. Unlike Diana receiving the title of Wonder
Woman in honor, Hippolyta's role as Wonder Woman was meant to be a
punishment for her betrayal in Artemis' death as well as for
unintentionally killing her own daughter. However, Hippolyta
eventually grew to enjoy the freedom and adventure the title came
with. Whereas Diana used the Lasso of Truth as her primary weapon,
Hippolyta favored a broad sword.
As Wonder Woman, Queen Hippolyta
immediately got involved in a time travel mission back to the 1940s
with Jay Garrick. After this mission, she elected to join the Justice
Society of America and remained in that era for eight years, where
her teammates nicknamed her "Polly". During that time she
had a relationship with Ted Grant. Hippolyta also made visits into
the past to see her godchild Lyta, daughter of Hippolyta's protege
Helena, the Golden Age Fury. These visits happened yearly from young
Lyta's perspective and also accounted for Hippolyta's participation
in the JSA/JLA team ups. When she returned from the past, Hippolyta
took Diana's place in the JLA as well.
Others who have donned the Wonder Woman
persona include Nubia, Cassandra Sandsmark, and Donna Troy.
In August 2010 (issue
#600), J. Michael Straczynski took over the series' writing duties
and introduced Wonder Woman to an alternate timeline created by the
Gods in which Paradise Island had been destroyed and the Amazons
scattered around the world. He also introduced several "Easter
eggs" within his run. In this timeline, Diana is an orphan
raised in New York. The entire world has forgotten Wonder Woman's
existence and the main story of this run was of Diana trying to
restore reality even though she does not properly remember it
herself. In this run, Wonder Woman wore a new costume designed by Jim Lee.
The New 52
September 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire publication line,
dubbing the event the New 52. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang were
assigned on writing and art duties respectively and revamped the
character's history considerably. Among the major changes, Wonder
Woman now appears wearing a new costume similar to her older one, and
has a completely new origin. In this new timeline, Wonder Woman is no
longer a clay figure brought to life by the magic of the gods.
Rather, she is the demigoddess daughter of Queen Hippolyta and Zeus:
King of the Greek Gods. Her original origin is revealed as a cover
story to explain Diana's birth as a means to protect her from Hera's
wrath. Currently, Diana has taken on the role and title as the new
"God of War". Azzarello and Chiang's revamp of the
character was critically acclaimed, but highly divisive among long
time fans of the character.
Wonder Woman appears as one of the lead
characters in the Justice League title written by Geoff Johns and
drawn by Jim Lee that was launched in 2011 as part of the New 52. In
August 2012, she and Superman shared a kiss in Justice League Vol 2
#12, which has since developed into a romantic relationship. DC
launched a Superman/Wonder Woman series that debuted in late 2013,
which focuses both the threats they face together, and on their
romance as a "Power Couple". In the New 52 universe, Diana
does not have a secret identity. However, when she and Superman began
dating, for her civilian identity she uses the Diana Prince alias
whenever she is around Clark Kent; such as when she introduced
herself to Lois Lane at Lois's housewarming party under that name.
the events of Convergence, Wonder Woman would don a new costume. She
would also face Donna Troy, who is now reimagined as a villanous
doppellganger created by a vengeful Amazon elder, not only to
physically defeat Wonder Woman but also to outmaneuver her in
The New 52 version of Wonder Woman has
been portrayed to be a younger, more headstrong, loving, fierce and
willful person. Brian Azzarello stated in a video interview with DC
Comics that they're building a very "confident",
"impulsive" and "good-hearted" character in her.
He referred to her trait of feeling compassion as both her strength
The New 52 version of Earth 2 was
introduced in Earth 2 #1 (2012). In that issue, the Earth 2 Wonder
Woman is introduced via flashback. She, along with Superman and
Batman, are depicted dying in battle with forces from Apokolips five
years in the past. This Wonder Woman worshiped the deities of Roman
mythology as opposed to the Greek; the Roman gods perish as a result
of the conflict. An earlier version of the Earth-2 Wonder Woman,
prior to the Apokoliptian invasion, is seen in the comic book
Batman/Superman, where she is seen riding a pegasus. In Earth 2 #8
(2013), Wonder Woman's adult daughter, Fury, is introduced. She is
loyal to the Apokoliptian Steppenwolf.
2016, DC Comics once again relaunched all of its publications as
part of the DC Rebirth continuity reboot, which has a new bi-monthly
Wonder Woman series from writer Greg Rucka. The new series does not
use a regular storyline that exists between each issue; instead the
story is alternated between each issue for two separate storylines
which first started with the storyline The Lies for the odd numbered
issues and Year One for the even numbered issues.
The new storyline as presented in these
issues effectively retcons the events from the previous New 52
series. The Lies storyline reveals that a number of events from the
previous Wonder Woman series in which Diana was made the Queen of the
Amazons and the God of War, was in fact all an illusion created by a
mysterious villain, and she had never once been back to Themyscira
ever since she left, nor is she capable of returning there.
The Year One story is presented as an all-new
origin story for Diana, which reveals how she received her powers
from the Olympian Gods, which was intended to bring her back to her
classical DC roots. Wonder Woman appears in DC Rebirth with a revised
look, which includes a red cape and light armor fittings. Along with
her lasso and bracelets, she now regularly utilizes her sword and
shield. Wonder Woman: Rebirth artist Liam Sharp described the new
armor as a utilitarian piece which allows her to move more freely.
Wonder Woman hasn't gotten as much screen
time as Superman and Batman. Her first appearance on television was
as a guest in an episode of The Brady Kids cartoon series in 1972,
entitled "It's All Greek to Me" (voiced by Jane Webb). The
Brady kids meet Diana Prince/Wonder Woman and together they find
themselves accidentally transported back to the time of the Ancient
Olympic Games (below left). Yet there was an ealier attempt at a live
action series from Batman producer William Dozier and was (surpise
surpise) played for laughs. The show was to be called, Wonder Woman:
Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? and featured Ellie Wood Walker as the
lead and Maudie Prickett as the heroine's mother. It never got picked
up but there is a five minute clip floating around the internet that
is so bad and such an insult to the character we refuse to post it here.
A failed TV pilot in 1974 called Wonder
Woman, directed by Vincent McEveety and starring Cathy Lee Crosby
(above right, not dressed in a traditional Wonder Woman costume but
in something out of Battle of the Network Stars) led to the
19751979 Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter (below
left); as well as animated series such as the Super Friends and
Justice League. Since Carter's television series, studios have
struggled to introduce a new live-action Wonder Woman to audiences,
although the character continued to be feature in a variety of toys
and merchandise, as well as animated adaptations of DC properties,
including a direct-to-DVD animated feature starring Keri Russell.
Attempts to return Wonder Woman to television have included a
television pilot by writer/producer David E. Kelly for NBC in 2011
with Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman (below right), closely followed
by another stalled production for The CW titled Amazon.
Wonder Woman hit the big screen in 2014 in
The Lego Movie (below left) and would make her live-action screen
debut with the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice being
protraied by Gal Gadot (below right). Gadot also starred in the
character's first solo live-action film Wonder Woman, which was
released on June 2nd, 2017 to rave reviews and set numerous box
Where Does She Get Those
Wonder Woman has an arsenal of powerful
god-forged gear at her disposal, but her signature equipment are her
indestructible bracelets and the Lasso of Truth.
The Pre-Crisis version of the invisible
plane was a necessity because before the Crisis on Infinite Earths
rewrote Wonder Woman's history along with the histories of
many other heroes Wonder Woman simply could not fly. She grew
increasingly powerful through the Silver Age of comic books and
beyond, acquiring the power to ride wind currents thus allowing her
to imitate flight over short distance. This had limitations, however;
for example, if there was no wind and the air was completely still
she would be trapped on the ground or if dropped from a distance that
she would helplessly fall out of control to the ground. Though this
meant that she would rely on the invisible plane less frequently, she
always had need of it.
Invisible Plane was a creation of Diana's during her younger years
on Paradise Island. She created it to be an improvement on her
mother's planes which would be shot down in Man's World. The result
of her innovation was an invisible plane that could fly at terrific
speeds silently and not be detected by hostile forces, thus avoiding
unpleasant conflict. Initially, it was portrayed as being transparent.
The Invisible Plane appeared in the very
first comic stories, including All-Star Comics #8, where it is shown
as being able to fly at over 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h) and to send out
rainbow rays that penetrate the mist around Paradise Island, as well
as landing stealthily and having a built-in radio. Wonder Woman is
seen storing the plane at an abandoned farm near Washington, D.C., in
the barn; she goes there as Lt. Prince and changes clothes in some of
the earliest tales. Though never explicitly stated, the Plane is
presumably stored there when not in use for the rest of the Pre-Crisis
era. In a story made shortly after, it flies at 40 miles (64 km) a second.
The telepathic capacities of Wonder
Woman's tiara allow her to summon the plane, often to hover or swoop
by the War Department, and she would exit on a rope ladder. She uses
the plane to fly into outer space, and frequently transports Etta
Candy and the Holliday Girls, Steve Trevor, or others. During the
1950s, the plane became a jet, and was often shown swooping over Lt.
Prince's office; she changed out of her uniform at super speed and
would bound to the plane. Though the Plane was depicted as
semi-transparent for the reader's convenience, in-story dialogue
indicated that it actually was completely invisible, or at least able
to become so as the need arose.
Wonder Woman continued to use the plane
for super-speed, outer space, and multi-dimensional transport up
until the un-powered era of Diana Prince. When Wonder Woman resumed
super-powered, costumed operations in 1973, she continued to use the
jet as before, but did glide on air currents for short distances. At
one point, Aphrodite granted the plane the power to fly faster than
the speed of light for any interstellar voyages her champion might
undertake. Thanks to tinkering by gremlins, the Plane even developed
intelligence and the power to talk. The Plane proved a good friend,
eager to help his "mistress" and her loved ones in any way
possible. It got along especially well with Steve Trevor.
Diana's bulletproof bracelets were formed
from the remnants of Athena's legendary shield, the Aegis, to be
awarded to her champion. The shield was made from the indestructible
hide of the great she-goat, Amalthea, who suckled Zeus as an infant.
These forearm guards have thus far proven indestructible and able to
absorb the impact of incoming attacks, allowing Wonder Woman to
deflect automatic weapon fire and energy blasts. Diana can slam the
bracelets together to create a wave of concussive force capable of
making strong beings like Superman's ears bleed. Recently, she gained
the ability to channel Zeus's lightning through her bracelets as
well. Zeus explained to her that this power had been contained within
the bracelets since their creation, because they were once part of
the Aegis, and that he had only recently unlocked it for her use.
After the 2011 relaunch of the character, it was revealed that Diana
was the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta and that the bracelets are
able to keep the powers she had inherited from Zeus in check. In
addition, Hephaestus has modified the bracelets to allow Wonder Woman
the sorcerous ability to manifest a sword of grayish metal from each
bracelet. Each sword, marked with a red star, takes shape from a
flash of lightning, and when Wonder Woman is done with them, the
swords disappear, supposedly, back into her bracelets. As such, she
has produced other weapons from the bracelets in this way such as a
bow that fires explosive arrows, spears and energy bolts among others.
The Lasso of Truth, or Lasso of Hestia,
was forged by Hephaestus from the golden girdle of Gaea. The original
form of the Lasso in the Golden Age was called the Magic Lasso Of
Aphrodite. It compels all beings who come into contact with it to
tell the absolute truth and is virtually indestructible. in Identity
Crisis, Green Arrow mistakenly describes it as "the only lie
detector designed by Zeus." The only times it has been broken
were when Wonder Woman herself refused to accept the truth revealed
by the lasso, such as when she confronted Rama Khan of Jarhanpur, and
by Bizarro in Matt Wagner's non-canonical Batman/Superman/Wonder
Woman: Trinity. During the Golden Age, the original form of the Lasso
had the power to force anyone caught to obey any command given them,
even overriding the mind control of others; this was effective enough
to defeat strong-willed beings like Captain Marvel. Diana wields the
Lasso with great precision and accuracy and can use it as a whip or noose.
occasionally uses additional weaponry in formal battle, such as
ceremonial golden armour with golden wings, pteruges, chestplate, and
golden helmet in the shape of an eagle's head. She possesses a
magical sword forged by Hephaestus that is sharp enough to cut the
electrons off an atom.
As early as the 1950s, Wonder Woman's
tiara has also been used as a razor-edged throwing weapon, returning
to her like a boomerang. The tiara allows Wonder Woman to be
invulnerable from telepathic attacks, as well as allowing her to
telepathically contact people such as the Amazons back on Themyscira
using the power of the red star ruby in its center.
During the golden age Wonder Woman
possessed a Purple Ray capable of healing even a fatal gunshot wound
to the brain. She also possessed a Mental Radio that could let her
receive messages from those in need.
As a recent temporary inductee into the
Star Sapphires, Wonder Woman gained access to the violet power ring
of love. This ring allowed her to alter her costume at will, create
solid-light energy constructs, and reveal a person's true love to
them. She was able to combine the energy with her lasso to enhance
Wonder Woman's outfit has varied over
time, although almost all of her outfit incarnations have retained
some form of breastplate, tiara, bracelets, and her signature
five-pointed star symbols.
In the Golden Age Wonder Woman's outfit
design was originally rooted in American symbolism and iconography,
which included her signature star symbols, a golden eagle on her
chest, crimson red bustier, white belt, and a dark blue star spangled
skirt/culotte. She also had a pair of red glowing magnetic earrings
which allowed her to receive messages from Queen Desira of the planet Venus.
At the time of her debut, Wonder Woman
sported a red top with a golden eagle emblem, a white belt, blue
star-spangled culottes, and red and golden go-go boots designed by
artist H.G. Peter with input from Marston and DC publisher M.C.
Gaines. She originally wore a skirt; however according to Elizabeth
Martson, "It was too hard to draw and would have been over her
head most of the time." This outfit was entirely based on the
American flag, because Wonder Woman was purely an American icon as
she debuted during World War II.
What earlier appeared to be a skirt were
actually culottes, wide legged shorts worn by female athletes of the
day and in 1942, Wonder Woman's outfit received a slight change as
the culottes were gradually converted into skin-tight shorts and the
comic ended up on some groups banned booked list due to her being,
"not sufficiently dressed."
Peter's original costume sketch had Wonder
Woman in Greek style sandals with leg straps and heels, but Marston
preferred boots. Two years after Marston's death the sandals began to
appear in the comics (minus heels) and with seperate leg straps. Her
shorts also got a little shorter.
While earlier most of her back had been
exposed, during the imposition of the Comics Code Authority in the
mid-1950s, Wonder Woman's outfit was rectified to make her back
substantially covered, in order to comply with the Authority's rule
of minimum exposure. After a 16 year run as an artist on the book
Peter died and Ross Andru would became lead artist for the next nine
years. The sandals were replaced with pumps and the previously
detailed eagle on her belt was simplified. Under Andru her shorts
slowly turned into briefs and the red boots returned minus the white stripe.
During Mike Sekowsky's run in the late
1960s, Diana surrendered her powers and started using her own skill
to fight crime. She wore a series of jumpsuits as her attire, most
popular of these was a white one. After Sekowsky's run ended in the
early 1970s, Diana's roots were reverted to her old mythological and
she wore a more modernized version of her original outfit, a
predecessor to her "bathing suit" outfit.
The Wonder Woman made-for-TV movie
featured a blonde Wonder Woman and and a costume unlike anything that
was apearing in the comic book. ABCs next attempt was a more
traditional Wonder Woman, set in the 1940s with Lynda Carter wearing
a costume actually inspired by the comic book with a perched eagle
design, stars on the briefs and, for the first time, silver
bracelets. When the show moved to CBS for it's second season the
character moved to the present. The eagle was updated to resemble the
eagle in the comics and the briefs were cut shorter. The white
striped boots remained and were also carried over into the comics
where here glowing white belt was turned into a yellow one. Also in
the comics artist Terry Dodson redrew her outfit as a strapless swimsuit.
New DC Comics President, Jeanette Kahn
commissioned a new Wonder Woman chest emblem by graphic designer
Milton Glaser, who also designed the DC Comics logo that was used
from 1977 to 2005. Variations of the stacked "WW" logo have
been in the costume ever since.
After Crisis On Infinite Earths, George
Pérez rebooted the character in 1987. She wore an outfit
similar to her 1970s one, but now with a larger glowing golden belt
with a second point. Her hair dramatically lengthened, the blue
bracelets became silver bracers and the heels on her boots disappeared.
In the 90s Wonder Woman became one of DCs
lowest selling books. As a result, Mike Deodato Jr. was given plenty
of creative freedom and he cut her top lower and briefs higher to a
point point she was wearing a thong. Deodato commented, "Every
time the bikini was smaller, the sales get higher."
When William Messner-Loebs' took over the
book, he had Diana pass on the role of Wonder Woman to Artemis. No
longer Wonder Woman, Diana sported a new black biker-girl outfit
designed by artist Mike Deodato Jr. After John Byrne took over
writing and art duties, he redesigned the Wonder Woman outfit (Diana
was reinstated as Wonder Woman at the end of Loebs' run) and joined
the emblem and belt together. He also increased the size of the
bracers and tiara and removed the stars from the briefs leaving only two.
After Byrne's run, the costume reverted
further back to a Post Crisis look. Artist Adam Hughes made her chest
emblem a single solid shape without etched details and made her boots
In a throwback to the original chest
emblem Terry Dodson transformed the stacked "WW" in a
eagle. Similar to her chest-plate, her glowing belt was also shaped
into a "W". This outfit continued until issue #600. J.
Michael Straczynski's run of Wonder Woman's altered timeline changed
her outfit drastically. Her outfit was redesigned by Jim Lee and
included a redesigned emblem, a golden and red top, black pants, and
a later discontinued blue-black jacket.
It was later retconned by Gail Simone that
Wonder Woman's outfit design had Amazonian roots. During a flashback
in Vol. 3, Hippolyta is shown issuing orders to have a garment
created for Diana, taking inspiration from the skies on the night
Diana was born; a red hunter's moon and a field of stars against deep
blue, and the eagle breastplate being a symbol of Athena's avian representations.
Another major outfit change came after DC
Comics relaunched its entire line of publications, dubbing the event
the New 52. Her original one-piece outfit was restored, although the
color combination of red and blue was changed to dark red and
blue-black. Her chest-plate, belt and tiara were also changed from
gold to a platinum or sterling silver color. Along with her sword,
she now also utilizes a shield. She wears many accessories such as
arm and neck jewelery styled as the "WW" motif. Her outfit
is no longer made of fabric, as it now resembles a type of light,
flexible body armor. Her boots are now a very dark blue rather than
red. The design previously included black trousers, but they were
removed and the one-piece look was restored during the time of publication.
After the events of Convergence, Diana
gets a new armored suit with the classic armor and tiara returning.
Designed by David Finch with input from his wife, writer Meredith
Finch. This didn't last long. Another costume variation apeared in a
line of action figures and dolls that was supported by a web series
and graphic novels targeted at a young female demographic. The suit
was designed by Jenn Rahardjanoto.
In 2016 Wonder Woman's outfit is
redesigned to resemble the one worn in Batman v Superman: Dawn of
Justice: it is a red bustier with a gold eagle, a blue growing
leather skirt with gold edges with two stars, and knee-high red boots
with gold knee guards and accents. Her tiara once again becomes gold
with a red star. She occasionally wears a red cape with a gold clasp
In the 2017 Wonder Woman film, her tiara's
signature star symbol is now an eight pointed starburst. According to
designer Lindy Hemming and director Patty Jenkins, every design
decision made for Themyscira came down to the same question: "How
would I want to live that's badass?" "To me, they
shouldn't be dressed in armor like men. It should be different. It
should be authentic and real [&ldots;] and appealing to women."
When asked about the decision to give the Amazons heeled sandals,
Jenkins explained that they also have flats for fighting, adding
"It's total wish-fulfillment [&ldots;] I, as a woman, want
Wonder Woman to be sexy, hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at
the same time [&ldots;] the same way men want Superman to have
ridiculously huge pecs and an impractically big body. That makes them
feel like the hero they want to be. And my hero, in my head, has
really long legs." This corresponds to the original intent by
William Moulton Marston, who wanted his character to be alluringly feminine.
As a compassionate warrior with-god-like
strength, Wonder Woman preferred peace and love to war and violence,
a contradiction that has long made her a symbol of female
empowerment, and the center of controversy. The early Wonder Woman
stories featured an abundant amount of bondage portrayals, which had
Although created to be a positive role
model and a strong female character for girls and boys, Wonder Woman
has had to deal with the misogyny that was commonplace in comic book
industry for decades. For example, Wonder Woman was a founding member
of the Justice Society of America. This roster included the original
Flash and Green Lantern. Wonder Woman was an experienced leader and
easily the most powerful of them all; yet was rendered a secretary.
This would also be accompanied with her losing her powers or getting
captured on most Justice League adventures. During the 50s and
60s, comic writers regularly made Wonder Woman love sick over
Steve Trevor, a Major in the United States Army. Stories frequently
featured Wonder Woman hoping or imagining what it would be like to
marry Steve Trevor.
Wonder Woman was named the 20th greatest
comic book character by Empire magazine and placed fifth on IGN's Top
100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time.
Not all reaction to Wonder Woman has been
positive. In the controversial Seduction of the Innocent,
psychiatrist Fredric Wertham claimed Wonder Woman's strength and
independence made her a lesbian in a condemning way.
icon Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms. magazine, was responsible for
the return of Wonder Woman's original abilities. Offended that the
most famous female superhero had been depowered into a boyfriend-obsessed
damsel in distress, Steinem placed Wonder Woman (in costume) on the
cover of the first issue of Ms. (1972) (Warner Communications, DC
Comics' owner, was an investor) which also contained an appreciative
essay about the character. Wonder Woman's powers and traditional
costume were restored in issue #204 (JanuaryFebruary 1973).
In 1972, just months after the
groundbreaking US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, science fiction
author Samuel R. Delany had planned a story for Ms. that culminated
in a plainsclothes Wonder Woman protecting an abortion clinic.
However, Steinem disapproved of Wonder Woman being out of costume,
and the controversial story line never happened.
The original significance of Wonder Woman
had the intentions of influencing many women of all ages, displaying
the physical and mental strengths, values, and ethical attributes
that not only men acquire. "Wonder Woman symbolizes many of the
values of the women's culture that feminists are now trying to
introduce into the mainstream: strength and self-reliance for women;
sisterhood and mutual support among women; peacefulness and esteem
for human life; a diminishment both of 'masculine' aggression and of
the belief that violence is the only way of solving conflicts,"
Steinem wrote at the time. "... [Marston] had invented Wonder
Woman as a heroine for little girls, and also as a conscious
alternative to the violence of comic books for boys."
The origin of Wonder Woman and the
psychological reasoning behind why William Morton Marston created her
in the way he did illustrated Marston's educational, ethical, and
moral values. Gladys L. Knight explains the impact and influences
that superheroes have on us in society ranging from the 1870s until
the present day. "William Marston intended her to be a feminist
character, showing young boys the illimitable possibilities of a
woman who could be considered just as strong as the famed Superman."
DiPaolo, assistant professor of English and Film at Oklahoma City
University, writes about Wonder Woman's creator and history and he
demonstrates how she is a "WWII veteran, a feminist icon, and a
sex symbol" all throughout her "career". Wonder Woman
stars in multiple films and is most commonly known for her red, white
and blue one piece, and her tall, sexy assertiveness. What many
people don't know is that she is a big part of history in the comic
and superhero world because of how her character influences real life
people of all ages, sexes, ethnicities, and races. "Marston
created the comic book character Wonder Woman to be both strong and
sexy, as a means of encouraging woman to emulate her unapologetic assertiveness."
Wonder Woman: Earth One writer Grant
Morrison stated, "I sat down and I thought, 'I don't want to do
this warrior woman thing.' I can understand why they're doing it, I
get all that, but that's not what [Wonder Woman creator] William
Marston wanted, that's not what he wanted at all! His original
concept for Wonder Woman was an answer to comics that he thought were
filled with images of blood-curdling masculinity, and you see the
latest shots of Gal Gadot in the costume, and it's all sword and
shield and her snarling at the camera. Marston's Diana was a doctor,
a healer, a scientist."
William Marston's earliest works were
notorious for containing "sapphic-undertones" subtext.
Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent referred to her as the
"lesbian counterpart to Batman" (whom he also identified as
a homosexual). In the decades since, DC Comics attempted to downplay
her sexuality, and comic book writers and artists didn't do much more
than hint at Wonder Woman's erotic legacy.
Grant Morrison's 2016 comic Wonder Woman:
Earth One, which exists parallel to the current DC comics Rebirth
canon, Diana is depicted being kissed on her right cheek by a blonde
woman who has put her left arm around Diana.
Wonder Woman feels she need not be
"labelled sexually", that she "loves people for who
they are" and is "just herself". Coming from a society
that was only populated by women, "lesbian" in [the
world's] eyes may have been "straight" for them. "Her
culture is completely free from the shackles of heteronormativity in
the first place so she wouldn't even have any 'concept' of gender
roles in sex."
In 2016, Sensation Comics featured Wonder
Woman officiating a same-sex wedding (Issue #48) drawn by Australian
illustrator Jason Badower. "My country is all women. To us, it's
not 'gay' marriage. It's just marriage", she states to Superman.
Inspired by the June Supreme Court ruling that established marriage
equality in all 50 United States, Badower says DC Comics was
"fantastic" about his idea for the issue. In an interview
with The Sydney Morning Herald, he said his editor "Was like
'great, I love it! Let's do it.' It was almost anticlimactic."
Badower continues, "Diana's mother, the queen, at the very least
authorized or in some cases officiated these weddings. It just seems
more like a royal duty Diana would take on, that she would do for
people that would appreciate it."
Woman's advocacy for gay rights was taken a step further in
September 2016, when comic book writer Greg Rucka announced that she
is canonically bisexual, according to her rebooted Rebirth origin.
This follows the way Wonder Woman was written in the alternate
continuity or non-canon Earth One by Grant Morrison, and is staunchly
supported by fellow Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone dispite the
backlash from some of the fanbase.
Though the superhero was sexuality fluid,
Rucka stated that our societys conceptions of gay and straight
dont exist on Themyscira (formally known as Paradise Island),
the fictional home of Wonder Woman. "Its supposed to be
paradise,' Rucka said of Themyscira. "Youre supposed to be
able to live happily. Youre supposed to be able - in a context
where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for
that happiness is to have a partner - to have a fulfilling, romantic
and sexual relationship. And the only options are women. But an
Amazon doesnt look at another Amazon and say, 'Youre
gay.' They dont. The concept doesnt exist. Now, are we
saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other
women... the answer is obviously yes."
Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot reacted
positively to Diana's rebooted orientation, and agreed her sexuality
was impacted by growing up in the women-only Themyscira.
On October 21st, 2016, the United Nations
named Wonder Woman a UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of
Women and Girls in an official ceremony attended by Under Secretary
General for Communications & Public Information Cristina Gallach
and by actors Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot. Fans were upset when the
character was dropped from the role two months later after a petition
generated by concerned United Nations staff members stated Wonder
Woman was "not culturally... sensitive" and it was
"alarming that the United Nations would consider using a
character with an overtly sexualized image".
Other fictional characters to have been
given honorary roles include Winnie the Pooh as honorary ambassador
for friendship in 1997, and Tinkerbell as honorary ambassador for
green to promote environmental awareness in 2009. Still
the collaboration had lasted longer than previous UN roles given to
fictional characters, Brez added, pointing out that a character from
the video game Angry Birds served as climate change ambassador for a
single day in March.
Warner Bros and DC Entertainment have been
"extremely pleased" with the partnerships role in
raising awareness of the empowerment of women and girls, a
spokeswoman said, "Wonder Woman stands for peace, justice and
equality, and for 75 years she has been a motivating force for many
and will continue to be long after the conclusion of her UN honorary ambassadorship."
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