Shell's guide to... Wonder Woman

The next installment of my guides to. Previously: Catwoman, Batgirl and Black Canary.

1. Wonder Woman was created in 1941. 'William Moulton Marston, a psychologist already famous for inventing the polygraph, struck upon an idea for 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." '

2. Wonder Woman made her debut in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 and represented the era's 'unconventional, liberated woman'. Creator Marston, an outspoken feminist, believed women were more honest and efficient than men, and designed WW to be the kind of women who he believed should run society.

3. Originally WW was an Amazon who wins the right to return intelligence officer Steve Trevor back to 'man's world' during the second world war in which she fights the nazi's. At this time she joins the Justice Society of America (as the secretary!)

4. Wonder Woman's powers include being a masterful athlete, fighter and strategist. Her Amazon bracelets are able to stop bullets and her main weapon is her golden lasso (the lasso of truth) which compels anyone it is in contact with to tell the truth. Wonder Woman and her Amazon sisters also had a great knowledge of psychology.

5. Under a new writer WW origin story was explored, and her mythological roots were emphasised. WW was also given various other powers that made her on par with Superman. She was given mental and psychic abilities, super strength and even super breath!

6. As with most superheroes Wonder Woman had a weakness: Aphrodite's Law. If her bracelets were bound or chained to a man she lost her strength, making her as powerful as a mortal woman. Creator Dr. Marston said this was crucial to the WW character 'His point was that women are not actually inferior to men (the standard assumption at the time and throughout much of history), they are oppressed. The only reason they are "weaker" is because they allow men to make them so'.

7. At the end of the 60s with another new writer WW surrenders her powers so that she can stay in 'man's world' rather than go with her fellow Amazons to another dimension. At this time she uses the alias Diana Prince (and opens a mod boutique!). 

8. Under her Chinese mentor I Ching she learns martial arts and weaponry skills. Using these skills she undertakes a variety of espionage roles.

9. In the 70s Wonder Woman returns to her superhero roots in the Justice League, and her own comic returns to the second world war era. Due to the popularity of the Wonder Woman tv show the comics move forward to the 70s to coincide with the show.

9. At the end of the decade WW got a new look and logo but due to declining sales was cancelled in Feb 1986 at issues 329. The final story depicted Wonder Woman marrying Steve Trevor.

10. As part of a crossover event in DC Comics (Crisis on Infinite Earths) Wonder Woman was given a new origin story. Now she was an ambassador from Themyscira, sent to the patriarch's world on a mission to bring peace to the outside world.

11. This origin works as the foundation for all modern Wonder Woman comics, and incorporates a lot of Greek mythology as well as the story of Wonder Woman being birthed from clay. Her powers are bestowed upon her from various Olympian deities. 

12. Wonder Woman stood apart from Batman and Superman in that she would use deadly force when she deemed it necessary. Her marriage to Steve Trevor was also erased although he was still featured in the comics alongside Wonder Woman's best friend and sidekick Etta Candy. This relaunch was a big success and took Wonder Woman right through to the millennium.

13.  In 2010 an alternative timeline is introduced where Diana is an orphan raised in New York and the story focuses on her trying to restore reality to how it should be. 

14. In 2011, and the launch of The New 52- which saw the whole of the DC universe and it's characters rebooted, Wonder Woman was taken over by writer Brian Azarello and (the brilliant) artist Cliff Chiang. They redesigned her costume, made use of her sword and shield and completely rewrote her origin.

15. Now she was a demi-goddess and the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. She also gained new powers such as super speed, accelerated healing and flight. She is also considered to be stronger than Hercules. 

16. A large part of her New 52 storyline is about protecting a young woman called Zola at the request of Hermes. Zola is pregnant with Zeus's child, and Hera wants the baby dead. It then unfolds that Diana's original origin story was a cover up so that Hera didn't know that WW was also the daughter of Zeus. 

17. This era also featured a story line that went back to Diana's childhood and her tutelage under Ares- god of war.

18. In 2012 in the Justice League comics Wonder Woman and Superman kiss which leads to a romantic relationship. This leads to a series titled Superman/ Wonder Woman in 2013 which follows their romantic relationship as a 'power couple'. 

19. In 2016 DC comics relaunches all it's comics again with Rebirth. It begins with a story line where she discovers she has a twin brother and follows her quest to find him, as well as a Year One story line that charts her childhood in Themyscira. This takes us up to the current Wonder Woman comic line.

20. Wonder Woman is seen as a feminist icon. Renowned feminist Gloria Steinem featured WW on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine in 1972 and featured an appreciative essay about the superhero. 

21. Also in 1972 there was a planned story line that involved a plain clothed Diana protecting an abortion clinic but the controversial story never went ahead. 

22. In 2015 Wonder Woman became the first superhero to officiate a same sex marriage. The following year the United Nations controversially named Wonder Woman a UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls- although they dropped this a few months later after a petition complained about her 'overtly sexualised image' !

23. It is suggested that Wonder Woman is bisexual and has been depicted as having feelings for fellow Amazon Lo. Current writer Greg Rucka announced that she is canonically bisexual, having been brought up in a world of women and past WW writer Gail Simone strongly agreed.

Now you know about Wonder Woman here's some recommended reading (and watching)...

1. Wonder Woman the Golden Age Vol.1 (here) Collects the orginal WW comics starting at the very beginning.

2. Wonder Woman the TV show (here) The classic 1970s TV show depicting Wonder Woman played by Lynda Carter ran for three series.

3. Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian (here) The first of five WW books written by renowned comic book writer Gail Simone. 

4. Wonder Woman Vol.1 Blood (here) This is the first volume of The New 52 reboot and works well as a starting point. There are nine volumes in total that feature an array of stories, writers and artists. 

5. Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman Vol.1 (here) More of a quick read this is a compilation of shorter stories involving Wonder Woman written by an array of writers that see her help the Bat-family, go to Gotham City, and go to school among other things!

6. Wonder Woman Vol.1 The Lies (here) This is the first volume of Rebirth and again works as a starting point. Collecting all issues of the current ongoing series this so far features five volumes.

7. DC Bombshells Vol.1 Enlisted (here) A fun series set in an alternate World War 2 where the war is fought by the women of DC in a cool retro style! So many great characters working together and lovely artwork. 

8. Batman '66 meets Wonder Woman '77 (here) Another fun one this is a 6 issue mini series collected in one book that teams up the Adam West Batman with the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. 

9. Wonder Woman (here) The brilliant film adaption of one of comics most iconic superheroes played by Gal Gadot. Who's excited for the sequel? Meeee!

10. The Little Book of Wonder Woman (here) Not a necessity but a cute little guide to Wonder Woman that features lots of info and beautiful artwork throughout the years.

[As you can imagine the Wonder Woman back catalogue is huge and there are tons of other books I haven't mentioned as well as the Justice League of which Diana is a prominent member.]

So that was my guide to Wonder Woman-hope you enjoyed it! Next time: Batwoman...

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