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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston, pen name Charles Moulton, a consultant for Detective Comics (now DC Comics) in 1940. With the super men filling the field, from Superman, to Batman, to Green Lantern, WMM was concerned that there was no female hero. The head of DC Comics, Max Gaines, encouraged Marston to create a female superhero, which he did, using the pen name Charles Moulton which was a combination of Max Charles Gaines middle name and his own middle name. And so Wonder Woman was born, first appearing in 1941 (All Star Comics #8). Marston was the creator of the systolic blood-pressure test, which led to the invention of the polygraph. He was convinced that women were more honest that men and could work faster and more reliably. Throughout his life he championed the causes of women of the day. Marston stated: "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. 

The obvious remedy was to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.  One of the first female superheroes, along with Batgirl and Supergirl, she was perhaps the most representative of her sex. Where the superheroes fought for good against evil, she also promoted concepts of female involvement in heroic actions. In most versions, she is Princess Diana of the Amazon warriors from Greek mythology. She has a variety of superhuman abilities, the ability to stop bullets with her bracelets, jump great distances, and she also has a magic lasso which forces her captives to speak the truth. A member of the all-star Justice League, she is predominantly feminist, a feature that was emphasized during the innovative, but low-budget, tongue-in-cheek television series, starring Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner. It ran from 1975 to 1979 and began with Wonder Woman battling Nazis in the 1940s, then later was updated to 1970's causes. Wonder Woman has inspired other comic book creations, including Zealot of the Wildcats and Promethea. 

After Wonder Woman's debut in 1941, she was featured in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942), and six months later in the summer of 1942, the first issue of her own comic, "Wonder Woman." Marston wrote all of Wonder Woman's appearances until he died in 1947. The first artist was H.G. Peter, who gave her a simple but identifiable style contrasted with the other super-heroes of that time. When she was first created, she was the archetype of the perfect woman, beautiful, intelligent, strong, but still had a soft side, her powers coming from "Amazon concentration." Her magic lasso was forged from the Magic Girdle of Aphrodite, which Wonder Woman's mother (Queen Hippolyta) was given by the goddess. It was unbreakable, infinitely stretchable, and it could make anyone encircled by it obey the commands of the holder, most of the time this meant, answering questions truthfully. In the comic, Wonder Woman was helped by the Holliday Girls (led by the chubby, sweet-loving Etta Candy) who would help Wonder Woman from time to time. Etta was the only notable one, with her prominent figure, tendency for saying "Woo-woo," all of the time, and lasted throughout the series. As evildoers often cast women into bondage, a common feature of the Sensation Comics covers, it was Wonder Woman in issue #3 who ties other women up. This identifiable feature was supposed to be an outlet for Marston's own fantasies and practise of bondage. From the first, Wonder Woman did not so much stop criminals as attempt to reform them. On a small island, just off Wonder Woman's home of Paradise Island was Transformation Island, where the Amazons had created a rehab center to house criminals.

After William Marston died, Wonder Woman was written by Robert Kanigher. She became less of a reformer and feminist, and more of a traditional superhero. She developed more abilities, including her earrings to give her air to breathe in outer space, her "invisible plane", which in the television series is like a plastic coffin with wings.  Her tiara became an unbreakable boomerang  and her bracelets allowed her to communicate with her home island. As time went by, Wonder Woman experienced many changes. Her origin was adjusted,  her powers coming from ancient deities. In the early 1970s, feminist Gloria Steinem was influential in the revival of Wonder Woman as a superhero (the director of the 1970s television version, was greatly influenced by Steinem's book). Steinem's Ms Magazine featured Wonder Woman in her 1940s red white and blue costume and contained an appreciation of the character. 

In her television appearances, Wonder Woman was Diana, a princess and an emissary from Paradise Island to a man's world.  She did not hide her secret powers, and at first was a vulnerable innocent.  In later representations, other writers and artists tried to portray the Amazon woman in skimpy outfits and alluring poses, but this drew criticism from the feminists. During the 1990s, there were many rumors of a possible Wonder Woman feature film, but nothing came of it. 





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