Wonder Woman


Wonder Woman was a comic book title published by DC Comics between 1942 and 1986. It featured the Amazonian superheroine's adventures through World War II and beyond. Wonder Woman was introduced in All Star Comics (issue #8; Dec 1941), the second bestselling comic in DC's line.

Wonder Woman Following this, she was featured in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942), and six months later appeared in her own book (Summer 1942). Until his death in 1947, Dr. William Moulton Marston wrote all of the Wonder Woman stories. H. G. Peter penciled the book in a simplistic yet easily identifiable style. Upon Marston's death in 1947, Robert Kanigher took up the writing duties on Wonder Woman. Diana was written as a less feminist character, and began to resemble other traditional American heroines. Peter produced the art on the title through issue #97, when the elderly artist was fired. (He died soon afterward.)

The Wonder Woman title experienced significant changes from the mid-1950's throughout the 60's. Harry G. Peter was replaced by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito in 1958 (starting with issue #98), and the character was revamped as were other characters in the Silver Age. In Diana's new origin story (issue #105), it was revealed that her powers were gifts from the gods. Receiving the blessing of each deity in her crib, Diana was destined to become "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, strong as Hercules, and swifter than Mercury". Further changes included removing all World War II references from Wonder Woman's origin, changing Hippolyta's hair color to blonde, giving Wonder Woman the ability to glide on air currents, and introducing the rule that Paradise Island would be destroyed if a man ever set foot on it.

Several years later, when DC Comics introduced the concept of the Multiverse, the Silver Age Wonder Woman was situated as an inhabitant of Earth-One, while the Golden Age Wonder Woman was sited on Earth-Two. (It was later revealed, in Wonder Woman #300, that the Earth-Two Wonder Woman had disclosed her secret identity of Diana Prince to the world, and had married her Earth's Steve Trevor.)

In the 1960's, regular scripter Robert Kanigher adapted several gimmicks which had been used for Superman. As with Superboy, Wonder Woman's "untold" career as the teenage Wonder Girl was chronicled.

At the end of the 1960's, under the guidance of editor/plotter/artist Mike Sekowsky, Wonder Woman surrendered her powers to remain in "Man's World" rather than accompany her fellow Amazons to another dimension where they could "restore their magic." Now a mod boutique owner, the powerless Diana Prince acquired a Chinese mentor named I Ching. Under I Ching's guidance, Diana learned martial arts and weapons skills, and engaged in adventures that encompassed a variety of genres, from espionage to mythology.

This new era of the comic book was influenced by the British television series The Avengers, with Wonder Woman in the role of Emma Peel. With Diana Prince running a boutique, fighting crime, and acting in concert with private detective allies Tim Trench and Jonny Double, the character resembled the golden age Black Canary. Soon after the launch of the "new" Wonder Woman, the editors severed all connections to her old life, most notably by killing Steve Trevor (#180).

During the 25 bi-monthly issues of the "new" Wonder Woman, the writing team changed four times. Consequently, the stories display abrupt shifts in setting, theme, and tone. The revised series attracted writers not normally associated with comic books, most notably science fiction author Samuel R. Delany, who wrote two issues (#202-203).

The I Ching era had an influence on the 1974 Wonder Woman TV movie featuring Cathy Lee Crosby, in which Wonder Woman was portrayed as a non-powered globe-trotting super-spy who wore an amalgam of Wonder Woman and Diana Prince costumes. The era continues to influence stories decades later, most notably Walter Simonson's run (Wonder Woman vol. 2, #189-194). The first two issues of Allan Heinberg's run (Wonder Woman vol. 3, #1-2) include direct references to I Ching, and feature Diana wearing an outfit similar to that which she wore during the I Ching era. Wonder Woman's powers and traditional costume were restored in 1973 (issue #204).

Soon after Wonder Woman's readmittance to the JLA, DC Comics ushered in another format change. Following the popularity of the Wonder Woman TV series (initially set during World War II), the comic book was also transposed to this era. The change was made possible by the Multiverse concept, which maintained that the 1970's Wonder Woman and the original 1940's version existed in two separate yet parallel worlds. A few months after the TV series changed its setting to the 1970's, the comic book returned to the contemporary timeline. Soon after, when the series was written by Jack C. Harris, Steve (Howard) Trevor was killed off yet again.

As a result of the alterations which followed DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths cross-over of 1986, the Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor of Earth-Two, along with all of their exploits, were erased from history. However, the two were admitted into Olympus. At the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor appeared to have killed the Wonder Woman of Earth-One, but in reality, she had been hurled backwards through time, devolving into the clay from which she had been formed. Crisis on Infinite Earths erased all previously existing Wonder Women from continuity, setting the stage for a complete relaunch and reboot of the title.


Tweet    |    StumbleUpon    |    Digg    |    Reddit