The movies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about the iconic Wonder Woman!
Truth, empowerment, equality, and freedom. These are the words that have been used to describe Wonder Woman, the most recognized superheroine in the world of comics. Created by William Moulton Marston and H. G. Peter, the Amazon princess made her debut 80 years ago. Starring in epic stories, Wonder Woman continues to produce a cultural impact by defending those in need and advocating for peace.
Still, when it comes to getting to know about Diana, it’s most likely that the main source tends to be the popular films and television series; which, in total, would be three (those portrayed by Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot). Both, Lynda and Gal, make an amazing job in their portrayal of Wonder Woman, there’s no doubt about that. However, the movies and TV shows are just the tip of the iceberg when exploring Diana’s life.
There are tons of incredible comic books that depict Wonder Woman’s journey through the superhero genre. In addition, these comics demonstrate the wide traits that the Amazon possesses, proving why Wonder Woman has been a role model not just in the comic book pages, but also in the real world.
To celebrate Wonder Woman’s Day and her 80th Anniversary, here are some astonishing facts regarding the evolution of Wonder Woman. Did you know some of these?
A legend is born
Ever wondered why October 21 is Wonder Woman Day? The reason for this is because that date marks the first appearance of the superheroine. Diana debuted in All-Star Comics #8. This comic book series belonged to the former All-American Publication, a company that would merge with other businesses to create the well-known DC Comics.
Many people participated in the creation of this emblematic character. The late psychologist William Moulton Marston was perhaps the most notorious figure among these. Marston believed that comic books had "great educational potential," which is why he became a consultant at All-American Publication. Seeing that the superheroes always roughly saved the day, he suggested the incorporation of a new hero that would act with love rather than violence.
However, seeing that the genre was male-dominated, Elizabeth Holloway, Marston's wife, took the task of making sure that the character would be a woman. "Fine. But make her a woman," said Elizabeth to her husband. And so, with the artistic skills of Harry G. Peter and the inspiration of diverse female figures, such as Elizabeth and Olive Byrne (the Marston's polyamorous partner), William would introduce Wonder Woman to the world. A princess and champion of the Amazons who would fight against the Nazis by using her powers.
Fun fact: Both William and Elizabeth made an early prototype of a lie detector. It kind of sounds like an inspiration for a lasso of truth, huh?
From a desk to the battlefield
Before the Justice League, there was the Justice Society of America. This was the first time that DC gathered a superhero team with characters like Green Lantern, The Flash, and Hawkman. In the meantime, Wonder Woman started to gain positive reactions among comic book readers. Thanks to this, she would later appear with the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics #11, released in June 1942.
Her actions against evil impressed her superhero fellows, so much that, in the thirteenth issue, she would be made an honorary member… as a secretary (no, this is not a joke). While her male peers would embark on missions, she would remain at her desk to fill out forms. "I have to remain behind, but I'll be with you in spirit!," said Wonder Woman to Hawkman.
Time passed by, and in 1960, DC Comics relaunched in The Brave and the Bold comic book series a new team: The Justice League. This time, the Amazon princess would have a key role in defeating the intergalactic mind-controller, Starro. From then onwards, Wonder Woman would have an active role in DC’s lineup not only as one of Justice League’s founding members but also as an inspiration for other superheroines that would join the team.
Don't mess with this Amazon
There’s a reason why Wonder Woman is part of DC’s Trinity, the company’s top three most popular characters. With abilities granted by the Greek Gods, Diana is one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe. She’s capable of handling beyond a headbutt from Superman. So much so that Wonder Woman has been toe to toe against the Man of Steel on many occasions, proving to be one of the few superheroes who could face him. Some of the issues that have portrayed their encounters are Injustice: Year Four, Superman: Sacrifice, and Wonder Woman: Dead Earth.
The Amazon warrior has also gone against Batman, being Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, the graphic novel that portrayed the quarrel in which Wonder Woman turned out as the defeater. Her combat skills have made her stand out from other heavy hitters because she doesn’t rely only on brute strength. The latter has been pointed out by Black Canary and the Cape Crusader. Batman even considered that Wonder Woman "was the best melee fighter in the world."
On numerous occasions, Wonder Woman has taken decisions that required a sacrifice on her part. Yet, she never hesitated to carry them out because she acted for the well-being of others. Take, for instance, JLA: A League of One, where she learns about the prophecy of a dragon that would kill all of the Justice League. To prevent this, she decided to take down each of her friends to confront the beast by herself. Despite that it hurt her to betray her teammates, she did it so that they could live, meaning that she was willing to die for them.
Another moment where she performed a benevolent act was in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #210. In this issue, Diana faced off against Medusa. If the Amazon didn’t defeat the creature, nearly forty million people would turn into stone because the battle was being broadcast, and the Gorgon would show them her face. Although she was initially blindfolded, Medusa managed to rip the bandage from Diana’s eyes. Knowing what was at stake, Wonder Woman blinded herself with Medusa’s venom to continue battling.
Actions like these have tested Wonder Woman, demonstrating that she’s a compassionate character that will always stand up for others and a greater cause. This is why Wonder Woman is a great example of what it means to be a superhero.
Photos from Flickr: jooleeah_stahkey