Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by psychologist William Moulton Marston, under the pen name of Charles Moulton. Marston was a professor at Columbia University and the author of such essays like "Integrative Psychology: A Study of Unit response", "The Art of Marriage", "Obey That Impulse", "Take Your Profits From Defeats" and above them all "The Lie Detector Test". Marston was also the inventor of the polygraph, better known as the lie detector. Using his background knowledge of psychodynamics and sexual behaviors, Marston made Wonder Woman one of the biggest pop culture symbols of feminism and women’s liberation. Early story themes included such topics as women domination by man, bondage and discipline.
It all started when William Moulton Marston wrote an article attacking the content of comic books. His article gained the attention of the All American publisher, M.C. Gaines, who offered Marston a position as a comic book advisor. Later Marston recalled: "I was retained as consulting psychologist by a comic publisher to analyze the present short-comings of monthly picture magazines and recommend improvements". Shortly thereafter, Marston began writing comics using his knowledge of psychology, and creating the first female superhero, a true symbol of feminism. "It seemed to me, from a psychological angle, that the comics' worst offense was their blood-curdling masculinity. A male hero, at best, lacks the qualities of maternal love and tenderness which are as essential to the child as the breath of life".
Wonder Woman, along with Batman and Superman, makes up DC’s “Big Three”. Wonder Woman continues to be one of the longest running comic titles. Wonder Woman is the only female character being published continuously since her creation more than 65 years ago. We all thank you Mr. Marston.
Wonder Woman made her debut in a nine-page story appearing All-Star Comics #8, December 1941 - January 1942, written by William Marston (under the alias Charles Moulton) and drawn by Harry G. Peter. This origin story of the Amazon Princess gained a favorable response from the readers. Wonder Woman next appeared in the #1 issue, January 1942, of Sensation Comics, "Featuring the Sensational New Adventure Strip-Character Wonder Woman!". The cover showcased Wonder Woman drawn by Harry G. Peters. The thirteen-page story contained a longer version of Wonder Woman’s origin and was once again a hit among readers. As a result, Wonder Woman was featured as the lead character in Sensation Comics through issue 106, November 1951.
The winter of 1942 premiered a new comic book, Comic Cavalcade, which featured Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash, with each character appearing in their own separate story. This series lasted 29 issues, ending October/November 1948.
All-Star Comics issue #11, June/July 1942, saw the return of Wonder Woman to its pages as a regular member of the Justice Society of America. Wonder Woman appeared in All-Star Comics for 47 issues, with her final appearance being in issue #57, February/March 1951.
Issue #1 of Wonder Woman comics premiered in the Summer of 1942, and contained stories exclusively featuring Wonder Woman, written by William Moulton Marston and illustrated by Harry G. Peter. These stories introduced a variety of villains with the most noteworthy being Nazi agent Paula von Günther, Cheetah, Dr. Psycho, Villainy Incorporated, Giganta, Mars, and the Duke of Deception. Issue #28, March/April 1948, was the last Wonder Woman issue written by Marston before his death.
Robert Kanigher became the writer with issue #28 and wrote Wonder Woman stories for the next 20 years, through issue #176, May/June 1968, a 148 issue run. Harry G. Peter continued to draw the covers through issue #38 and was the main Wonder Woman story artist through issue #97, April/May 1958. Irwin Hasen took over the cover artist roll for issues #39 through #83. The Golden Age era of Wonder Woman came to an end with issue #84, August 1956.
The beginning of the Silver Age Wonder Woman started with issue #85, and issue #89 saw the debut of the cover art team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Issue #98 was the start of a 75 issue run with Ross Andru and Mike Esposito drawing both the covers and Wonder Woman stories up through issue #172.
The Wonder Woman comic began to feature stories about Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, Wonder Tot, Queen Hippolyta, and the Impossible Tales of the Wonder Woman Family. Supporting characters included Steve Trevor, Mer-boy, Bird-boy and Mr. Genie. The villains were a unique Rogues Gallery which included Crimson Centipede, Egg Fu, the Glop, Multiple Man, sea monsters, extraterrestrials and old favorites such as the Cheetah, Angle Man and Dr. Psycho. Steve Trevor would propose to Wonder Woman in just about every issue and Wonder Woman would turn him down claiming she could not marry him until her mission fighting crime was completed.
Key issues include: #107, the first adventure of Wonder Girl, #122 the first Wonder Tot story, #124 the first Impossible Tale, #159 featured the first Silver Age origin of Wonder Woman.
Issue #178, October 1968, announced “The New Wonder Woman is Here”. Denny O’Neil scripted the stories in which Wonder Woman gives up her powers, as well as her costume, to becomes a plain-clothed agent. The powerless Diana Prince teams up with a blind Chinese mentor named I-Ching. This ill-fated powerless Wonder Woman, series continued through issue #203. Key issues included #180 with the death of Steve Trevor and #199 and #200, showcasing gothic covers by Jeff Jones.
In Wonder Woman #204 (February 1973), I-Ching is killed, Queen Hippolyta restores Wonder Woman’s powers, and Wonder Woman once again dons her familiar costume. After many contradictions with storyline and character continuity, some explanations are given in issue #212 (July 1974) in an attempt to tie up loose ends which would set the foundation for the following issues edited by Julie Schwartz.
Key issues include issues #212-222, which showcase Wonder Woman’s trials for re-admittance into the Justice League of America. Issue #228 teams up both the Golden Age and Silver Age Wonder Woman with the series shifting to Earth 2, set in the 1940’s. The series returns to Earth I with issue #244.
Wonder Woman continued a rather "normal" run with several attempts to revitalize the series. Issue #269 announced a “New Beginning for Wonder Woman”. Issue #288 proclaims a “New Wonder Woman Direction and Costume”, with scripts by Roy Thomas and art by Gene Colan.
Wonder Woman #329 (February 1986) is a DC Crisis crossover issue in which the Silver Age Wonder Woman finally marries Steve Trevor. Issue #329 is also the last issue of the first Wonder Woman series, bringing a milestone finish to a 44-year run.
"Go at sunrise to the shore – and kneel there! Then, from the clay of Paradise, form you an image! Your heart shall race with anticipation – but steady yourself… …and shape the image with care! Then open yourself to fair Artemis – that the mid-wife of all Olympus may enter you! And with her guidance, let your spirit cry out… …unto the womb of Gaea! And blessed too, shall be with great Gaea’s gift… Life! Then shall Hippolyta honor her with the name of a great and holy warrior! Shall be Diana!" (Wonder Woman #1 - February 1987).
In 1987, after the "Crisis On Infinite Earths" series, DC decided to give Wonder Woman a re-birth and a new beginning. The first issue of the second Wonder Woman series made its appearance in February 1987. George Perez breathed new life into this Modern Age Wonder Woman series, with his scripts and plots for the first 60 issues. Perez’s art graced the covers of the first 60 issues as well as his pencils/layouts on the first 24 stories.
Perez’s stories revealed her origin, Paradise Island, the Amazons, the strong tie with the Greek god’s, as well as her role of representing the Amazons in man’s world. Some of the most noteworthy adversaries introduced included the Cheetah, Silver Swan, Ares God of War, and Dr. Psycho.
Beginning with issue #63, June 1992, William Loebs took over the scripting. Loebs scripts continued through #100, August 1995. Issues #90-93 contain the four-part story “The Contest” in which the Amazons compete to become the new Wonder Woman. Artemis becomes the new Wonder Woman and Diana gives up her title well as her costume. Issue #99 reveals that Hippolyta had knowledge that Wonder Woman was to die and thus awarded the title to Artemis to protect Diana. Artemis is killed in issue #100. Adversaries included the Cheetah, Poison Ivy, Circe, and the Joker.
One of the highlights, during this run, is the artwork that graced the covers. Brian Bolland produced some of his best cover artwork since his Judge Dredd days. Mike Deodato Jr. created a new following to this title with his art on the stories appearing in issues #85 and #90-100.
John Byrne took over the reigns on the script, pencils, inks and cover art for a 36-issue run, #101-136. Byrne introduces new ideas including a new costume design, a new Wonder Girl – Cassandra Sandsmark - #111, return of Artemis, death of Wonder Woman #127, Diana became a goddess, and Hippolyta became the new Wonder Woman in issue #118. Diana gives up her godhood and takes on the roll of Wonder Woman once again in issue #136.
The next milestone in the second Wonder Woman series is once again awarded to a cover artist, Adam Hughes. Hughes awesome covers appear on issues #139-197 and truly make the viewer say "AH!". Eric Luke scripts issues #139-159 with Yanick Paquette and Matthew Clark drawing the majority of the issues.
Phil Jimenez started the double duty of writing and drawing Wonder Woman beginning with issue #164, in January 2001. Like Byrne, Jimenez introduces fresh, and at times, shocking events. Issues #164-167 team up Wonder Woman with the Batman in the now classic “Gods of Gotham” series. We are given a glimpse of “A Day in the Life” of Wonder Woman as interviewed by Lois Lane in issue #170. Issue #172 shocks the DC universe with the death of Hippolyta in an “Our Worlds at War” tie in.
Issues #184 and issue #185 take the Modern Age Wonder Woman back in time, to 1943, where Diana meets the Golden Age Wonder Woman, no other than Hippolyta. Phil Jimenez ends his 25 issue run with issue #188. During this run we are introduced to a host of new and old villains including Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Silver Swan, Circe, New Cheetah, Villainy Inc., Angle Man, and Dr. Poison.
Walter Simonson writes a six-part story titled “Game of the Gods” in issues #189-194. Simonson shakes up fans when Wonder Woman has her hair cut short. Simonson also brings back Diana transforming into Wonder Woman by spinning.
With issues #195-226, writer Greg Rucka takes Wonder Woman comics to the next level. Issues #200-226 also display some of the best Wonder Woman covers ever, drawn by artist J.G. Jones. Dr. Psycho becomes a key villain along with a new advisory, Dr. Veronica Cale. Issues #206-210 contain the story titled “Stoned” in which Wonder Woman fights Medusa and loses her eyesight. Wonder Woman, with the aid of Wonder Girl, regains her eyesight in issue #217.
Wonder Woman issue #219, part IV of the DC crossover series “Sacrifice”, is a major turning point in the life of Wonder Woman, one that sent shock waves through the DC universe. In order to save Superman, Wonder Woman -knowingly and willingly- kills Maxwell Lord in cold blood, by snapping his neck. As a result of the murder, the rapport and trust between Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman breaks down.
Issues #219 and issue #220 are the first ever Wonder Woman comic issues that required a second printing. The second printing of issue #219 portrays a shocking cover of the dead Maxwell Lord, tied up with the golden lasso, at the feet of Wonder Woman.
Issues #219-225 tied in with the OMAC and Infinite Crisis storyline that took place across the DC universe. Paradise Island is attacked by the OMACs and the Amazons faced annihilation. To save the Amazons, the Olympian gods teleport Paradise Island to an unknown location, while Wonder Woman was taken to Olympus. Wonder Woman is informed that the gods are leaving and she chooses to remain on earth.
Issue #226, April 2006, brings to a close the 20-year run of the second Wonder Woman series. This final issue recaps the major events that have taken place during Wonder Woman’s life.
Wonder Woman ends issue #225 with a closing proclamation, that also turns out to be a prophetic statement regarding the Wonder Woman comic book title itself:
“I shall not abandon you. Come what may. Not now… not ever.”
[Wonder Woman #225 - March 2006].
In conjunction with DC's One Year Later event, the third Wonder Woman comic series was launched with a new #1 issue on June 7, 2006, featuring Allan Heinberg as writer and Terry Dodson as artist. This issue opens with Donna Troy having already taken up the mantle of Wonder Woman, after a year in which Diana had been missing. However, the end of the issue saw the return of the familiar guise of Diana Prince, secret agent, complete with an updated version of the white jumpsuit from the early 1970s. Whether this Diana Prince is truly Princess Diana has yet to be revealed.
One year after the execution of Maxwell Lord and the earth-shattering events of INFINITE CRISIS, the DCU is still struggling to come to terms with its most powerful heroine. Is she a martyr or a murderer? A politician or a super hero?
Writer Allan Heinberg (Young Avengers, JLA, TV's The O.C. and Sex and the City) and artists Terry and Rachel Dodson (Marvel Knights: Spider-Man, Harley Quinn) provide surprising answers, giving Wonder Woman a fresh, sexy look and a bold new direction!
The series begins with the multi-part "Who Is Wonder Woman?" story arc, paying homage to the character's distinguished history while placing her firmly in the present with an all-new supporting cast, a brand-new mission, and a renewed sense of wonder. A treat for longtime fans and a perfect jumping-on point for new readers, Wonder Woman #1 features the icon you know and love as you've never seen her before!
In Wonder Woman #2 (On Sale August 9, 2006), the shocks continue as Wonder Girl confronts the all-new Wonder Woman,
challenging the position she's assumed in the DCU. But their battle of wills is cut short when the titanic Giganta arrives on the scene, taking New York City hostage and forcing Wonder Woman to make a decision that could end her new career before it's even begun.
In Wonder Woman #3 (On Sale September 13, 2006 ), the adventures of the all-new Wonder Woman continue in Part 3 of the 5-part "Who is Wonder Woman" as three of her predecessor's most powerful enemies unite to declare war on the Amazing Amazon. But when Wonder Woman attempts to answer their challenge, she discovers a heroic figure from her past literally beating her to the punch. But who is the gods' new avatar? And where does that leave the new Wonder Woman?
In Wonder Woman #4 (On Sale September 13, 2006), when the all-new Wonder Woman encounters the Cheetah, Giganta and Dr. Psycho, she discovers that Wonder Woman's Rogues Gallery has undergone a radical transformation! Even Dr. Poison, Dr. Cyber and Osira are somehow more powerful and deadlier than ever before. But who is responsible for these magical makeovers? And will this army of revitalized rogues be too much for the gods' newest champion? Find out in Part 4 of the 5-part epic "Who Is Wonder Woman?"
Allan Heinberg on his new vision of Wonder Woman: "My main objective was to find a way to make Wonder Woman relevant to both new and longtime readers. Over the years she's been a politician, a teacher and a goddess—as well as a full-time superhero—so we wanted to strip away as many of those elements as possible to tell a more personal story and find out who Wonder Woman really is. What sort of person is she? What does she want? How does she feel?"
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