Here is a (loose) interpretation of my most recent email from our Lady and Mistress, Shay:
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it (not that doing otherwise is an option, but whatevs) is to write a blog post adhering to the following theme: Being a fan. Write about a person/place/thing of which you’re a fan.”
Well… Hell… Everything? I like everything.
What do you mean I should put more work into it??? Do you know how exhausting it is to like EVERYTHING? Just being me is work. My comic book quota alone would make a lesser woman balk. If you want me to find time to further research and review a topic, it better be a darn wonderful subject!
Oh. Well, all right then. It turns out when the terms “research” and “reread a bunch of your comic books” are interchangeable, the world is a magical place. Of all the fan properties in all the worlds, this one may very well be my favorite. When it comes to Wonder Woman, I always have something to say. Let’s go!
Rather than inundate you with a blow-by-blow of Wonder Woman versus Cheetah or wax irate about her stint as Secretary of the Justice Society, I thought I would write about what originally drew me to Wonder Woman. The Internet is ablaze with commentary over the latest big screen incarnation, most of which can be summed up thusly-
Now, by “origin,” I don’t mean the Isle of Themyscira where she was an Amazon Princess/demigod and daughter of Queen Hippolyta.
Because of course you all know all of that. Right? I’ll assume I’m right.
By origin, I mean the origin of the idea of Wonder Woman. Who created her? When? Why? And really… Truth Lasso?
Wonder Woman was originally the idea of William Moulton Marston, who was not your typical comic book writer. According to his biography, he was not your typical anything. Marston was a psychologist, a writer, a teacher. He was a feminist in the 1940s (before it was cool). Marston is quoted as saying that “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”
Wonder Woman’s creator loved women. In fact, the character is in part based off of two women he loved- his wife, Elizabeth and his lover, Olive Byrne. They all lived together. Elizabeth and William even named their daughter after Olive.
Marston’s experiences with Elizabeth and Olive, and women he encountered through his work led him to believe that women were more honest than men. Honesty meant something to Marston, whose invention of a systolic blood pressure measuring apparatus was integral to the creation of the polygraph. William Moulton Marston helped create a real world truth lasso.
Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December of 1941. Like so many characters of the Golden Age of comics, she original fought Nazis. She just did it in a skirt. Wonder Woman represented, to Marston, the idea woman. She was strong, beautiful, powerful, and honest. Her truth lasso bound her enemies to her will and forced them to be true. She was “as beautiful as Aphrodite, as wise as Athena, A strong as Hercules, and as swift as Hermes.” She fought for justice, love, peace, and sexual equality.
Wonder Woman became a full-time feature character in 1942. She has run continuously since then except for a brief hiatus in 1986 and again in 2006. There have been over 645 issues of Wonder Woman in the over 70 years the character has existed. This makes her, according to the documentary “Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines,” the oldest continuously drawn female superhero in history. (She looks great for her age!) DC Comics currently owns the Wonder Woman franchise and www.dccomics.com calls Wonder Woman “the most famous heroine of all time. The full package of beauty, brains, and brawn, she’s been a feminist icon since her star-spangled intro in 1941.”
But is hasn’t all been woman power and star-spangled bikini bottoms. Since her original inception, Wonder Woman has run the gamut from super-powered, independent crime fighter to the super-powerless, romance-obsessed owner of a mod boutique in the 60s. She’s worn everything from the world’s most patriotic G-string, to the much more practical garb in J. Michael Straczinki’s arc.
Even now, in our enlightened times and despite her popularity’s longevity, Hollywood remains unconvinced that Wonder woman, or any female superhero, will sell movie tickets. Wonder Woman will appear on the big screen, but in a supporting role in Man of Steel 2. I do believe that with enough patience… and love… and strength, Wonder Woman may find her way to top billing in a major Hollywood film. Until that day, I will keep single-handedly supporting the franchise. Wonder Woman dishware, anyone?