BY Bored at 3:00AM
WHO IS WONDER WOMAN?
Wonder Woman is the world’s most famous super-heroine. Along with Superman & Batman, she is one the longest running characters in comic book history.
Throughout most of her many incarnations, Wonder Woman has been Princess Diana of Paradise Island, daughter of Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons from Greek myth. Sent to Man’s World as an Ambassador of Peace, Wonder Woman uses her extraordinary abilities to battle the forces of War.
WHEN DID SHE FIRST APPEAR?
Wonder Woman was created by Moulton Marston in 1941 to give young girls a super-heroic icon of their own. The impact of Marston’s creation surpassed even his expectations, becoming an icon to girls, feminists, lesibans and bondage enthusiasts alike.
In no time, Wonder Woman joined the ranks of both the Justice Society of America in 1942 and the Justice League of America in 1960. Her comic remained in continuous publication even after the demise of the superhero genre during the early fifties. However, it should be noted that DC would lose their exclusive rights to the character if they ever stopped publishing a Wonder Woman comic. As a result, Wonder Woman has managed to survive even the most dismal sales and creative slumps.
WHY DID SHE LOOK SO DIFFERENT DURING THE SIXTIES?
With sales in the toilet, DC decided to try something completely different with their flagship super-heroine. And by completely different, I mean completely the same as a more popular female icon at that time—Emma Peel of the hip British spy show, The Avengers (no relation to the Marvel super-team). As written by Robert Kanigher, Princess Diana suddenly lost her Amazon powers, quit the Justice League and became Diana Prince, a kung-fu fighting chick in mod mini-skirts and form-fitting jumpsuits.
This radical new direction only lasted a few years and was back in her traditional star-spangled panties and red bustier once again. And so she remained until the mid-eighties when Wonder Woman was killed off as part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
HOLD UP, WHAT’S THE CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS?
The Crisis of Infinite Earths was a giant cross-over DC put together in 1985 to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. The story combined all their various alternate realities into one world and re-launched their major characters.
During the story, the original incarnation of Wonder Woman, who joined the Justice Society, and the modern version of Wonder Woman from the Justice League, were shown the door. The elder Wonder Woman went off to live happily ever after with her husband Steve Trevor in Olympus while the modern Wonder Woman was killed off. The memory of both was subsequently erased from existence within the DCU. As a result, their past memberships in both the JSA and the JLA were wiped out.
SO WHO’S THE CURRENT WONDER WOMAN?
Writer/Artist George Perez was given the go-ahead to revamp Wonder Woman and was largely successful. Ditching the romance with Steve Trevor, the Invisible Jet and the Diana Prince secret identity, Perez played up the mythological aspects of the character and less on straight super-heroics. Subsequent creative teams have had varying success in following Perez’s initial five year run.
WHAT CAN WONDER WOMAN DO?
She’s stronger than Hercules, as fast as Hermes and as wise as Athena. Also, she’s been trained since birth by the Amazons, who are amongst the greatest warriors in the DCU. Her skin is tough, but not bullet-proof, as evidenced by her need to deflect bullets with her unbreakable metal bracelets. Initially, Wonder Woman would lose all her powers if her bracelets were ever bound together. However, this element has since disappeared due to DC Editorial’s discomfort with Marston’s none-too-subtle fascination with bondage imagery.
That said, Wonder Woman still wields her trademark golden lasso, which forces anyone she ties up to tell the truth. Although she gained the ability to fly during the late seventies, Diana often gets around is her Invisible Jet. Perez ditched the jet during his revamp, but John Byrne subsequently brought it back as a shape-changing alien artifact during the late nineties.
WHO ARE THE OTHER AMAZONS?
QUEEN HIPPOLYTA was Wonder Woman’s mother and, thanks to Byrne again, took the original Wonder Woman’s place within the Justice Society of America by travelling back in time to World War 2. Hippolyta was recently killed off during the Our World At War crossover. In fact, in turns out that she was the only casualty of that particular crossover.
DONNA TROY was Wonder Girl, Wonder Woman’s kid sister. Originally, Wonder Girl was actually Diana as a child, but this was changed so the character could join the Teen Titans during the sixties. When Wonder Woman’s existence was wiped out during the Crisis, Donna Troy’s history became extremely muddled until John Byrne sorted things out. Donna was killed off recently in the Graduation Day crossover. Nobody is particularly happy about it.
The current WONDER GIRL is Cassie Sandsmark. She gained her powers by challenging Zeus and, like her predecessor, joined forces with other teen sidekicks in Young Justice and, most recently, the revamped Teen Titans.
ARTEMIS was introduced as a “bad girl” Amazon from a tribe that lived apart from Paradise Island. During the nineties, Artemis briefly assumed the role of Wonder Woman, compete with a star-spangled thong and red silicone breast implants. Since then, she’s died, come back to life and now lives on Paradise Island.
IS WONDER WOMAN IMMORTAL?
It all depends on who you ask. The Amazons from Paradise Island are most definitely immortal, most of whom are over three thousand years old. However, Diana may or may not be immortal since some creators believe that Diana abandoned her immortality once she left Paradise Island.
The original Wonder Woman from the forties did age, albeit very slowly, and had grey hairs before she was shuffled off to limbo during the Crisis. The Lynda Carter Wonder Woman from TV was most definitely an immortal, not aging a day over the span of 40 years.
WHAT HAPPENED TO STEVE TREVOR?
Prior to the Perez revamp, Steve Trevor was always Wonder Woman’s primary love interest. In fact, Trevor was the fighter pilot who crash landed on Paradise Island, prompting Diana’s journey to Man’s World. However, believing that Wonder Woman is “above” romance, Perez decided to make Trevor a much older man, thereby nixing any possibility of him ever becoming Diana’s boyfriend. Steve Trevor has since married Eta Candy, Wonder Woman’s former comedic sidekick from the forties.
Subsequent creative teams have attempted to hook Wonder Woman up with various suitors, none of which have stuck. Wonder Woman is often paired with Superman, but only in stories taking place in a possible future. Superman and Wonder Woman did share a kiss once during the eighties, but that was the extent of their romantic relationship. Batman and Wonder Woman have also dabbled in romance, but that didn't really work out either.
COME ON, ISN’T WONDER WOMAN REALLY A LESBIAN ANYWAY?
Yes, some fans do believe this, but DC isn’t likely to address that theory anytime soon. Like Batman & Robin’s relationship, DC will probably never allow Wonder Woman’s sexuality to be explored in that way. However, it should be noted that several of The Amazons are indeed lesbians, although not all of them are.
HAS WONDER WOMAN APPEARED OUTSIDE OF COMICS?
A cartoon Wonder Woman appeared in all the incarnations of the Super Friends (which was essentially the Justice League) during the seventies and eighties. Wonder Woman also appears regularly in the current Justice League cartoon
During the late seventies, a live-action TV show was produced that starred Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. The show ran only two seasons, the first taking place during World War 2, the second taking place in the present. It is fondly remembered by pop culture junkies thanks to its ridiculously cheezy theme song.
There have been rumors of a live-action Wonder Woman movie for years, but nothing has ever come of it. Joel Silver, producer of The Matrix & Lethal Weapon mega-franchises, is currently in charge of the production.
There is also tons of Wonder Woman merchandise out there, including T-Shirts, action figures, posters and lunch boxes.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE BOOKS RIGHT NOW?
Writer Greg Rucka has just come on board the book and finally drummed up interest in the character again. Whether or not Rucka will succeed in making Wonder Woman a best-seller again is up to the fans to decide.