Recently, while I was doing a lot of research into the history of the various Amazon tribes of the DCU, I ran across a reference to the idea that Diana's origin as "a clay statue which was magically brought to life to be Hippolyta's daughter" was only inserted into her continuity years after her first appearance in the Golden Age. Some online references actually suggest the "clay statue" bit was only invented by Bob Kanigher for Wonder Woman #105 in 1959 -- definitely getting into "early Silver Age" territory at that point.
I was curious. Partly because of this, and partly to research other details about Amazon history, I found a reprint of the original debut of Wonder Woman -- from All-Star Comics #8 -- and reread that story for the first time in many years. Sure enough, here are the things Wonder Woman's creator (William Moulton Marston) tells us in that story:
1. Thousands of years ago, after being enslaved by Hercules and his thugs and then escaping, the Amazons settled down on Paradise Island, and -- acting on strict orders from their patron goddess, Aphrodite -- have remained strictly isolated from the outside world (particularly men) ever since.
2. Hippolyta's daughter the princess (only renamed "Diana" at the end of this story) wasn't around in those days. She sure doesn't seem to have 3000 years or so of life experience as we meet her -- which means she probably wasn't conceived when her mother was a helpless slave way back when.
3. Athena and Aphrodite tell Hippolyta that the current world situation (World War II) requires an exception to the ancient rules. One worthy Amazon must be selected in a contest to go out there and help the Allied side of the struggle. This champion will be called "Wonder Woman."
4. Hippolyta absolutely forbids her daughter to compete in the contest -- therefore, the daughter simply puts on a mask before doing it anyway, and winning! And the rest is history.
Nowhere in that story is there any trace of an explanation for how Hippolyta can even have a daughter (if the girl is less than 3000 years old, anyway) when every woman on the island has gone for the last 3000 years at a stretch without even seeing any real live men until the day Steve Trevor fell out of the sky.
Now let's take a quick glance at certain details of a story I've never read in my life, but recently learned about when I was Googling for "Amazon children" and "Paradise Island" to see if anything interesting turned up.
Sensation Comics #37 was cover-dated January, 1945. It contained a Wonder Woman story which was also written by Moulton himself. There's a listing for it at http://www.dcindexes.com/charlton/st...?storyid=11256
The listing of characters participating in the story says this was the first (and final) appearance of an Amazon child named "Zoe" and some unnamed peers. The plot summary also says, in part:
Diana Prince and Steve Trevor deliver presents to the county orphanage. Steve discovers that the superintendent is abusing the children and has him arrested. Meanwhile, two children, Terry and Kitty Killdare, hide inside a trunk which contains presents for the girls on Paradise Island.
Wonder Woman takes the trunk to her home and is surprised when she finds the children inside. The two orphans are allowed to play with the Amazon children, while Mala repairs the power plant which protects Paradise Island from ships.
A trunk was meant for "the girls on Paradise Island," and the two orphan stowaways end up playing "with the Amazon children."
Great -- but just where did these "Amazon children" come from in the first place?
(And if the answer is "out of the wombs of their Amazon mothers," then that just leads to the further question of "and how did those women become pregnant in the first place?")
So it appears that we had the following situation on our hands:
Aphrodite had absolutely, positively ordered her beloved Amazons (right after they escaped from Hercules in ancient times) to never associate with men again.
Diana seemed young enough that she must have been born or otherwise "created" long after that edict was handed down.
Several other Amazon women apparently had also produced babies before Diana became Wonder Woman -- or else those Amazon children had some other recent origin.
This raises a few questions:
1. Just how seriously did the Golden Age Amazons actually take Aphrodite's edict about avoiding men like the plague?
2. If they didn't take it seriously, why hadn't Aphrodite noticed she was being defied?
3. If they always took it seriously, then why were there Amazon children running around on Paradise Island in the 1940s? Did Moulton (or any other Golden Age writer) ever address that point in some story I haven't heard about?