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Wonder Woman was created in 1941 with an unprecedented idea: make a strong woman character that wouldn’t lose to Superman but would also emphasize the traits of womanhood. This idea, which might seem crazy coming from the 1940s, led the character to be the most prominent female superhero of all time, becoming a feminist and LGBT icon. The 2017 Wonder Woman movie managed to captivate audiences by sharing the feminine values and superhero tropes that made of the original comics so popular.
Wonder Woman was born out of the mind of an American psychologist, William Moulton Marston. An article written by Marston caught the eye of a comics publisher, who hired him as a consultant. While in contact with the comic book industry, Marston came up with the idea of creating a new superhero that would love instead of force and was advised by his wife to make this superhero a woman. Filled with inspiration, Marston created Wonder Woman as a “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should rule the world" according to him. Started in December 1941 in All-Star Comics, Wonder Woman had to bring back Steve Trover, an American intelligence officer who crashed on the Amazon’s island, to the real world. This story took place in the middle of World War 2 (as the comics industry was focused on writing stories about superheroes fighting Nazis), and Wonder Woman actively participated in the war alongside Steve Trevor. The comics were very popular, and at some point, Wonder Woman joined the Justice Society of America, the ancestor of the Justice League.
The legacy of Wonder Woman is a peculiar one. Created by a psychologist with feminist beliefs, inspired by his wife and his lover (as Marston lived in a polyamorous relationship), Wonder Woman was a unique character with a very deep meaning. The success of her adventures proved that people, and especially children, had no problems with a woman fighting and using her feminine traits to defeat evil. The comics evolved to feature more Greek mythology and Hellenic roots to Wonder Woman’s character until she was stripped of her powers so she could remain in our world.
During the late 1960s, Wonder Woman now without powers fought as Diana Prince, a vigilante whose adventures were inspired by the TV series The Avengers and whose character was close to Diana Rigg's portrayal of Emma Peel. It’s in the 1970s that Wonder Woman returned to her former glory, retrieving her powers and marrying Steve Trevor. This is also when here famous WW emblem was devised. But due to the plummeting sales of comic books in the 1970s and 1980s, her story had to be revamped once again.
It’s in the late 1980s that the character finally settled as the one we know today. Wonder Woman aka Diana was born out of clay on Themyscira, the island of the Amazons. Granted life by the Greek Gods, Diana is raised by her mother Queen Hippolyta and becomes both a fierce warrior and a compassionate woman. Sent as an emissary to the Patriarch’s World, she fights famous Wonder Woman villains like Ares, Cheetah, Circe and Doctor Poison who threatens humanity and/or the Amazon world. Often teaming up with Superman and Batman and part of the Justice League, Wonder Woman becomes the female member of DC’s top triumvirate.
The 2017 movie took some liberties with Wonder Woman’s story while staying mostly true to her character. The setting is moved from the Second World War to the First one, as she discovers not the horrors of the Nazis but the horrors of war itself. She’s no longer born from clay but from the union of Hippolyta and Zeus, making her a demi-goddess capable of channeling lightning. But she’s still this innocent, compassionate woman who can also act badass and take care of herself. With amazing reviews, the Wonder Woman movie became an example of how a female superhero can add something new to the genre, by using her female traits to fight evil differently. It showed the industry the benefits of using more female superheroes and inspired girls and women around the world. if you loved the movie, try our Wonder Woman merch!