Created by William Moulton Marston & Harry G. Peter
Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine created by William Moulton Marston. She first appeared in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941). The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986.
Wonder Woman is a warrior Princess of the Amazons (based on the Amazons of Greek mythology) and was created by Marston, an American, as a "distinctly feminist role model whose mission was to bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality to a world torn by the hatred of men." Known in her homeland as Diana of Themyscira, her powers include superhuman strength, flight ( even though the original Wonder Woman did not have this ability), super-speed, super-stamina, and super-agility. She is highly proficient in hand-to-hand combat and in the art of tactical warfare. She also possesses an animal-like cunning and a natural rapport with animals, which has in the past been presented as an actual ability to communicate with the animal kingdom. She uses her Lasso of Truth, which forces those bound by it to tell the truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in some stories, an invisible airplane.
Created during World War II, the character was initially depicted fighting the Axis military forces, as well as an assortment of supervillains. In later decades, some writers maintained the World War II setting, with many of its themes and story arcs, while others updated the series to reflect the present day. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960). Arguably the most popular and iconic female superhero in comics, Wonder Woman is also considered a feminist icon. She was named the 20th greatest comic book character by Empire magazine.
In addition to the comics, the character has appeared in other media; most notably, the 1975–1979 Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter, as well as animated series such as the Super Friends and Justice League. Although a number of attempts have been made to adapt the character to live-action film, none have yet emerged from "development hell." An animated film was released in 2009, with Keri Russell voicing the title role. In 2011, Adrianne Palicki starred in a failed pilot for a would-be series about the character.
In an October 25, 1940 interview published in Family Circle titled "Don't Laugh at the Comics", William Moulton Marston described what he saw as the great educational potential of comic books. This article caught the attention of comics publisher Max Gaines, who hired Marston as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two of the companies that would merge to form DC Comics. At that time, Marston decided to develop a new superhero. Family Circle published a follow-up article two years later from the previously said time.
In the early 1940s , the DC line was dominated by superpowered male characters such as the Green Lantern, Batman and its flagship character, Superman. According to the Fall 2001 issue of the Boston University alumni magazine, it was Marston's wife Elizabeth's idea to create a female superheroine:
William Moulton Marston, a psychologist already famous for inventing the polygraph (forerunner to the magic lasso), struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love. "Fine," said Elizabeth. "But make her a woman."
Marston introduced the idea to Gaines, co-founder of All-American Publications. Given the go-ahead, Marston developed Wonder Woman with Elizabeth, whom Marston believed to be a model of that era's unconventional, porn star. Marston was also inspired by Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple in a polygamous/polyamorous relationship. Both women served as exemplars for the character and greatly influenced the character's creation. Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941), scripted by Marston and with art by Harry G. Peter.
Marston was the creator of a systolic-blood-pressure-measuring apparatus, which was crucial to the development of the polygraph (lie detector). Marston's experience with polygraphs convinced him that women were more honest and reliable than men and could work more efficiently.
"Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world," Marston wrote. Although Gloria Steinem placed Wonder Woman on the first standalone cover of Ms. in 1972, Marston, writing in an earlier time, designed Wonder Woman to represent a particular form of female empowerment. Feminism argues that women are equal to men and should be treated as such; Marston's representative of femininity is a 6-foot-tall Amazon wielding a golden lasso that forces obedience on those it encircles.[neutrality is disputed] In Marston's mind, women not only held the potential to be as good as men but to be superior to men.
In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston wrote:
Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.
During this period, Wonder Woman joined the Justice Society of America as the female member, albeit as the group's secretary, since the custom was that characters who had their own comic books would hold only honorary membership.
 Evolution of the character
Initially, Wonder Woman was an Amazon champion who wins the right to return Steve Trevor — a United States intelligence officer whose plane had crashed on the Amazons' isolated island homeland — to "Man's World" and to fight crime and the evil of the Nazis.
During the Silver Age, Wonder Woman's origin was revamped, along with other characters'. The new origin story increased the character's Hellenic and mythological roots: receiving the blessing of each deity in her crib, Diana is destined to become "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury."
At the end of the 1960s, under the guidance of Mike Sekowsky, Wonder Woman surrendered her powers in order to remain in Man's World rather than accompany her fellow Amazons to another dimension. Becoming a mod boutique owner, the powerless Diana Prince acquired a Chinese mentor named I Ching. Under I Ching's guidance, Diana learned martial arts and weapons skills and engaged in adventures that encompassed a variety of genres, from espionage to mythology.
Because of the popularity of the Wonder Woman TV series, the character later returned to her superpowered roots in Justice League of America and to the World War II era in her own title.
In August 2010 (issue #600), DC Comics replaced the character's iconic stars-and-stripes singlet with a blue jacket (later discarded), red and gold top and dark pants, retaining only her tiara and lasso.
In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of publications to attract a new generation of readers. In this new continuity, Wonder Woman wears a costume similar to her original costume. Also, her origin is significantly changed and she is no longer a clay figure brought to life by the magic of the gods. Instead, she is a demigod, the natural-born daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus.
Powers and abilities
Originally, Wonder Woman owed her abilities to the goddess Aphrodite creating Amazons superior to men, with Diana being the best of their kind.
The Golden Age Wonder Woman was later updated by Marston to be able to will a tremendous amount of brain energy into her muscles and limbs because of her Amazon training, endowing her with extraordinary strength and speed. According to her first appearance, she is stronger and more agile than a hundred of the best human athletes. In Sensation Comics #6 (June 1942), she is able to tear a steel door off its hinges. In one of her earliest appearances, she is shown running easily at 80 mph. In the same comic, she jumps from a building and lands on the balls of her feet. She can even type at a rate of over 160 words a minute during a test given to her. It was implied, and ultimately confirmed, that any woman who underwent Amazon training would gain superhuman strength. The TV series took up this notion, and in the first episode of Super Friends, Diana states to Aquaman, "...the only thing that can surpass super strength is the power of the brain." In early Wonder Woman stories, Amazon training involves strengthening this ability using pure mental energy.
Her powers would be removed in accordance with "Aphrodite's Law" if she allowed herself to be bound or chained by a male. In the television series, her magic belt allowed her to retain her powers when she was not on Paradise Island; removing it weakened her.
With the inclusion of Wonder Girl and "Wonder Tot" in Diana's back-story, writers provided new explanations of her powers; the character became capable of feats which her sister Amazons could not equal. Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #105 reveals that Diana was formed from clay by the Queen of the Amazons and was imbued with the attributes of the Greek and Roman gods by Athena — "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules." Wonder Woman's Amazon training also gave her limited telepathy, profound scientific knowledge, and the ability to speak every language known to man and beyond. She was even fluent in caveman and Martian.
Although Wonder Woman's mythos was returned to its original interpretation between 1966 and 1967, new abilities were added: super breath, the ability to blow jet streams or transform water into snow, which apparently came from Hercules; ventriloquism; imperviousness to extremes of heat and cold; the ability to ride the air currents as if flying, even sensing air updrafts with her fingers; telepathy, including the ability to project images; microscopic vision; the ability to vibrate into another dimension; the ability to bestow wisdom to other beings; the ability to throw her tiara with such skill it could stop bullets; and others, according to the Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes.
Depending on the writer, Diana's invulnerability and power varied greatly according to the needs of the story. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Robert Kanigher, for example, portrayed Wonder Woman as being so strong that she, after standing atop her hovering plane and lassoing it with her magic lasso, was able to effortlessly lift Themyscira out of the way of an approaching tsunami using just one hand. She was able to make a coin into a bridge with her strength, or drill through a mountain within seconds, as well as hurl spaceships with enough accuracy she could bowl over a whole fleet. Her fingernails could cut through a steel door. She was even able to flip straight over while nearly paralyzed, and split a tree falling on her with her Amazonian boots. Kanigher showed Wonder Woman as a preteen able to lift whales, push a ship away from a whirlpool, and also as a toddler able to blow so hard on her birthday cake that she sent it into orbit.
After a brief interrogation, Diana places the head of To-Choi Industries in a state of slumber. Wonder Woman's body is a mystical creation made from the clay surrounding Themyscira. Through divine means, her disembodied soul was nurtured in and retrieved from the Cavern of Souls. Once the soul was placed into the body, it immediately came to life and was blessed with metahuman abilities by six Olympian deities.
Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility, blessed Diana with strength drawn from the Earth spirit Gaea, making her one of the physically strongest heroes in the DC Universe. She has been observed assisting in preventing large chunks of the Moon from crashing onto the Earth,supporting the weight of bridges, or hefting entire railroad trains. Although stated as possibly being physically weaker and slower than, for example, Power Girl, Diana's superior warrior training more than makes up for it, along with strength drawn from the earth itself, she is able to overpower either Kara, or her counterpart Supergirl., and hold her own against beings such as Superman and Captain Marvel. Furthermore, unlike most of her contemporaries in Man's World, Diana is willing to use deadly force, which gives her more options to deal with opponents as circumstances dictate.
While not invulnerable, she is capable of withstanding great concussive force, shrugging off high-powered rifle fire with some pain but little injury, being knocked through a building, and even surviving a warp-core explosion. She is durable enough to survive the rigors of space until she runs out of breath. While her superhuman strength affords her great resistance to blunt-force trauma, her skin can be cut by weapons if they are sharp enough. Her muscles do not produce lactic acids, giving her great stamina. This allowed her to once battle a clone of Doomsday.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, blessed Diana with great beauty and a loving heart.
Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, granted Diana great wisdom, intelligence, and military prowess. Athena's gift has enabled Diana to master over a dozen languages (including those of alien origin), multiple complex crafts, sciences and philosophies, as well as leadership, military strategy, and armed and unarmed combat. She can mimic voices, although it is more difficult for her to mimic a man's voice. More recently, Athena bound her own eyesight to Diana's, granting her increased empathy.
Artemis, goddess of the hunt, animals, and the Moon, graced Diana with the Eyes of the Hunter and Unity with Beasts. The Eyes of the Hunter ability gives Diana a full range of enhanced senses, including enhanced sight and hearing. Unity with Beasts grants her the ability to communicate with all forms of animal life and to calm even the most ferocious of beasts.
Hestia, goddess of hearth and home, granted Diana "sisterhood with fire, that it might open men's hearts to her." This power has been shown to control the "Fires of Truth," which Diana wields through her lasso, making anyone bound by it unable to lie. This ability also grants her resistance to both normal and supernatural fire.
Hermes, the messenger god of speed, granted Diana superhuman speed and the ability to fly. By concentrating, Diana can mystically defy the laws of gravity and propel herself through the air to achieve flight. She is capable of flying at speeds approaching half the speed of light. She is swift enough to deflect bullets, lasers, and other projectiles with her virtually impenetrable bracelets. Her brain can process information at an incredibly fast rate.
Diana possesses the ability to relieve her body of physical injury and toxins by becoming one with the Earth's soil and then reforming her body whole again. During John Byrne's run, it was stated that this is a ritual so sacred that it is used only in the most dire of circumstances.
She is able to astrally project herself into various lands of myth. Her physical body reacts to whatever happens to her on the mythical astral plane, leaving her body cut, bruised, or sometimes strengthened once her mind and body are reunited. She can apparently leave the planet through meditation, and did this once to rescue Artemis while she was in hell.
All versions of Diana depict her as a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat, including exclusively Amazonian martial arts. In some versions, her mother trained her, as Wonder Girl, for a future career as Wonder Woman. From the beginning, she is portrayed as highly skilled in using her Amazon bracelets to stop bullets and in wielding her golden lasso. She is a superior warrior who has beaten Batman, Big Barda, and Black Canary in sparring matches. The modern version of the character differs from her compatriots in that she is willing to use deadly force when she deems it necessary.
Diana has an arsenal of powerful god-forged weapons at her disposal, but her signature weapons are her indestructible bracelets and the Lasso of Truth.
Her bulletproof bracelets were formed from the remnants of Athena's legendary shield, the Aegis, to be awarded to her champion. The shield was made from the indestructible hide of the great she-goat, Amalthea, who suckled Zeus as an infant. These forearm guards have thus far proven indestructible and able to absorb the impact of incoming attacks, allowing Wonder Woman to deflect automatic weapon fire and energy blasts. Diana can also slam the bracelets together to create a wave of concussive force capable of making Superman's ears bleed. Recently, she gained the ability to channel Zeus's lightning through her bracelets as well. Zeus explained to her that this power had been contained within the bracelets since their creation, because they were once part of the Aegis, and that he had only recently unlocked it for her use.
The Lasso of Truth, or Lariat of Hestia, was forged by Hephaestus from the golden girdle of Gaea. It is virtually indestructible; the only times it has been broken were when truth itself was challenged, such as when she confronted Rama Khan of Jarhanpur, and by Bizarro in Matt Wagner's non-canonical Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity. In Sensation Comics #6 (June 1942), Hippolyta claims that not even Hercules can break it. The Lasso burns with a magical aura called the Fires of Hestia, forcing anyone within the Lasso's confines to be truthful. It also at one time had the power to force anyone caught to obey any command given them, even overriding other kinds of mind control; this was effective enough to defeat strong-willed beings like Captain Marvel. Diana wields the lasso with great precision and accuracy and can use it as a whip or noose.
As early as the 1950s, Wonder Woman's Golden Tiara has also doubled as a dagger and a throwing weapon, returning to her like a boomerang. Its sharpness and mystical nature proved enough to cut even Superman.
The Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age portrayals of Wonder Woman showed her using an Invisible Airplane that could be controlled by mental command. It was variously described as being either a creation of Amazon technology or the legendary winged horse Pegasus transformed into an aircraft. Its appearance varied as well; originally it had a propeller, while later it was drawn as a jet aircraft resembling a fighter plane. The post-Crisis or Modern Age Wonder Woman has continued to use the Invisible Plane, in the form of a small lightweight disc of alien (Lansinar) technology that, when triggered by her thoughts, transforms into a transparent version of whatever object or vehicle is appropriate for her needs. This disc was revealed to be a sentient life-form. Following the "One Year Later" continuity jump, Diana was given a new invisible plane, created by Wayne Industries, because her original invisible plane was stuck on Themyscira.