The movie is out and it’s a smash. It’s time for my Wonder Woman Tribute.
I barely remember the first time I read a comic book. I must have been about 6 or 7 and I think it was a Sad Sack comic.
I also can’t remember the first time I fell in love, although I do remember feeling something like heartbreak when a girl named Susan moved away in the middle of our 2nd grade school year. Young love can be so brutal. It’s sometimes like remembering the first time you got hit in the face with a baseball.
I do, however, clearly remember the first comic book character I fell in love with. She was the Amazon Princess Diana, who came to the World of Men as an Ambassador of Peace. Upon arriving, she kicked serious butt to make sure everything remained peaceful. Our world named her Wonder Woman. Never was there a more fitting epithet.
Here are my 10 reasons why Wonder Woman is the Greatest Superhero Ever!
What more can be said? Go to any comic-con and seek out the Wonder Women. They are often passionately designed costumes worn by very beautiful women made more beautiful by the goddess they portray. Mostly.
If you’ve never been to a comic-con, look what you are missing. The bigger the con, the more elaborate, and outrageous, the costumes. You’ll not only see the Wonder Woman tribute, you’ll see so much more. This is both a blessing and a curse, believe me.
9) Her Cameo in CAG #0
I can’t go too far into this without pitching my own tribute to the Amazon Princess in one of my comics.
Written by me, the Dirk-o-nator, with art by the legendary Gary Dumm, Comics Are Go #0 had a tiny cameo of a Wonder Woman cosplayer as part of the Geekus Maximus story. My undying love for the character demanded an acknowledgment in my first autobiographical comic. One of my favorite aspects of this little piece was the perfect WW flesh tone by co-colorist, Lex. She totally nailed it.
8) Her Bracelets
A favorite theoretical question in comic fandom is, “If you could have only one, what superpower would you want?” It’s fun watching comic nerds pretzel themselves into trying to figure out exactly which power would appeal to them, to the exclusion of all others.
My personal choice is the Ability to Fly. The practical problem with this single power is it leaves you vulnerable to attack. Your power is best suited to fleeing. Not very brave.
My solution is invulnerability by bullet-proof bracelet. It’s kind of cheating, but totally within the rules. I thank Wonder Woman for this nerdy work around.
7) She Saved the Wretched Movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The disaster that was the long-awaited cinematic team-up of Superman and Batman in 2016 disappointed innumerable fans of the heroes. However, read any review and you will find the universal scorn heaped upon the film was tempered by nearly universal praise for Wonder Woman’s cinematic debut.
In one scene, an unbeatable killing maniac called Doomsday slams Wonder Woman to the ground. Literally, into the ground. Instead of being beaten, she rises up with a smile on her face, ready to go back into battle and loving every second of it. This tiny gesture was so perfectly executed and so perfectly fit the character that it came close to saving the entire film. As much as I disliked this film, I still watch the Wonder Woman battle scenes over and over again.
4) The Lasso of Truth
Diana’s unbreakable Magic Lasso forces whoever is wrapped up with it to obey her. The Magic Lasso evolved (post Marston – see #2) into the Lasso of Truth which compelled those bound by it to tell only the truth.
Really, the best part of this is the ability of the lasso to cut through tedious story development and get straight to action by not wasting time having Diana try to figure out what a villain is up to and how she should react to it.
6) Bondage! – Adult Comics For Kids!
No Wonder Woman Tribute can be complete without a look at her darker, sexier side.
Wonder Woman was created by writer William Marston and artist Harry G. Peter to be the ideal of female empowerment. From her very first appearance, she was written and drawn to demonstrate the superiority of the female over the male. Great stuff, and very innovative in the early 1940s.
She only had one weakness. She lost her power when she was tied up. Nearly every issue had a plot point with Diana bound, often in sexually suggestive ways. History has revealed the strange obsession of her creator, William Moulton Marston, with bondage and other BDSM practices. With this contextual knowledge, giving these early adventures a re-read reveals a fairly intense sexual subtext in what were clearly comics for kids.
Don’t think it went unnoticed by the 1940s Moms around the country (the historical record shows proportionately few complaints from Dads). Wonder Woman comics were the frequent subject of outraged letters from distressed parents. With nearly 1 million copies of each issue in circulation, this outrage drew the attention of politicians and educators who actively tried to shut the character down.
After a few years, the character was turned over to other writers and pounded into submission to established cultural norms. At one point, Diana had no other duties than to act as the secretary for the Justice Society.
5) She Killed a Dude
Maxwell Lord had mental control over Superman in the 2005 DC crossover event, Infinite Crisis. In Wonder Woman #219, Lord commands Superman to attack both Batman and Wonder Woman by making him believe they were mortal enemies Brainiac and Doomsday.
In the climactic scene of the epic battle, Diana manages to wrap Lord up in the Lasso of Truth and demands he tell her how Superman can be stopped. Lord, unable to lie says, “Kill me.” Wonder Woman, coldly and without hesitation, does so by snapping his neck. The execution was broadcast all over the world, causing many problems for Diana for several years. Superheroes just don’t do that kind of thing. Warrior Princesses are a different matter entirely.
To this day, it stands as one of the most dramatic and controversial moments in comic history.
3) On Again Off Again Relationship With Superman
You have the two most powerful beings on the planet, who also represent the perfect specimens of each gender, who’s not going to wonder what happens if they hook up?
Mostly throughout the Modern Age of comics (roughly, the 1980s to today), there has been an electric subtext to the relationship between the Man of Steel and Diana.
Unfortunately, there is the problem of Lois Lane. Solution? Simple. Do what super villains have been trying to do for decades. Eliminate Lois Lane.
DC’s 2011 New 52 reboot event did just that, leaving the door open for Superman and Wonder Woman to explore what it would be like for two super beings who can shatter mountains to “have adult relations.”
Needless to say, Batman was very concerned about this. What happens if there are Super Babies?
2) Her Unusual Creator – William Moulton Marston
William Moulton Marston was a psychologist and is credited with the invention of the lie detector. He was an ardent supporter of feminism.
In 1941, he convinced publisher Max Gaines (father of the legendary EC and Mad Magazine publisher, William Gaines) to allow him to write a comic featuring a female character designed to display the superiority of women over men.
Marston’s creation became a reflection of his personal life. Diana was modeled after his mistress, Olive Byrne who lived in cohabitation, quite peacefully and productively, with Marston and his wife, Elizabeth. The trio shared four children who were raised by Olive Byrne while Elizabeth Marston worked outside the home. After Marston’s death, the wife and mistress lived together for the rest of their lives.
Ms. Byrne was the model for Wonder Woman and was an active voice and influence in her early adventures.
1) Lynda Carter – The Ultimate Wonder Woman Tribute!
In my early teenage years, I found my obligatory clutch of nerd friends who devoured comic books and anything related to them, particularly their appearances in moving media. By this time the Batman TV show had come and gone and The Incredible Hulk had not quite started. No one cared because from 1975 to 1979 we had Lynda Carter.
Carter’s portrayal of Wonder Woman was mind-blowing. For me, she is one of the most beautiful actresses in motion media history (still is) and yet she was willing to wear a silly costume so I could drool over her on my TV screen. In the days before form fitting synthetics made costumes look considerably less silly, she was always stunning.
One of my first jobs was editing films for a broadcast TV station in Toledo, Ohio. This was the mid-1980s and we still had a few shows which were broadcast directly from reels of film. Wonder Woman was one of these shows. Each show needed to be timed out for commercial breaks as well as needing an extra break inserted (yes, I was that guy). Every day I loaded up a new Wonder Woman episode and watched beautiful Lynda Carter once again, this time with the real world sensibilities and fantasies of a single, young adult. Those were great days.
Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman was transcendent. Many men and women of the later baby boom generation point to her as an important influence in their upbringing.
This is my Wonder Woman Tribute – Let me hear yours. Please keep it clean and courteous (email me the dirty mean stuff)!