Four Color Comments: Wonder Woman At 75

At 75, she’s still a wonder! 75 years ago, the Amazing Amazon appeared in a backup story in All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941). The following month she burst out of […]

At 75, she’s still a wonder!

75 years ago, the Amazing Amazon appeared in a backup story in All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941). The following month she burst out of the cover on Sensation Comics #1. The lead character in her own book. Armed with super strength, bullet proof bracelets and a golden lasso that makes anyone bound to it to speak only the truth. Yes, I’m talking about the one and only Wonder Woman.

I honestly can’t remember what my first exposure to Wonder Woman was. I believe it was an issue of the Justice League of America because I vaguely remember her with the rest of the team and wearing sandals instead of her boots. Though I can’t forget the next exposure, because it was on the Super Friends cartoon. This was Wonder Woman’s first animated appearance. Kind of funny when you realize that Wonder Girl beat her out by 6 years.

From there I mainly saw Wonder Woman in modern comics. I didn’t know too much of her background. I knew she was an Amazon from Paradise Island. No men allowed and such. But it wasn’t until I went to Sea World of all places, that I learned more about her Golden Age adventures. At the time, Sea World had a DC Super Heroes and Super Villains’ waterskiing show, and they gave away these giant size treasury editions of DC Comics. The one I got was about the origins of the DC Super Villains, with one of the stories about the birth of Wonder Woman’s nemesis, the Cheetah. I remember reading it and thinking how bizarre it was to see Wonder Woman all chained up. It would take me years before I understood that one.

You see, Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was really into bondage. In those early Wonder Woman stories, if there was an opportunity for Wonder Woman to be chained up, Marston would have it in the story. I also learned that Marston helped create the polygraph, or lie detector, so it made sense that Wonder Woman’s magic lasso would make people tell the truth.

After the Super Friends, I remember catching the Wonder Woman movie on TV with Cathy Lee Crosby. So different from the comics, it’s almost comical. As a young fan back then, I didn’t understand adaptations, so I was greatly disappointed.  But that all changed.

In 1975, Lynda Carter exploded onto the small screen as a faithful adaptation of Wonder Woman. You remember the theme song. Sing along with me!

It was great, and the first season was set during World War II. Plus the show sent a positive message to a lot of young (and not so young) girls, that they could be anything. In season 2, the show went from the 40’s to modern times. Still a good show, but there were some goofy episodes. The show finally ended after it’s 3rd season, but the cultural impact would last forever. Lynda Carter became an iconic model for Wonder Woman.

Even though the live action show ended, the Super Friends cartoon was still going strong until 1986. After the show ended, it would be years before we saw Wonder Woman on TV again.

The comics were still going strong and Wonder Woman changed with the times. Becoming a strong symbol for women everywhere. Wonder Woman herself went through a lot of changes throughout the years. From the secretary of Justice Society of America, to losing her powers and taking up Kung-Fu, to changing her iconic chest symbol from an eagle to the double W we know of today. But the biggest change came in 1985 after the comic event Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman is wiped from existence. With no Wonder Woman, this gave artist George Perez a chance to try his hand at writing. Perez ended up rebooting Wonder Woman, along with veteran writer Len Wein, and cementing her origins deeper into Greek mythology. And when she came to America, it was well after the birth of Batman and Superman, so she was a stranger in a strange land. It was an amazing reboot of a character.

Woman Wonder was always seen as one of DC Comics top 3 characters, with Batman and Superman being the other 2. Now she was almost the best of both male characters. A master of hand to hand combat like Batman, and super strength like Superman. A true warrior. Soon the comic book started attracting top talent to it like Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Phil Jimenez, John Byrne, William Messner-Loebs, Adam Huges, and Mike Deodato, just to name a few.

In the meantime, Wonder Woman ended up returning to TV. This time around in the highly successful Justice League cartoon, and later on renamed Justice League Unlimited. And this wasn’t a watered down version like we got on the Super Friends. She kicked ass. On top of it, she ended up getting her own direct to DVD movie with Keri Russell as Wonder Woman and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor. Sales weren’t that great, but personally, I loved it.

As all of this was going on throughout the year’s something amazing happened. Wonder Woman went from just a comic book character to cultural icon. Not just among women, but LGBT community as well. And she still is today.

There was another attempt at a live action TV show by David E. Kelly with Wonder Woman played by Adrianne Palicki. The show was never picked up and the pilot was never aired. But with the internet being what it is, it was leaked, and I have to say, after watching it, Thank God it never aired. Just God awful.

Then everything changed at DC Comics. Just about every character they had was rebooted in an event known as the New 52. Wonder Woman’s reboot had to be one of the better ones that happened. In a multi-issue story arc, Wonder Woman is revealed to be the daughter of Zeus and considered a demi-goddess. Writer Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang did an amazing job in shaking things up, but yet keeping Wonder Woman’s core personality.

And now, after Warner Brother’s dragging their feet and making lame ass excuses, Wonder Woman has made it to the big screen. She first appeared in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, played by Gal Godot. And on June 2, 2017, she’s finally getting her own solo film. I have mixed feelings on the direction of the cinematic DC Universe, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.

But after 75 years, I think we have solid proof that there is no stopping Wonder Woman. I look forward to where the next 75 years take her.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.