10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Wonder Woman

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman recently turned 75 and released her first theatrical film this year. Photo courtesy of DC Comics and CBS News.

Wonder Woman recently turned 75 and released her first theatrical film this year. Photo courtesy of DC Comics and CBS News.

Wonder Woman released this month on home video and streaming services across the US.

She made waves this summer as she caught the attention of movie fans in one of the seasons first blockbusters.

A lot of us grew up with Wonder Woman in our lives, whether it was on TV through the live-action sitcom and various cartoons or in comic books. But few of us now how unique and bizarre her history is beyond our screens and papers.

Wonder Woman isn't just Princess Diana, an Amazon from a secret island of women. She's an icon masterfully used to change history and influence numerous generations of humans.

Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Wonder Woman:

  • She was created in 1941

    Following the success of Superman and Batman in 1938 and 1939 respectively, Wonder Woman was pitched as a feminine alternative.

Wonder Woman had a lot of appeal as comics were rising in popularity and there was a growing conservative movement opposing them - naturally, opposition inspired rebellion. 

  • She was born as propaganda

    Wonder Woman fought a lot of the same enemies making headlines in 2017 when she came around in 1941. Her bread and butter was kicking the ass of demeaning men, cultural submission, and Nazis.

William Marston, her creator, thought she was the first ideal feminist and nationalist role model. She served the same purpose as Marvel's Captain America, but upheld a greater cause by also advocating for the rights of women everywhere. 

During WWII, she was promoted as a war hero. During the Civil Rights Movement, she was promoted as a human rights hero. Today, her role is shaping into an ambassador for equal representation in films across the globe.

  • She has a sister

    Nubia was introduced in 1973 as Diana's biological sister. It's revealed in issues #204-206 that Nubia and Diana were shaped from clay, one given white skin and one given black skin, then given life by the god of war. They are equal in both legacy and abilities.

The creation of Nubia broadened the scope of Wonder Woman's influence, and opened up opportunities for more diverse or relevant narratives related to issues of equality. All stories involving the two Amazonians concludes with them uniting to conquer a common evil.

  • Her rich history dates back to ancient Greece

    Wonder Woman's history is rich in plagiarized elements of Greek literature or indirect references to female influences.

Goddesses and gods like Aphrodite, Ares, Hades, and Poseidon are referenced regularly.  They're integral in the creation and growth of Wonder Woman's character.

Hippolyta is the queen of the Amazons, which existed solely to be defeated by Greek warriors, who fashions a military force stronger than any male force in existence. 

And Zeus, the male personification of godly power, notably doesn't exist at all.

These are just surface level connections, but the texts are rich with alliteration to female artists and poets and figures of independence thousands of years old.

  • Her original artist is the niece of an important feminist

    Olive Byrne, the artist of Marston's original creation, is related to 20th century feminist leader Margaret Sanger.

Olive's mother Ethel is the sister of Margaret. Both Ethel and Margaret opened the first birth-control clinic in the US around 1916. They were arrested shortly after for the illegal distribution of contraceptives. Ethel went on to conduct strikes and Margaret went on to lead other women in broader activism.

At the time, Olive was considered the embodiment of 20th century feminism. Her own world view had a significant influence on the principles Wonder Woman's character were structured.

  • Her creator has three degrees from Harvard

    William Marston studied at Harvard and earned two degrees before finally getting his PhD in Psychology.

He's credited with being one of the inventors responsible for the lie detector and is known for controversial opinions about extracting truth from people. His knowledge is what attracted DC to him as a creative adviser for relevant comics.

  • Her creator and artist led a successful extended relationship

    William Marston and Olive Byrne were lovers. However, they were not married.

Marston was married to Elizabeth Holloway, another individual attributed with inspiring Wonder Woman and being an embodiment of early 20th Century feminism. She was an attorney and psychologist

Holloway was informed of Marston's affair with Byrne. He gave her two choices: Divorce him or let Byrne move in. Holloway chose to let Byrne move in as their domestic partner. Both women gave birth to two children each with Marston during this time.

  • Her lasso of truth symbolizes her creators fascination with the lie detector

    Marston helped create the lie detector by developing a blood pressure test implimented in the first polygraph. Holloway helped him create the test but was given little credit until later in life after both passed. 

The lasso of truth served as the fictional device that supported his hypothesis women are more honest in most situations and can get the truth out of anyone with the right tools. It also serves as Marston's only means of capitalizing on the concept of a lie detector, since he didn't create the final patent of the lie detector like he dreamed of.

  • Her first solo appearance wasn't the TV show staring Lynda Carter

    Before launching a successful television series in 1975, Wonder Woman was pitched in 1967 with a 5-minute pilot video titled Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? This failed miserably and never made it to a live broadcast.

A guest appearance in a Brady Bunch Kids episode followed before a TV movie aired in 1974, re-imagining Wonder Woman as an American spy. Finally, in 1975, network executives settled on Lynda Carter's portrayal which resonated with audiences and was faithful to the source material.

  • Her first theatrical film broke multiple records

    Wonder Woman got her solo big screen debut this year, after a DC cameo and an animated straight-to-DVD release.

In just two months, Wonder Woman brought in the biggest domestic earnings for a DC cinematic property with $339.7 million.  Currently, it holds the record as the highest grossing live-action film directed by a female, Patty Jenkins.

It holds the record for the biggest opening weekend for a female director (just scrubbing out Fifty Shades Grey) with $108.3 million in three days.

And it holds the record for the most profitable female-led superhero film, ever, with Gal Gadot beating Halle Berry's Catwoman

Wonder Woman keeps winning. And with new cinematic possibilities, her history will only continue to grow richer.

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