Graphic Mythology: Wonder Woman

wonderwomanmad

It’s time to come full-circle.  Since I started this series, enough time has elapsed for me to do some background research on Wonder Woman, a character that I read about only a little when I was a boy. I will date myself by mentioning that I remember the Silver Age of comics when each issue cost only ten cents. That was also my weekly allowance, and I would walk two blocks to Sullivan’s drugstore on the north side of Indianapolis to purchase the latest issue of Superman. Not much of a surprise there, but Wonder Woman was neglected.

There is more material about her than I originally thought. I mentioned in the first post of this series the original date of her release, and I honestly didn’t realize how long she had been around (since 1941). So let’s do the obvious first by going over her backstory. It is based in part on some concepts from Greek mythology.

Wonder Woman by Alex Ross
Wonder Woman by Alex Ross

In 1200 B. C. the Amazons were supposedly created by Greek goddesses as the reincarnated souls of women who had been murdered by men. One soul (the unborn daughter of the first of these women) was “saved back” to be “born”. This happened in the 20th Century when her mother, Queen Hippolyta, was told to mold clay from Paradise Island into the likeness of a baby girl. The daughter, Princess Diana of Themyscira, was endowed by the gods with various powers and traits.

wonder-woman-comic-amazons

Demeter gives her strength, Athena wisdom (not always evident in later portrayals) and courage, Artemis a hunter’s heart and communion with animals, Aphrodite beauty and a loving heart, Hiesta “sisterhood with fire” (not quite sure exactly what that one means), and Hermes speed and the ability to fly. She is later sent from Paradise Island and into the world as an emissary to mankind. Her secret identity is Diana Prince.

wonderwomancostume

She is allegedly a feminist superhero, but her real world creation is a nuanced story. There is a backstory to the backstory. More next week.

wonder-womandccomics

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9 thoughts on “Graphic Mythology: Wonder Woman”

      1. Brian Azzerello’s run? That thing was genius! As for the ‘assassination the of character’s feminist roots’ I personally don’t see that to be the case. She doesn’t act like a feminist, but in my opinion I preferred her when she was less about feminism, and more about equality (same concept, but shown differently).

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It was just a comment on something I’d read. I don’t really have a dog in that fight. In next week’s post, you’ll see that I have some serious doubts that this was really a feminist character. I imagine I’ll get some strong reactions when that comes out, so please feel free to give me yours.

        Liked by 2 people

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