Friday, May 14, 2010

Wonder Woman

The picture shows the first All Star Comics issue of Wonder Woman in 1941. According to Emily Yellin's nifty book Our Mothers' War, Dr. William Moulton Marston, creator of the female superhero, was a feminist who wanted to provide girls with a strong female character. Like Superman, who first appeared in Action Comics three years earlier, the Amazon princess a.k.a. Diana Prince would slug it out with the Nazis during the war years, as the cover above illustrates. Unfortunately, despite these magnificent feats, extensive powers, and an ever-growing readership, the male superheroes relegated her to the status of secretary in the prestigious League of Justice. Alas! The comic book, like fiction in general, can often mirror the real world. Nonetheless, girls of the Depression era and the early baby boom generation had a female role model of strength and character.