So, big news! If you’ve been to The Mary Sue today you may have seen their exclusive announcement: I have a book on the history of Wonder Woman coming out! It’s called Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine, and it’s out April 1, 2014, from the Chicago Review Press. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon already.
Here’s the official overview:
With her golden lasso and her bullet-deflecting bracelets, Wonder Woman is a beloved icon of female strength in a world of male superheroes. But this close look at her history portrays a complicated heroine who is more than just a female Superman. The original Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, advocating female superiority and the benefits of matriarchy in the 1940s. At the same time, her creator filled the comics with titillating bondage imagery, and Wonder Woman was tied up as often as she saved the world. In the 1950s, Wonder Woman begrudgingly continued her superheroic mission, wishing she could settle down with her boyfriend instead, all while continually hinting at hidden lesbian leanings. While other female characters stepped forward as women’s lib took off in the late 1960s, Wonder Woman fell backwards, losing her superpowers and flitting from man to man. Ms. magazine and Lynda Carter restored Wonder Woman’s feminist strength in the 1970s, turning her into a powerful symbol as her checkered past was quickly forgotten. Exploring this lost history as well as her modern incarnations adds new dimensions to the world’s most beloved female character, and Wonder Woman Unbound delves into her comic book and its spin-offs as well as the myriad motivations of her creators to showcase the peculiar journey that led to Wonder Woman’s iconic status.
The book focuses on the early decades of Wonder Woman’s history, mainly the Marston, Kanigher, and mod eras, and traces Wonder Woman’s bizarre path to becoming a feminist icon. It’s accessible for casual fans, but will have some surprising new information for hardcore fans too. Plus there’s lots of fun things like charts tracking some unusual aspects of the comics, a discussion of extra features from the Golden and Silver Ages that never get reprinted with the comics, and some great art from Kate Leth that illustrates a key part of the book.
I’ll be talking lots more about the book as the release date approaches, and I’ve got some fun stuff lined up for the New Year here that I think you’ll all enjoy. So yeah, you can pre-order now if you’re so inclined, or you can ask your local comic book shop, chain book store, or independent bookstore to order it for you.
Here’s one sneak peek for you; the very first sentence of the book has to do with this panel from Wonder Woman #182 in 1969: