Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine is set to hit bookstores this April, so I thought it would be fun to take a peek at what’s in the book. Every Monday until the book comes out, I’ll put up a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.
When the book was announced in December we saw a panel that is discussed in the very first sentence of the introduction, Diana trying on dresses in Wonder Woman #182, but for Chapter One we go back to a time before Wonder Woman was created with this panel from Action Comics #2 in July 1938:
This is not the Superman we all know and love. Threatening to kill a bad guy and circumventing the law by meting out his own punishment is not what we’re used to seeing from the Big Blue Boy Scout, but Superman had a darker edge in his early years. And he wasn’t the only one; Batman carried a gun and “accidentally” killed several villains, Captain America had a high body count as well, and threats, violence, and death were the norm for most superhero comics at the dawn of the Golden Age. All of these heroes would soon develop a kinder code of conduct, but it took a few years.
It was in this environment of violence and aggression that Wonder Woman first appeared. William Moulton Marston wanted to counter the “blood-curdling masculinity” of the superhero genre and so he created a female hero who was motivated by love and a belief that everyone could be a better person, not by anger and violence.
To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out in April! Next Monday, we’ll take a look at a panel from Wonder Woman’s very first appearance in All-Star Comics #8.