Every Monday until Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine comes out this April, we’re taking a look at a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.
With the first four previews, we’ve seen how the Golden Age Wonder Woman was a unique character far ahead of her time. She embodied female strength and empowerment in all of her comic book adventures, and her books picked up on that message elsewhere as well. Alongside the stories of a fictional heroine, Wonder Woman also had a regular feature called “Wonder Women of History” that profiled a real life heroine each issue. Here’s the first page of the Florence Nightingale strip from Wonder Woman #1:
The strips were originally written by Alice Marble, Wonder Woman’s associate editor, and drawn by a variety of talented artists. They ran four pages each, and profiled a wide array of famous women from throughout history, highlighting the adversities they faced and how they overcame them. This one-two punch of fictional and real heroines meant that little girls could be inspired to play as Wonder Woman during recess at school and then go back to class and study to be the next Marie Curie or Bethenia Owens.
After William Moulton Marston passed away, Wonder Woman lost its feminist spark and so too did “Wonder Women of History.” The page count got lower and lower and its appearances became more sporadic, and soon the feature disappeared completely and was replaced by marriage-centric strips more in keeping with Wonder Woman’s Silver Age themes.
To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out this April! Be sure to come back next Monday, when we’ll look at Wonder Woman’s Silver Age origin story, and also check out the fourth installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday.