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.
The Golden Age Wonder Woman was rooted in her matriarchal utopia, a product of an advanced society where female rule had led to progress, prosperity, and peace. The Amazons were disgusted with the world of men and its patriarchal aggression, and so they left to build their own, superior society. They were rebels and warriors who decided to create a better world.
In the Silver Age, all of that changed. Writer Robert Kanigher and artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito retold the origin of the Amazons in Wonder Woman #105 in April 1959, and went in a new direction:
Before leaving for Paradise Island, the Amazons had husbands, brothers, and sons, and they were the warriors. The women stayed at home and the men went off to fight. When all the men were killed at war, the women were overcome with grief. Unable to bear the pain of their war-filled world, they chose to run away from it. The gods took pity on them and led them to Paradise Island, where they formed a new society where no one could ever hurt them again.
This extreme shift in origin entirely changed Wonder Woman’s mission and meaning. It took out the very core of Marston’s aims for his creation, and did so on a complete whim; years later, Kanigher didn’t even remember writing the story. Despite the many complications of his era, Marston was a man with a vision. Kanigher was just winging it.
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 the Silver Age Steve Trevor, and also check out the fifth installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with Kimi Hughes from Golden Lasso Cosplay!