Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman, by Alex Ross

Wonder Woman is a superheroine, the character owned by DC Comics. Real name Diana, she is a princess from mythical Themyscira, called also Paradise Island, a land with a society made up entirely of immortal Greek women called Amazons.

She was created by William Moulton Marston. Marston created the character because he wanted to make sure there was a female alternative to male superheroes, who he didn't think served as the proper role models for girl readers, as well as to create a character that fulfilled his own sadomasochistic desires. Despite her place as a modern feminist icon, Diana is an odd figure among modern superheroines, in that she is canonically a virgin.

Wonder Woman possesses great strength, speed and agility, and endurance, though unlike Superman she is not bulletproof. She can fly and has very keen senses. Wonder Woman also has a pair of magic bracelets that allow her to deflect bullets, and a golden lasso that is effectively indestructible and forces anyone bound in it to tell her the truth. Originally, each component of Wonder Woman's costume was the true source of her power--i.e., her boots granted her the speed of Hermes, the mythical Greek messenger god; this has since been rewritten so that the only powers not innate to her are her ability to deflect bullets and her lasso.


Unlike other superheroes like Superman, Batman, or Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman never made it to either television or film until the late-1960's, despite having a long-running dedicated title within the comics industry. William Dozier - creator of the hit Batman series - attempted to be the first producer to put the character on television, but his screen test[1][2] never made it past the network approval stage for a pilot program. Extremely campy, this version starred Ellie Wood Walker as Wonder Woman's alter-ego Diana Prince, and Linda Harrison as the heroine; Dozier's interpretation of Wonder Woman made the character into a slightly dim-witted narcissist.

But Wonder Woman would join Superman, Batman, and Aquaman on Saturday mornings in 1973 in Hanna/Barbera's Super Friends. Sporting a moral message at the end of every episode, Super Friends would be broadcast in various incarnations through the mid-1980's, with voice actress Shannon Farnon[3] as Wonder Woman.

In 1974 a made-for-television film was broadcast on ABC, and - set in contemporary times - pitted Wonder Woman against a powerful agent (played by Ricardo Montalban) running a world-wide espionage ring. Starring Cathy Lee Crosby in the title role, this first live action version of Wonder Woman bore little resemblance to the comic character; Crosby was blonde, had no powers except her intellect, and wore an athletic-appearing jump suit.[4][5]

Lynda Carter series

Despite the dismal ratings of the Crosby-version, ABC decided to take a chance on a second take, in which this time the character would stay true to the comic's interpretation. Titled The New Original Wonder Woman, this two-hour telefilm aired in November, 1975, and led to two more films (titled simply Wonder Woman) broadcast the following spring. A ratings success, the three episodes led to an 11-episode run during 1976-1977, and a renewal the following year for another 22 episodes. Despite the success, ABC was uneasy about funding the program, as it was originally a period piece set during World War II, which required the necessary, and more expensive, set designs, props, and vehicles. CBS would pick up the series and change the setting to a modern time for one more season before the series was cancelled.

For all three seasons the character was played by Lynda Carter, a former member of the Bob Hope USO tours, winner of the Miss World USA beauty pageant in 1972, and an actress who had relatively few parts up until that time. Ironically, she was also an avid reader of the Wonder Woman comic book series when she was young, and when she was cast in the role she became fully identified in popular culture with that part. Unfortunately, her contract was such that she did not make any money at all if her image was used in marketing Wonder Woman merchandise[6], and occasionally a company comes out with a bust or figure of Wonder Woman in Carter's likeness, such was her impact on the character[7].


  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWiiXs2uU1k
  2. http://www.wonderwoman-online.com/tvshow.html
  3. http://www.tv.com/superfriends/show/13644/cast.html
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izz4OdHxyJo
  5. http://www.wonderwoman-online.com/tvshow.html
  6. The Late Show, Fox Network. Air date: February 9, 1987
  7. http://www.dccomics.com/dcdirect/?dcd=14432
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