Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stop a bullet cold, Make the Axis fold

Who is the coolest comic book hero of all time? She is so cool she doesn't even get a new movie and David E. Kelley tried to turn her into a weeping PMS like chick in a plastic corset. She has an invisible jet. I'm serious...you can't see the jet. Don't ask me how she gets in it or finds it parked on the tarmac, because I just don't know. She has a lasso of truth and can stop bullets with some fancy jazz hands.

Did you guess Wonder Woman? You did? Then you're right. (Yes, I am a huge freaky Wonder Woman girl. So there) She is considered one of the D.C. Trinity.

Ok, I know what you're thinking. What does Wonder Woman have to do with American History? Well skeptical Sally, I'll tell you. Like Captain America and Superman, Wonder Woman was created during war times. She, like her male counterparts, became a symbol of truth, justice and the American way. (Too all the D.C. reps reading this blog sorry for the copyright infringement but come on there is no better way to put it.) Comic Books and some of the most popular heroes are an essential part of American History. Work with me here, people.

Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston. At the time the comic book market was dominated mainly by male superhores, The Caped Crusader (Michael Keaton for me please) and The Man of Steel leading the pack with Captain America coming in a close second. Green Lantern is in there somewhere but I never liked him anyway. Marston wanted to created a whole new type of hero, someone females could look up to. He wanted his hero to thrived off intelligence and love. Batman has a tendency to hang people of a build and Cap just blasts Red Skulls minions.

It was actually his wife who gave him the idea for that hero to be a woman. And so Wonder Woman a.k.a Diana Prince a.k.a Princess Diana was born. Marston wanted Wonder Woman's strength and brainpower to be something young girls could look at and strive for in their own lives. He wanted her to be "distinctly feminist role model whose mission was to bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality to a world torn by the hatred of men." Not bad for a guy in the forties.

When Wonder Woman first appeared she was kicking Nazi butt, like ya' do. She was the Allied forces secret weapon, as secret as you can be in a red, white, and blue bathing suit. In the original comics she even had a skirt on that bathing suit bottom. Now she is clad in a blue jacket, red and gold top and dark pants. Personally, I think she looks like she held up a Hot Topic, but what do I know. I miss the bathing suit.

Ok so what is with the lasso of truth. Actually Marston also invented the polygraph. Yep, Wonder Woman's creator invented the lie detector test. He gave Wonder Woman the lasso as a type of polygraph for her to use on her enemies. Through his experiences on the polygraph Marston was convinced women were more honest and reliable than men. Thus Amazons on Paradise Island (No I am not making that up, in the early years of the comic book that was the name of Diana's homeland) had the power to extract the truth from their enemies utilizing the lasso.

One thing that separates Wonder Woman from her male counterparts is she has actually killed people in the comic books. Batman and Superman rarely ever kill, even if the villain deserves it. Wonder Woman never shys away from killing. She weighs the pros and cons but ultimately will do what is necessary.

In 1972, Gloria Steinem, famous feminist and champion of women's rights, placed Wonder Woman on the first standalone cover of Ms. magazine under the caption "Wonder Woman for President."

So you see how something that many people brush off as childish and a few silly lines of ink and color on some paper can really be an important piece of American Iconography. Wonder Woman was a champion for women's rights before the issue of women's rights ever really came into focus. What started as a way for every day Americans to defeat the Nazis and the evil lurking on their doorsteps, same with the boys of this club, morphed into something more.

In May of this year, IGN placed Wonder Woman 5th on their top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. (For the record she beat out Captain America and Green Lantern) For me and many other young girls, she's number one.

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