This October 21st celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman. Full disclosure: I learned to read by reading old Wonder Woman digests (the ones that could be easily confused as Archie comic digests with only a cursory glance). Decades later, the affection I have for the character has only grown, seeing how DC’s stable of brilliant writers and artists, as well as television and movies have depicted the princess of Themyscira. Here are some favourite depictions of the Amazonian princess over the years.
Golden Age Wonder Woman
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the first appearances of Wonder Woman as part of this list. Created by Charles Moulton, drawn by Harry G. Peter, and commissioned by All-American Publications, the original Wonder Woman was initially going to be called “Suprema, the Wonder Woman”. Debuting in All-Star Comics #8 as part of the Justice Society, she ended up with her own series in Sensation Comics which ran over the course of 108 issues. With a background steeped in mythology she embodied traditional values of justice, while embodying modernity by depicting a strong female character striking out on her own to basically save the world in the 1940s.
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
Coinciding with the Silver Age of comics, where Wonder Woman had lost her powers, regained them, and whose storyline included her doing twelve labors for reinstatement into the Justice League, Lynda Carter’s depiction on the Wonder Woman television series drew a lot of attention and helped further bring the character into the mainstream cultural zeitgeist. Also, I like to think that the signature spin to change into her Wonder Woman costume had some influence on Clark’s spin to change into Superman in the 90s’ The New Adventures of Lois and Clark.
George Perez’s Wonder Woman
Coming off of his work on 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, George Perez’s take on Wonder Woman gave the character and the universe such depth. Drawing from and digging deeper into the mythology while also keeping in touch with her connection to the modern world, Perez’s Wonder Woman’s ended up taking on topics like feminism and nuclear threat while also going deeper into the Graeco-Roman mythology. It’s no surprise that the writer also co-created the first Wonder Girl, Donna Troy to give Wonder Woman a true sidekick who would also help readers explore the Wonder Woman universe through her appearances in Teen Titans.
Kingdom Come’s Wonder Woman
Beyond Alex Ross’ stunning art, there is something both awesome and terrifying about the cold and hardened Diana we see in Kingdom Come. She is militant and unyielding, cut off and exiled by the Amazons for failing to bring peace to the world. Masking the shame and sadness, she takes up armor and the sword and eschews compassion and love. It’s a dark depiction that also gives us a view of what Wonder Woman could be when she loses virtually everything she loves. Also, she looks darn good next to the grizzled and old Supes and Bats.
Wondy The Rivieter
There is no depiction that feels more in-character for Wonder Woman than the reimagined heroines of the DC Bombshells series. Feminist, strong, independent, and feminine – she’s not only depicted in a way that is true to our modern understanding of the character, but also how she was originally envisioned by her creator – traditional and modern duality in a single character. Also, I have a soft spot for the Thelma-and-Louise style escape she and Mera take in the series. Here’s to women supporting each other in narratives.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman
Whether or not you liked Batman V Superman, you can’t help but feel Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stole every scene she was in. Harder still is denying that the fangirl anticipation I have seeing the trailers of the new Wonder Woman movie. I’ll be ready with my Wonder Woman movie drinking game: taking a drink every time Wonder Woman saves Steve Trevor, and every time he calls her an angel.
Gail Simone’s imagining of Wonder Woman for Sensation Comics #1 has her stepping in with the help of Oracle to get things cleaned up in Gotham, depicting a Wonder Woman facing a different breed of villain, all working together. While she uses certain Gotham solutions to deal with smaller problems, the story also shows the internal integrity and compassion that is intrinsic to the character while also humanizing and rehabilitating some of Arkham’s worst.
Honorable Mention: Wonder-Super-Ship
There really isn’t a good ship name for this coupling, but having fallen in love with the idea back from before Ross’ Kingdom Come, the pairing is such a beautiful exploration of the Wonder Woman character. In so many ways, Superman is a lot like Pinocchio; the wooden puppet trying to be a real boy. But this time, it’s an alien trying to be human by taking on external values (of family and country), which is in contrast to Wonder Woman’s intrinsic humanity and internal values that is the core of who she is. In terms of hero ships, it’s absolutely hard not to love this just because seeing her with Clark and seeing her truly happy is the kind of story you’d want for a character like her.
What do you think? What’s your favorite depiction of Wonder Woman?
Featured Image & Blog Image Credits: DC Comics
Teri Litorco is a huge Wonder Woman fangirl who loves playing her Wonder Woman in various Dicemasters lists when she’s moonlighting as a tabletop gamer. She’s also the author of The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming, http://bit.ly/civilizedguide2ttgamingnow available in stores and online. Follow her on social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.