Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Wonder Woman's Dirty Secrets

Wonder Woman 2.0: After Marston
Wonder Woman completes an unassisted triple play.
Wonder Woman completes an unassisted triple play.
Photo courtesy DC Comics

William Marston passed away in 1947. He left behind a contract that gave DC Comics the right to exclusively publish Wonder Woman comics as long as they continued to keep the title going. If they ever stopped publishing it, the ownership would permanently revert to Marston's estate. This has made Wonder Woman one of the longest-running super hero comics in history.

A series of writers including Robert Kanigher and Denny O'Neil took over the writing responsibilities after Marston's death. With the new writers in the late 40s and 50s, Wonder Woman went through many changes. Her feminism was toned down, her origin stories were revisited and deepened, and she was given some new toys to play with. Here are some of the highlights:

  • New love interest: She develops a significant crush on Steve Trevor. This opens the floodgates for future super hero suitors and eventually Wonder Woman also falls for Birdman, Mer-man, and possibly Superman (depending on which nerd you ask about it).
  • New weapons and abilities: Turns out her tiara is a magic boomerang, and her earrings allow her to breathe in oxygen-free environments like outer space. Her bracelets form a communications link with Themyscira.
  • Origins, origins, origins: Writer Robert Kanigher takes a page from the Superman book and rolls out Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot stories, to show what Wonder Woman was like at different times in history. One story line called "Impossible Tales" presents what would happen if all four Wonders -- Woman, Tot, Girl, and Queen (her mom), existed in the same place and time. But hilarity ensues when a new writer, Bob Haney, misinterprets the four as completely separate characters. Haney messes up the continuity of the overall story and somehow makes it so that Wonder Woman is her own sidekick, as Wonder Girl. He proceeds to write Wonder Girl into the Teen Titans comic, which includes young super hero sidekicks like Batman's Robin. These continuity problems wouldn't get cleared up until the overall DC Comics housecleaning effort known as "Crisis on Infinite Earths."