In an October 25, 1940, interview with the Family Circle magazine, William Moulton Marston discussed the unfulfilled potential of the comic book medium. This article caught the attention of comics publisher Max Gaines, who hired Marston as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two of the companies that would merge to form DC Comics. At that time, Marston wanted to create his own new superhero; Marston's wife and fellow psychologist Elizabeth suggested to him that it should be a woman:
The "Year One" storyline retells Diana's origin growing up on Themyscira. She lives an idyllic life and harbors interest for the outside world, and the first connection to it comes in the form of Steve Trevor, who crashes on the island and is the sole survivor. A contest is held to determine which Amazon is the best candidate to take Steve home, with Diana volunteering despite knowing the cost to leave the island is to never return. Diana wins the contest and departs with Steve. Once arriving in America, Diana is taken into custody by the government to discern her origins. She meets Etta Candy and Barbara Ann Minerva along the way. While incarcerated Diana is visited by the gods in animal form and bestow upon her powers of strength, speed, agility, durability, and flight. She discovers Ares, the god of war, is working to destroy humanity. Accepting her new role in Man's World, Diana, with the help of the gods in animal form, subdues Ares with the lasso. Now called Wonder Woman, Diana becomes one of the world's greatest heroes.
She asked him who he was, but before he could answer, the two noticed several boats coming through the island's forcefield. Steve noted that he was one of the good guys and the people on the boats—Germans—were bad guys. Having noticed the invading ships, the Amazons quickly gathered on the cliffs above the beach. Hippolyta ordered Trevor to move away from Diana, but forgot about him as the German soldiers began to come closer to shore. She took command of her army, ordering the archers to fire on the boats. Diana and Trevor took cover behind boulders on the beach.
Trevor pitched a mission to destroy the facility where the gas was being created, but his superiors decided against it, stating that it was too late in the war to do something as drastic as that. When Trevor argued that more soldiers would die, his superiors simply stated that that was what soldiers did. With the battle of Themyscira and the death of her aunt so fresh in her mind, Diana was infuriated by the man's comments and berated him, calling him a coward and telling the rest of the council that they should be ashamed. Trevor escorted her out as she ranted, apologizing to the council on her behalf.
In order to prove her devotion to her people, the Amazons issued a challenge to Diana, one she would have to meet in two days. In the meantime, the Justice League had tracked the insectoid queen down to a remote mountain. The League journeyed deep into the mountain and encountered the queen. Diana condemned her for the lives she has taken, but the insectoid queen replied that it was Diana’s actions, namely her throwing of the First Born into the depths of the Earth, that awoke the insectoids from their slumber.
As Diana, Victor and Arthur all try to simultaneously flank Superman (albeit unsuccessfully), Barry attempts to help using his speed, but Superman is able to see him and keeps up with the speedster. Despite Barry's best efforts, Superman is able to land a glancing blow, knocking him out before Batman arrives and gets Superman to stop. Wonder Woman tries to fight Superman again, yet she's knocked down. He then swats Batman and asks him the same question that Bruce asked him "Tell me, do you bleed?". Before Superman could kill Bruce, Lois and Alfred to stop him.
Despite their displeasure at Diana's capture, Hephaestus was able to bring Lennox and Eros to Hades with him as guests to the wedding, without the aid of Hermes' staff. As the wedding drew nearer, Hades grew annoyed that few of his relatives had agreed to come. Diana's friends were the only attendees, aside from Strife, who merely wanted to cause her namesake emotion. Before the wedding ceremony took place, Hades insisted that Diana should prove her love by wearing his ring. The ring was a noose fashioned with the Lasso of Truth, and if Diana did not truly love him, he would kill her.
Vox stated "Trevor is the superhero girlfriend comic book movies need". The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle lauded the performances of Gadot, Pine, Huston, and Thewlis while commending the film's "different perspective" and humor. Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times described Gadot's performance as inspirational, heroic, heartfelt and endearing and the most "real" Wonder Woman portrayal.
The character has appeared occasionally on live television. In 1966 a short film was made to pitch the character to television studios, but was ultimately unsuccessful. There was also an attempt at a TV movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby, but it failed to launch a TV show. The most famous television show was the 1975 Wonder Woman show starring Lynda Carter. The series was a hit and ran until 1979, becoming a pop culture sensation in the process. Today, the show is largely responsible for the public perception of the character.
The Invisible Plane appeared in the very first comic stories, including All-Star Comics #8, where it is shown as being able to fly at over 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h) and to send out rainbow rays that penetrate the mist around Paradise Island, as well as landing stealthily and having a built-in radio. Wonder Woman is seen storing the plane at an abandoned farm near Washington, D.C., in the barn; she goes there as Lt. Prince and changes clothes in some of the earliest tales. Though never explicitly stated, the Plane is presumably stored there when not in use for the rest of the Pre-Crisis era. In a story published shortly after, it flies at 40 miles (64 km) a second.
Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #179 (Nov. 1969) showed Wonder Woman giving up her powers and returning her costume and title to her mother, in order to continue staying in Man's World. The reason behind this was that all the Amazons were shifting to another dimension, but Diana was unable to accompany them as she needed to stay behind to help Steve, who had been wrongly convicted. Thus, she no longer held the title of Wonder Woman and after meeting and training under a blind martial arts mentor I-Ching, Diana resumed crime fighting as the powerless Diana Prince. She ran a mod-boutique as a business and dressed in a series of jumpsuits while fighting crime. During this period, Samuel R. Delany took over scripting duties with issue #202. Delany was initially supposed to write a six-issue story arc, which would culminate in a battle over an abortion clinic, but Delany was removed reportedly due to criticism from Gloria Steinem, who, not knowing the content of the issues Delany was writing, was upset that Wonder Woman had lost her powers and was no longer wearing her traditional costume.
The Diana Prince alias also played an important role after the events of Infinite Crisis. Wonder Woman was broadcast worldwide killing a villain named Maxwell Lord, as he was mind controlling Superman into killing Batman. When Wonder Woman caught him in her lasso, demanding to know how to stop Superman, Maxwell revealed that the only way to stop him was to kill Lord, so as a last resort Diana snapped his neck. To recover from the trauma of killing another person, the Amazon went into a self-imposed exile for one year. On her return to public life, Diana realized that her life as a full-time celebrity superhero and ambassador had kept her removed from humanity. Because of this she assumed the persona of Diana Prince and became an agent at the Department of Metahuman Affairs. During a later battle with the witch Circe, a spell was placed on Diana leaving her powerless when not in the guise of Wonder Woman.