Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter, and has a lengthy publication history. This history has sometimes included a sidekick Wonder Girl and many villains. Since her debut she has become one of the most popular and recognizable DC Comics characters, along with Batman and Superman. She first appeared in All-Star Comics #8. (1941)
At the end of the 1960s, under the guidance of Mike Sekowsky, Wonder Woman surrendered her powers in order to remain in Man's World rather than accompany her fellow Amazons to another dimension. Wonder Woman begins using the alias Diana Prince and opens a mod boutique. She acquires a Chinese mentor named I Ching, who teaches Diana martial arts and weapons skills. Using her fighting skill instead of her powers, Diana engaged in adventures that encompassed a variety of genres, from espionage to mythology. This phase of her story was directly influenced by the British spy thriller The Avengers and Diana Rigg's portrayal of Emma Peel.
The last issue of Wonder Woman saw very little of the Amazon. Instead, we watched her brother, Jason, launch an attack against the Dark Gods. He first tries to take on the Gods, named Karnell, Savage Fire, the Mob God, and the God with No Name. They quickly defeat him, but Jason gets the backup of Supergirl and the Justice League for round 2. The Dark Gods, however, aren’t pushovers and promptly defeat the heroes thanks to their leader, King Best. Before all seems lost, Diana returns just as King Best takes form and begins his path of destruction. Will Wonder Woman and Jason be able to contain this madness?
Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton), and artist Harry G. Peter. Marston's wife, Elizabeth, and their life partner, Olive Byrne, are credited as being his inspiration for the character's appearance. Marston's comics featured his ideas on DISC theory, and the character drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger; in particular, her piece "Woman and the New Race".
The modern age of the character can be tied to the reboot of the character following Crisis on Infinite Earths. In this the character became defined by the vision of George Perez in a way which the entire concept of the character was defined by his direction. As opposed to the past where the character would get retold origins which would try to make her more contemporary, now she got one which tied her much more strongly to the stories of the ancient gods. For the first time Diana enters Man’s World not knowing how to speak English already, and is forced to master the language on her own. In this period she also became much more closely related with modern female issues, and this was usually through her circle of friends – Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis and Mindi Mayer. Such issues as the cultural need for women to be attractive and thin, suicide and the sensationalization of the media as it pertains to women were all addressed. This version of the character also reimagined Steve Trevor as a father figure for Diana as opposed to a romantic counterpart. After Perez’s run on the character, she was taken over for a time by William Messner Loebs, who recast her again in somewhat more traditional superhero stories, though in this case she still explored a different aspect of humanity. After a long space voyage, when she returned home she was forced to work at a fast food restaurant to pay her bills and made friends with a number of people in her “civilian identity.” This built up to the revelation of betrayal of her mother, and of Artemis taking over as Wonder Woman for a short time, but this was soon reversed. The following writer was John Byrne, who when he was writing Superman in the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC universe, had hinted at a relationship between Diana and Superman. This was explored occasionally under his run, but it is probably best known for the death of Diana, and the assumption of her duties by Hippolyta. She was soon returned to life (as she had never really died, instead having been deified). This period also introduced Cassandra Sandsmark, who would go on to become Wonder Girl at a later point. The remainder of this second series is best remembered for by the writing of Jimenez and Rucka, both of whom helped define the character. The latter during the lead-in of events to Infinite Crisis had Diana fighting Superman who was being controlled by Maxwell Lord. Battered after their battle, Diana has managed to stop Superman by using her lasso of truth on Lord, and the only option which she is given to stopping him is to kill him, and realizing this is the case, she does so. This created a controversy both within comics and in the real world, as both fans and characters alike debated the morality of this decision. In comics this also led to strained relations between her and Superman and her and Batman and with the addition of the events of Identity Crisis, helped to lead to the breakup of the Justice League of America at a crucial point right before the main events of Infinite Crisis were about to begin.
Duing the Perez run on the character, there were not as many story arcs either, but they did become more defined. Her entrance into Man’s World was to stop a global nuclear war created by Ares. She also had introduced a modern version of the Cheetah, Circe, Doctor Psycho and Silver Swan. One of the defining story arcs at this time was the Challenge of the Gods, where she discovers the truth about her own past as she journeys into the underworld. In this time as well she was a part of numerous company-wide crossovers including Millennium, Invasion and one focused on herself, the War of the Gods. The latter was Perez’s swansong on the character and with Messner Loebs taking over afterwards the direction of the character changed again somewhat. Under his direction, Diana became involved in battle factions of organized crime in Boston, and faced off against Ares Buchanan and the White Magician. This resulted in Wonder Woman being marooned in space, and returning to uncover the plot. During the events of Zero Hour a slightly different version of her origin is told, and Artemis wins the right to be Wonder Woman in another contest. This ends eventually with Diana battling the White Magician after Artemis has been killed. The John Byrne run equally was without as many defined story arcs except specifically with how her death affected others. This was also incorporated into the company wide Genesis event. Once she returned she faced a new villain known as Devastation who she battled occasionally, and she also took responsibility for Cassandra Sandsmark (who would later become Wonder Girl.) As a prominent character within the DC universe she took part in company-wide crossovers like Our Worlds at War and the Joker’s Last Laugh. When Rucka took over, some of the character's most memorable story arcs occurred, and most famously among them Stoned and the Superman story arc Sacrifice which ended in Wonder Woman #219 with her killing Maxwell Lord.
Fans of modern day comic book characters would have some difficulty relating to characters from the early golden age, and Wonder Woman is no exception. In her first appearance in the comics, she has obviously fulfilled the role of an icon for readers, but so too did her secret identity, Diana Prince. The character was created in a time when different cultural and societal norms existed in North America.
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, George Pérez rebooted the character in 1987. She wore an outfit similar to her 1970s one, but now with a larger glowing golden belt. This outfit continued until William Messner-Loebs' run, which had Diana pass on the role of Wonder Woman to Artemis. No longer Wonder Woman, Diana sported a new black biker-girl outfit designed by artist Mike Deodato Jr. After John Byrne took over writing and art duties, he redesigned the Wonder Woman outfit (Diana was reinstated as Wonder Woman at the end of Loebs' run) and joined the emblem and belt together.
The Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age portrayals of Wonder Woman showed her using a silent and invisible plane that could be controlled by mental command and fly at speeds up to 3,000 mph (4,800 km/h). Its appearance has varied over time; originally it had a propeller, while later it was drawn as a jet aircraft resembling a stealth aircraft.
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.
A stand-alone #0 issue was released in September which explored Diana's childhood and her tutelage under Ares, the God of War, now known most often as simply 'War'. The issue was narrated in the style of a typical Silver Age comic book and saw Diana in her childhood years. The main plot of the issue was Diana training under War as he thought of her being an extraordinary girl with immense potential. The issue ultimately concluded with Diana learning and experiencing the importance of mercy, which she first learned when War showed it to her during their sparring. This later translated into her refusal to kill the Minotaur – a task given to her by War; however, this show of mercy makes her a failure in War's eyes, which was actually his fault since he inadvertently "taught" her mercy and affection as his protege. Later in the series, Wonder Woman is forced to kill War during a conflict with her evil half-brother, Zeus' son First Born, and herself becomes the God of War. After the Amazons are restored, she rules over them both as a warrior queen and God of War, as the ongoing conflict with First Born escalates. At the end of Azzarello's run, as part of a final conflict, Wonder Woman kills First Born, while Zeke is revealed to have been Zeus' plan for resurrection, with Zola revealed to have been a mortal shell for the goddess Athena, who gave birth to Zeus just as he once did to her. Wonder Woman pleads with Athena not to allow the Zola personality, whom she has grown to love as a friend, die with Athena's awakening. Athena leaves the site in animal form, leaving a stunned and confused Zola behind with Wonder Woman.