Welcome! Historia is a brand new bi-monthly series that will be examining The Amazing Amazon’s rich history. The feature will span the war-haunted Golden Ages in which she was forged, through the sweeping currents of The Silver Age, the shifts of The Bronze Age, the trials of The Dark Age, all the way to The Renaissance and The Prismatic Age of the modern century. We’ll be looking at and discussing the various influences and archetypal antecedents that underlie the Wonder Legend, the power of the conceits it upholds, the politics of the whole enterprise, the terrifying nature of myths and narratives, and how the character and property have changed, evolved, or even regressed. What is this curious little experiment that began under a polyamorous polymath psychologist that became an icon of the feminist movement and a vital corporate symbol? Let’s dig in.
‘At last, in a world torn by the hatreds and wars of men, appears a woman to whom the problems and feats of men are mere child’s play!’ – All Star Comics #3
There is such an incredible exasperation to the above quote. At last! It exclaims, deeply tired and frustrated, letting out a bit of air in relief. $%#!ing finally! is the energy that radiates off it. And that’s it, those are the first words telling us of this incredible woman clad in a gleaming gold tiara, boasting brilliant bracelets, in the colors of the American flag.
As far as introductions go, this is a hell of a way to kick things off. And it’s fitting too, given the intent and circumstances behind the creation, nay, conception of the character. The quote is so deeply bored with the way things are or have been, expressing a fiery enthusiasm at the wave of change that’s suddenly appeared out of the mist. Here is no man, but a woman and she’s not here to play the games of women or abide by the notions of their land. The men have ruined the world, damned it, screwed it, it’s being ripped apart. And the men continue to swim around cluelessly in their cyclical problems and boastful feats. This isn’t another cyclical narrative. This is something new, something different, something out to break every chain and assumption that crosses its path.
It’s a woman who stands above it all and symbolizes something greater, something more and indicates an alternative. That’s Wonder Woman.
William Moulton Marston
You see the above ‘Charles Moulton’, when in fact her co-creator (alongside H.G Peter) is famous psychologist, polymath and professor William Moulton Marston. No history is really complete or truly comprehensive without a sense or understanding of the subject’s founding figure and Marston is certainly that. Not just of comic book fiction, but of the 20th Century popular fiction and American History in general (he was vital to the assembly of The Polygraph, which accuracy aside, blew up and became vital in a number of ways). And so to understand Wonder Woman, we come to this fascinating figure, who was unconventional in every possible sense for his time and whose viewpoints are deeply informative on all that Diana Of Paradise is.
Getting his gig at (what would eventually become) DC Comics via an article advocating for the comics medium, Marston was a well educated man who’d been in rooms full of Academics and for a newly emerging industry of comics, was desirable. Boasting a keen knowledge and statistics of the market, while measuring the pros and cons of the stories within and their impact, Marston was rather complementary to Maxwell Charles Gaines, the Publisher at the company.
So obviously, he was hired, looking the more respectable man compared to a storm of amateur writers. And the opportunity was everything Marston was looking for. Not quite the man for academia or Hollywood, he needed an outlet to communicate his philosophies and viewpoints to a wider audience, no longer satisfied with the small novels he’d published. And given how widely read and popular they were, William Moulton Marston had his eye on the funnybooks. Here was a mechanism to get across his psychological fascinations, his thesis, if you will, in the form of the newly emerging notion dubbed the superhero.
Except as he observed, the superhero, much like his predecessor the pulps, was primarily male-centric, with women relegated to the roles of damsels, love interests or short one-offs. There was no big female hero with her own solo adventures in a way that was comparable to other big male equivalents. And the narratives were all wish fulfillment fantasies of power, the power of impossible strength, the power of wealth and privilege, the power of, ultimately, might makes right, no matter how you slice it. There’s, as Marston put it, ‘blood-curdling masculinity’ to it all. A power to be stronger than any who face you and overpower them with sheer violence, thus resolving any and all conflict.
Clearly, there was room for something else here. Gaines had declined pitches for female-led series, citing that they’d all flopped, but accepted Wonder Woman, if Marston would write it. And that he did, taking a pseudonym from Gaines’ middle name and his own. ‘Charles’ and ‘Moulton’, which make up Charles Moulton. And to pull off the endeavor, they brought on veteran artist H.G Peter, as well as editor Sheldon Mayer. Thus the band was assembled. Now it was time to get Marston’s thesis out there.
Love & Submission
Marston’s fundamental belief was in ‘Loving Submission’, which forms the backbone of Wonder Woman, evident in every aspect, from Diana’s signature weapon to customs of Themyscira. We, as a people, inhabit a world of hierarchies and operate within systems wherein many hold great authority and power over us. And it’s a world where almost always said authority or power cannot be trusted and is misused. Corruption runs rampant. Power is abused. And so Marston crafted one cosmic ideal to represent power as it was: male, brutish, crude, draped in war-gear, in the form of Mars.
You probably know him by his greek title, Ares (and either is fine and works), but Mars was the face that represented all that Marston saw as being wrong about the world. He was the absolute symbol of the patriarchy, this conflict-loving, woman-hating, control-obsessed scumbag who loved profit and abused his power and authority. He was man and all his toxicity chiseled into one being. The God Of War was the personification of the ideal that was to be abhorred. He was power and authority that represented our status quo. We’re all ruled by this ideal, the people that hold power over us follow his ideal, one way or another. And so Marston reasoned, if we are to submit to authority, if we are to be controlled, let it at least be someone nice, something kind, something we would love to see rule and guide us.
The starting point of that is, of course, war’s natural opposite, Aprhodite, The Goddess Of Love. Thus you have an ideological conflict. A fundamental foundation. Mars used to be, famously, a common stock character in 1910’s Suffrage cartoons, appearing to hurt and torture women and laugh at their misery. And so that history, that symbolism and baggage is adopted here to not just to visualize the threat to women and society at large, but to present a legitimate alternative. This is what damns us and ruins us and plagues us. But here’s what could save us, if we perhaps let it.
This basic divide, this conflict of philosophies is what informs everything. It’s a declaration about the fate of all humankind. One points a sword, a tool to slash, stab, maim and inflict pain. The other points upwards with her finger, speaking of love, a higher idea. An idea far greater than any base, blunt instrument. Something so big, so transcendent and wonderful, that it is so much more than anything Mars has to offer. And it’s around this that everything forms and builds.
The Amazons are a product of the above conflict, as should be clear, as Aphrodite makes them all out of basic nature, the way she was made. Now, the Amazon myth is interesting. In ‘proper’ or classical myth, the Amazons are brutal barbarians, baby-killers, who discard male children and are a terrifying nightmare. They’re not particularly nice. They even cut off their breasts, it is said. But it is vital to remember, as many often forget this, myth is not some fairy dust that pops out of nothing. Myth is assumptions, narratives and thoughts. And it is an assortment of narratives, assumptions and thoughts that are overwhelmingly male.
There’s a reason there are so many tales of women as mere love interests or seductresses or ‘witches’ and plenty more. Myth is a reflection of our assumed cultural narratives and they’re formed largely by the patriarchy. And since when is that particularly kind to women? The narratives and assumptions men hold and spread about women are often self-serving and hardly generous. Even now, in the modern age, we critique male writers for their narratives about women. Even with all the wisdom of our collective understanding now, sexism, systemic oppression and abuse prevail. Women still suffer, as men try to control narratives about them, from pregnancy and abortion to plenty more.
Women in power, women with power? They terrify plenty of men. That is a prospect that is chilling to many. So consider this, the myths of the past, the assumptions, not of the modern men, but men of the ancient past, when sexism was even more rampant, where the oppression was even greater, when privilege was even more unchecked, would the narratives concerning women, powerful women, be very generous or kind?
Think about it for a second. Women who cut off their breasts? That’s bloody ridiculous. They would not survive that. And yes, myth has a lot of nonsensical or odd stuff, but fundamentally observe the narrative that forms around The Amazons. They’re almost made inhuman and ‘other’. ‘Dear god, how could they even survive after cutting off their breasts, what are they? They basically kill off babies and are brutal barbarians? Jesus’. Almost all of their usage in narratives is them losing.
They’re what you might call a straw man these days concerning powerful women. They’re a nightmare cooked up by old dudes terrified of women with more power than them (as pointed out by Feminist Historian Abby Wettan Kleinbaum), acting as almost a warning sign of ‘know your place’, affirming the power of the revered male champion of traditional values and masculinity. All in all, it’s not a very productive or positive fantasy or narrative to offer. To quote Kieron Gillen, look past the fiction, remember that it was written, it was made, it was manufactured by people. And people have prejudices and agendas.
So Marston takes this conceit, The Amazons. This thing that reeks of male terrors about women in power and how horrific and inhuman they’d be. And he deliberately, completely and absolutely re-writes this myth. He subverts everything about it. The Amazons are a celebrated culture of heroes created by Aphrodite here, symbols of feminine strength and power, champions of love, liberators of women. They rule their glorious kingdom of Amazonia, a legendary place greater than any other.
Until Hercules comes along, as a deliberate agent of Mars, and through terrible deceit, abusing the trust and love of these great women, destroys their society and assaults all that they are. Having lost in a fair fight with Hippolyta, The Queen, he talks her into giving up her Magic Girdle (granted by Aphrodite, which decrees that so long as it is worn, The Amazons shall not lose), then he chains and enslaves them. The Amazons are great women made victims of man’s cruelty, who then, crucially, rebel and beat down their oppressors. Their shackles become their iconic bracelets, reminders and a marker by the word of Aphrodite, this is what happens when you submit to the patriarchy and let men dominate you.
Ultimately, having beaten them, rather than be like their oppressors, they sail away to what would be Paradise Island, where for years they lie hidden, far more advanced than man’s world. A genuine alternative culture, a paradise, a utopia, where everyone is accepted, helped, healed and considered. An accepting place not of ‘warriors’, but of so much more. A true, rich culture of capable doctors, scholars, poets, philosophers, artists, scientists, architects and so much more. They were women. You couldn’t reduce them down to any single title or role, they were many to many and their multitude could not be contained by any single thing.
What Marston and Peter did is, effectively, take a narrative about how scary and horrific these powerful women are, and destroy it, erecting it in its place a genuinely positive, productive, constructive and feminist narrative that revealed women of power to be not horrific, but utterly wonderful. They were awe inspiring, they were amazing. How could you not love them, the world almost pleads with you, as it torches the hell out of the toxic myth it’s replacing. Marston did what he set out to do: to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men. He gave girls a feminist narrative to admire, love and look up to, the way so many boys have had for ages. He gave girls sisterhood, a celebratory society of women achieving the impossible and the improbable. He gave them The Amazons.
The Myth of Wonder Woman
And that’s all the backstory of Wonder Woman. That’s merely the basic set up. And that’s just how much went into it. Superman and Batman were both the descendants of the pulps, the former following in the footsteps of Doc Savage, while the latter The Shadow (obviously with other elements grafted on), which makes sense. They draw from the strange sci-fi and the mysterious crime noir that was common in those stories and from there, they evolved into the basic raw materials and minerals of the superhero, building a new kind of heroic tradition to succeed the past.
But Wonder Woman’s lineage is different. While comparisons can be made to Buck Rogers sci-fi, her antecedents lay elsewhere. And the clue is very much in The Amazons. Wonder Woman went further back than the pulp magazines, it went back into the ancient realm of myth, of female champions like Hippolyta. As we’ve discussed, there’s problems in the past and so Marston eradicates almost all of them and re-writes the myth and literalizes the connection via backstory. Diana is very literally a product of this society of mythic female heroes and explicitly, of Hippolyta, who Marston identifies as her archetypal mother.
Note that, again, it’s not ‘myth’, as we’ve established. The antecedent is a fantasy of myth, which is a key distinction. If Superman is sci-fi, Batman is crime noir, Wonder Woman is pure fantasy. And not in a “she punches greek gods and hangs out with minotaurs” way, but in the sense that virtually anything goes. She’s pure possibility. She’s Invisible Jet, super sci-fi civilizations, Mars, who literally lives on Mars and is a cosmic villain, she’s everything and anything. There is absolutely no ceiling or restraint on what you can do with her. She’s pure imaginative real estate. From WW2 Propaganda to Taco-selling, nothing’s too outrageous or too out there. Wonder Woman has more in common with fairy tales, which operate in dream-logic, allegory and sheer ‘Why not? What if?’ sensibility.
And that’s vital, that’s worth remembering. Wonder Woman isn’t exactly conventional or typical superhero fare. It’s a psychologist’s thesis on love and war, on the relationships between the sexes in the 1940’s (and up to that point), it’s a successor to the 1910’s Feminist Utopian texts, packaged in comic form. Indeed, even on an artistic level, that holds true. H. G Peter isn’t a very ‘superheroic’ artist. In fact, the Wonder Woman Editor, Sheldon Mayer once even said Peter could not tell a story in reference to him. But what Peter did do is bring that storybook, almost fairy tale quality to the book. His figures looked simple, like they were chiseled from stone, archetype and dream-like. His cartooning may have been stiff, but it served the intent Marston was pursuing. It looked nothing like anything else and to this day is instantly, recognizably idiosyncratic.
Wonder Woman’s Origin
So we finally get to Diana, Wonder Woman herself. Explicitly literalized as part of a larger, mythic tradition, as its newest incarnation, as a legacy character from the start. And we get to her birth, which most of you will know. She’s made out of clay by (Hippo)Lyta, her mum. It’s an origin that’s often mocked, dubbed ‘silly’ or ‘dumb’ or any number of things. But like with The Amazons, the origin of Wonder Woman is utterly and completely subversive in every sense. If Paradise is the all-accepting, loving alternate utopia for women to be anyone and anything they would like to be, Diana is a very visible product of that.
The meta-myth succession of archetypes aside, she’s a very explicit product of female love. There’s a reason her catchphrase involves Sappho. Diana’s origin is the fantasy, the dream, the vision of TWO women creating life. No male presence or intervention needed, thank you very much. What people forget or often fail to mention is that Lyta doesn’t just make her out of clay. Diana is a product of two women: Lyta and Aphrodite. She is literally granted life by love. She is literally a product of love, via two women. It does not get more explicit than that (especially for a 1940’s comic). The queer subtext of Wonder Woman is obvious and is ubiquitous. So many have asked for so long ‘who are her parents?’ and many have tried to answer who her divine parent is. But it’s always been evident since day one: Aphrodite.
Love itself gave birth to Diana, for such is the Amazon way. It’s a queer fantasy of amazing power, which is part of why the character and book have drawn so many LGBTQ readers. Diana isn’t the norm, she doesn’t fit in the mold as everyone else, even amongst superheroes she’s an outsider, she comes from a different culture. And the effect of that, when done well, is potent. It’s subversive from the ground up, from the roots, which is why trying to ‘straighten’ it, literally, by eliminating the queer origin, making her the daughter of myth’s #1 rapist and symbol of patriarchy, Zeus, are all so fundamentally problematic and misguided. Diana is the odd one, she is the figure who faced prejudice, who’s judged, and belittled and thus follow the attempts to make her like the others, the ‘normal’ bunch, who perpetuate the less radical, less subversive narratives and are more ‘traditional’.
Indeed, there’s never been a need to do that, as Wonder Woman came complete and fully formed, rather than half-baked. Superman became what we know him to be after DC bankrupted Fawcett, grabbed their chief writer of Captain Marvel (Otto Binder, if you were wondering) and got him to work on Superman, with him grafting on aspects and elements from Captain Marvel comics to give rise to the Superman with the Superman Family (Jimmy Olsen may be a radio OC, but he’s also straight up Not-Tawky Tawny), Supergirl, Kandor, Brainiac and most other things we now identify as defining. Batman came out the gate a gun-toting Shadow knockoff who needed a lot of adjusting. Diana? She was fully thought through from the get go. Her creators knew exactly what they wanted from her and of her and what her world was like for the most part. And what kind of stories would be told with her, as well as what they’d say.
Every aspect of Wonder Woman was built and hardwired to drive home the core purpose and thematic mission, right down to Amazonian steeds being not horses of Man’s World, but Kangas. Giant kangaroos, which these women rode around. Lovely, adorable but strong creatures with a pocket, who reared kids and spoke to motherhood and femininity. Strong and loving was the idea and message and it was communicated.
Even the idea of what an ‘Amazon’ was and could be played into this. Amazons weren’t and aren’t, say, Asgardians or Atlanteans or some super race or species. They’re more of a creed. Any woman could become an amazon, all it took was nebulous ‘Amazon Training’. And voila, you’re one of them. This reveals one of the text’s key ideas, which is that it operates more in allegory and metaphor than anything else.
Much like the clay origin is precisely that for queer conception, the idea here is loud and clear. Any woman can be a wonder woman. That was the message. And that’s why it was so empowering. There’s an Amazon inside you, within you, just waiting. You may not be able to punch steel like Diana, sure, but that was never the point, the abilities, the powers. The point was always the code, the creed, the actual ideals and values. You could be as brave as Diana, as selfless as Hippolyta, as loyal as Mala and so on and so forth. The key was these positive attributes, these role model concepts that were healthy, amidst all the binding and bondage aspects of the text.
Bondage and Empowerment
That sort of erotic aspect of the work is implicit as well, it’s very much there, but it’s not the only thing that’s there, which is key. That’s one aspect of it. But it’s sometimes assumed to be the only aspect, which is where things go wrong. It’s a lot like Etta Candy, in that sense. Etta is, of course, Diana’s lovable best friend forever, her ultimate gal pal and sidekick, her Jimmy Olsen, if you will. She’s very much part of the classical Golden Age tradition of wacky sidekicks, like Green Lantern (Alan Scott)’s Doiby Dickles, The Flash (Jay Garrick)’s Three Dimwits or even The Spectre’s Percival Popp. Now, I’ll wager you’ve never heard of any of these guys, which is, in part, because they’re not terribly good. But unlike all of them, while Etta is wacky, she’s a fiesty, dynamic character full of energy and incredible charm.
Her name is, depressingly, a tired fat joke, yes (Etta Candy. Eat A Candy, get it?) and the comic handles this fat joke aspect about as well as you’d expect a 40’s book to, but also she’s not just that. She is not her worst and most reductive part, much like the overall bondage and erotic angle of the early texts. Etta is brave as hell, the noblest woman you’ll ever meet, the most selfless heroine you could imagine, the unashamed and unapologetic woman who laughs in the face of ‘marriage’ and when transformed to look like Diana, chooses to and wants to look like herself, because she loves who she is and she’s proud of it and not ashamed. Even as the old 40’s comic treats it as ‘oh what a wacky choice’, there is body positivity there.
Much like that, while the bondage aspects have that erotic aspect to them, they’re also more. They’re rooted in, again, 1910’s Suffrage imagery and cartoons, where women were constantly chained, roped or gagged, an allegory for their lack of rights, for their position in society, in this patriarchal world. And while people laugh or mock the notion of Wonder Woman’s weakness being that she loses her strength if bound by a man, that too is allegory. It’s a grave warning that submitting to the patriarchy is the ultimate and only weakness for any woman, even a Wonder Woman. Do not let yourself be chained or bound or gagged by male society. You are your own master and you are free, always remember that. But the bracelets signify the past, warning of a past with baggage, of what was done to women and is and can be done again.
That sort of educational message of empowerment is all over the text, even beyond the basic stories. Each issue of Diana’s book came with a regular, consistent feature/backup titled The Wonder Woman Of History, done by Associate Editor of the book, Alice Marble. Marble was the world’s best female Tennis player of the time, the Former Assistant Director Of Physical Fitness at the office of Civilian Defense and more. Marble suggested to Gaines that they do the feature, exploring and celebrating the very real wonder women of our world, the great heroes and icons worth talking about and worth teaching to kids through simple, accessible comics.
It was a fantastic, educational feature that touched and inspired, celebrating women from all professions and walks of life, from Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell, Dolley Madison and more, making them seem no less wondrous or legendary than the heroes of comic fiction. You had everyone from Lillian D. Wald, The Mother Of New York’s East Side to Clara Barton, Angel Of The Battlefield to Susan B. Anthony, Liberator Of Womankind and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, Strongwoman Of China. It was something perfectly in line with Marston’s ethos and message, adding a vital aspect to the work, serving a noble goal, but most importantly, bringing some women into the fray. After all, it was Wonder Woman. Although neither wrote the actual stories, having them play a part in the actual legacy, as editors and writers of these additional backups and features, that is genuinely nice. Having a female perspective consistently sharing and telling stories of great women that lived, to inspire young people, especially women? That means a lot.
President Wonder Woman
And speaking of the women in Wonder Woman, that does bring us to Sadie Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne, the true two wonder woman who were behind Marston and are almost part of Wonder Woman. Marston was a polyamorist, in the 1940’s. He was happily married to Elizabeth, with two kids. Olive Byrne, his ex-student, was also his partner and he had two kids with her as well. The entire group lived together in one home, happily and got on extremely well, with Elizabeth even officially adopting Olive’s kids as her own, after Marston’s demise. The family still continued to live closely together and got on post-death and all was well. And it’s these two women who ultimately informed a lot of Wonder Woman. Right off the bat, her bracelets are based off the Indian bracelets Olive constantly wore and she does seem to be the physical model for Diana (albeit with an H.G Peter spin), whereas Elizabeth informed the person a bit more. To hear Christie Marston, grandaughter of William Marston, put it, her grandma, up until her death in the 90’s? She was Wonder Woman.
Even ‘Holliday College’, the home of Etta and her gang of ‘Holliday Girls’ is a name that’s a product of Elizabeth’s name and college (with some tweaks), ‘Holloway’ and ‘Holyoke’. Marston was tapping into fantasy, to be sure, but it all had some basis or source of real inspiration, for the most part. And this is where we get into the political activism and relevance aspect of the book. Obviously, Wonder Woman is explicitly and loudly feminist. It’s about women, it’s about men, it’s about the relationship between the two sexes, the baggage up to that point in the 40’s, the suffrage movement, feminist thought and ideas, whilst being a thesis on society’s troubles, war and peace, dominance and submission. It’s incredibly political in its premise, but it was also that in its practice, via the stories. Stories showcased Diana as a herald and fixture of political rallies and movements, always hanging about with college girls and dealing with social ills.
Tales and straight out homage images were spun out of very real political rallies and events, such as the Inez Milholland Boissevain led suffrage parade in Washington, of March 3rd, 1913 or The Lawrence textile strike of 1912. The latter was the inspiration for a rather powerful story wherein Diana would hear the pleas of all the workers and then go to the woman in charge, making her work in the terrible conditions her working class employees had to endure, with terrible pay. Diana would then find out the real culprit for things getting as bad as it did, which was the woman’s fiance and by the conclusion, after Diana had fought for the people, made the rich eat from the plate they serve up, the woman in charge learned her lesson, threw out her fiance and swore to do better, as well as doubling the pay of her workers. It’s a nice, cute little comic story, playing to the fantasies of the working class, with Diana taking on the cruelties of capitalism. As we’ve established, Wonder Woman was always a subversive figure challenging any and all authority and systems as well as assumptions.
But beyond the real things, the true messages and points, Marston and Peter’s book was also one of the most utterly imaginative. It was pure, unrestrained explosion of ideas. There are, in fact, so many ideas in here, that you could make a whole series off just one throwaway. It’s like a Kirby or Morrisonian hailstorm of ideas and dropped concepts, which are just waiting to be picked up on. Wonder Woman has never lacked the ideas, for within its realm of expansive promethean possibility and fantasy, you had Sky Kangas that could sail the stars, Venusian Butterfly Beings, Slavers From Saturn, Kidnappers From Pluto, Sun-Warriors Of Space and more. The crazy science-fantasy of it all was no less than the best and most imaginative of DC and superhero books in general. It was a whirlwind of concepts. Perhaps the best and most succinct display of Marston’s unique brand of storytelling and approach, blending pure science fantasy of dream-logic with feminist thesis is Wonder Woman #7.
Marston and Peter take us a millennium into the future, yeah, you heard that right, a thousand years. That’s a Legion skip, if you take the meaning. Except if Legion Of Super-Heroes was merely simple neat science-fantasy ideas, Wonder Woman was that and so much more, it was a political thesis and a feminist statement. Its future felt truly like a future, not just in aesthetics, but in where power dynamics had reached. The Amazonian values had changed society. Love won. The Mission was fruitful. A millennium into the future, the patriarchy is no more. Erected in its place is a matriarchy, one of forgiveness and love, where guns and other weapons are outlawed, a world where death by aging has been cured. It’s a world that has been made into Paradise. Man’s World no more, but something else, something truly new. Marston showcased the first female President Of The United States, who’d been in office and re-elected a number of times and had helped put to rest the last ashes of the problems that plagued the age prior.
We see, in this 40’s comic, a man from ‘The Man’s World Party’ complain about the ‘oppression’ of men and demanding ‘male rights’ and threatening a men’s rights revolution. Marston and Peter’s comic is very much a 40’s comic in a lot of ways, so there’s obviously a ton of flaws and a storm of problems that feel of the period, from racism and stereotyping to the strong binary view of gender and more, but it’s in moments like these that it feels like it’s lightyears ahead of everything else. Marston taking the piss out of Men’s Rights Activism has aged extremely well. There’s also the plot by said regressives who will do anything and everything to destroy the female president and her time in office because they cannot stand the idea of the rule of a woman. There’s even a whole plot about Election meddling and screwery. It is wild. And of course, it ends the only way it can, with Wonder Woman as President in the year 3004, the second female President.
Marston, in the 40’s, imagined a female President. Imagine reading, especially as a young woman, what that might’ve felt like. And that’s the magic. That’s the wonder. Marston wanted his readership to imagine a female President. He wanted everyone to imagine a world where the most powerful individual was a woman and where the authority and figures of power were no longer corrupted, but wielded power right. That is to say, he envisioned a world where the right people held the power and that, at the end of the day was the point for Marston. To imagine a world unshackled, loving and liberating as a Wonder Woman.