The Evolution of Wonder Woman

Header art by Gail Simone


Sorry…I had to get that out of my system. If there is one female superhero that truly represents the feminine movement, it is indeed Wonder Woman. We are taking a look back through the years at not only the numerous changes in her costume design but also her character development. Now, there were several times in which something only slight changed in her costume such as the belt or footwear. Today we will be focusing mainly on major costume updates.


Wonder Woman’s first cover appearance was in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942). Her debut appearance was in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941). After her portrayal as an Amazon heroine who returns Steve Trevor to “Man’s World” and fights crime and the evil of the Nazis, she then joins the Justice Society of America as its secretary.


During the Silver and Bronze age she is revamped and given a new back story. She is powerless and fighting crime on her own as “Diana Price”. During this period she typically wears a suit, most notably a white jumpsuit.


By the early 1970s her costume returns back to its origins in the Justice League of America, along with her own solo run.


In 1974 we had the loosely based television Wonder Woman movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby. In this adaptation Wonder Woman does not wear the traditional comic book costume.


We cannot talk about the evolution of Wonder Woman without including Lynda Carter. The television show “The New Original Wonder Woman” ran from 1975-1979.


From this point we didn’t see any MAJOR revamping to Wonder Woman until Mike Deodato Jr.’s adaptation. In this run Diana is no longer Wonder Woman. Artemis is given the role of Wonder Woman, while Diana, going simply by “Diana” is seen in a new black biker style outfit.


The next major revamping of Wonder Woman came in the New 52 around 2011. Previously the look included blue/black leggings but they were removed.


Also in 2011, a new Wonder Woman series was under development starring Adrian Palicki. The pilot was never aired as NBC decided not to buy the series.


In 2013 NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. released the DC fighter game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. There are additional skin packs that can be purchased, but this was the default character costume.


Finally, we reach the latest unveiled badassery. This is the costume that was revealed for the 2016 Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice film, portrayed by Gal Gadot.

Okay so we are not just here to talk about her clothes…we are here also to talk about how awesome Wonder Woman is!  William Moulton Marston drew inspiration for the character from his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and Olivia Byrne who lived with the couple in a poly-amorous relationship.  Wonder Woman is based on Greek Mythological Amazon women (a reflection of the Greek mythology character Artemis or Diana).  The daughter of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, Diana decided to travel to the outside world where she became known as Wonder Woman.  She was awarded many gifts from the Gods such as the Lasso of Truth, created from the Golden Girdle of Gaea, and her bracelets  born of the shield of Aegis of Athena, indestructible in nature.

During Wonder Woman’s earlier publications, despite the fact that she was one strong, badass lady, it was apparent that her character was extremely sexualized.  Even as one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, despite the fact that she was one of its strongest members she served the role of secretary.

With a revamped origin in the Silver Age, Diana was known to be as “beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury”.  By the end of the 1960s, she had surrendered her powers and studied under a Chinese mentor named I Ching.  Diana learned martial arts and advanced weaponry in a myriad of adventures.

Once again, Diana regained her super powers and returned to the WWII era.  After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Perez wrote Diana as a feminist character, a princess and emissary from Themyscira in a patriarch world.  At the end of the 4 part “Sacrifice” series, she crossed the threshold out of the “no-kill” zone.

Since her conception, Wonder Woman has developed from an overly sexy, under-utilized secretary, to the witty, strong, and fast superhero we have all come to admire today…and still sexy!

So there we have it nerds!  That’s a whole LOT of Wonder Woman! I for one can’t wait to see what else is in store for this badass Lady.  That’s all Nerds!

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *