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Wonder Woman: The Complete History

Posted on

Wonder Woman: The Complete History

Current Status:
In Season
Les Daniels
Pop Culture, Nonfiction

We gave it a B

The latest ”Behind the Spandex” survey from noted comic-book archivist Les Daniels, Wonder Woman: The Complete History shows how our most transcendent pop fantasies can have the most idiosyncratic origins. Created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston, a kooky psychologist credited with inventing the lie detector (hence, that magic lasso), Wonder Woman was intended not so much for girls but as protofeminist ”psychological propaganda” for culturally insensitive boys. Daniels is long on provocative details, like how the married Marston’s muse may have been his ”research assistant” Olive Byrne (who actually lived with his family and mothered two of his kids!) or how Gloria Steinem influenced the Amazon’s creative direction in the 1970s. But the lack of critical assessment leaves one wondering what Daniels really thinks. In the end, this officially sanctioned, handsome volume is much like Wonder Woman herself: It’s got propaganda in the genes. B