The Ages of Wonder Woman

Essays on the Amazon Princess in Changing Times


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About the Book

Created in 1941 by the psychologist William Marston, Wonder Woman would go on to have one of the longest continuous runs of published comic book adventures in the history of the industry. More than 70 years after her debut, Wonder Woman remains a popular culture icon. Throughout the intervening years many comic book creators have had a hand in guiding her story, resulting in different interpretations of the Amazon Princess. In this collection of new essays, each examines a specific period or storyline from Wonder Woman comic books and analyzes that story in regard to contemporary issues in American society.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Joseph J. Darowski teaches English at Brigham Young University and has published on comic book superheroes such as the X-Men, Wonder Woman, and Superman as well as on television series such as Chuck and Frasier.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Joseph J. Darowski
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7122-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1361-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

William Marston’s Feminist Agenda by Michelle R. Finn 7

A Most Thrilling Struggle: Wonder Woman as Wartime and Post-War Feminist by Donna B. Knaff 22

Containing Wonder Woman: Fredric Wertham’s Battle Against the Mighty Amazon by Craig This 30

Wonder Woman Comic Books and Military Technology After Sputnik by Lori Maguire 42

Cold War Fantasies: Testing the Limits of the Familial Body by Joan Ormrod 52

Retiring Romance: The Superheroine’s Transformation in the 1960s by Francinne Valcour 66

What a Woman Wonders: This Is Feminism? by Jason LaTouche 79

Wonder Woman’s Lib: Feminism and the “New” Amazing Amazon by Paul R. Kohl 90

Not Quite Mod: The New Diana Prince, 1968–1973 by Peter W. Lee 101

The Near-Awakening of Diana Prince by W. C. Bamberger 117

“I No Longer Deserve to Belong”: The Justice League, Wonder Woman and The Twelve Labors by Joseph J. Darowski 126

“Steve Trevor, Equal?” Wonder Woman in an Era of Second Wave Feminist Critique by Ruth McClelland-Nugent 136

Working Girl: Diana Prince and the Crisis of Career Moves by Matthew J. Smith 151

Backlash and Bracelets: The Patriarch’s World, 1986–1992 by D. R. Hammontree 163

The Dark Amazon Saga: Diana Meets the Iron Age by Nicole Freim 174

Super-Wonder: The Man of Steel and the Amazonian Princess as the Ultimate 1990s Power Couple by Jeffrey K. Johnson 184

War, Foreign Policy and the Media: The Rucka Years by Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns 194

Out of the Refrigerator: Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman, 2008–2010 by Alison Mandaville 205

Greek, Roman or American? Wonder Woman’s Roots in DC’s

New 52 by John Darowski and Virginia Rush 223

About the Contributors 233

Index 237

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A valuable contribution to the study of this character”—Journal of American Culture
  • “The character is both iconic and mysterious, recognizable but hard to understand. Part of the problem is that she has been repeatedly reinterpreted depending on the sensibilities of the era”—Year’s Work in English Studies
  • “There are many things to like about Darowski’s Ages of Wonder Woman…accessible and clearly written…provides much value to a general audience…especially those interested in the history of pop culture and Wonder Woman’s place in it”—SFRA Review
  • “Nineteen essays about the Amazon warrior and how she’s changed over the years…Wonder Woman has always been seen as one of the leading DC characters…few have had a real fix on what she is really about”— SFCrowsnest
  • “Goes into extensive detail about the individual characters starting from their origins and their transition and evolution through the decades…makes for fascinating reading”—Collectors’ Corner