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Creation Stories

Psychology's First Superhero: Celebrating Wonder Woman At 75

You think that truth-seeking lasso was a coincidence? A psychologist who invented the lie detector also invented Wonder Woman.

  • <p>Artist Liam Sharp's cover of Wonder Woman's <em>DC Universe: Rebirth #1</em>, which releases June 22</p>
  • <p>A Wonder Woman cover by artist Cliff Chiang, part of DC Comics' "New 52" relaunch</p>
  • <p>Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the 2016 film <em>Batman v Superman</em></p>
  • <p>Although introduced in All Star Comics in 1941, Wonder Woman headlined <em>Sensation Comics</em> from 1942-1952.</p>
  • <p>After Wonder Woman's departure, <em>Sensation Comics</em> briefly became--oddly enough--a romance title.</p>
  • <p>A 1992 <em>Wonder Woman</em> cover, by artist Brian Bolland</p>
  • <p>The classic look that Wonder Woman sported in the 1950s</p>
  • <p>The 1960s saw numerous efforts to update her from the stars-and-stripes look.</p>
  • <p>Another attempt to "ground" the character, from 1968</p>
  • <p>One thing you can say about the Reagan '80s--it made the stars and stripes fashionable again.</p>
  • <p>In 2007, the white suit made a brief comeback when Diana Prince joined a spy agency.</p>
  • <p>Wonder Woman's revamped "New 52" costume from 2011</p>
  • <p>A 1979 <em>Wonder Woman</em> comic featuring cover art by Dick Giordano</p>
  • <p>Vintage 1940s Wonder Woman, featuring classic villain Cheetah</p>
  • <p>A 1943 comic endorsed Wonder Woman for president . . .</p>
  • <p>. . . an idea borrowed by <em>Ms.</em> in 1972 for its debut issue. The magazine was founded by Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes.</p>
  • <p>A 1992 issue, featuring cover art by Brian Bolland</p>
  • 01 /17

    Artist Liam Sharp's cover of Wonder Woman's DC Universe: Rebirth #1, which releases June 22

  • 02 /17

    A Wonder Woman cover by artist Cliff Chiang, part of DC Comics' "New 52" relaunch

  • 03 /17

    Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the 2016 film Batman v Superman

  • 04 /17 | 1943

    Although introduced in All Star Comics in 1941, Wonder Woman headlined Sensation Comics from 1942-1952.

  • 05 /17

    After Wonder Woman's departure, Sensation Comics briefly became--oddly enough--a romance title.

  • 06 /17

    A 1992 Wonder Woman cover, by artist Brian Bolland

  • 07 /17

    The classic look that Wonder Woman sported in the 1950s

  • 08 /17

    The 1960s saw numerous efforts to update her from the stars-and-stripes look.

  • 09 /17

    Another attempt to "ground" the character, from 1968

  • 10 /17

    One thing you can say about the Reagan '80s--it made the stars and stripes fashionable again.

  • 11 /17

    In 2007, the white suit made a brief comeback when Diana Prince joined a spy agency.

  • 12 /17

    Wonder Woman's revamped "New 52" costume from 2011

  • 13 /17

    A 1979 Wonder Woman comic featuring cover art by Dick Giordano

  • 14 /17

    Vintage 1940s Wonder Woman, featuring classic villain Cheetah

  • 15 /17

    A 1943 comic endorsed Wonder Woman for president . . .

  • 16 /17

    . . . an idea borrowed by Ms. in 1972 for its debut issue. The magazine was founded by Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes.

  • 17 /17

    A 1992 issue, featuring cover art by Brian Bolland

It took a Harvard-trained scientist to create the first female superhero, who turns 75 this year.

William Moulton Marston—an attorney and psychologist who invented a systolic blood pressure deception test, the precursor to the modern polygraph—created Wonder Woman as a new type of superhero who, beyond her strength, used wisdom and compassion as weapons against evil—not to mention a magic golden lasso to compel people to tell the truth.

"Marston recognized not only the thereto untapped commercial market for a strong female superhero, but also the powerful potential for comic books to educate and inspire. He understood that education and entertainment need not be mutually exclusive," says Vasilis Pozios, a forensic psychiatrist who cofounded Broadcast Thought, which uses media and comic convention panels to educate about mental illness, and author of Aura, an award-winning comic about bipolar disorder.

"Of course, Marston's lie detector test lives on as Wonder Women's golden Lasso of Truth, proving the enduring power of story to transcend technology and inspire three-quarters of a century later," he adds.

To commemorate, DC Entertainment is launching Wonder Woman’s DC Universe: Rebirth series on June 22, from writer Greg Rucka and artists Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott, planning a Wonder Woman 75 San Diego Comic-Con panel and costume display, and rolling out special-edition products and media that culminate in the release of the first Wonder Woman feature film starring Gal Gadot on June 2, 2017.

Wonder Woman is the only female comic book character to have her own stories continuously published for the past three-quarters of a century, spawning numerous other incarnations, including the hit 1975-1979 TV series starring Lynda Carter, and finally a big-screen introduction in this year's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Wonder Woman made her first appearance in October, 1941 in All Star Comics #8 and headlined her own title the following year. Marston, who was strongly influenced by the women's suffrage movement, devised that WW would lose her strength if men bound her in chains. Initially controversial due to a look inspired by pinup art and bondage intimations, she emerged as a symbol of equality and female empowerment—gracing Ms. magazine's inaugural cover in 1972—that resonates today.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016

Watch the ass-kicking evolution of Wonder Woman

Slideshow Credits: 02 / Photos: courtesy of DC Entertainment;

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