Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a founding member of the Justice League, goddess, and Ambassador-at-Large of the Amazonian people. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 and first cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. In her homeland, the island nation of Themyscira, her official title is Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta. When blending into the society outside of her homeland, she adopts her civilian identity Diana Prince. The character is also referred to by such epithets as the “Amazing Amazon”, the “Spirit of Truth”, “Themyscira’s Champion”, the “God-killer”, and the “Goddess of Love and War”.
Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton), and artist Harry G. Peter. Olive Byrne, Marston’s lover, and his wife, Elizabeth, are credited as being his inspiration for the character’s appearance. Marston drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger; in particular, her piece “Woman and the New Race”. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 and first cover-dated on Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986.
Wonder Woman’s origin story relates that she was sculpted from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and given life by Aphrodite, along with superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods. However, in recent years artists updated her profile: she has been depicted as the daughter of Zeus, and jointly raised by her mother Hippolyta and her aunts Antiope and Menalippe. In the 1980s artist George Perez gave her a muscular look and emphasized her Amazonian heritage. In 2010 artist Jim Lee redesigned Diana’s costume to include pants, though this design was later abandoned. She inherits Ares’s divine abilities, becoming the personified “God of War”.
Wonder Woman’s Amazonian training helped to develop a wide range of extraordinary skills in tactics, hunting, and combat. She possesses an arsenal of advanced technology, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in older stories, a range of devices based on Amazon technology.
Wonder Woman’s character was created during World War II; the character in the story was initially depicted fighting Axis military forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains, although over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted Wonder Woman rescuing herself from bondage, which defeated the “damsels in distress” trope that was common in comics during the 1940s. In the decades since her debut, Wonder Woman has gained a cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as Veronica Caleand the First Born. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League(from 1960).
Notable depictions of the character in other media include Gloria Steinem placing the character on the cover of the second edition of Ms. magazine in 1971; the 1975–1979 Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter; as well as animated series such as the Super Friends and Justice League. Since Carter’s television series, studios struggled to introduce a new live-action Wonder Woman to audiences, although the character continued to feature in a variety of toys and merchandise, as well as animated adaptations of DC properties, including a direct-to-DVD animated feature starring Keri Russell. Attempts to return Wonder Woman to television have included a television pilot for NBC in 2011, closely followed by another stalled production for The CW. Gal Gadotportrays Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe, starting with the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, marking the character’s first appearance in a feature film in its 75-year history. Gadot also starred in the character’s first solo live-action film Wonder Woman, which was released on June 2, 2017.
On October 21, 2016, the United Nations sparked controversy by naming Wonder Woman a “UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls” in a ceremony attended by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Cristina Gallach and by actors Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot. Two months later, she was dropped from her role as a UN Ambassador following a petition.