Jill Lepore’s ‘Secret History of Wonder Woman’
The New York Times - 12/14/2014
Who could save America from fascism in the 1940s? Feminists, according to Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, in the form of Sapphists, coeds and Amazons. Marston created Wonder Woman to demonstrate how “feminine rule” would look and to cash in on the explosive popularity of comics, read by staggering numbers of people in the 1930s. “By 1939,” Jill Lepore writes, “almost every kid in the United States was reading comic books.” Marston estimated that upward of 40 million were hooked on the comics. Female superheroes were not especially popular, but Marston developed a patriotic (and erotic) formula that made Wonder Woman “the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time,” read by 10 million followers and rivaled only by Superman and Batman.