Wonder Woman is a superheroine created by American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston and published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in December 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. Her depiction as a heroine fighting for justice, love, peace, and sexual equality has led to Wonder Woman being widely considered a feminist icon.
Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of the Amazons (based on the Amazons of Greek mythology) and is known in her homeland as Princess Diana of Themyscira. When outside her homeland incognito, she is sometimes known by the secret identity Diana Prince. She is gifted with a wide range of superhuman powers and superior combat and battle skills. She possesses an arsenal of weapons, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in some stories, an invisible airplane.
Created during World War II, the character was initially depicted fighting the Axis military forces, as well as an assortment of supervillains. Wonder Woman gained a formidable cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Cheetah, Ares and Circe, and newer ones like Genocide and The Circle, as well as many gods and monsters from Greek mythology. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).
In an October 25, 1940 interview with the Family Circle magazine, William Moulton Marston discussed the unfulfilled potential of the medium. This article caught the attention of comics publisher Max Gaines, who hired Marston as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two of the companies that would merge to form DC Comics. At that time, Marston decided to develop a new superhero. Family Circle published a follow-up article two years later from issue of the Boston University alumni magazine, it was Marston's wife Elizabeth's idea to create a female superheroine.
Marston introduced the idea to Gaines, co-founder of All-American Publications. Given the go-ahead, Marston developed Wonder Woman with Elizabeth, whom Marston believed to be a model of that era's unconventional, liberated woman. Marston was also inspired by Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple in a polygamous relationship. Both women served as exemplars for the character and greatly influenced the character's creation. Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941), scripted by Marston and with art by Harry G. Peter. Wonder Woman was initially named "Suprema" in Marston's first script, but this name was dropped.
In her debut in All Star Comics #8, Diana was a member of a tribe of women named the Amazons, native to Paradise Island – a secluded island set in the middle of a vast ocean. Captain Steve Trevor's plane crashes on the island and he is found alive but unconscious by Diana and a fellow Amazon. Diana has him nursed back to health and falls in love with him. A competition is held amongst all the Amazons by Diana's mother, the Queen of the Amazons Hippolyte, in order to determine who is the most worthy of all the women; Hippolyte charges the winner with the responsibility of delivering Captain Steve Trevor back to man's world and to fight for justice. Hippolyte forbids Diana from entering the competition, but she takes part nonetheless, wearing a mask to conceal her identity. She wins the competition and reveals herself, surprising Hippolyte, who ultimately gives in to Diana's wish to go to Man's World. She then safely returns Steve Trevor back to his home and is awarded a special dress made by her mother for her new role as Wonder Woman.
Coming to America for the first time, Wonder Woman comes upon a weeping army nurse named Diana Prince. Inquiring about her state, she finds that the nurse wanted to leave for South America with her fiancé but was unable to due to shortage of money. As both of them looked identical and Wonder Woman needed a job and a valid identity to look after Steve (who was admitted in the same army hospital), she gives her the money she had earned earlier to help her go to her fiancé in exchange for her credentials. The nurse reveals her name as Diana Prince, and thus, Wonder Woman's secret identity was created, and she began working as a nurse in the army.
Wonder Woman then took part in a variety of adventures, mostly side by side with Trevor. Her most common foes during this period would be Nazi forces, and sometimes villains like Baroness Paula Von Gunther, The Cheetah, Doctor Psycho and Duke of Deception. During this period, Wonder Woman joined the Justice Society of America as the team's.
Wonder Woman (vol. 1) #105 revealed that Diana was formed from clay by the Queen of the Amazons and was imbued with the attributes of the Greek and Roman gods by Athena – "beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, as swift as Hermes, and as strong as Hercules." Wonder Woman's Amazon training gave her limited telepathy, profound scientific knowledge, and the ability to speak every language known to man and beyond – even caveman and Martian language. Between 1966 and 1967, new powers were added, such as super breath and telepathy. In the Silver and Bronze ages of comics, Wonder Woman was able to further increase her strength. In times of great need, removing her bracelets would temporarily augment her power tenfold, but cause her to go insane in the process.
Diana is depicted as a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat, including exclusively Amazonian martial arts. In some versions, her mother trained her, as Wonder Girl, for a future career as Wonder Woman. From the beginning, she is portrayed as highly skilled in using her Amazon bracelets to stop bullets and in wielding her golden lasso. Batman once called her the "best melee fighter in the world". The modern version of the character is known to use lethal force when she deems it necessary. In The New 52 continuity, her superior combat skills are the product of her training with Ares in her childhood. Diana has an arsenal of powerful god-forged weapons at her disposal, but her signature weapons are her indestructible bracelets and the Lasso of Truth.
Her bulletproof bracelets were formed from the remnants of Athena's legendary shield, the Aegis, to be awarded to her champion. The shield was made from the indestructible hide of the great she-goat, Amalthea, who suckled Zeus as an infant. These forearm guards have thus far proven indestructible and able to absorb the impact of incoming attacks, allowing Wonder Woman to deflect automatic weapon fire and energy blasts. Diana can slam the bracelets together to create a wave of concussive force capable of making strong beings like Superman's ears bleed. Recently, she gained the ability to channel Zeus's lightning through her bracelets as well. Zeus explained to her that this power had been contained within the bracelets since their creation, because they were once part of the Aegis, and that he had only recently unlocked it for her use.
The Lasso of Truth, or Lariat of Hestia, was forged by Hephaestus from the golden girdle of Gaea. It compels all beings who come into contact with it to tell the absolute truth and is virtually indestructible, the only times it has been broken were when Wonder Woman herself refused to accept the truth revealed by the lasso, such as when she confronted Rama Khan of Jarhanpur, and by Bizarro in Matt Wagner's non-canonical Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity. It also at one time had the power to force anyone caught to obey any command given them, even overriding the mind control of others, this was effective enough to defeat strong-willed beings like Captain Marvel. Diana wields the lasso with great precision and accuracy and can use it as a whip or noose.
As early as the 1950s, Wonder Woman's Tiara has also been used as a razor-edged throwing weapon, returning to her like a boomerang. The Tiara allows Wonder Woman to be invulnerable from telepathic attacks. It allows for Diana to telepathically contact people such as the Amazons back on Themyscira using the telepathic power of the red star ruby in the center of her Tiara.
Diana occasionally uses additional weaponry in formal battle, such as ceremonial golden armour with golden wings, pteruges, chest-plate, and golden helmet in the shape of an eagle's head. She possesses a magical sword forged by Hephaestus that is sharp enough to cut the electrons off an atom.