Original / Earth-Two
Created by William Moulton Marson and Harry G. PeterWritten by Aaron Severson
NAME + ALIASES:
Princess Diana of Paradise Island aka Diana Prince Trevor
Hippolyte (mother); Gen. Steve Trevor (husband); Hippolyta Trevor (daughter, Fury II)
United States Army Intelligence, Justice Society of America, All-Star Squadron
All-Star Comics #8 (Dec. 1941)
From her debut in late 1941, DC Comics' original Wonder Woman was phenomenally popular, eventually making her one of DC's most important characters and a bona fide American pop culture icon. It is beyond the scope of this site to cover the character's cultural impact, but there are some great sites that do just that.
This profile covers the comic book history of the original Wonder Woman, her Golden Age adventures, and those from the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. (See the Continuity Notes below for a further discussion of how that's defined.)
To Man's World
Thousands of years before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the goddess Aphrodite created a race of Amazons on a Greek Island called Amazonia. Led by Queen Hippolyte, Earth-Two's Amazons developed an advanced matriarchal culture. The god Mars, infuriated by the Amazons' female-dominated society, inspired the Greek hero Hercules to challenge Hippolyte, steal her magic girdle (a gift from Aphrodite), and enslave her people. Hippolyte appealed to Aphrodite for help and the goddess enabled the Amazons to reclaim the magic girdle and escape to distant Paradise Island. There, Aphrodite promised the Amazons would be ageless and immortal as long as they held to Aphrodite's law. (All-Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman #1) NOTE: The spelling of the Amazon queen's name — "Hippolyte" versus "Hippolyta" — has wavered over the years. Marston was mostly consistent with "Hippolyte," By the late '50s, it was usually rendered "Hippolyta." George Pérez reverted to "Hippolyte" in his 1987 reboot, but later writers, including John Byrne, drifted back to "Hippolyta," which is where it stands today.
For many centuries, the Amazons remained isolated on Paradise Island, developing their arts and sciences. Although they still wore "bracelets of submission" to remind them of their former captivity, the Amazons' only contact with "Man's World" was through the Magic Sphere, a gift from the goddess Athena that allowed Hippolyte to see distant lands and even other times. (All-Star Comics #8)
The Amazon had no children and so she molded a clay statue of an infant girl. Aphrodite and Athena were so taken by her creation that they gifted the statue with life. Hippolyta named the girl Diana, and she grew up on Paradise Island, pledging herself to Aphrodite's law and receiving the waters of eternal youth while still a teenager. (Wonder Woman #1) NOTE: The date of Diana's "birth" was never established, but it was probably in the early 1920s.
In 1941, a U.S. Army Intelligence officer, Captain Steve Trevor, crash-landed near Paradise Island while pursuing a foreign spy plane and was rescued by the Amazons. Aphrodite and Athena told Hippolyte that Trevor's arrival was a sign that it was time for the Amazons to send a champion to America. This woman would join the fight against tyranny and spread Aphrodite's credo of love and peace to Man's World.
Hippolyte organized a tournament to select the Amazons' champion. To her dismay, the winner was Diana, whose infatuation with Trevor led her to don a mask and enter the competition against her mother's wishes. Bowing to destiny, Hippolyte equipped her daughter with a colorful costume, a magic lasso made from her girdle, and an invisible robot plane to carry Trevor back to the United States. There Diana would be known as Wonder Woman. (All-Star Comics #8, Sensation Comics #1)
Wonder Woman flew to Washington, D.C., where she arranged for Trevor to be checked into Walter Reed Hospital. Outside the hospital, she met a young Army nurse named Diana Prince, who was a near-double for the Amazon princess. She learned that Prince desperately needed money to be reunited with her fiancee, who had recently gotten a job in South America. Wonder Woman bought Prince's identification and credentials, taking her place at the hospital to be near Trevor. (Sensation Comics #1) Once he was discharged, Wonder Woman arranged to leave her nursing job and became the secretary of Trevor's superior officer, Col. Darnell. (#3) Neither Darnell nor Trevor had any idea that the seemingly meek, mousy Lt. Diana Prince was actually Wonder Woman.
The real Diana Prince subsequently married her fiancée, inventor Dan White, but when they returned to the U.S. months later, White found himself without a job. Again desperate for money, Diana White demanded the return of her identity and job, but Wonder Woman instead arranged for Dan White to obtain a lucrative military contract so that his wife could focus on caring for her new baby, leaving Wonder Woman free to continue using the Diana Prince identity. (Sensation Comics #9) NOTE: A 1978 story (Wonder Woman #237), set circa 1943, shows Diana Prince returning from South America, having somehow forgotten her deal with Wonder Woman. In that story, which ignores the events of Sensation Comics #9, Wonder Woman reveals her true identity and origins to Prince and then uses the magic lasso to make Prince forget her. In 1976, writer E. Nelson Bridwell created the character Marvin White for Super Friends #1 (Nov. 1976). This boy was the son of Dan White and Diana Prince.
As Wonder Woman, the Amazon princess visited Holliday College for Women and befriended a student named Etta Candy, president of the Beeta Lambda [sic] sorority. Although Candy and the other sisters never learned Wonder Woman's secret identity, they would be her friends and occasional allies throughout the decade. (#2) During the war, Candy dropped out of college to enlist in the Army, serving for a time with Diana Prince and Steve Trevor in Army Intelligence. She returned to Holliday College when the war ended. (Wonder Woman #242)
Wonder Woman at War
Soon after her arrival, Wonder Woman helped Steve Trevor battle a series of Axis spies and fifth columnists, including Doctor Poison (Sensation Comics #2) and the ruthless Nazi agent Baroness Paula von Gunther. (#4) Wonder Woman also agreed to perform in public exhibitions around the country to promote the sale of defense bonds, sometimes appearing with fellow heroes Green Lantern, the Flash, and Wildcat. (Justice League of America #193)
During one such exhibition on December 6, 1941, Wonder Woman and her costumed colleagues were kidnapped by the forces of Per Degaton and imprisoned on a volcanic island in the Pacific. Rendered unconscious by Degaton's ally Wotan, Wonder Woman and the other heroes were totally unaware of the Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the following morning. After Wonder Woman was freed from Wotan's power, she helped defeat the time-traveling Degaton and became one of the founding members of the newly formed All-Star Squadron. (All-Star Squadron #1–3)
The heroes attempted to take the battle to the Japanese fleet only to encounter a "sphere of influence"—a mystical barrier created by the Japanese mastermind called the Dragon King using the power of the Spear of Destiny and the Holy Grail. Wonder Woman's supernatural origins made her vulnerable to the Dragon King's spell, which would cause her to fight for the Axis powers if she ventured into Axis-held territory. (#4)
Wonder Woman would continue to actively support the Allied war effort, but from the home front, battling saboteurs and spies. She also joined the Justice Society of America (All-Star Comics #11), although for many years she was officially the group's secretary rather than a full member. (#12) She was on good terms with most of her comrades, but in June 1942, she actually came to blows with Superman over an experimental American atomic bomb. (All-New Collector's Edition #C-54) NOTE: Under the editorial bylaws of the early JSA, Wonder Woman would normally have become an honorary member after gaining her own title in mid-1942. She was actually described as an honorary member at the end of All-Star Comics #13, but the other heroes voted to allow her to remain as secretary. Nonetheless, she played only a minor role in most JSA stories until well after the war.
Paula von Gunther was one of Wonder Woman's most frequent early foes, several times escaping from prison and even from the Amazons' newly constructed Reform Island (later called Transformation Island). In late 1942, Wonder Woman discovered the reasons for Von Gunther's villainy. After the Nazi invasion of her native Austria in 1938, her husband Gottfried had been killed by the Gestapo, which promised a horrible death to their young daughter, Gerta, if the baroness did not cooperate fully. Learning this, Wonder Woman rescued Gerta from a German concentration camp and reunited her with her mother. (Wonder Woman #3)
After enduring terrible burns to save Wonder Woman from a bomb set by Nazi saboteurs, the repentant Von Gunther surrendered to face justice for her crimes. At her trial, Wonder Woman testified that the Von Gunter's actions were the result of temporary derangement. Von Gunther was acquitted and Hippolyte restored her sight and badly scarred face with the Amazons' living clay. (#3) After a series of trials, the baroness received the Bracelets of Submission and pledged herself to Aphrodite's law. Paula and her daughter resettled permanently on Paradise Island among the Amazons (#4), often using her scientific genius for good.
Although Wonder Woman battled costumed antagonists like the Cheetah (#6) and a stream of German and Japanese foes like Baron Blitzkrieg (#246, All-New Collector's Edition #C-54), the Red Panzer (Wonder Woman #228, Wonder Woman Spectacular), and Kung. (#237) Note: After the launch of the Wonder Woman television show (which was set in World War II), DC changed the comic book to feature the Earth-Two character.
The Amazon princess's most implacable enemy was Mars, the god of war. Operating from a metaphysical headquarters on his namesake planet, Mars and his servants, the Duke of Deception, the Earl of Greed, and the Lord of Conquest, worked to prolong and exacerbate the war. They also tried repeatedly to destroy Wonder Woman and the Amazons both directly and through misogynistic villains like Doctor Psycho. (#5) Wonder Woman managed to oust Mars from his Martian kingdom during the war (#5), but permanently defeating him was beyond her power.
After the Japanese surrender in 1945, Wonder Woman returned to Paradise Island, where Hippolyte considered ordering her to stay. Diana and her JSA comrades Doctor Fate and the Spectre eventually persuaded Hippolyte to allow Wonder Woman to remain in Man's World. (#242)
After the War
After the war, Wonder Woman continued to battle both mundane and supernatural foes, working to preserve the world's hard-won peace. She also gradually took a more active role in the Justice Society's adventures. In 1947, for example, she helped the JSA rectify Per Degaton's tampering with history, which the Justice Society discovered by means of Wonder Woman's Magic Sphere (All-Star Comics #35); battled the Injustice Society of the World (#37); and, with the help of Black Canary and Paula von Gunter, used the Purple Ray to resurrect the male JSAers after they were killed in action. (#38) In 1949, Wonder Woman used the Magic Sphere to show a boy named Edmund Blake his possible future. (#48)
Throughout the '40s, Wonder Woman attempted to reform her other enemies as she had von Gunther. Many of Wonder Woman's female foes, including the Cheetah, Dr. Poison, Giganta, Hypnota, Eviless, and Queen Clea of Atlantis, were sent to Transformation Island, where the Amazons used Venusian magic girdles (obtained by Wonder Woman in All-Star Comics #13) to quell any evil tendencies. However, in 1948, some of the still-unrepentant villains escaped and attempted to avenge themselves on their captor, banding together as Villainy Inc. Despite working together, all were captured and returned to Transformation Island. It's unclear if any of them ever did reform. (#28)
About a year later, Wonder Woman arranged for Green Lantern's old enemy Rose Canton, a.k.a. the Thorn, to be sent to Transformation Island for treatment (depicted in an unpublished Flash Comics partially reprinted in Lois Lane #113 and Alter Ego #6). While Canton was allowed to return to Gotham City in the mid-60s, her treatment also proved unsuccessful, failing to prevent the later reemergence of her Thorn persona. (Infinity, Inc. Annual #1)
In 1951, the JSA opted to disband rather than reveal their identities to a congressional committee and submit to a federal background investigation. (Adventure Comics #466) While Wonder Woman's true identity remained a secret until late in her career, her military connections cleared her of suspicion and she continued her heroic career throughout the 1950s. As Diana Prince, she retained her position in military intelligence, eventually attaining the rank of major. (All-Star Comics #69)
Wonder Woman also continued her frustrating relationship with Steve Trevor. Although she had been in love with Trevor for years and he had often asked her to marry him, Hippolyte warned that Aphrodite's law would not permit Diana to marry without sacrificing her powers and role as Wonder Woman, something Diana was unwilling to do. (Sensation Comics #96, 97) In the early '60s, Aphrodite apparently relented, allowing Diana to finally marry Trevor. Note: The exact circumstances and date were never revealed, but Wonder Woman #300, cover-dated February 1983, indicated that Steve and Diana were about to celebrate their 20th anniversary, suggesting that they were married in 1962 or 1963.
In 1963, Wonder Woman rejoined her former JSA colleagues to help the Flash and his Earth-One counterpart defeat Vandal Savage. Afterward, Wonder Woman suggested that the team reunite. (Flash #137) The JSA took her suggestion, but sometime after that, Wonder Woman learned that she was pregnant. She and her husband subsequently had a daughter, whom they named Hippolyta (Lyta) Trevor. (Wonder Woman #300) Wonder Woman resumed her duties with the reformed JSA by 1967, returning in time to welcome Robin as a new member. (Justice League of America #55) NOTE: Lyta Trevor's exact date of birth was never revealed, but Infinity, Inc. #1 implied that she was already a college student by the time of her parents' 20th wedding anniversary and she was generally depicted as being about the same age as Hector Hall, who, according to the Silver Scarab profile in Infinity, Inc. #9, was born in November 1963. It is unclear if Wonder Woman married Steve Trevor before or after the events of Flash #137, although either way, it seems likely that she didn't learn she was pregnant until afterward, which would explain her extended absence from a group she'd just helped to reorganize.
In a later adventure with the JLA and JSA, Wonder Woman briefly met her Earth-One counterpart, who at the time was without her Amazon powers. (Justice League of America #102) Confusingly, the Earth-Two Wonder Woman had already met a later version of her Earth-One counterpart (via time travel) during the war, but had been magically stripped of those memories to avoid interfering with the flow of history. (Wonder Woman #228, 243) Earth-One's Wonder Woman, meanwhile, later lost all memory of the time she spent without powers, including her encounter with another Wonder Woman. (#204). It was not until several years later that the two were able to spend any time together. (#300)
In 1975, Wonder Woman was one of several JSA members accidentally slain by the JLA through the malign influence of writer Cary Bates of Earth-Prime, who had become a super-villain after being accidentally transported to Earth-Two. (Justice League of America #123) The dead JSAers were resurrected thanks to the intervention of the Spectre, who restored Bates to his own world and removed everyone's memories of the incident. (#124)
Wonder Woman's active involvement with the JSA lessened for a time in the late '70s, but she continued to join her teammates for reunions with the JLA and for emergencies like the JSA's clash with the Master Summoner. (All-Star Comics #74) She also attended the funeral of Bruce Wayne (Batman) in 1979. (Adventure Comics #462)
Sometime after that, Wonder Woman, inspired by Earth-Two's Flash, decided to abandon her secret identity, intending to spent as much time as possible with her husband, who was aging more visibly than she. (Wonder Woman #300) It appears that she retired from the Army around the same time; Steve also retired after attaining the rank of general. (Infinity, Inc. #1) They settled in a mansion in Virginia, not far from Washington, D.C. (Wonder Woman #300, Infinity, Inc. #2)
Lyta Trevor inherited a substantial part of her mother's Amazonian powers and was trained by Wonder Woman and Hippolyte on Paradise Island, where Lyta spent many summers. Following a chance meeting with her mother's Earth-One counterpart, Lyta began pestering her parents to allow her to become the new Wonder Woman. She also annoyed Diana by deciding to transfer from Georgetown University in Washington to her father's alma mater, USC.
Wonder Woman told Lyta that she could not become a hero until after college, a condition to which Lyta reluctantly agreed. After arriving in Los Angeles, however, Lyta began dating Hector Hall, son of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and decided to defy her mother's wishes by adopting a costumed identity as Fury. She, Hector, and several other JSA "brats" then lobbied for admission to the Justice Society, only to be denied. (Infinity, Inc. #1) Afterward, they decided to start their own team, Infinity, Inc., with the help of the Star-Spangled Kid, Power Girl, and the Huntress. (#2)
Soon after that, Wonder Woman was one of the JSAers lured to a remote cave by Superman, who proceeded to drown his comrades in the waters of the Koehaha, the "Stream of Ruthlessness" (first seen in All-Star Comics #36). Although the heroes were pronounced dead, they soon revived, now stripped of all moral compunctions. (#2–4) Wonder Woman attempted to steal an ancient Egyptian artifact that she hoped would make her husband immortal, but ironically, her rampage badly injured Steve, who had come to find her. (#7). Refusing her daughter's help, Wonder Woman took her husband to Paradise Island for treatment. (#8) The Infinitors freed Wonder Woman and the other affected JSAers from the effects of the Stream of Ruthlessness. (#10)
Wonder Woman temporarily left the U.S. to watch over her husband during his convalescence. (#11) She and Trevor watched proudly as Lyta publicly revealed that she was their daughter during Infinity, Inc.'s first televised press conference. (#12) Diana and Steve later sent Lyta two baby kangas (kangaroo-like creatures native to Paradise Island) as pets, although one was accidentally killed by Mister Bones. (#16)
Wonder Woman returned to Man's World in time for the final JLA/JSA case. (Infinity, Inc. #19, Justice League of America #244) She and her husband also attended the wedding of Alan Scott (Green Lantern) and Molly Maynne. (Infinity, Inc. Annual #1, Infinity, Inc. #21)
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-Two's Wonder Woman helped the Justice Society against an army of super-villains attempting to conquer the five surviving Earths. She then joined her fellow heroes in the penultimate battle with the Anti-Monitor at the Dawn of Time. (Crisis on Infinite Earths #9–10) Her presence at the Dawn of Time kept her from vanishing when the remaining Earths were merged, but she was horrified to discover that she, her mother, and even their version of Paradise Island had never existed in the recombined universe. (Crisis on Infinite Earths #11)
Wonder Woman initially believed that her husband had also ceased to exist, but after the final defeat of the Anti-Monitor, Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, revealed to Diana that he had spared Steve. After allowing Diana and Steve to say goodbye to Lyta, Zeus and Apollo brought Wonder Woman and her husband to dwell forever in Olympus. (Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, Infinity, Inc. #25)
Lyta Trevor was still remembered on the new Earth, but the discrepancies created by the new timeline, and the loss of her family tormented her. Her teammate Brainwave attempted to take pity on her by stripping her of all memories of Earth-Two. (Infinity, Inc. #27) In the post-Crisis universe, Lyta Trevor Hall was the daughter of Helena Kosmatos (the newly-created Golden Age Fury), but was raised by Joan Dale (Miss America) and her husband, Admiral Derek Trevor. (Infinity, Inc. #48-50)
Many years after the first Crisis, Earth-Two's Steve Trevor sacrificed his supernatural energies to allow the Earth-Two Wonder Woman to return from Olympus to Earth. There she counseled her Earth-0 counterpart before fading away forever. (Infinite Crisis #5)
Golden Age Wonder Women?
In the post-Crisis universe, Wonder Woman's place in many late '40s JSA adventures was initially taken by Miss America, who then became Lyta Trevor's adoptive mother. (Infinity, Inc. #48–50)
In 1998, in the wake of Hal Jordan's ill-fated attempt to recreate the universe (in 1994's Zero Hour), some of Wonder Woman's Golden Age exploits were restored to post-Crisis continuity by writer-artist John Byrne. However, the "new" Golden Age Woman was not Earth-Two's Princess Diana, but the post-Crisis Queen Hippolyta, who had temporarily assumed the mantle of Wonder Woman after Diana became the Goddess of Truth. (See the post-Crisis Wonder Woman profile for details.) Hippolyta traveled back in time to the year 1942, where she clashed with and then joined the Justice Society to stop Dark Angel from taking control of Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt for the Axis.
Hippolyta remained in the past until about 1950 and then returned to her own time, reappearing shortly after the point from which she originally left. (Wonder Woman v.2 #130–133) She fulfilled approximately the same role the original Wonder Woman had in the Golden Age JSA (and presumably later exploits of the All-Star Squadron). However, the post-Crisis Hippolyta's personality and history were so different from those of her daughter's Earth-Two counterpart that it's hard to envision Hippolyta taking Diana's place in many of Wonder Woman's Golden Age solo stories.
After Infinite Crisis, a new multiverse was formed with 52 alternate Earths, including a new Earth-2 whose early history was similar to that of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. On that world, Fury was again the daughter of Earth-2's Wonder Woman, who was apparently still alive and well. (Justice Society of America Annual v.3 #1) It was never established whether that world's Wonder Woman became a member of Justice Society Infinity after the two teams merged.
In the rebooted New 52 universe, there was an all-new Earth-2 Wonder Woman, who is deceased. (Earth 2 #1) She is succeeded by her daughter, also called Fury.
As with most of the Golden Age DC heroes whose adventures were published continuously from the 1940s onward, it's difficult to assign a cutoff point between the adventures of the "Earth-Two" and "Earth-One" Wonder Women. Wonder Woman stories published prior to the mid-1950s can generally be considered as having taken place on Earth-Two. (Some of these stories were retold in the sixties or seventies, presumably representing the Earth-One equivalents of the same events.) The first explicit reference to the Golden Age Wonder Woman existing on Earth-Two was in flashback in Flash #129 (June 1962); her first actual Silver Age appearance was in Flash #137 (June 1963).
The Wonder Woman adventures written by her creator, William Moulton Marson, prior to his death in 1948 are dramatically different in tone from most later stories. Not only did the early adventures feature a high level of fantastical absurdity (even by the generous standards of Golden Age comic books), they often had a heavy emphasis on bondage, domination, and sadomasochism — practiced not only by the villains, but by Wonder Woman and her allies as a therapeutic tool. Later writers generally avoided or minimized those elements of the Golden Age Wonder Woman even in stories intended to evoke or revisit her wartime adventures, which sometimes makes it difficult to reconcile the original stories with subsequent Earth-Two continuity.
For a detailed examination of the roots of Marston's Wonder Woman, read The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014) by Jill Lepore.
Unlike Earth-Two's Superman and Batman, the Earth-Two Wonder Woman actually reclaimed her eponymous comic book series in the late 1970s for a series of wartime-era stories (Wonder Woman #228–243, World's Finest Comics #244–250, and Wonder Woman Spectacular) published around the time of the Wonder Woman television series, whose first season was set during World War II. Those comic book adventures contain numerous minor anachronisms and continuity gaffes, most caused by the editorial desire to align the stories with the TV show. Nonetheless, they are definitely Earth-Two stories — they include several guest appearances by the JSA and several of the characters introduced in those adventures later appeared in All-Star Squadron or other Earth-Two tales set in the same period.
Like all the Amazons of Earth-Two's Paradise Island, Wonder Woman had enormous superhuman strength, stamina, and speed. She was not as powerful as Earth-Two's Superman, but she could outrun a speeding car, leap hundreds of feet, rip open a bank vault with her bare hands, and deflect bullets with her bracelets of Amazonian metal. In Golden Age stories, these abilities were described as a mental discipline that could be attained (albeit not necessarily to the same degree) by any woman who received Amazonian training.
One of the tenets of Aphrodite's law was that the Amazons must never again submit to men. Therefore, Wonder Woman would temporarily lose her powers if her Bracelets of Submission were bound by a man. Until the late 1940s, removing her bracelets would cause her to become violently deranged until they were replaced, but she eventually learned to retain control of herself without them.
Had Wonder Woman remained on Paradise Island, she would have remained eternally youthful, but she sacrificed her immortality when she departed for Man's World. However, she aged at a slower-than-normal rate.
Wonder Woman's principal weapon was her unbreakable magic lasso, which would magically compel any living creature bound with it to obey any order given by the person holding the lasso. (Wonder Woman herself was not immune to this effect.) She also had an invisible "robot plane," which could fly at incredible speeds and respond to her verbal or mental commands, and a "mental radio," which allowed audiovisual communication with her mother or anyone else possessing a similar device. Beyond that, Wonder Woman had access to the Amazons' Magic Sphere and Purple Healing Ray.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- All-New Collector's Edition #C-54 (Superman vs. Wonder Woman)
- All-Star Squadron #16
- Wonder Woman v.1 #228–243, 300
- Wonder Woman Spectacular (1978)
- World's Finest Comics #244–250
William Moulton Marston's last issues were Wonder Woman #28 and Sensation Comics #82.
- All-Star Comics #8, 11-22, 25-57 (Dec. 1941–Feb./Mar. 1951)
- Comic Cavalcade #1-29 (Winter 1942/43 – Oct./Nov. 1948)
- Sensation Comics #1–106 (Jan. 1942–May/June 1952)
- Wonder Woman #1–28 (Summer 1942 – Mar./Apr. 1948, approximate) and #228–243 (Feb. 1977–May 1978)