Some Kind of Wonderful

WWNo superhero has a messier background than Wonder Woman. She’s always been iconic, of course, but her rep has suffered unduly by censorship, revisionism, editorial missteps, and appropriation.

In the beginning, Wonder Woman’s motivation was clear. She was a peacenik who campaigned for justice while promoting women’s rights. Even though she was a herald for worldwide matriarchy, she established herself as a hero for both girls and boys. Love was the strongest weapon she could wield.

Unfortunately, after the death of creator William Moulton Marston, her mission was derailed by Fredric Wertham, Robert Kanigher, Dennis O’Neil, and Gloria Steinem (among others). Her long-standing secretarial duties with the Justice League didn’t help matters either.

Throughout the years Wonder Woman persevered. Even though her comic books were spotty, she continued to fight for human rights in her satin tights. She was a charter member of Super Friends, and brought goodwill to primetime TV. In addition, Wonder Woman Underoos were pretty popular with kids and adults.

But most of all – she remained a strong and vibrant character surrounded by a sea of male superheroes. Could anyone else steal the spotlight from Superman, Batman, and Aquaman? We don’t think so. For 75+ years Wonder Woman carried the guidon for every female reader who picked up a comic book. You’ve got to love that.

And now we’ve got a Wonder Woman movie. As expected, the film included some revisionist tinkering. But more than anything, it understood the character’s core values. And guess what? Audiences loved it. The movie created a swirl of excitement around Wonder Woman and restored her faded luster.

The movie’s novelization by Nancy Holder also helped promote Wonder Woman’s comeback. It’s a faithful adaptation of events on the big screen with dialogue pinched directly from the script. The author was literally on the same page as the filmmakers.

Holder divided her book into three parts: Amazon, Warrior, and Wonder Woman. After all these years, and after all the retcons and needless interference, the essence of the character remained consistent with her early appearances in All Star Comics and Sensation Comics. She was a demigod, a champion of justice, and a woman. Simply put, she was a wonder woman.

No scene in the movie or book underscored Wonder Woman’s appeal better than her march across No Man’s Land. It’s arguably the single most memorable moment in any superhero movie. “She stepped onto the battlefield and surveyed the ground ahead,” wrote the author. “Her armor gleamed against the colorless breach – the Princess of Themyscira, defender of the people, majestic, magnificent. Driven by the compassion and her commitment to justice.”

[Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization / By Nancy Holder / First Printing: June 2017 / ISBN: 9781785653780]

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