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Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World's Most Famous Heroine Paperback – Illustrated, April 1, 2014
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This close look at Wonder Woman’s history portrays a complicated heroine who is more than just a female Superman with a golden lasso and bullet-deflecting bracelets. The original Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, advocating female superiority and the benefits of matriarchy in the 1940s. At the same time, her creator filled the comics with titillating bondage imagery, and Wonder Woman was tied up as often as she saved the world. In the 1950s, Wonder Woman begrudgingly continued her superheroic mission, wishing she could settle down with her boyfriend instead, all while continually hinting at hidden lesbian leanings. While other female characters stepped forward as women’s lib took off in the late 1960s, Wonder Woman fell backwards, losing her superpowers and flitting from man to man. Ms. magazine and Lynda Carter restored Wonder Woman’s feminist strength in the 1970s, turning her into a powerful symbol as her checkered past was quickly forgotten. Exploring this lost history adds new dimensions to the world’s most beloved female character, and Wonder Woman Unbound delves into her comic book and its spin-offs as well as the myriad motivations of her creators toshowcase the peculiar journey that led to Wonder Woman’s iconic status.
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"I’ve never seen more information about Wonder Woman than in Wonder Woman Unbound! Author Tim Hanley tells us everything we’ve never asked about Wonder Woman because it simply never occurred to us: from her mythic Golden Age origins through her dismal Silver Age years as a lovesick romance comic character, and worse yet, when she lost her costume and powers in the late 1960s. Our favorite Amazon’s saga becomes upbeat again with the 1970s advent of Gloria Steinem and Ms Magazine, and Lynda Carter’s unforgettable portrayal of her on television. And it’s all told with a dollop of humor, thanks, Tim!"- Trina Robbins, author of Pretty in Ink, North American Women Cartoonists from 1896 to 2013
"Wonder Woman is the sum of her parts, and all of those parts should be examined thoroughly—something this book does very well." —Bust
"A lively and important examination of a key feminist icon." —Booklist
"There’s plenty here for Wonder Woman fans; Hanley writes with clarity and enthusiasm, and he’s got a fine eye for the goofy absurdities of comic-book narratives..." —Salon.com
"An entertaining and informative read. [Hanley] helpfully situates his subject in the universe of superhero comics and ably describes what made her seem unique and powerful to readers in her early years." —Library Journal
"Bondage, polyamory, lab coats, comic books, feminism: this story has everything. It's weird and complicated, but at least it has a good interpreter in Hanley." —Chicago Reader
"...the author offers a compelling and insightful consideration of a cultural icon that has endured and engaged with the culture for many decades without ever truly being known. A richly detailed, often-surprising work of comic-book scholarship." —Kirkus
"A useful companion history that’s good at placing the character in the setting of her comic-franchise peers." —New York Review of Books
- Publisher : Chicago Review Press; Illustrated edition (April 1, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1613749090
- ISBN-13 : 978-1613749098
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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If you want to learn more about Wonder Woman, comics, and the sociological state of the country that spawned them, definitely take the time to read this.
This book is great because it discusses the complete history of Wonder Woman from her beginnings to the present day (circa 2014, that is). Even being a diehard Wonder Woman fan there were parts of her history that I didn't even know. I didn't know that there was a point in time in which Wonder Woman lost her powers. I would love to find some of those old comic books to read them. This is a great book for any diehard Wonder Woman fan as well as anyone new to Wonder Woman. This book contains a lot of information and is an excellent resource!
Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine is an entertaining and thoughtful history of the creation and evolution of the most iconic female character is comics. The author begins where all good comic book stories begin: the origin story. In 1941, psychologist and inventor William Moulton Marston (the creator of the systolic blood pressure test, the precursor of the polygraph test) set out to create a comic book heroine that not only would appeal to women, but also prepare young men for a feminist future. Marston’s philosophy was strongly rooted in the belief of female superiority, and he believed that one day women would take their place as the leaders of the world. Wonder Woman, then, was originally meant as a guide to teach boys to submit to female authority.
The author has clearly made a valuable contribution to comic book historical research, yet I found that Wonder Woman Unbound is best enjoyed if it’s not treated like a scholarly tome. If Wonder Woman Unbound ends up on the required reading list for a college course on gender studies, popular culture, or freshman composition, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s the kind of book that can get conversations going, and no professor is going to miss this opportunity to push sex into the forefront of the discussion. Great book, highly recommended!!
I've really enjoyed both of Hanley's books - would love to read a book by him on Barbara Gordon!