As one of the first female characters in the medium of comics, Wonder Woman has been the symbol of female strength, grace and beauty for over 75 years. Wonder Woman was created by the same psychologist who created the polygraph machine. William Moulton Marston kicked off this character’s history with input from his wife, Elizabeth in 1941 as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two of the companies that would merge to become DC Comics. His original intent was to show that a character could win her battles not with force but with love. She has been updated and changed many times over the years but has always remained true to those core ideals.
Going by the most widely used origin, Hippolyta, queen of the immortal female warrior race the Amazons, longed for a daughter and she prayed to the Greek Goddesses to grant her wish. They instructed her to mold a baby out of clay and they breathed life into her creation. Named Diana, the gods blessed the child to be “beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, and swifter than Mercury”. The child grew up on the isolated island home of the Amazons, Paradise Island, and learned all the skills of combat, healing, and affinity with nature and animals from her “sisters”. Some time after she had reached maturity, American pilot Steve Trevor crash landed on the island and was found by Diana who nursed him back to health. Hippolyta decreed that the best Amazons would compete for the right to return Trevor to “Man’s World”. Diana was forbidden to compete but she disguised herself and easily won the competition. Trapped by her own decree, Hippolyta had to let Diana go. Diana was given an outfit based on the American flag, indestructible bracelets, a boomerang tiara and the Lasso of Truth which made anyone caught in it to tell the truth. She was later given an invisible plane. She returned to America with Trevor and adopted the identity of Diana Prince.
Her look is an iconic mix that has been subtly changed and occasionally obliterated throughout the decades. These changes are often reflected in the action figures depicting her and here are five that I have found to be particularly interesting and occasionally odd.
World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Wonder Woman Released By Mego In 1977
Mego was the gold standard of action figures in the 1970s but their version of a Wonder Woman figure was quite unusual. They chose to create her entire costume, including bracelets, boots and even the bare skin areas as a cloth suit. The outfit features a simplified version of the original eagle symbol and only her tiara is separated from the full body cloth outfit. She also has “real” hair, unlike the usual plastic and painted on hair of most of the male figures.
Super Powers Collection Wonder Woman Released By Kenner In 1984
This smaller, full plastic character from the fine folks at Kenner has the updated “WW” chest emblem that became the norm for several decades. She came with a separate (and easily lost) Lasso and a blue, instead of silver, “power bullet deflector action” bracelets. All of her clothes and accessories are painted on. The packaging also included a small comic book.
Kingdom Come Armored Wonder Woman Released By DC Direct In 2004
The figure comes to us based on the designs by artist Alex Ross from the much loved Mark Waid and Alex Ross Kingdom Come comic book mini-series. This one is a departure from the figures that have come before because it portrays Diana in full battle armor. The golden armor is based on an eagle and includes wings and an eagle faced helmet. An American flag is attached to both shoulders and drapes across her chest. In terms of weapons, she carries a golden sword that is so sharp “it can cleave atoms” (even able to cut Superman), a golden spear and a silver painted shield. The chest emblem continues the “WW” motif.
DC Comics Designer Series Wonder Woman Released By DC Direct In 2004
This figure, based on the work by artist Jae Lee, harkens back to several aspects of former Wonder Woman costumes. The figure features the stylized eagle design on the chest plate and she wears a short star spangled skirt below a silver triangular belt. There is a wrist to shoulder bracelet on her right arm and she features a below the wrist to mid-upper arm gauntlet on the left. Here she wears above the knee metallic boots and comes with a sword with a golden handle and an odd weapon that looks like a cross between a spear on top and an archer’s bow on the bottom. This figure does not carry the Golden Lasso.
Batman Vs Superman Dawn of Justice Wonder Woman Released by Medicom MAFEX in 2016
This figure from the upcoming film marries many of the styles of costume that the character has enjoyed throughout her storied history. The figure bears a striking likeness of film star Gal Gadot. The bustier retains the stylized eagle motif but the body has more film focused ribbing down the front. The “WW” motif has moved to the belt area and is cast in gold. Her magic bracelets are of the long wrist to elbow variety and are silver trimmed with gold. She is also wearing fingerless gloves. Her skirt is actually layered pieces of leather that form a more jagged skirt design. Her boots cover both the favored styles: the red leather boots with the ribbing of the bustier but here they are covered with golden armor that begin around the knees and go down to cover the feet. Her weapons all fit on removable leather straps. They include the Golden Lasso, a golden sword and a shield that looks reminiscent of the shield Perseus used against Medusa.
No matter the costume, from a star spangled bathing suit to even a white karate outfit with bell bottom pants (don’t ask), Princess Diana has always been the epitome of all the best aspects of woman: strength, determination, intelligence, indomitable resolve and above all, the infinite capacity for love.