Wonder Woman by Frank Miller Picture

This is a collage tribute to Frank Miller's All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder (illustrated by Jim Lee) and The Dark Knight Strikes Again (illustrated by Frank Miller) featuring Wonder Woman, and a rebuttal to ignorant accusations that Frank Miller is sexist. Wonder Woman was portrayed by Frank Miller as a very strong character, brave, forceful, aggressive. She is heir to the throne of the Amazons in All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder, and she is Queen of the Amazons in The Dark Knight Strikes Again.

Frank Miller was returning Wonder Woman closer to the Golden Age Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Marston and Harry Peter roots, and bringing Wonder Woman closer to her historic Greek mythological roots. Originally in 1942 Wonder Woman wore women's vintage culotte shorts that resembled a short skirt, William Moulton Martson even called it a skirt, Frank Miller returned to the skirt look in All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder. Frank Miller added the historic Greek helmet element to Wonder Woman's tiara crown. With The Dark Knight Strikes Again Frank Miller brought back the Greek goddess sandals shoes with lacings/leg straps Wonder Woman had wore in the 1940s and 1950s and added arm lacings/straps and returned to the Golden Age eagle on her chest and making it like an ancient Greek chest plate. Wonder Woman began wearing the tight fitting thigh length athletic/swimwear briefs, deemed more appropriate for action, beginning in 1942, Frank Miller returned to that in The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Female athletes, track runners wear briefs, etc. Just as women's swimsuit briefs and athletic briefs are outerwear, not underwear, Wonder Woman's star-spangled briefs are not Wonder Woman's underwear, it's Wonder Woman's athletic outerwear, an iconic part of the character's classic costume. Referring to it as "silly naughty lingerie underwear" is belittling a female icon that symbolizes female liberation and freedom. William Moulton Marston actually created her to be a symbol of female power, freedom and liberation. If William Moulton Marston had intended for Wonder Woman's legs to be covered up in a long dress or pants/tights than he would have instructed artist Harry Peter to design her and draw her with her legs covered. I haven't seen complaints about Tarzan only wearing a little loincloth or Namor only wearing briefs, etc. Conforming to Man's World's double standards of what's considered proper or indecent/sinful for a woman in some minds in comparison to a man and covering herself up accordingly would run contrary to Diana's mission to bring the Amazon ideals of equality to the world of men. Wonder Woman comes from a very different culture with different views and beliefs. Unrestricted by the strict censoring Editorial Advisory Board of William Moulton Marston's era, George Perez's 1986 reboot established that the Amazons have no inhibitions and shame about revealing their bodies, it is not considered indecent and sinful to them. Wonder Woman #8 (1987) "Time Passages", by George Perez, which is reprinted in Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals, explains that some nights, Julia Kapatelis would awaken to find Diana standing nude on the lawn, praying to her gods. In Wonder Woman #15 (1988) "Swan Song", by George Perez, which is reprinted in Wonder Woman: Beauty and the Beasts, beside the lake behind the summer home of Julia Kapatelis and her daughter Vanessa Kapatelis in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Diana stands naked in the moonlight. The cool air on her flesh as she prays to her gods. Just then she hears a voice and turns to see Vanessa standing there. Diana apologies for waking the young girl and Vanessa replies that the Amazon Princess sure likes to pray (nude) a lot. In Wonder Woman #17 "Traces", by George Perez, which is also reprinted in Wonder Woman: Beauty and the Beasts, Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta, lays nude out in the open on Paradise Island looking at a picture of her daughter and Julia Kapatelis.

Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Marston and Harry Peter couldn't have flat out portrayed Wonder Woman killing a villain because the strict Editorial Advisory Board DC had in the '40s definitely wouldn't have allowed that. DC editor Whitney Ellsworth created a Editorial Advisory Board Code of Conduct in 1941 that every writer and artist had to follow which included the rule "Heroes should never kill a villain, regardless of the depth of the villainy." and "Characters ─ even villains ─ should never be shown bleeding."

This is from the transcript of the 1954 Senate hearings showing the editorial policy restrictions that every DC comic book writer and artist were suppose to follow from 1941 to 1954:


1. Sex. ─ The inclusion of females in stories is specifically discouraged. Women, when used in plot structure, should be secondary in importance, and should be drawn realistically, without exaggeration of feminine physical qualities.
2. Language. ─ Expressions having reference to the Deity are forbidden. Heroes and other "good” persons must use basically good English, through some slang and other colloquialism may be judiciously employed. Poor grammar is used only by crooks and villains ─ and not always by them.
3. Bloodshed. ─ Characters ─ even villains ─ should never be shown bleeding. No character should be shown being stabbed or shot or otherwise assaulted so that the sanguinary result is visible. Acts of mayhem are specifically forbidden. The picturization of dead bodies is forbidden.
4. Torture. ─ The use of chains, whips, or other such devices is forbidden. Anything having a sexual or sadistic implication is forbidden.
5. Kidnapping. ─ The kidnapping of children is specifically forbidden. The kidnapping of women is discouraged, and must never have any sexual implication.
6. Killing. ─ Heroes should never kill a villain, regardless of the depth of the villainy. The villain, If he is to die, should do so as the result of his own evil machinations. A specific exception may be made in the case of duly constituted officers of the law. The use of lethal weapons by women ─ even villainous women ─ is discouraged.
7. Crime. ─ Crime should be depicted in all cases as sordid and unpleasant. Crime and criminals must never be glamorized. All stories must be written and depicted from the angle of the law ─ never the reverse. Justice must triumph in every case.
In general, the policy of Superman DC Publications is to provide interesting, dramatic, and reasonably exciting entertainment without having recourse to such artificial devices as the use of exaggerated physical manifestations of sex, sexual situations, or situations in which violence is emphasized sadistically. Good people should be good, and bad people bad, without middle ground shading. Good people need not be "stuffy" to be good, but bad people should not be excused. Heroes should act within the law, and for the law.

DC's Editorial Board was replaced with the creation of the pretty much equally strict Comics Code Authority in 1954.

Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston as an Amazon warrior, liberating the woman role instead of the man always rescuing the damsel-in-distress. Amazon culture of ancient Greece and ancient Greek evokes spartan warriors. She's not a squeaky clean immaculate do-gooder Wonder Woman, and neither was William Moulton Marston's original version with ideas of woman supremacy. William Moulton Marston said, "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving. Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to, and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves! Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaborately disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman. Women are nature-endowed soldiers of Aphrodite." www.angelfire.com/indie/jamiet…

Wonder Woman was originally a tough woman beating men into submission. Frank Miller portrayed Wonder Woman as an Amazon warrior with an understandable attitude about men. Think of her history. She comes from an island of women who had been victimized by men. What positive information would she have heard about men growing up? When she walks down the street in "man's world" and sees and smells the filth of "man's world" slum in Metropolis she gets disgusted. Conflicts between the Justice League characters are more entertaining than them all portrayed as super-friends and always getting along. Frank Miller understands that character conflicts are entertaining. Frank Miller even embraced Wonder Woman wearing a star spangled skirt in All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder as psychologist William Moulton Marston and Harry Peter created her originally.

Frank Miller also embraced the dominant and submissive erotic aspects of William Moulton Marston's original where bondage was a major part of the comics. Frank Miller actually planned a series with artist Bill Sienkiewicz called Wonder Woman: Bondage. Bill Sienkiewicz explained, "Frank and I were jazzed about working together again. We were up for doing another series and churning the waters on on some old DC character, as he’d done with Dark Knight. Wonder Woman seemed like a pretty good choice. The most interesting stuff was the earliest – and felt the ripest for revisiting. The fact that her creator William Moulton Marston also created the precursor to the lie detector and was into bondage lent a weird kinky vibe. But as for actually doing the series – who knows?"
Marston's Wonder Woman was kinky, which made it so unique and successful. Wonder Woman being tied up and Wonder Woman tieing other up other people with her lasso is a reason why Wonder Woman was a success in the first place.
In 1943, a Wonder Woman fan serving in the Army wrote, "I am one of those odd, perhaps unfortunate men who derive an extreme erotic pleasure from the mere thought of a beautiful girl chained or bound…Have you the same interest in bonds and fetters that I have?"
Indeed, said William Moulton Marston, he was promoting the idea that "confinement to Wonder Woman and the Amazons is just a sporting game, an actual enjoyment of being subdued. This, my dear friend, is the one truly great contribution of my Wonder Woman strip to moral education of the young. The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound. It is the secret of women's allure--women enjoy submission, being bound. This I bring out in the Paradise Island sequences where the girls beg for chains and enjoy wearing them. Giving to others, being controlled by them, submitting to other people cannot possibly be enjoyable without a strong erotic element--enjoyment of submission to others."
Even Wonder Woman's mother says in Wonder Woman #28 (1948) written by creator William Moulton Marston, "The only real happiness for anybody is to be found in obedience to loving authority." Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston called for 75 panels of women in bondage in that one issue.
It does make sense from an entertainment and business stand point to be faithful to the Wonder Woman formula that made Wonder Woman such a hit in the first place. The popular, successful and beloved Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV series realized that and presented Wonder Woman faithfully to William Moulton Marston's creation, including the bondage.

Producer Bruce Timm said originally the Wonder Woman Animated Movie directed by Lauren Montgomery was going to contain scenes where Wonder Woman would be tied up and lose her powers. While Bruce Timm personally did not have a problem with that aspect of the film, DC’s producer Gregory Noveck, a representative of DC working in Hollywood, requested it be taken out entirely, yet it seems he was fine with the level of violence, including beheadings. Gregory Noveck has since left DC after Diane Nelson took over.

William Moulton Marston also faced threats of censorship over Wonder Woman's costume and the bondage in the 1940s. Josette Frank from the Child Study Association of American and member of the DC Editorial Advisory Board, wrote that, "Wonder Woman does lay you open to considerable criticism from any such groups ours, partly on the basis of the woman’s costume (or lack of it), and partly on the basis of sadistic bits showing women chained, tortured, etc." The National Organization for Decent Literature formed by a committee of Catholic Bishops with Wonder Woman on there black list because of her costume. They ranted, "We see no reason why Wonder Woman should not be better covered, and there is less reason why women who fall under her influence should be running around in bathing suits." Dorothy Roubicek even drew a censored costume for Wonder Woman that wasn't used by DC.

Frank Miller also had Wonder Woman having a romance with Superman, which is not out of character. Wonder Woman has had an attraction to Superman in the comics for decades (Wonder Woman # 130 (May, 1962) "The Mirage Mirrors" by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane # 136 (February, 1974) "Wonder Woman: Mrs. Superman" by Cary Bates and John Rosenberger, DC Comics Presents # 32 (April, 1981) "The Super-Prisoners of Love" by Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas and Kurt Schaffenberger, Wonder Woman # 300 (February, 1983) "Let No Superman Put Asunder!" by Roy Thomas, Danette Thomas, Dan Mishkin and Rich Buckler, Superman Annual # 11 (1985) "For the Man Who Has Everything" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Wonder Woman # 8 (September, 1987) "Time Passages" by Len Wein and George Perez, Wonder Woman # 16 (May, 1988) "Bird of Paradise/Bird of Prey!" by George Perez, Action Comics # 600 (May, 1988) "Different Worlds" by John Byrne and George Perez, Kingdom Come (1996) by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, Wonder Woman # 141 (February, 1999) "Trinity 98 Part II" by Eric Luke and Yanick Paquette and cover by Adam Hughes, Wonder Woman # 162 (November, 2000) "God Complex" by Ben Raab and Derec Aucoin, Superman # 165 (February, 2001) "Superman and Wonder Woman" by Jeph Loeb and Ian Churchill, etc.).

Continue Reading: Amazons