The single most iconic of all female superheroes not just for DC Comics but for all comics, Wonder Woman was the creation of William Moulton Marston, a controversial American psychologist, and the artist H.G. Peter. Her first appearance was as the Justice Society of America’s Secretary in “All-Star Comics” #8 in 1941, but the next month made her first cover appearance in “Sensation Comics” #1. She’s been comic bookdom’s favorite cover girl since. While her origins have gone through multiple changes through the years depending on the writer, the basics are the same: She is Prince Diana of Themyscyra, also known as Paradise Island, a magical island hidden from the world of man by magic and inhabited solely by Amazons. She has super strength, can fly, has magical gauntlets and a magic lasso that can make people tell the truth. Depending on the version, she also has an invisible jet. While her costume has had some strange momentary alterations, the classic look has always been the best: the tiara with the golden eagle chest armor with red and blue, often with stars. She now also uses a sword and a shield. Skipping what-ifs and short stints like the New 52 look, here is a look at the different takes on Wonder Woman through the years:
The Golden Age: The first look from “Sensation Comics” #1 in 1941 is already definitive, with the change only coming when her skirt was changed into shorts and later bikini bottoms.
The Mod Wonder Woman: For some unknown reason in the 1960s, DC decided to strip Wonder Woman of her powers, dress her up in mod outfits and she simply became Diana Prince, a martial artist who fought spies. This thankfully did not last long.
Silver Age/ ‘Super Friends’: The Hanna-Barbera cartoon ran from 1973 to 1985 and seemed to live on forever due to reruns and syndication. She very much is the exemplification of the Silver Age Wonder Woman, who, along with the reboots of the Flash and Green Lantern, became members of the nascent Justice League.
ABC’s ‘Wonder Woman’ TV movie: Before the more well-known series, there was an attempt to do a live-action “Wonder Woman” TV show that began with a TV movie in 1974, with Cathy Lee Crosby in the lead role. It was essentially a pilot that was not picked up.
ABC’s ‘Wonder Woman’ TV series: ABC hit the gold mine when they cast Lynda Carter as the Amazon that ran from 1975 to 1979. This series is probably how most people remember Wonder Woman and was the best attempt at a live-action version of the character despite some campy elements.
‘Wonder Woman’ post-‘Crisis of Infinite Earths’: When DC decided to streamline their multiverse with their line-wide event in 1985, they decided to completely revamp Wonder Woman’s origin and brought on the man considered the definite Wonder Woman writer/artist: George Perez. To this day, many of the stories and character elements Perez inserted remain central to the character.
Biker shorts Wonder Woman: The 1990s were not kind to comic book characters, and for unfathomable reasons, DC changed Diana’s outfit to a black leather outfit with a jacket, a bikini top and biker shorts. This too, did not last long.
‘Justice League Unlimited’ animated Wonder Woman: Bruce Timm’s “JLU” is considered by many to be the best animated take on DC characters ever, and this Wonder Woman (voiced by Susan Eisenberg) fits that description to a T. All subsequent animated takes on her take off from this version.
NBC’s ‘Wonder Woman’ pilot: In 2011, NBC wanted its own “Wonder Woman” TV series, casting rising actress Adrienne Palecki in the role of Diana. NBC ultimately passed on the pilot.
DC’s contemporary Wonder Woman: In the comic books, Wonder Woman remains one of the most recognizable and valuable properties for DC Comics, the literal super-strong female lead with a complete literal mythology behind her. This popular image of her was rendered by Terry Dodson.
‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’:Israeli actress Gal Gadot breathed new life into Wonder Woman when the character finally made her live-action debut in Zack Snyder’s 2016 installment of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Gadot would play the character again in Synder’s follow-up, 2017’s “Justice League.”
‘Wonder Woman 1984’: It was, however, Patty Jenkins’ take on the Amazonian princess in 2017’s “Wonder Woman” that truly defined her for a new generation with a revised origin. Now, 2020’s “Wonder Woman 1984” takes the character to fantastic new heights as the best the DCEU had to offer.