In her debut in All Star Comics #8, Diana was a member of a tribe of women called the Amazons, native to Paradise Island – a secluded island set in the middle of a vast ocean. Captain Steve Trevor's plane crashes on the island and he is found alive but unconscious by Diana and fellow Amazon, and friend, Mala. Diana has him nursed back to health and falls in love with him. A competition is held amongst all the Amazons by Diana's mother, the Queen of the Amazons Hippolyta, in order to determine who is the most worthy of all the women; Hippolyta charges the winner with the responsibility of delivering Captain Steve Trevor back to Man's World and to fight for justice. Hippolyta forbids Diana from entering the competition, but she takes part nonetheless, wearing a mask to conceal her identity. She wins the competition and reveals herself, surprising Hippolyta, who ultimately accepts, and must give in to, Diana's wish to go to Man's World. She then is awarded a special uniform made by her mother for her new role as Wonder Woman and safely returns Steve Trevor to his home country.
The story then focuses on Wonder Woman's quest to rescue Zola from Hades, who had abducted her and taken her to Hell at the end of the sixth issue of the series. The male children of the Amazons are introduced and Diana learns about the birth of her "brothers" – the Amazons used to infrequently invade ships coming near their island and force themselves on the sailors, before killing them. After nine months, the birth of the resulting female children was highly celebrated and they were inducted into the ranks of the Amazons while the male children were rejected. In order to save the male children from being drowned to death by the Amazons, Hephaestus traded weapons to the Amazons in exchange for them.
Wonder Woman was taken to Zamaron where the Star Sapphires informed her that a Dark God had taken hold there, too. Diana fought the newly-emerged Karnell, Dark God of Love, who informed Diana that he and his brethren had come from the Dark Multiverse, which the Justice League had recently encountered. When Diana wore the Tenth Metal during the climax of the Justice League's battle with Barbatos, Diana had wished for the gods' return. Though she had meant the Gods of Olympus, the Dark Multiverse's gods were chosen instead, and thus she had unintentionally caused their invasion. Together with the Star Sapphire Corps, Wonder Woman was able to defeat Karnell, who retreated back to Earth. Wonder Woman left the Corps and returned home. In her absence, Jason had united with the Justice League and fought the Dark Gods, who had plunged Earth into chaos. Suddenly, the Dark Gods disappeared, only for them to return with Jason at their side. Jason fought Wonder Woman, but after he led her away from the Dark Gods, he revealed that he was using his armor to channel the power of Dolos, God of Deception, and was in fact deceiving the Dark Gods. Using the wisdom of Athena, Jason developed a plan to convince the Dark Gods to retreat back to their reality. He offered himself, along with the power of the Greek Pantheon, in exchange for the Dark Gods leaving Earth. The Dark Gods accepted the proposal and Diana tearfully said goodbye to her brother, who was taken with them to the Dark Multiverse. The planet was saved and its people returned to normal, but Diana was distraught over the loss of her brother.
In an October 25, 1940, interview with the Family Circle magazine, William Moulton Marston discussed the unfulfilled potential of the comic book medium. This article caught the attention of comics publisher Max Gaines, who hired Marston as an educational consultant for National Periodicals and All-American Publications, two of the companies that would merge to form DC Comics. At that time, Marston wanted to create his own new superhero; Marston's wife and fellow psychologist Elizabeth suggested to him that it should be a woman:
Granted by Athena (Goddess of Wisdom), this gives her a degree of wisdom beyond that of most mortals and gives her a strong moral sense. Originally in the Golden Age, her wisdom primarily consisted of her deep knowledge of, and ability to navigate through, human emotions. When she first showed up in Man’s World, she learned enough English language to converse with others in a few hours only. This also aids her in her tactical ability. She is among the smartest and wisest members of the Justice League of America, along with the Martian Manhunter and Batman.
In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman adhered to an Amazon code of helping any in need, even misogynistic people, and never accepting a reward for saving someone; while conversely, the modern version of the character has been shown to perform lethal and fatal actions when left with no other alternative, exemplified in the killing of Maxwell Lord in order to save Superman's life.
I thought George's one "mistake" in rebooting Wonder Woman was making her only 25 years old when she left Paradise Island. I preferred the idea of a Diana who was thousands of years old (as, if I recall correctly, she was in the TV series). From that angle, I would have liked to have seen Diana having been Wonder Woman in WW2, and be returning to our world in the reboot. Not having that option, I took the next best course, and had Hippolyta fill that role.
Wonder Woman has been the subject of a discussion regarding the appearance and representation of female power in general, and of female action heroes in particular since her initial 1941 appearance in Sensation Comics, as she was created to document "the growth in the power of women", while wearing "a golden tiara, a red bustier, blue underpants and knee-high, red leather boots." She was blacklisted a year later in 1942 in the "Publications Disapproved for Youth" because, the group behind the list argued, she was "not sufficiently dressed".
The most recent version of the character’s origin (since the new 52) has not yet been told in totality, but certain things are known. It has been revealed how the Amazons replenish their numbers (they do so by kidnapping sailors and using them for procreation before killing them) as well as the fact of Wonder Woman’s divine lineage. Despite the fact that Zeus is her father it does not necessarily remove other facts about her origin from canon (for instance the blessings of the gods) though it remains to be seen how or if this will be incorporated into the ongoing stories. In the Zero month of the new 52 in which DC was planning to tell the origins of the character from the new 52, the story for Diana focused on the fact that she had been trained by Ares when she was a teenager though she eventually rebelled against him. It is as of yet unclear how this factors into her new origin. When Diana first came to Man’s World she encountered a group attacking the Pentagon. Because of this she befriended Barbara Minerva who was working there on ancient antiquities and Barbara helped her acclimatize to Man’s World.
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