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:
In the 1910s, Peter was a staff artist at the magazine Judge, where he contributed to its suffrage page called “The Modern Woman,” which ran from 1912 to 1917. More regularly, the art on that page was drawn by another staff artist, a woman named Lou Rogers. Rogers’ suffrage and feminist cartoons very often featured an allegorical woman chained or roped, breaking her bonds. Sanger hired Rogers as art director for the Birth Control Review, a magazine she started in 1917. In 1920, in a book called Woman and the New Race, Sanger argued that woman “had chained herself to her place in society and the family through the maternal functions of her nature, and only chains thus strong could have bound her to her lot as a brood animal.” In 1923, an illustration commissioned by Rogers for the cover of Birth Control Review pictured a weakened and desperate woman, fallen to her knees and chained at the ankle to a ball that reads, “UNWANTED BABIES.” A chained woman inspired the title of Sanger’s 1928 book, Motherhood in Bondage, a compilation of some of the thousands of letters she had received from women begging her for information about birth control; she described the letters as “the confessions of enslaved mothers.”
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman was rebooted in 1987, by writer Greg Potter, who previously created the Jemm, Son of Saturn series for DC, was hired to rework the character. He spent several months working with editor Janice Race on new concepts, before being joined by writer/artist George Pérez. Inspired by John Byrne and Frank Miller's work on refashioning Superman and Batman, Pérez came in as the plotter and penciler of Wonder Woman. Potter dropped out of writing the series after issue #2, and Pérez became the sole plotter. Initially, Len Wein replaced Potter but Pérez took on the scripting as of issue #18. Mindy Newell would return to the title as scripter with issue #36 (November 1989). Pérez produced 62 issues of the rebooted title. His relaunch of the character was a critical and sales success.
Centuries ago, an argument between Aphrodite and Ares led to the creation of the Amazons, who have been guided and protected by the goddesses ever since. Ares' recent schemes to destroy the Amazons and his fellow gods led to an Amazon champion being chosen. This champion was the Princess Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta, whom Hermes escorted to Man's World. There she was called Wonder Woman. Hephaestus forged Wonder Woman's golden Lasso of Truth from the girdle of the earth-goddess Gaea, and her silver bracelets which he formed from the splintered Aegis of Zeus. While the Olympian gods were her patrons, other gods were her foes. Ares and his progeny, Deimos and Phobos, quickly set about challenging the princess in her quest. Phobos created the creature Decay from the "heart of the Gorgon," which Diana quickly dispatched. Meanwhile, Deimos recruited humans on opposing sides, inciting them to war.
Hephaestus Action Comics #267 (August 1960) Hephaestus is the God of Fire, Blacksmithing, Forgery, Artisan, Craftsmenship, Sculptors, Metals and Volcano who is based on the god of the same name. Many of Wonder Woman's weapons and armor have been forged by Hephaestus. In the New 52, the hideous Hephaestus had taken in the male Amazons abandoned by the Themysciran Amazons. Post-Rebirth, Hephaestus took the form of a mouse and aided Wonder Woman with several other gods.
Wonder Woman is trained in the a variety of martial arts, making her a master of unarmed and armed combat (even proving adept with pistols). Before Flashpoint Batman considered Diana the best melee fighter on the planet, even putting her ahead of Superman, due to the combination of her power and the depth of her training. Even when depowered, she is on par with some of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the DC Universe.
A few decades later, second-wave feminist Gloria Steinem's Ms. Magazine debuted in 1972 with an image of Wonder Woman on the cover. Historian Tim Hanley suggests that this move shifted "the focus away from female superiority to sisterhood and equality, essentially making her a mascot of the women's movement". This perception shifted over the years, as demonstrated in December 2016 when the United Nations decided to drop the title of "honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls" which it had given to the comic book character Wonder Woman a few months prior, in a ceremony attended by the actors who had portrayed her (Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot). The title was eliminated in response to a petition signed by 44,000 people which argued that Wonder Woman undermines female empowerment due to her costume, described as a "shimmery, thigh-baring bodysuit with an American flag motif and knee-high boots". The petition stated that "it is alarming that the United Nations would consider using a character with an overtly sexualised image at a time when the headline news in United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls". Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins responded to both the petition and to the U.N.'s decision by stating that she thinks "that that's sexist. I think it's sexist to say you can't have both. I have to ask myself what I would apply to any other superhero".
Chris Pine was cast as Steve Trevor, a character he described as a "rogue-ish, cynical realist who's seen the awful brutish nature of modern civilization" and added that he is a "worldly guy, a charming guy". He signed a multi-picture deal. Lucy Davis' performance as Etta Candy is the first live-action cinematic portrayal of the character. As well, Elena Anaya's performance as Doctor Poison is the cinematic debut of that character. Nicole Kidman was in negotiations for the role of Queen Hippolyta, but was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Big Little Lies.
“As to the ‘advanced femininity,’ what are the activities in comic books which women ‘indulge in on an equal footing with men’? They do not work. They are not homemakers. They do not bring up a family. Mother-love is entirely absent. Even when Wonder Woman adopts a girl there are Lesbian overtones,” he said. At the Senate hearings, Bender testified, too. If anything in American popular culture was bad for girls, she said, it wasn’t Wonder Woman; it was Walt Disney. “The mothers are always killed or sent to the insane asylums in Walt Disney movies,” she said. This argument fell on deaf ears.