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Wonder Woman: the Complete History - Les Daniels, Chip Kidd

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Genre: Graphic Novels / Comics / Author: Les Daniels

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      28.02.2010 19:54
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      Look back at the history of one of three longest running DC comic book stars

      This book is a fascinating insight into the most well known female super hero. This book does exactly what the title promises and provides a complete insight into the creator of Wonder Woman, and the history of the cartoon strip right up to the present day.

      On top of the fascinating research, there are numerous articles, photographs, reproductions of the comic strip and other such delights. I couldn't decide whether to read the book first and admire the pictures later, or look at the pictures first. Literally every page is dripping with information!

      The creator of Wonder Woman was Dr William Moulton Marston - incidentally a psychologist who invented the lie detector. He was fascinated by his invention and conducted many experiments - Wonder Woman's golden lasso was to have the same properties. He also had a bit of a thing for bondage and the illustrations of scenes from the comic strip highlight this fetish perfectly. He wanted to create a strong female super heroine, believing that women were less prone to violence and were more honest than men, and thus Wonder Woman was born. Interestingly enough, his private life was just as interesting as he had a polygamous household going on. He lived with two women and it is believed that he had children with both of them.

      This book doesn't just talk about the history of the character but also the social and cultural events happening in the world that influenced the world of comics. Other comic super heroes played their part in Wonder Woman's history and this is reflected in the book. Each chapter looks at a different aspect of Wonder Woman - for example one chapter on Dr Marston, another one is devoted to the TV series. I loved all the pictures of the merchandise and the letters to the Wonder Woman fan club.

      I originally borrowed this from the library as it cost a little too much to justify (I was unemployed at the time) but am now looking at buying my own copy. The photos and the text are beautiful and make what could have been a dry account of comic books into a rich and colourful look at feminism, superheros and comic books. Even for those that aren't interested in Wonder Woman as such, this book is still well worth a read.

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        13.10.2000 04:49
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        Ask most of us to name three superheroes and chances are we rattle off, in order, 'Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman'. Sixty next year and still looking great in those satin tights, Wonder Woman is the subject of comics historian Les Daniels' latest book, following similar editions on DC Comics' two other biggies. WONDER WOMAN: THE COMPLETE HISTORY (Titan Books) The price screams 'useless coffee table book' but there's some fascinating inormation here, even for someone like me who's familiar with most of Princess Diana's DC Comics adventures of the last 30 years. For instance, I knew Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was one of the inventors of the lie detector, but if I'd heard the details of his tangled home life previously I'd certainly have remembered. And while a certain fascination with bondage was evident in the strip's early years - Wonder Woman and her sister Amazons would advocate 'loving submission' as the way to world peace, with the heroine herself tied up at least once per issue - it's put into a new perspective by some of psychologist Marston's opinions reported here. There are focuses on the various periods of Wonder Woman, from her Axis-bashing 1940s peak of popularity to 1960s makeover into a powerless Emma Peel-style martial artist - complete with oriental mentor I-Ching (who soon took a powder) - and adoption as a symbol by 1970s feminists. Illustrating the commentary and interviews with creators are numerous colour panels, strip pages and photographs of memorabilia, all making for a beautifully designed package - even comic artist Alex Ross' dust jacket is used to stunning effect, contrasting with a 1940s headshot beneath. Even if you're not a comics fan I recommend this book as an entertaining look at 20th century popular culture through the eyes of one of its most enduring icons.

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      • Product Details

        Tracing the origins and development of the comic book characterWonder Woman.