Tim Hanley, comic book historian and author of the Wonder Woman and women in comics blog Straitened Circumstances, announced yesterday the release of his new book Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine.
Published by Chicago Review Press, the book is about the early decades of Wonder Woman’s history, and traces Wonder Woman’s path to becoming a feminist icon. According to Hanley, the book is accessible to casual fans, but will have “surprising new information for hardcore fans too”, including illustrations from self-taught artist and comic creator Kate Leth.
We grew up with a Wonder Woman who was smart, beautiful and incredibly strong, but it wasn’t always easy for Princess Diana. Our favorite superheroine had a few rough decades before feminism freed her from bondage, both literally and figuratively. According to the official book overview, Hanley covers it all.
With her golden lasso and her bullet-deflecting bracelets, Wonder Woman is a beloved icon of female strength in a world of male superheroes. But this close look at her history portrays a complicated heroine who is more than just a female Superman. The original Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, advocating female superiority and the benefits of matriarchy in the 1940s. At the same time, her creator filled the comics with titillating bondage imagery, and Wonder Woman was tied up as often as she saved the world. In the 1950s, Wonder Woman begrudgingly continued her superheroic mission, wishing she could settle down with her boyfriend instead, all while continually hinting at hidden lesbian leanings. While other female characters stepped forward as women’s lib took off in the late 1960s, Wonder Woman fell backwards, losing her superpowers and flitting from man to man. Ms. magazine and Lynda Carter restored Wonder Woman’s feminist strength in the 1970s, turning her into a powerful symbol as her checkered past was quickly forgotten. Exploring this lost history as well as her modern incarnations adds new dimensions to the world’s most beloved female character, and Wonder Woman Unbound delves into her comic book and its spin-offs as well as the myriad motivations of her creators to showcase the peculiar journey that led to Wonder Woman’s iconic status.
Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine goes on sale April 2014; you can pre-order a copy here.
We can’t wait!
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