Superhero Style: Wonder Woman

May 2, 2008

Since her debut in the December 1941 issue of All Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman has proven a female force to be reckoned with. Whether she was battling enemies, defending friends, or found the Justice League, she did so with impeccable style.

Wonder Woman made notable appearances in other issues of All Star Comics as well as Sensation Comics before gaining her own title in 1942. Throughout most of the 1940s, Princess Diana, as she was also known, was seen in an ensemble that included a red top emblazoned with a golden eagle, a star-spangled blue skirt, a belt and her signature red boots, tiara, and bracelets. The patriotic outfit fit right in with the spirit of the nation at the time. With the United States having been attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Americans were pulling together to fight real enemies, as Wonder Woman was introduced the comic book world to help fight fictional foes.

In the late 1940s and through the ‘50s, Wonder Woman’s costume streamlined from a skirt to a pair of trunks, still in blue and bearing the white stars. This would become the basic ensemble for Wonder Woman for most of her comics, but with some exceptions. During the 1960s, when American society was going through huge social and political changes, Wonder Woman started dressing in the fashionable “mod” style of the time. She dressed in several different outfits before settling on variations of a white jumpsuit.

In issue #204, the classic costume made a comeback and remained pretty much the same until issue #288, when the eagle emblazoned on her red top was changed to a pair of stylized "W"s. Some people did not like the change; they considered it to be too similar to the "S" on the chest of Superman’s costume. But nonetheless, the "W"s stayed and continue to decorate Wonder Woman’s top today.

Since then, Wonder Woman has appeared in pretty much the same costume, with a brief period that is commonly referred to as “Biker Wonder Woman.” In Wonder Woman (Second Series) #93, she is seen in a black bra top with black biker shorts over which she sported a jacket, with gloves to complete the look. She wore this outfit for several issues in 1995. Issue #101 brought back her regular outfit, which was now a bit more risqué, and her trunks had only two white stars.

Though her costume has changed and evolved over the years, Wonder Woman is almost never without her special weapons: her indestructible bracelets and her golden lasso. Her bracelets are said to be made from the Aegis shield belonging to Zeus and they have been known to deflect bullets, automatic weapons fire and other threats. The golden lasso is a magical tool, and the story goes that it burns with the Fires of Hestia which enables the rope, when looped around someone, to make that person tell the truth, to bring back forgotten memories, dispel illusions, even cure insanity. It also offers protection from the attacks of both humans and heroes, and can heal wounds suffered by the one who holds it.

Wonder Woman is currently being published by DC Comics, and Princess Diana still dresses most often in her classic costume and possesses her lasso and bracelets.

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