DC History Club: Golden Age Wonder Woman & Her Creator w/ Polls & Quiz

Finished the book yesterday. I guess there weren’t as many supporting documents during the Wonder Woman years because it felt like there was a lot of missing parts. Interesting how each of the children had their own set of photos and letters hand selected for them. I cannot imagine the difficulties involved in trying to cover their lifestyle to so many people and in so many ways, or how other people such as Marston’s mother were part of the coverup, if even she knew all that was going on.

A crazy story and a ridiculous set of circumstances, but if it was needed to give the world a Wonder Woman then who am I to judge?


Absolutely. Stick around, tomorrow I’ll send out a note and we can shift to talking about Wonder Woman herself and the Golden Age stories. I’ve read a good deal, but nowhere near as much as you. So, we’ve built by talking about Marston. I don’t think you need to know about Kane/Finger at all to understand Batman. Knowing a little about Seigel and Schuster helps some with Sumerman. But, the more you know about Marston the better you can appreciate and understand Wonder Woman.


So, now let’s dive more directly into the character of Wonder Woman herself and her early Golden Age stories either written or at least plotted by Marston. What about Wonder Woman made her such an immediate hit as a character that elevated her to the status of Supremain and Batman? One thing has to be her looks. As beautiful as Aphrodite and decked out in the Stars and Stripes and an Eagle she has everything her World War II reading public wanted. I think that it also helps that both as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman she was more directly involved in the war effort than either Superman or the Dynamic Duo. While Superman and Batman occasionally fought spies or saboteurs, Wonder Woman took on not only those but fought directly against Nazis and the Japanese Imperial military. Then, there’s the more fantastical nature of her stories. Bank robbers or gangsters? How about Greek Gods, invading armies from Saturn, beautiful winged women from Venus, two warring female societies in Atlantis, and more. Marston’s Wonder Woman was fighting Silver Age antagonist in the Golden Age.


While the Wonder Woman TV show is still on DCU

It is interesting how the pilot uses material from comic book Sensation.1, as Diana first encounters Man"s World.

Both these older versions show a strong if not completely knowledgeable

I love Rucha’s Year One but some scenes show Diana as nothing like above, so much so if I were the Greek Gods, I would have second thoughts about giving her her super powers.


:smile: :astonished: :wonderwoman:


Jill Lepore
Who authored
The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Wrote an article about recent events

The article itself
Is under a paywall
But this article
Critiques it

Because it discusses
What she says
The current problem is

Of course
It involves history


Nice article
From WAL tonight
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women



As for the Lesbian
In the household
Mentioned in the article

From.Lepore’s book

MARJORIE WILKES, who believed in both suffrage and bondage,

“No one knows more about the production of Wonder Woman than Marjorie W. Huntley,” Holloway liked to say.3 In the 1940s, Huntley helped out with the inking and lettering of Wonder Woman, including panel after panel depicting women shackled, hands and feet. “How can she run with that ball and chains?” one of Wonder Woman’s captors cries out.4 Huntley was schooled in suffrage, but she believed, too, in what she called “love binding”: the importance of being tied and chained. She also believed in extra-body consciousness, vibrations, reincarnation, and the psychic nature of orgasm.5

She met Marston in 1918, after Armistice was declared, on November 11, and he was sent to Camp Upton, New York, to treat shell shock victims. Huntley was the camp’s librarian. Marston was twenty-five and far from his wife; Huntley was twenty-nine and divorced. They were together for six months. Marston was discharged from the army on May 9, 1919, the day he turned twenty-six.

“Zara or Zaz is the name given me by Doctor and Ms. Marston when we became a threesome,”

The way Marston, Holloway, and Byrne decided to live—as a threesome and, when Huntley was around, as a foursome—began, Holloway later said, as an idea: “A new way of living has to exist in the minds of men before it can be realized in actual form.”16 It had something to do with Marston’s theory of emotions, with Keatley and Huntley’s ideas about a “Love Unit,” and with Margaret Sanger’s and Havelock Ellis’s ideas about “Love Rights.” Holloway tried to explain what she had taken away from reading Woman and the New Race: “The new race will have a far greater love capacity than the current one and I mean physical love as well as other forms.” As to the people who would bring about this new race, “Ethel and Mimi were willing to buck the crowd,” Holloway allowed (Sanger’s family called her Mimi), but “they both went into free love which won’t work.”

Olive Byrne seems to have thought the whole thing was a little ridiculous. She also thought Huntley was nuts. “That woman’s a lunatic,” she used to say.


Olive keeps it real



Bondage Impact on Wonder Woman Stories So, as Wonder Woman’s critics attacked the comics for, among other things, the unending bondage that appears in every single story Marston claims it’s about teaching submission to loving authority and that it was exciting for the stories. That’s not entirely untrue. But, Marston also insisted that there was nothing prurient about Wonder Woman, her allies, her enemies and random college girls being tied up, gagged, hooded, spanked, whipped or given mild electrical shocks. That is simply not believable. Knowing that Marston meticulously described how the scenes must be portrayed, the heavy repetition of these images, their often random insertion into stories, and just common-sense tell us the Marston knew and intended that others would understand the sexual nature of his writing.
The second impact on the stories, is that it becomes repetitious. Every story Marston writes includes Wonder Woman being caught, bound in some way, then escaping. And often, this happens multiple times within a single story.


Although as you said the chains were a bit repetitious, for the most part I could just brush past it as part of the plot. Often it was hilarious. I posted a ton of things that made me laugh in “Funny DC Reaction Images” and I think you can search by my name in there if you want a tour of Golden Age laughs without having to read all the stories:

Funny DC Reaction Images

That being said, I can only imagine what kids were thinking when reading these. They are definitely aimed more at adults. Perhaps that is why they were so successful- I found myself always reading things above my reading level as the stuff written for only kids was a bit dull.

If you read Sensation Comics, the Wonder Woman story leads and various others follow. Compare them, and see how many of the backup stories you can actually handle. There was a definite difference in quality, and I found I would often have to skip some due to boredom. Regardless of how crazy WW was, I was never tempted to skip, at least not during Marston’s tenure. Once DC Universe fills in the large gaps of early WW, we will be really able to see how good or bad Marston’s Golden Age WW really was. Comparing with later Silver Age stuff that was definitely aimed at children, there is no doubt in my mind how much better it was.

I have never read the Justice Society comics where she is their secretary as the very thought makes me angry, but that would probably be another way to make a comparison.


Absolutely agree on the readability of WW vs the other stories. Also, the bondage probably seemed less repetitive when it’s a new story monthly or quarterly rather than binging.


@TurokSonOfStone1950 and I wanted to give a short synopsis of where the film Professor Marston and the Wonder Women basically stuck to history, where they filled in historical blanks, and where they got it wrong or veered far from the truth. If we’re missing something or you have a question, let us know. From here on: SPOILERS. We’ll tackle the big two first.

Elizabeth & Olive’s Relationship: We just do not know if the two women had an intimate relationship or not. They never admitted it, the family says no, and we know that Elizabeth was given an ultimatum by Marston that she allow Olive into the home or he would leave. However, none of this is dispositive. Olive didn’t admit to her own children that Marston was their father until they forced Elizabeth to when they were older, and then it was never spoken of it again. It would be consistent that Olive would keep a relationship with Elizabeth very private. And, family members who said there was no bondage play in the home and did not know of their own parentage have no way of knowing the relationship between the two women. Finally, the movie provides are reasonable explanation of why Elizabeth could have a relationship with Olive and still balk at bringing her permanently into the home. We do know the women loved one another and that Olive holding down the home front while Elizabeth earned money for the family during Marston’s stints of unemployment worked for the family.

Marston Creating Wonder Woman Olive wrote an article for the Family Circle magazine about her “visit” and interview with the famous psychologist William Marston during which he lauded the educational potential of comic books. Sheldon Mayer at DC hired Marston to be part of an advisory board whose purpose it was to fend off attacks from critics of the violence and other material found in comics. (Wertham was later in the 1950s after Marston had died). Once known in the offices of DC, Marston was offered the chance to write a comic book. With suggestions from Elizabeth to make it a woman, Elizabeth’s knowledge of ancient Greek language and literature, use of islands in feminist literature with only women as an ideal society, experience with the lie detector and his and his wives’ personal history with the feminist movement Marston developed Wonder Woman. The movie also unfortunately does not include the artist H.G. Peters significant contributions.

Family Separation: As far as we know, this never happened. First, the home in Rye, New York was a very large house described as being in the country. The picture in Lepone’s book does not show close neighboring homes. The Marston’s were very careful to hide the true nature of their family. But, we do think this can be seen as a metaphor for what it took to keep the family together.

Military Marston was in the Army and did work stateside as a psychologist for Army JAG and intelligence in DC during the war, but the OSS was formed in WWII not WWI.

Sorority LIfe The Holiday Girls and Etta Candy, including sorority initiation shown in the movie was inspired by Olive’s personal experience and Marston seeing a baby party personally. Etta is based on a real friend of hers.

Marston/Elizabeth Pysch Work True, He taught, they developed an early lie doctor based on Elizabeth’s idea of blood pressure and Olive entered their life as a student researcher.

Elizabeth Elizabeth was a very smart, very tough, very progressive woman. She was not stuck as secretary but was an editor for an encyclopedia publisher and eventually the executive assistant to a CEO of an insurance company. She paid for all four children to go to college.

The End Marston was struck by polio in 1944 and was severely physically hampered until his death from skin cancer in 1947. He was never told he had cancer. The movie tag says that writing Wonder Woman was taken away from Elzabeth and Olive on W.M.'s death and she lost her powers. Both true, but happened 30 years apart.

DC Psych Court Not true. DC gave notes to Marston to tone down this or that all the time. He ignored them all the time. Never threatened with taking Wonder Woman away. This is a stand-in for the criticism from outside the company.

Elizabeth lower right, Olive standing and close family friend Marjorie Wilkes Huntley bottom left


Also grabbed this when I got a pic of the Marston fam. This is the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at Tufts in 1923. Olive Byrne in the headband and the inspiration for Etta Candy is sitting just behind her with the short hair and tie. I don’t remember seeing a curvy girl like Etta in the movie. Am I wrong? If there wasn’t that was a miss. Also, they look like a spanking bunch.


Already had to make one correction. Marston was inducted into the Army, so did serve but it was as a psychologist not in the OSS or spy biz.


Oh, another historical detail that was tweaked that I saw while looking it up was with the portrayal of Josette Frank, the woman who lead the questioning against the Wonder Woman character in the film.

According to her granddaughter, the version of Josette in the movie was almost the exact opposite of the woman. In real life, she was a die-hard liberal, with history in the suffrage movement, and would not at all have called lesbianism a perversion of emotional disease, since her sister-in-law was an out lesbian who Josette supported. She even defended comic books as a valid work of art.

Josette did have criticism of Wonder Woman, but more because she believed that it was a cheap, male-driven sexual fantasy.

Here’s a link to the article that her granddaughter wrote.


Good call. They really had her as a stand-in for other people. Makes sense in the scheme of the movie, but it’s nice to get her real story out. Changing history doesn’t bother me as much if people have a better sense of the real story. It’s actually some of the little things that bug me more, like the OSS mistake. It’s also important to me if the movie gets the “feel” right. I know that’s more ambiguous but really matters. Watched the new version of Midway recently, great special effects, but ended up hating the movie because the pilots are alway saying gung ho quips as they engage the enemy. That’s not what pilots do. They say very precise things because they’ve trained that way hundreds of times and you can’t have confusion when 30 planes are attempting to dive bomb a Japanese aircraft carrier. It felt like to me, that Professor M and the WW’s got the “feel” right.


We’ve posted polls and quiz above


Cheetah Marston created the blueprint for what I think is the best version of the Cheetah. Originally, it’s Priscilla Rich a wealthy debutant who becomes jealous of Wonder Woman’s popularity. Later, she’s jealous of a cousin who dances well. Marston sticks with this basic Jeckyl and Hyde idea of Priscilla’s good side losing out to the other evil half of her personality. Of course, Marston throws in slave girls, bondage and punishment but that’s Marston. Later in the Silver Age, it’s still Priscilla but the uniqueness of the character is stripped away in favor a girl who robs people with henchmen in monkey costumes. In the '70s, another character steps into the claws as an environmental terrorist which is better than a girl with dudes dressed like monkeys. Barbara Ann Minerva, eventually, gets back to the dual nature of the character that makes her special.

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