Wonder Woman Unbound!

Posted on March 18th, 2014


One of our customers, Tim Hanley, has written a history of Wonder Woman in a new book coming this April to comic shops and book stores everywhere.

Wonder Woman Unbound reveals the surprising and complex history of the beloved feminist icon. Trina Robbins, cartoonist and author of “Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists from 1896 to 2013”, says, “I’ve never seen more information about Wonder Woman than in Wonder Woman Unbound!” – and she’s seen a lot information on the Amazon Princess!

Wonder Woman—even after 30 years out of the limelight—is a recognizable figure: with her golden tiara, golden lasso, and golden bullet-deflecting bracelets, she is a symbol of female strength in a world of male superheroes. Created in 1941, the original Wonder Woman was ahead of her time, advocating female superiority and the benefits of matriarchy—but she actually evolved in opposite ways from American women. In the 1950s, she wanted to settle down with her boyfriend, just as her contemporaries started to chafe under the limitation of their domestic lives; in the 1960s, instead of participating in the women’s lib movement, she lost her superpowers and obsessed over the men flitting in and out of her life. But in 1972, when Gloria Steinem put her on the cover of the first Ms. magazine, Wonder Woman became a feminist icon, her uneven past forgotten. And by the mid-70s, Wonder Woman had become synonymous with Lynda Carter, thanks to her small screen adventures.

Investigating her complicated history as well as her modern incarnations, Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine (Chicago Review Press, April 2014) by Tim Hanley illuminates a character who was (and is) far more than “a female Superman.” This independently and thoroughly researched, no-holds-barred examination offers new, eye-opening revelations—specifically regarding her feminist, fetishist and lesbian past. And while Hanley dissects Wonder Woman’s actions and meaning in the comics (why is there so much titillating bondage imagery?), he also dives into the wider personal and historical context, discussing the beliefs, motives and history of her creators, and real world events and trends that affected the storylines.

Accessible and informative to comic fans, pop culture aficionados and history buffs alike, Wonder Woman Unbound explores the peculiar journey that led to her iconic status, adding a new dimension to the world’s most beloved female superhero.

The author, Tim Hanley, is a comic book historian. He writes a blog, Straitened Circumstances, that discusses Wonder Woman and women in comics, and his monthly column, “Gendercrunching,” runs on www.bleedingcool.com. He has written articles for several well-known comic book sites, including DC Women Kicking Ass and Women Write About Comics. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.