23 January 2012

Onscreen History of Wonder Woman

(Updated 23 Jan 2012)
Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in 1941 before her follow-up in Sensation Comics #1. She is one of three characters to have been continuously published by DC Comics since the company's 1944 inception (except for a brief hiatus in 1984).

Wonder Woman's first appearance was arguably in 1967 as Wonder Girl on the DC Heroes guest segments of the Superman/Aquaman Hour.

Unlike other teen sidekicks such as Robin or Kid Flash, Wonder Girl was actually just a teen version of Wonder Woman who was introduced to the Teen Titans comics by the writer who thought they were distinct characters. Guess he never read Wonder Woman #124.

Wonder Woman would again fail to appear in 1967 when a proposed series was not picked up. A five minute segment of the pilot, titled Who's Afraid of Diana Prince, was filmed.

The comedy series was to portray "Diana, an awkward and rather plain young woman, [living] with her mother close to a U.S. Air Force base." In the clip, Diana's mother, aware of her daughters superheroine identity, berated Diana for not having a boyfriend. When Mom left, Diana transformed, checked herself out, and flew out the window. Quality entertainment indeed.

Finally in 1972, Wonder Woman made her first real appearance on the animated Brady Kids series of all places.

In some sort of bizarre crossover, time traveling adventure, the kids found themselves competing with Wonder Woman in the ancient Olympics.

In 1973 - 1986 Wonder Woman would be a mainstay of the many incarnations of Super Friends. This Wonder Woman was occasionally spotted flying, but more consistently needed her invisible jet to get around.

During those many seasons, she would find herself transformed into a cowardly lioness, Bizzarofied, courted by Darkseid and inflicted with any number of other wacky trials.

In 1974, a second attempt at a live-action Wonder Woman series failed.

In this incarnation, a blonde, powerless Wonder Woman, worked with government agent Steve Trevor to bring down the villainous Abner Smith AKA KHAAAAAAN. The pilot did air, but the series never saw the light of day.

In 1975, a Wonder Woman pilot finally got the go-ahead for a bonafide series which began airing in 1976.

After all of the previous misfires, it was quite remarkable to finally get a Wonder Woman with a traditional costume, super powers, and the series was even set as a period piece during World War II.

In 1977, the series switched networks and titles. The newly dubbed New Adventures of Wonder Woman saw Diana return from Paradise Island in a setting 35 years after season 1, the then modern 1970s. The series continued in this format for two more seasons, wrapping up in 1979.

Wonder Woman made a rare guest appearance in the short lived 1988 Superman animated series.

Wonder woman faced a close call in 1993, when the series Wonder Woman And The Star-Riders was pitched. The show was intended, as all great 80s and 90s series were, "to challenge the gender stereotypes prevalent even in today's toy marketing." The Star Riders each had a magic jewel representing her domain. Dolphin ruled the water, Ice ruled the cold, Solara ruled heat and light, and Starlily ruled (not stars, but) plants. The series was ultimately scrapped with the thought that a girl-based toy series would be too risky.

After 13 years, Wonder Woman finally returned to the small screen in the animated Justice League running from 2001 through 2006.

This series played great tribute to Wonder Woman expanding on her homeland Themyscira and its inhabitants and presenting villains including Fury, Ares, and Circe.

This tough Wonder Woman had the power of flight, but eventually was also seen flying her trademark invisible jet. Even tougher was the twice seen Justice Lord alternate dimension Wonder Woman.

Unfortunately, the Amazon princess has never been given her own live-action feature film. A film was in early stages until things fell apart in 2007. But given her long lasting position in the spotlight, and considering the many B-listers getting feature film treatment, it seems likely that a Wonder Woman movie will eventually get the go-ahead.

Wonder Woman has been a part of some animated direct to video project.s including 2008's Justice League: New Frontier.

Most recently, Wonder Woman headlined her own origin focused direct to video movie.

With such a long history in comics, it seems that there is plenty of great source material yet unmined.

While Superman and Batman have both been given numerous feature films, animated series, and toy lines, Wonder Woman is nearly equal in recognizability. It seems that we ha vent seen the last of everyone's favorite Amazon.

UPDATE: JUNE 30 2010

Last season, Smallville's Lois Lane played a little homage to Wonder Woman in the episode Warrior.

Wonder Woman's derriere appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold indicating that she is a member of that universe's Justice League.

Wonder Woman also appeared in the animated Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths along with her evil doppelganger Olympia.

Updated 14 April 2011

It has been a mighty busy year for Wonder Woman. Last September Diana appeared in yet another animated DtV, Superman / Batman: Apocalypse. Wonder Woman played quite a sizable role in the film, serving as a mentor to Supergirl before she was abducted by Darkseid. Wonder Woman was also a highlight of the film as she and Big Barda dominated Darkseid's Female Furies.

The Amazon was next seen in the Young Justice series premier as a member of that continuity's Justice League. For the most part, the design used in Young Justice is very similar to that used in the earlier Crisis on Two Earths movie, despite the fact that they are not in the same continuity.

But it wasn't until early in 2011 that things really started to get interesting for Wonder Woman or Diana Themyscira as she will be known in an upcoming live action TV show. Fans were stunned by the initial reveal of the heroine. The shiny pants, blue boots, high heels, crotch seam, plastic bustier, and bright red lipstick were all highly criticized.

Mere days later, new images of the costume were captured showing Wonder Woman with less shiny pants, red boots, not high heels, no crotch seam, and reasonable lipstick. Although fans were not raving about the revised look, they were a bit pacified.

Updated 23 May 2011

As production on the TV series continued, we learned that Wonder Woman would have actually had multiple costumes including shorts (aka panties). Maybe the blue boots were not completely dismissed, but were just part of an alternate look. Either way, stay posted for updates as they come. Even though the pilot was a FAIL I am sure it will be leaked sooner or later for all to see.

And here is a much better take on the Amazon Princess donning a classic look in her first real appearance in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.


Aside from Wonder Woman's next official scheduled appearance in February's ensemble Justice League: Doom, some images of unofficial appearances in the news as of late have been included below.

Turns out that back in 1970, Angie Bowie, wife of David auditioned for the role of Wonder Woman for the 1974 movie that starred Cathy Lee Crosby. Ironically, the costume in the audition pics did not appear in the movie, nor did the final character really even resemble Wonder Woman.

In January 2012, a character on the show Harry's Law dressed up like Wonder Woman. Notable was that the actress playing the role was none other than Smallville's Lois Lane (who had previously dressed as Wonder Woman on that show) and she was rocking the costume from the cancelled Wonder Woman pilot.

Just for fun, here is a reminder of Rachel Bilson dressed as Wonder Woman on a 2003 episode of The OC.


  1. The new TV costume looks pretty darn close to her current comic book attire. Just add a jacket and bingo!


  2. Wonder Woman was the best in my childhood. I just loved everything about her. I had considered wearing a bustier a corset like her, and I am an man... If this is too uncomfortable go for a well fitted bra that will give you added support. This can even make you look thinner.

  3. Wonder Woman is definitely the queen of all superheros!