This close look at Wonder Woman's history portrays a complicated heroine who is more than just a female Superman with a golden lasso and bullet-deflecting bracelets. 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 backward, 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 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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2014 Tim Hanley (P)2016 Last Word Audio, LLC
"A lively and important examination of a key feminist icon." (Booklist)
"There's plenty here for Wonder Woman fans; Hanley writes with clarity and enthusiasm, and he's got a fine eye for the goofy absurdities of comic-book narratives...." (Salon.com)
"Elliott's conversational style enlivens the many footnotes, popular objections to comic books, and anecdotes about the Senate hearings of the 1940s and '50s regarding whether or not comic books cause juvenile delinquency...Most enjoyable are Elliott's lively cartoon quotes and engaging female voices." (AudioFile)
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"facts about how Wonder Woman has been portrayed"
I'm not normally a non-fiction kinda gal but I was really curious about this title and I'm glad I gave it a go!
I missed the Wonder Woman era of comics and cartoons but the two reasons that drew me to this book were: I'm a traditional nerd and comic books and superheroes dressed in primary colours appeal to me, and this is the era of the modern feminist.
Tim Hanley splits the book into three main sections, the Gold, Silver and Bronze age of comic book history and the roles that both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince play in those eras.
I found the Golden Age to be particularly fascinating, Wonder Woman was created by a guy called William Marston in 1942. Among other things, he was a psychologist with an interest in dominance and submission - this is something that makes a whole lot of sense when you look back and realise how much time the characters spend being tied up or lassoed.
On that note - wear headphones while listening to this in public places or at work unless you want to share some learning on sexual psychology and bondage with passers by. Learn from my mistakes.
The purpose of Wonder Woman as a character at the time of her creation was to represent a strong female who doesn't need a man to complete her, which was pretty progressive in the WW2 era when women were being forced back behind the kitchen sink when their husbands came back from the war. However, future writers didn't seem to honour this idea and she steadily grew more pathetic, needy and scantily clad.
I love that someone took the time to write this book, especially someone who seems as disappointed with her progression as a character as I am. I would love to know Hanley's thoughts on Gal Gadot's incarnation of Wonder Woman.
During the 1960s, when feminism took its first stand, Wonder Woman was dusted off and used as an icon but she could only work as such if you ignored most of her storylines and stuck to her original persona. This point in the book opened my eyes to something that I already knew in an abstract way- women were still struggling for anything resembling equal rights in the 60s, the battle we're waging today in the western world is nothing compared to that - the decade my own mother was born in!
Colby Elliot narrates this excellent quality work impeccably, his voice definitely kept my attention when I was struggling to concentrate (this is my first non-fiction audiobook after all!).
This is a book I would recommend to WonderWoman fans, fans of comic books in general and people with even the most fleeting of interests in feminism. It doesn't dwell heavily on personal opinions but tells us the facts about how Wonder Woman has been portrayed in comics and TV in the past 70 years. Yes. 70 years. Anyone else feel old?
Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.
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