Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston

Remember when I complained that a story about the history of Wonder Woman in the The Philadelphia Daily News lacked any mention of the pervading themes of bondage?

Check out this fascinating piece by Charles Lyons, contributing writer for ComicBookResources:

She wasn’t jettisoned from a doomed planet, she didn’t witness the brutal murder of her parents, and she was never injected with radioactive venom, but the true story of Wonder Woman’s origin is one of the strangest and most fascinating of any superhero…

…Wonder Woman’s creator was William Moulton Marston, a Harvard-educated psychologist, lawyer and provocateur who invented a precursor of the modern polygraph (the likely inspiration for Wonder Woman’s lie-detecting lasso)…

As he told interviewer Olive Richard in the August 14, 1942 “Family Circle,” “Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaborately disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them.”

But Marston was intent on more than merely fulfilling the fantasies of his male readers. In a letter to comics historian Coulton Waugh, he wrote, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” Marston believed that submission to “loving authority” was the key to overcoming mankind’s violent urges, and that strong, self-realized women were the hope for a better future. Wonder Woman was very consciously Marston’s means of spreading these notions to impressionable young minds.

With this unusual brand of feminism as his stated aim, Marston filled his stories with bondage (both male and female), spanking, sorority initiation rituals, cross-dressing, infantilism, and playful domination. Armies of slave girls were everywhere, and hardly an issue went by without a full-body panel of Wonder Woman bound from head to toe. In “Sensation Comics” #35 (November 1944) Wonder Woman even lets slip that rope bondage was a popular pastime back home.

Read more.

The excerpts don’t do it justice. This is one engaging, well-written piece on a fascinating subject.