Wonder Woman is the most popular female superhero of all time. Created in 1941, “beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules and swifter than Mercury,” she was an Amazon who came to America to fight for peace, justice and women’s rights, sacrificing immortality for the love of her rescued pilot Steve Trevor.
Poor Steve was forever begging her to marry him, but she had villains to conquer in America and fascists to combat abroad. The comic strip author, a professor of history at Harvard, places Wonder Woman squarely in the story of women's rights in America.
Author William Moulton Marston kept his private life secret. He lived with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway; his lover, Olive Byrne; his four children (two by each woman); and intermittently with another lover, Marjorie Wilkes Huntley. All were advocates for women's equality, free love and contraception.
Holloway had the freedom to pursue a career. And Olive, who yearned for a family to ease the loneliness of her mother's abandonment, would raise the children. Talk about solving women's work-family dilemma!
The threesome lived and worked together, cheerfully blurring the credits of who wrote what among their books, papers and ideas for Wonder Woman. Holloway was often the only one bringing in a steady income. But no outsider knew about this arrangement, and the adults kept secrets within the family as well.
In 1972, Ms. magazine published its premier issue, with Wonder Woman on the cover. She was back. The rest, as they say, is history.