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Idiot's Guide to Superheroes: Wonder Woman

Written by Christian on Monday, July 05 2010 and posted in Columns

This week, we attempt to captialize on Wonder Woman's recent popularity and write an article on her!  Will it work?  Click on the article and find out!

This is An Idiot's Guide to Superheroes. It's part fact, part opinion, and part bullshitting my way through 75 years worth of literature that is both entertaining and slightly ridiculous. An Idiot's Guide to Superheroes is not meant to be taken 100% seriously nor is it 100% factual.

If you come away learning something new, I applaud you. Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle...or something like that. Otherwise, I apologize for wasting the next five to ten minutes of your life.

Idiot's Guide to Superheroes: Wonder Woman

DC has a group of heroes they like to call the Trinity.  Basically, they're the cool kids at DC's high school, the superheroes that all the other superheroes want to be like. There's Batman, the cool rich kid who's kind of dangerous and drives a really cool car. He's a bit of a prick to everyone, but it's okay because deep down he has a good heart. There's Superman, who's the nice guy that everyone loves. It doesn't matter that he wears garish clothes or cries a lot or the questionable way he looks at Batman when he thinks no one is looking, because he's so darn likable. Then there's Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is the alpha female of the DC Universe.  She's sexy, smart and a total badass. She's also a trained warrior who knows about three hundred ways of killing a person without touching them (Hint: most of them involve weaponry). Hell, she's more badass then 80% of the male superheroes (including Superman) which makes her that much more attractive to the masses.  Throw in a hardcore sense of justice, an uncompromising attitude towards her ideals, and stripper boots that go up to her knees and you have the basic gist of Wonder Woman.

Hippolyta, the Amazon queen of the manless Paradise Island, felt her biological clock ticking. Due to a lack of penis on the island, she instead fashioned a baby out of clay. Through Greek goddess voodoo magic, the baby became real and was named Diana. She was given the power to kick ass by the gods, trained in the ways of war by the Amazons and then sent to man's world to promote their message of love and peace. What exactly is the Amazon message of peace? Peace through intimidation, the withholding of sex and violence if necessary. This is suspiciously similar to how my fiancee wins most of our arguments.

Upon showing up in man's world, Diana was immediately dubbed Wonder Woman by the press and thrown into the heyday of man's world. Although she doesn't always understand how man's world works, Wonder Woman does understand that sometimes it takes a woman's touch to solve the problems of the world. If that woman's touch happens to include punching teeth out or snapping necks, so be it. She also has a pair of Wonder Girl sidekicks, whose origins are too confusing and tedious to really get to. Basically, they exist, they're connected to Wonder Woman, and that's all you need to know.

Before she left Paradise Island, Diana was blessed with the standard superpowers of superstrength and flight by the gods. She was also equipped with a variety of armaments to make things in the real world go a lot smoother. She was given a golden lasso of truth, a one piece metal swimsuit that showed off her chest and legs and bulletproof bracelets for the extremely unlikely event that someone would actually shoot at the 75% of her body not covered by the metal swimsuit. She was also given the ability to change costumes simply by spinning around really fast with her arms out, similar to a three year old child pretending to be a helicopter.  Wonder Woman also possesses an invisible jet which proved to be superfluous due to her ability to fly and also rather useless due to the fact that it didn't make her invisible.

Early Wonder Woman comics tended to focus on some interesting themes. While Superman and Batman were created by teenage boys, Wonder Woman was created by William Marston, a noted psychologist and inventor of the 1940's. Marston was best known for his invention of the polygraph machine and his rather unique views of feminism. Marston believed that males were prone to violent behavior and needed women to dominate them to keep those violent ideas in check. Marston incorporated his ideas of feminism into the character of Wonder Woman, even arming her with a fictional version of his polygraph machine. Marston was also obsessed with bondage, which led to Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazons to being tied up. Later writers dropped most of these bondage elements from the book while keeping Wonder Woman a dominant female.

Wonder Woman was the first strong female superhero character.  Female superheroes before her were often given non-threatening powers such as turning things into flowers or turning invisible. These female superheroes were often used as damsels in distress, romantic interests or cooked dinner in the kitchen while pregnant and barefoot.  Wonder Woman, however, has no qualms fucking shit up. If there's a tank in the way of Wonder Woman, she'll simply rip in half. Wall in the way? She'll run through it like the Kool-Aid Man. Kitchen in the way?  Diana will cook a fine meal just to show how well-rounded she is and then plow through it on her way to victory. Wonder Woman is as hardcore as they get. She's basically the Wayne Brady of the DC Universe.

The one downside to Wonder Woman is her lack of a truly frightening villain's gallery.  This is probably because it's difficult to come up with someone more hardcore than Wonder Woman. It just doesn't happen. Some of her villains include Angle Man, who does something obtuse with angles, Giganta, a woman with serious self-image issues, Doctor Psycho, a dwarf with a big head, and Cheetah, who's got something to do with Cheetahs. She also fights Greek mythological characters, including Hercules (who's a big ol' douche in the DC universe), Ares and Hades. Probably her biggest adversary is the sorceress Circe (of Odyssey fame) who's got some long drawn out beef with Diana. It has something to do with moons and Greek stuff, but no one really cares.

Over the years, Wonder Woman has stopped alien invasions, fought Death himself, saved Paradise Island countless times and prevented various Greek deities from taking over the planet.  She's been a secret agent, an ambassador to the UN and a florist during the sixties.  She's been a lover to some, a fighter for many, and a hero to all. Walking the fine line between war and peace, Wonder Woman is the woman girls want to be and men want to be with. She also starred in a memorable 70's TV show that cemented her role in America's pop culture.

Some of Wonder Woman's more notable stories include Gods and Mortals, which basically recaps Wonder Woman's origin in a modern setting, The Hiketeia, which shows why Batman and Wonder Woman would make babies too awesome for the planet, and Rise of the Olympian, which basically introduces a bad guy that's almost as hardcore as Diana is. For further reading, read anything Wonder Woman by Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, and George Perez, all of whom "get" the character of Wonder Woman.

So what is Wonder Woman up to nowadays? She recently got caught up in a zombie apocalypse in which she was made into a Love Lantern and revealed that she had the hots for Batman. Then she dealt with some serious Paradise Island political stuff involving Zeus, male Amazons (or Manazons for short) and her possible demon daddy. Shortly after that, Wonder Woman suddenly found herself wearing a jacket and pants instead of her stylish battle swimsuit, which apparently pissed a whole lot of people off. Because DIANA NEEDS HER WONDERBRA GODDAMNIT (actual internet quote, btw). Apparently, someone has been meddling with the timestream and changed Diana from a proud princess into one of the last survivors of a civilization destroyed in the past. Who? Well, read Wonder Woman #600 and on to find out!

Next Week: We go under the sea and take a look at The Little Mermaid Aquaman!


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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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