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Wonder Woman: The Golden Age
by Les Daniels
ISBN 081183123X / 9780811831239 / 0-8118-3123-X
Publisher Chronicle Books
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There can't be many people who haven't heard of Wonder Woman, arguably the first female superhero and one of the "big three" (the others being Batman and Superman). She was created by Dr. William Moulton Marston, who also invented the lie detector, as an antidote to masculine comic book adventures, drenched in violent testosterone-fueled imagery and portraying women as helpless weaklings who had to rely on the men to untie them from the train tracks in the nick of time. Wonder Woman was certainly no weakling. Dressed in stars and stripes, armed with bullet-deflecting bracelets and a magical lasso, and flying around in an invisible jet, she had no qualms about saving her boyfriend Steve Trevor from certain doom each issue while dealing a swift blow to the odd Nazi soldier as well. However, most people who aren't die-hard comic fans will have only memories of the camp and kitschy 1970s TV show, starring the leggy and beautiful Lynda Carter (who also contributes the book's foreword). As compelling and faithful as this small-screen adaptation was, there is so much more to the WW mythology than that, as Les Daniels admirably proves in this gorgeous hardback volume. It features lots of covers and extracted scenes from the comic books, from her earliest appearance to her latest 1990s image changes, and plenty of photographs of the plethora of WW merchandise created over the years. And for those of you old enough to remember the TV show, the lyrics of the infamous theme song are also here in all their star-spangled glory. This is a wonderful, nostalgic journey through the life and times of the first lady of superheroes and a real appreciation of WW's staying power and campy cult status. Beautifully packaged, absorbingly written, and wonderfully illustrated, this is a must-have for comic fans. --Jonathan Weir, Amazon.co.uk [via]