The Wonder Family index With William Marston no longer writing Wonder Woman, National Comics (DC) found themselves in a quandary: what to do with the character? They had to continuously publish her in order to keep the rights, but what could they DO with her? She was a feminist icon in an era when women were told to stay at home, preferably in the kitchen. She bounded about like, well, an Amazon, at a time when women were told that if they were athletic they would not only be unfeminine, but probably hurt their reproductive organs as well.

DC tried all kinds of experiments. Diana would confront (male) criminals and bargain with them: if she could fulfill some kind of impossible mission, they would give themselves up. How sporting of them! Sometimes the criminals plotted to make her marry Steve Trevor, for as everyone knew, married women didn't work and Wonder Woman would have to quit her super job.

Sometimes Wonder Woman battled doubles of herself: robots and such. But she never, ever fought directly against anyone who was human. Wertham and his book, Seduction of the Innocent, preached against the unwholesomeness of Wonder Woman as Congressional hearings spawned by that book forced the comic book industry to re-evaluate itself.

How to make Wonder Woman wholesome?

Diana as Wonder Girl Donna as Wonder Girl
Diana as Wonder Girl
The way I keep track is: Diana wore a skirt, she often wore the thin diadem, when she wore bracelets they were often white, small and loose, and there were often little bows or ribbons flying on her shoes. Her bangs were often curly.
Donna as Wonder Girl
Donna wore a brief and the lace-up sandals. Her bangs were always straight, and when she wore bracelets they were the standard Amazon style.

It started off as a few adventures of Diana as a girl, some of Diana as a very young girl, almost a toddler. Then came stories where we'd see Diana at different stages in her life, all in one story... or of young Diana looking at herself in a time viewer, even of her using time travel to catch up to her adult self.

And eventually it became a full-blown Wonder Family. When you have that many different-aged Dianas in the same story — the same panel! — all calling each other "sister," it sure looked like a family to this reader.

Oh yes, National tried to pass some of the stories off as "Impossible Tales," the Wonder-equivalent to the rest of the National Universe's "Imaginary Stories," or tales that were out of continuity. But the "Impossible Tale" label was forgotten on a number of Wonder Family stories.

What the Wonder Family stories showed was a loving family who lived on an island of loving people living an ideal existence (no men!) with advanced science alongside Greek mythology come to life. Everyone encouraged each other in this mystical place where mermen played just off-shore and genies washed up on the beaches. It was magical, it was sweet. And during this era when Wonder Woman herself was so cardboardish, so uncomfortable in her longline strapless bra and girdle while she swooned over her overbearing boyfriend, the younger sisters and mother came across with sparkling personalities and genuine zest for life.
the original Teen Titans
Cardy's Wonder GirlAnd then came Teen Titans. National took the boy sidekicks: Aqualad, Kid Flash and Robin, of its most popular characters and needed a token female to fill out the group. They chose Wonder Girl. Though the stories themselves mentioned on rare occasion that she was Wonder Woman's sister, the editorial comments in the lettercols insisted that this was Diana as a girl. Yoo hoo, anyone in charge? Still, who cared? Nick Cardy's rendition of Wonder Girl was absolutely gorgeous and she (as well as Cardy's sexy Robin) got this reader to buy the title.

Teen Titans #23Finally when Wonder Woman lost her powers and became "plain" Diana Prince, even the editors of Teen Titans had to wonder who this was running around with full powers within their book, and the first of the infamous "Who is...?" stories ran in which Wonder Girl finally got a name, "Donna Troy," as well as an origin and costume all her own.

Certainly for me, it wasn't Wonder Woman that got me interested in her title, it was Wonder Girl, Wonder Tot and Hippolyta the blonde Amazon queen. I present an index to their adventures for your scholastic enjoyment.

CassieAnd remember, today's Wonder Girl is now Cassie Sandsmark, created by He Whose Name Must Not Be Invoked, but to whom Peter David gave quite an interesting personality in DC's Young Justice title, though in the new Teen Titans she's somewhat bland arm candy for whichever male teen member of the Superman or Batman family happens to be around. (This index was written before the nu52 and all its changes.)


Donna...While Donna grew up, got married, had a kid, divorced, gave up powers, saw both ex and kid killed, got powers again, was killed off, resurrected as a goddess but no DC writer remembers that, and became the lynchpin for the Multiverse... until she wasn't. She was voted the character with the most confusing origin in comics, thanks in large part to He Whose Name etc.


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