Golden Age Wonder Woman... WOW.

I have red over some of the golden age Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman comics. And I got to say… I had heard about Marston’s love for bondage spilling out in the comics, but especially by the time she got her own series… wow.

I assumed from what I heard ok, Wonder Woman gets captured and tied up or chained at some point and escapes every story. But it’s like… nearly every other page, if not every page. I know seduction of the innocent got a bad rap, deservedly, but he may not have been that far off the mark on Marston’s intentions with Wonder Woman. Really does seem like he wrote it in large part with the intention of artist beinging his bondage fantasies to life. Not taking away from what Wonder Woman became, but I think she became a symbol for girl power almost in spite of his initial stories of her.

Ironically, I think if they had the access to porn back then that they do now, Wonder Woman might never have been created. Again, not trying to be uptight or a prude… but how can anyone not read those issues and think it wasn’t a case of his love for bondage run amok?


Famous historian Jill Lepore wrote a book,entitled Secret History of Wonder Woman.

Here are two link where she discussed it, from YouTube.

The two videos together take about an hour and give you a good overview of the book

Last about 11 minutes, and stops just when Jill starts talking about bondage in Wonder Woman

Is about an hour long. You can skip the first 13 minutes. Jill is a fabulous lecturer, very funny.


@TurokSonOfStone1950, I will definitely check those out. Thanks for posting the links!

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I watched them both, they were very interesting.

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It was. He had a college student that he had an affair with move into his house with his wife. She showed him the sororities & the hazing & he purposely included all of it in his work. Even the spanking as punishment, given out by Etta Candy for disobeying rules was a direct correlation of what he experienced in the sorority houses. Etta Candy even leads a team of sorority sisters in his comics. He was warned by the director of DC to quit having her tied up nonstop. That was all a reflection of what was going on his personal life. As far as the student & his wife being involved in bondage & lie detector tests. Which lead to the invention of the lie detector by him.


I am sure DC would have. Yeah, in 1940 (at least from what I understand, I sure wasn’t there) the average person on the street didn’t have the same kind of awareness of that type of stuff that we do in 2019. But I have a hard time believing some parents even back then wouldn’t have come across that and complained. Unlike now comic books were not intended to be for adults.

I was a bit surprised when DCU launched that they made such a focus with the video “DCU Presents: Sensation Comics 1-10” because while Wonder Woman is one of the most recognizable characters in the world, her beginnings may not be the proud moment they want to scream from the rooftop about. It belongs on the service, it’s Wonder Woman. But they could have found something else to put up and focus on to say “rah ray girl power, feminist icon… and now… DCU presents… the feminist icon tied up to fulfill her creators bondage fetish!”

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There was awareness of BDSM back then, the problem was at that time publishing any type of pornography, let alone fetish work was illegal and places that sold them were routinely raided by the cops.

And while I agree that there was definitely a bit of his own fetishes thrown in, I think it’s a little unfair to say those early works aren’t feminist. Marston wasn’t just a feminist, but literally wrote about female superiority and his WW book expounded on it.

Yeah Marston wasn’t a feminist. What happened is WW became a secretary for the JL eventually & was almost all but forgotten. Gloria Steinem put WW on the cover of Ms. Magazine & it revived her character, & it was then she was associated as a feminist icon.


That is what Jill Lepore was saying.

That portrayals of chains and balls and gags were part of the way the early suffragettes describes themselves being in, because they had no rights.

The artist chosen to draw Wonder Woman worked for a suffragettes magazine. He was in his sixties, while Kirby, Kane and Kubert were in their teens at that time

The purpose was to show women breaking their chains. That meant they had to be chains to begin with.

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I may have been a bit extreme to imply Marston was not a feminist at all. Yes he did go on record saying Women would and should run the world one day, and he was a supporter of the Suffrage movement. So for the time he did have some progressive views of women.

He also said women like being dominated which is a bit counter intuitive. His wife by account didn’t want to bring a third person into their home like he did, but he threatened to divorce her if he didn’t. She didn’t want to take his name and made it clear but he made her. And again, he said women were superior by submitting to men.

Yes, Marston was also born over 100 years ago so not fair to judge him by 2019 standards. I do think he clearly thought Women deserved more then they were getting at the time, and in his mind was doing his part with the comic. But he also frankly got off on women being tied up in an age when having images of that as someone else said was illegal to own, or close to it, and took an opportunity. And while I can not read his mind, I think a lot of modern feminist want to re-write him to look more progressive then he truly was to counter the fact that if you read the old Wonder Woman, some would question it’s motives.

That is my opinion, I have heard the other arguments I just think a lot of them are trying to make a guy who clearly revolved a lot of his life on kinky sex games and orgies and who’s claims we make for his position on women contradict how his actual relationships work, and try to make him into a hero by jumping through a lot of hoops when he may not deserve the effort.

As for the secretary of JSA thing… that definitely does not hold up well today and is a clear indication of men not looking at women as equals at the time. But to be fair, I don’t think Marston had anything to do with JSA (might be wrong) or that decision. So not sure anyone can hold that one against him, he didn’t own Wonder Woman so what happened in books he didn’t write was not really in his control.

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I’m sorry. Mine should read Marston “was” a feminist not wasn’t. Then Steinhem really launched WW into feminist lore with Ms. magazine. After DC pushed her to the background as a Secretary. That wasn’t Marston’s choice, he always wanted her front & center, obviously,& as a symbol for feminists. He definitely held the opinion that women were more dominant then men, mentally & physically, for what they’d been thru. Also b/c he saw from a Scientific POV how easily they could overpower a man, with, I guess the best way to it, is their sexuality.